Champaign Christian DeWitt Edgar Livingston Logan Macon Mason McLean
Menard Moultrie Piatt Sangamon Shelby Tazewell Vermilion Woodford
Menard County was formed in 1839 out of Sangamon County and was named for Pierre Menard, the first lieutenant governor of Illinois. The County Seat of Petersburg began as a planned community organized by real estate speculators Peter Lukins (for whom the town is named) and George Warburton.
Local lore tells that Lukins and Warburton, after playing cards to determine the name for their new town, arrived at the name of Petersburg. Lincoln was hired to file the survey the land and in 1836 the plat was filed and Petersburg rose into being. Petersburg later became the county seat in 1839 and was on the Eighth Judicial Circuit from that date until 1847.
Abraham Lincoln, before moving to Springfield, lived in the village of New Salem, currently Lincoln’s New Salem Historic site, from 1831-1837 and Abraham Lincoln stopped in Athens during his trips to Springfield, this route was the shortest. Going through Athens was the shortest route for him to travel. While in the legislature, Mr. Lincoln worked to establish the boundary lines that have separated Menard and Sangamon counties since 1839.
Petersburg quickly grew, due to an advantageous placement on the river, becoming the county seat in the 1830s and eventually drawing off the population of New Salem, which was abandoned in 1840.
Many of the lush Victorian-era homes built by early wealthy inhabitants still stand on the bluffs of Petersburg. The town itself takes great pride in these structures, which has even preserved some of the original cobblestone streets to complement the classical architecture.
Since that time, Petersburg and Menard County have blossomed into a real showplace for leisure activities and heritage tourism.
By looking at the pictures below, you can get an idea of Menard County in Lincoln’s time and as it stands today. Maybe you’ll find something unexpected when you go Looking for Lincoln in Petersburg, Illinois and Menard County!
Following the route of Lincoln on the Eighth Judicial Circuit is easy, to learn more about the history of the courthouse in this county, just click here!
You may also want to consider a stop by the following sites of interest!
Lincoln’s New Salem State Park
Menard County Historical Soc. & Museum
Edgar Lee Masters Home
Old Concord Cemetery
Starhill Forest Arboretum
Long Nine Museum
For more information on Menard County or the city of Petersburg, please visit: