Quincy, Illinois is a pleasant town located on the mighty Mississippi River and it was the site of the sixth Lincoln-Douglas debate. In 1858, Illinois was a “free” state and Missouri, directly across the Mississippi from Quincy, was a “slave” state. On October 13, 1858, thousands of spectators came to listen as Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas argued mostly about the slavery issue.
Located on the corner of the square where the debate was held, the History Museum showcases a presidential papers collection focusing on Abraham Lincoln. One fascinating exhibit is a set of political cartoons from the presidential election of 1860. I enjoyed the artwork as much as the satire. I also grabbed up a national park passport cancellation stamp as well as a “bonus” stamp.
In 1822, John Wood became the first settler in Quincy, Illinois when he purchased land that was part of a military settlement. He originally named the town “Bluffs”; however, it was renamed Quincy in 1825 after President John Quincy Adams. Wood was mayor of Quincy three times before becoming governor of the state of Illinois in 1860. While he was governor, he was allowed to govern from his home in Quincy leaving the Governors Mansion in Springfield vacant. Wood and Abraham Lincoln were political allies and friends. They were both against slavery and worked together to help form the Republican party. When Lincoln was chosen as the Republican candidate for president of the United States, Wood allowed him to use the Governors Mansion in Springfield as a campaign office. Currently, the John Wood Mansion in Quincy is available for guided tours.