Champaign Christian DeWitt Edgar Livingston Logan Macon Mason McLean
Menard Moultrie Piatt Sangamon Shelby Tazewell Vermilion Woodford
Named for General John Sullivan, who was a member of the Continental Army and the First Continental Congress, Sullivan, first called Asa's Point, was named in part because Sullivan was a Northerner, while Moultrie County was named for General William Moultrie, who was a Southerner.
There are suggestions, however, that the town of Sullivan was named for Sullivan’s Island in Charleston Harbor in South Carolina. General William Moultrie defended Sullivan's Island, South Carolina from British attack in 1776 and nearby Jasper County was named for Sgt. William Jasper, another hero of the defense of Sullivan's Island. So history is always a bit more complex that the first glance!
The town and county seat were designated in 1845, though he county itself was formed from parts of Macon and Shelby Counties in 1843 and Lincoln rode the circuit here for a number of years, though sometimes the riding was rough and Judge David Davis recounts:
"Lincoln, Anthony Thornton, Campbell & Moulton and myself went to John Ward’s about five miles from Shelbyville. Whiled away several hours, got a fine dinner, & about 3 o’clock started for Sullivan where we got about 6 o’clock…As usual the tavern at Sullivan looked bad, and they tried to stay somewhere else: We found Mrs. James Elder with a very sick headache and abed. We went to a tavern, but I only got supper. Really got vexed on account of (bad) stable for horses. Went to Mrs. Elder’s & slept & next morning got breakfast at tavern & afterwards took all our meals & slept at Mrs. Elder’s. The tavern was so tough, that I should have been in a bad humor to have staid there."
Lincoln’s last visit was just before a riot broke out in response to the Lincoln-Douglas Debates that took place in Charleston!
Today, Moultrie County and Sullivan, its county seat, are found in a quiet and quaint setting that comes alive with a small town atmosphere. History is alive here and walking down the streets you can almost hear the sounds of Lincoln’s footfalls on the pavement. Pay no attention to Judge Davis’ complaint…Sullivan is a happening place.
By looking at the pictures below, you can get an idea of the town of Sullivan and Moultrie County in Lincoln’s time and as it stands today. Maybe you’ll find something unexpected when you go Looking for Lincoln in Moultrie 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!
Old Order Amish Settlement
Moultrie County Heritage Center
For more information on Moultrie County or the city of Sullivan, please visit: