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The Lincoln - Douglas Debate - Alton, October 15, 1858

Madison County ILGenWeb Coordinator - Beverly Bauser

 

LINCOLN MAIN PAGE     |     TEXT OF THE LINCOLN - DOUGLAS SPEECHES     |     LINCOLN - SHIELDS DUEL

 

On October 15, 1858, the seventh debate between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas, for the Illinois Senate seat, was held in Alton, Illinois. In July 1858, Lincoln challenged Douglas to a series of debates, which were held throughout the State. Douglas was an incumbent Democrat, and Lincoln was a former Whig, turned Republican. At around 1:00 p.m., approximately 5,000 citizens gathered at the northeast corner of the Alton City Hall, where a large stand, decorated in patriotic bunting, had been erected. Seating was provided for the ladies. The Chicago and Alton Railroad provided half-priced train fare for the event, while others came by steamboat, horse, or by foot. Lincoln and Douglas had arrived by steamboat, coming down from Quincy, Illinois, before daybreak. Lincoln received friends at the Franklin House on State Street, while Douglas received friends at the Alton House on Front Street. A military company paraded through the streets, accompanied by a band. Excitement was in the air, and people walked up and down the streets of Alton, cheering on their favorite candidate, while businesses were decorated with banners of their chosen party. Below are the newspaper articles chronicling the event in detail. Although Lincoln lost the Senatorial election to Douglas, he gained a wide reputation through his speeches, and went on to become  the 16th President of the United States in 1861.

                                               Lincoln - Douglas Debate, Alton, Illinois

MAKING ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE LAST GREAT DISCUSSION
Lincoln – Douglas Debate in Alton
Source: Alton Weekly Courier, October 14, 1858
Let all take notice, that on Friday next, Hon. S. A. Douglas and Hon. Abraham Lincoln will hold the seventh and closing joint debate of the canvass at this place [Alton]. We hope the country will turn out to hear these gentlemen. The following programme for the discussion has been decided upon by the Joint Committee appointed by the People’s Party Club and the Democratic Club for that purpose.

Arrangements for the 15th inst.:
The two committees – one from each party – heretofore appointed to make arrangements for the public speaking on the 15th inst., met in joint committee, and the following programme of proceedings was adopted, viz:

1. The place for said speaking shall be on the east side of City Hall.

2. The time shall be 1:30 o’clock p.m., on said day.

3. That Messrs. C. Stigleman and W. T. Miller be a committee to erect a platform; also, seats to accommodate ladies.

4. That Messrs. B. F. Barry and William Post superintend music and salutes.

5. Messrs. H. G. McPike and W. C. Quigley be a committee having charge of the platform, and reception of ladies, and have power to appoint assistants.

6. That the reception of Messrs. Douglas and Lincoln shall be a quiet one, and no public display.

7. That no banner or motto, except national colors, shall be allowed on the speakers’ stand.

On motion, a committee, consisting of Messrs. W. C. Quigley and H. G. McPike be appointed to publish this programme of proceedings.

Signed, W. C. Quigley and Henry G. McPike

Note: To the above, it should be added that the Chicago, Alton & St. Louis Railroad will, on Friday, carry passengers to and from this city at half its usual rates. Persons can come in on the 10:40 a.m. train, and go out at 6:20 in the evening.

 

LAST JOINT DEBATE BETWEEN LINCOLN AND DOUGLAS
Source: Alton Weekly Courier, October 21, 1858
The seventh and closing debate between Messrs. Douglas and Lincoln came off at this city [Alton] yesterday afternoon. The day was not the best – the morning being somewhat cloudy with indications of rain. At an early hour, the country began to arrive. It came on foot – on horseback – by carriage – by lumber-wagon – and by all other conveyances possible. The steamer “Baltimore,” from St. Louis, brought up its load of those desirous to hear the great debate. At half past ten o’clock, the train on the Chicago, Alton & St. Louis Railroad, freighted with its gatherings from Springfield, Auburn, Girard, Carlinville, Brighton, Monticello [Godfrey], and we know not how many other towns, steamed slowly into the city with its burden of eight rail cars. The other passenger trains of the forenoon and early part of the afternoon demonstrated, too, that the names of Lincoln and Douglas have a hold upon the country. About noon, the extra steamer, “White Cloud,” landed upon the levee with its quota of the denizens of St. Louis. With the earliest arrival, the rooms of Messrs. Douglas and Lincoln, who reached the city before daylight – coming down the river from Quincy – became the centers of attraction. Mr. Lincoln received at the Franklin House, and Mr. Douglas at the Alton House. The train of the Chicago, Alton & St. Louis Railroad brought down the Springfield Cadets, a fine military company, who paraded through our streets, accompanied by Merritt’s Coronet Band, discoursing sweet music. At a later hour, the band of the Edwardsville delegation also gave us a display of its power “to charm the sense and soothe dull care away.”

