Lawyer

Matson Slave Trial

Lincoln’s Trial & Tribulations (www.matsontrial1847.org) tells the story of the Matson Slave Trial in 1847 in the quaint farm town of Oakland. It is considered one of the top ten trials in Lincoln’s career and is the only time he represented a slave-owner.  This dinner theater presents the brave struggle of the enslaved Bryant family to gain their freedom and includes a mid-19th century meal to set the mood. Performances are at 6:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The event has been named a 2015-16 Signature Event by the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area and Looking For Lincoln.


While visiting Oakland prior to the performance, attend a mid-19th century revival at Independence Pioneer Village from 3-5:30 p.m. (http://www.independencepioneervillage.com) including a message by Anthony Bryant, the Methodist exhorter and head of the Bryant family. Lincoln will be seen making contacts and building friendships for his future political career. Named after the original designation for Oakland, the Village contains over a dozen log structures assembled on this site by Robert Lee. The log cabins, school, blacksmith shop, general store, and jail date from the early 1800s through the 1930s.  Dr. Rutherford’s two-story home and Office (https://www.facebook.com/rutherfordhome) were built in 1847 during the Matson Slave Trial. He and his descendants continued to live in the house until the mid-1960s when it was given to Oakland Landmarks, Inc.  The interior reflects the many generations who lived in the home.  Rutherford’s Office is across the street.  The Pennsylvania Railroad Depot was moved next to the office and is also open to the public. Visit the home to learn about his career as a frontier doctor educated at Jefferson College in Philadelphia and the few abolitionists in central Illinois in the mid-1800s.




Downtown Square & Courthouse

7th and Jackson Ave.

(217) 348-0430

Charleston’s Downtown Square has been the site of the Coles County seat since 1835. As a young lawyer, Abraham Lincoln practiced law in a previous version of the courthouse. Today, the late 19th century Romanesque courthouse sits at the center of the square. Historic buildings display stunning architectural details and serve as home to current professional offices, unique shops and restaurants. Tour the Courthouse including the tunnels Saturday at 1:00 or 2:00 p.m.





Lincoln-Douglas Debate

Coles County Fairgrounds, 416 West Madison Ave. 

(217) 348-0430
Tour the only museum in Illinois retracing the senatorial debates of 1858 between Abraham Lincoln and Stephan Douglas. The museum offers exhibits and interactive displays that tell the debates’ story through film, audio selections, artifacts and photos. The museum also includes a children’s hands-on area and a gift shop. Docents may be available at various times. Special group tours available by appointment.  10:00 a.m. Saturday, April 30 Bob Sterling will speak on the rights of slaves in the Lincoln era.
The Lincoln-Douglas Debate Museum in Charleston (Lincoln Douglas Debate Museum) Tour the only museum in Illinois retracing the senatorial debates of 1858 between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas. The museum offers exhibits and interactive displays that tell the debates’ story through film, audio selections, artifacts and photos. The museum also includes a children’s hands-on area and a gift shop. While there meet Lincoln to hear his views on slavery and equality of the races without having to endure the entire day-long speeches. The title of our event comes from a float in the parade prior to the debate featuring 32 young women dressed in white with a banner saying “'Westward the Star of Empire Takes its Way, Our Girls Link-on to Lincoln, Their Mother's were for Clay.”
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