Mount Pulaski, Illinois became a regular stop on the 8th Judicial Circuit for Abraham Lincoln in 1849 when he traveled as a lawyer from county seat to county seat. One of Abe’s favorite cases occurred in Mount Pulaski. In the “Horological Cradle” Case Lincoln represented the purchaser of a patent for an automatic cradle. This cradle was a precursor to the baby swing. Once it was wound up, the cradle would rock itself, soothing baby and freeing mom to do other chores. The patent purchaser discovered the patent he bought only covered the design of the cradle itself, not the mechanics. Abraham thoroughly enjoyed demonstrating the operation of the cradle to Judge David Davis and courtroom spectators. Judge Davis asked Lincoln how to stop the cradle from rocking. Supposedly Lincoln responds, “It’s like some of the glib talkers you and I know, Judge. It won’t stop until it runs down.”
Unfortunately little else is known about Lincoln’s court activities in Mount Pulaski because Logan County’s records were destroyed in a fire in 1857. However, Abraham Lincoln did use his court time in Mount Pulaski to practice his public speaking skills and to develop friendships with political leaders in Logan County. Mount Pulaski is a quick stop for a look around and collecting the national park passport cancellation stamp for the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area.