By the hour of 12:00, the great American people had taken possession of the city. It went up and down the streets – it hurrahed for Lincoln and hurrahed for Douglas – it crowded to the auction rooms – it thronged the stores of our merchants – it gathered on the street corners and discussed politics – it shook its fists and talked loudly – it mounted boxes and cried the virtues of Pain Killer – it mustered to the eating saloons, and did not forget the drinking saloons – it was here and there and everywhere, asserting its privileges and maintaining its rights. Immediately thereafter, couples and triplets and singles of its 6,000 component parts betook themselves to the neighborhood of the stand prepared for the speaking.

Over the stand, which was located on the eastern side of the City Hall and Market building, the Stars and Stripes floated out upon the breeze. Mr. Henry Lea displayed several banners and flags. One was inscribed “Illinois born under the Ordinance of 1887 – she will maintain its provision,” another, “Lincoln not yet trotted out,” and a third, “Free Territories and Free Men. Free Pulpits and Free Preachers. Free Press and a Free Pen. Free Schools and Free Teachers.”

Mr. E. H. Goulding notified everybody in this style, “Squat Row for ‘Old Abe’ and Free Labor.” A cord stretched from the store of Mr. Isaac Scarritt to that occupied by Dr. Bow & Barr, sustained a large flag bearing the mottoes, “Old Madison for Lincoln,” and “Too late for the Milking.” The national colors floated proudly from the flagstaff of the Courier office.

The Douglas men concentrated their whole energies in one grand, magnificent, superb, right-royal banner, which was suspended over Third Street, between the store of Mr. Henry Lee and the Baok Building. The words, “Popular Sovereignty,” “National Union,” and “S. A. Douglas, the People’s Choice,” were surmounted by a very buzzard-like bird, ready poised to swoop down upon his prey, and surrounded by five stars, intended, as we suppose, to represent the four states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Iowa, which have already put their knives to the throat of Mr. Douglas, and Illinois, which will do so in November, after which he will be ready, politically, for the buzzard.

The hour of two having nearly arrived, the great American people, having gathered all its parts, or so many of them as would consent to be gathered to the first floor of the city hall building, and the ground between that and the Presbyterian Church, Messrs. Lincoln and Douglas made their appearance upon the stand.

As previously agreed, Judge Douglas opened the debate in a speech of an hour. Although appearing very well, his voice was completely shattered, and his articulation so very much impeded that very few of the large crowd he addressed could understand an entire sentence. Nearly all his speech was a repetition of his previous charges of amalgamation, negro-equality, &c., against the Republican Party; and he labored and twisted them, and rolled them as sweet morsels under his tongue, till his own friends were disgusted with his pertinacity and falsehood. Having nearly exhausted himself and his hour also on this terrible bug-bear, the Judge then ventured upon one of the most important, and to him, the most fearful act of his life. He actually attacked Buchanan and his administration, and berated them to his heart’s content. His friends here were not prepared for this bold step on the part of their leader, and opened wide their eyes in astonishment. What – had their Little Giant – their terrible leader stood so long calmly and meekly by when the heads of his friends, one after another in rapid succession, rolled before him in the dust, and not a word of rebuke or condemnation! And now, at the very heels of an election, more important to him than any other of his life, he plucks up courage and denounces the President in terms admitting of no mistake as to his feelings. With this exception, his speech was not different from his previous efforts. It was flat and unsatisfactory, unredeemed by a single sparkle of wit or patriotic elevation.

The hour and a half reply of Mr. Lincoln was an effort of which his friends had every reason to be proud. One by one, he took up the oft-exploded charges of Douglas against the Republican Party, and scattered them to the winds, and charged back upon him his own army of sins of omission and commission, with terrible effect. Not a single point was left unanswered of all the charges Douglas made, and so convincing was the array of testimony he produced, so clear and logical every deduction drawn from them, and so honest and candid was he in all his assertions, the Douglasites themselves were forced to admit that they had not only underrated the native strength of the man, but that he was greatly misrepresented in their papers. His reply was, in fact, a complete vindication of himself and the Republican Party, from the foul slanders sought to be heaped upon them, and as a vindication, could not be successfully answered.

Douglas’ half-hour rejoinder was both in better spirit and better taste than his opening. It was not, in fact, a rejoinder at all. It was principally a series of charges against Mr. Lincoln about his Mexican War votes, which he then introduced so that Mr. Lincoln could have no opportunity of replying. Brave Little Giant! Cunning Little Giant! Magnanimous Little Giant!

As we intend to publish the speeches in full in a few days, we shall not further speak of them now. The discussion has been longed for by the Republicans of this city and vicinity, and their expectations have been more than realized. As the Democracy of the States of Iowa, Ohio, Indiana, and Pennsylvania has been thrashed out, so was Mr. Douglas thrashed out by Mr. Lincoln yesterday.

