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Looking for Lincoln in Illinois

Looking for Lincoln in Illinois

A Guide to Lincoln's Eighth Judicial Circuit

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Guy C. Fraker


E-book (Other formats: Paperback)
97 illustrations

Looking for Lincoln


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About the Book

Winner, ISHS Annual Award for a Scholarly Publication, 2018

For twenty-three years Abraham Lincoln practiced law on the Eighth Judicial Circuit in east central Illinois, and his legal career is explored in Looking for Lincoln in Illinois: A Guide to Lincoln’s Eighth Judicial Circuit. Guy C. Fraker directs readers and travelers through the prairies to the towns Lincoln visited regularly. Twice a year, spring and fall, Lincoln’s work took him on a journey covering more than four hundred miles. As his stature as a lawyer grew, east central Illinois grew in population and influence, and the Circuit provided Lincoln with clients, friends, and associates who became part of the network that ultimately elevated him to the presidency.
This guidebook to the Circuit features Illinois courthouses, Looking for Lincoln Wayside Exhibits, and other Lincoln points of interest. Fraker guides travelers down the long stretches of quiet country roads that gave Lincoln time to read and think to the locations where Lincoln’s broad range of cases expanded his sense of the economic and social forces changing America.


Guy C. Fraker, a retired attorney from Bloomington, Illinois, is the author of Lincoln’s Ladder to the Presidency: The Eighth Judicial Circuit. His articles have been published in the Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association, Illinois Heritage, the Bloomington Pantagraph, and the Champaign News Gazette. He was a consultant for the WILL-TV documentary Lincoln, Prelude to the Presidency, and he co-curated Prologue to the Presidency: Abraham Lincoln on the Illinois Eighth Illinois Judicial Circuit, an exhibit on permanent display at the David Davis Mansion.


"This new little volume is more than a tour guide with numerous illustrations and maps to help the curious. Read in conjunction with Lincoln’s Ladder to the Presidency, the author’s new “experiential” guide takes the reader for a three-to-four day spree in Lincoln’s educational venue. The people are much like they were in the 1830s, 1840s, and 1850s—kind, neighborly, and full of information about their towns and cities." —Frank J. Williams, The Civil War Monitor

“Some years ago, I joined Guy Fraker on a remarkable tour of Lincoln’s law practice on the Eighth Judicial Circuit—and now you can too. A lawyer and Lincoln scholar, Fraker brings us up close and personal to Lincoln the lawyer and politician. In this marvelous guided journey, you will come to see how Lincoln’s law practice prepares him to be our Civil War president.”—Ronald C. White, author of A. Lincoln: A Biography and American Ulysses: A Life of Ulysses S. Grant

“Guy Fraker’s tours of Lincoln’s Eighth Judicial Circuit have become locally legendary, and if you do not have the good fortune to tour with him in person, here is the book to take the tour alone or with friends. Nowhere in the Lincoln literature is such interesting historic detail laid out so simply and well as it is here.”—James M. Cornelius, curator, Lincoln Collection, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

:A Guide to Lincoln's Eighth Judicial Circuit will appeal to armchair travelers as well as tourists, and offers amazing insights into the conflicts and conundrums Lincoln confronted during his younger years, all of which would help prepare him for his years as President during the American Civil War. Highly recommended."--James A. Cox, Midwest Book Review