                                                   Lincoln - Douglas Debate Memorial, Alton, Illinois

DOUGLAS MEETING HELD LAST NIGHT
Source: Alton Weekly Courier, October 21, 1858
The Douglasites held a meeting last night opposite the bank, just under that great buzzard displayed across the street. J. H. Sloss, Esq., Douglas candidate for the Legislature, Spread-Eagle Merrick of Chicago, H. W. Billings, Esq., of Alton, Railroad Attorney Z. B. Job, Esq., railroad candidate for the Legislature, and J. E. Coppinger, Esq., anti-railroad, were the speakers.

Sloss made a very fair talk with but little effect. Spread-Eagle Merrick mounted his favorite bird and had not got down to earth when we went to press. Billings whispered railroad – talked railroad – screamed railroad - blessed the Courier - and announced his intention to make an exclusive railroad speech. Job railroaded everything, Jon Gillespie included, giving the impression that he was running against Joe for the Senate. He admitted he could not make a speech, and all agreed with him.

Coppinger spoke next. He said he was not a candidate (away went one of the lanterns); that he had served the people in the city council (two more lanterns removed and one of Post’s store doors closed); that he was opposed to railroads (all the lights taken away and doors closed); and that he would not support Buck (the box on which he stood was here knocked from under him by the Douglas Railroaders); and the meeting adjourned sine die.

 

DOUGLAS CORNERED – REFUSES TO ANSWER
Source: Alton Weekly Courier, October 21, 1858
Yesterday, Douglas kept his temper until Dr. Hope got after him, and then he flew into a rage and called the Doctor an ally of the Abolitionists. The occasion was this: Dr. Hope stepped up to Douglas after the speaking was over, and asked him if he would permit Hon. F. P. Blair to state what conversations took place last winter between them. The Little Giant flew into a rage, called Hope an associate and ally of the Abolitionists, and flatly and pointedly refused to permit Blair to tell a word. Blair knows something, evidently.

 

DR. HOPE GIVES A SPEECH
Source: Alton Weekly Courier, October 21, 1858
Last evening there was assembled at Temperance Hall the largest Democratic meeting which has been held in the city the present canvass. The occasion was a speech from Dr. Hope, the Administration candidate for Congress in this district. The Republicans, according to the Doctor, were very bad indeed, but oh, their smell was nothing compared to the Douglasites. The occasion was embraced to pay particular attention to Messrs. Billings and Metcalf of Alton, and other recent converts to Douglasisms, and his review of their course was a scathing one.

The Doctor has a holy horror of abolitionism, and for him to be charged with being its ally, as was charged upon him by Douglas a few days ago, appeared to excite his utmost ire. The way he denounced the Little Giant was anything but pleasing to his friends. That part of it the Republicans did enjoy, certainly.

The speech was full of statistical information, having evidently been prepared with considerable care, and was well delivered. Democrats present pronounce it the best speech the Doctor ever delivered.

 

THE SPRINGFIELD CADETS
At the Lincoln-Douglas Debates
Source: Alton Weekly Courier, October 21, 1858
The Springfield Cadets visited our city on the occasion of the joint debate between Lincoln and Douglas, and their beautiful appearance and excellent training merit a notice from us. Their officers are as follows: Captain Mather; First Lieutenant W. H. Lathan; Second Lieutenant Lloyd; and Third Lieutenant Strichlen.

Immediately after the arrival of the 10:30 o’clock train, on which they came down, they formed, and preceded by Merrit’s Cornet Band, which by the way, is one of the finest that has visited our city lately, they paraded through our principal streets, attracting general attention. In the afternoon, at the cease of the discussion, they again formed, and after marching about the city awhile down in front of the Courier office, they displayed their knowledge of military tactics. Their evolutions were exceedingly well performed. They drew a large crowd of observers, and well they might. The beauty of their uniforms, their general neatness of appearance, the certainty and rapidity with which they moved at the word of command, combined to make them justly admired and praised.

 

EX-GODFREY RESIDENT URGES BRONZE STATUTES OF LINCOLN & DOUGLAS - WAS AT THE DEBATE
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 5, 1906
Former Mayor H. G. McPike has received the following letter from Dr. James Squire, formerly of Godfrey, now practicing his profession in Carrollton, Ill., and is self-explanatory:

"Dear Sir: I saw the statement in a St. Louis paper you made about the debate between Lincoln and Douglas in Alton in 1858. I was there, and as a boy climbed up on the platform on the east side of the Alton City Hall and sat there at the feet of Lincoln and Douglas. I remember how they looked and spoke - remember the sweet, pleasant smiles and ringing invectives, and great truths expounded by Lincoln; the poor voice and oratorical gestures of the 'Little Giant,' Douglas, who was plainly out of health, or 'cornered,' and could not answer the man who proclaimed the doctrines of the emancipation - who said, 'this government cannot stand one-half slave, one-half free,' etc. I have always quoted that day and my position on the platform as one of the bright days and spots of my history, and have often thought as I passed along how nice it would be to see those men in bronze statues, one on each side of that place, on a pedestal, and it would be attractive to all people visiting Alton. Beautify that hallowed spot! The last meeting place of the two greatest men of Illinois, if not of this country, as the speech delivered that day in Alton made Lincoln President and secured emancipation. The legislature should make an appropriation to help erect the statues, and if Madison county will elect men of strong character to represent her in the legislature, no doubt help could be secured in part from the state to commemorate those two giants and that one spot. You, as presiding officer of that meeting, Mr. McPike, should start this movement, and I know you can, and believe you will inaugurate it and see that it reaches a successful consummation. I write this only to congratulate you on the accuracy of the details of that debate as given by you between the two greatest men on earth at that time, 1858. I am willing to do anything I can to help, and I urge that justice be done to the debaters and I also am anxious to show that Alton was on the map in the past, and I hope she will be in the future as a 'great city.'"

 

ALTON LADY REMEMBERS DEBATE DISTINCTLY
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, December 18, 1907
Mrs. Catherine Dietschy, widow of Joseph Dietschy, who resides at 614 East Fourth Street, is one of the surviving Altonians who listened to the Lincoln-Douglas debate in this city, and she remembers the occasion and much of the speech of Douglas distinctly. She says there was a big crowd present on the east side of the city hall, and that Douglas, who was a "little, short, heavy man," who kept his head bobbing backwards and forward - sometimes violently bobbing all through his speech. After the speaking she says Douglas was taken to St. Louis on a handsomely decorated steamboat. The Lincoln-Douglas organization might be able to secure some valuable information from Mrs. Dietschy, and if not valuable, certainly some interesting information concerning that verbal battle of intellectual giants.

 

SURVIVORS OF LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATE
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, December 19, 1907
Below is a list of persons who have sent their names to the Telegraph as having been present at the Lincoln-Douglas debate in this city, October 15, 1858:

Unknown Pfeifenberger
Mrs. K. Dietschy
Edmond Beall
John Haley
E. A. Smith
F. A. Hummert
Ferd. Volbracht
John Diamond
Mrs. A. Johnston
Rev. J. A. Scarritt
J. L. Blair
E. P. Wade
L. H. Yager
H. G. McPike
T. M. Long
George H. Davis
G. D. Hayden
J. L. Watkins
J. W. Cary
Henry Watson
Joseph Einsele
L. Stiritz, Clifton Terrace
A. A. Neff
E. Marsh
H. Basse
L. Walter
F. H. Ferguson
Thomas Dimmock, St. Louis
Mrs. S. Sotier
George Dickson
J. M. Ryrie
G. W. Carhart
William Jarman
Joseph I. Lamper
R. J. Young
Wolf Laudener
Dr. George Worden
L. H. Kelly
M. H. Boals
G. H. Weigler
Albert Wade
H. S. Mathews
C. Wuerker
G. W. Cutter
P. J. Meiling
William Flynn
Gaius Paddock
B. Schlageter
Charles Holden
Harrison Johnson
John Hoffman
Thomas O'Leary
John Bauer
R. Maerdian
A. L. Daniels
J. M. Pearson, Godfrey
Nicholas Challacombe, Melville
Dr. T. P. Yerkes, Upper Alton
Capt. Henry A. Morgan, Upper Alton
R. R. McReynolds, Upper Alton
Capt. Troy Moore, Upper Alton
G. B. (Barley) Weed, Girard
Mrs. L. V. Rutherford
James Barr, Nevada, MO
Lewis Megowan, Upper Alton
E. M. Hugo, Upper Alton
Andrew F. Rodgers, Upper Alton
William R. Wright, Upper Alton
James Seyboldt, Troy
W. C. McPike, Atchison, Kan.
John Seaton, Atchison, Kan.
Jacob Preuitt, Bethalto
Louis Houck, Cape Girardeau, MO
Dr. James Squires, Carrollton
R. W. Atwood, Chicago
W. R. Prickett, Edwardsville
Christian Schwartz, Edwardsville
S. B. Gillham, Upper Alton
James W. Davis, St. Louis
M. A. Lowe, Upper Alton
Dr. Joseph Pogue, Edwardsville
August Baker, Melville

The persons whose residences are not given live in Alton. There is no doubt a large number of others living in Alton and elsewhere whose names are not given.

 

LINCOLN-DOUGLAS STORIES BROUGHT OUT BY SEMI-CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION OF DEBATE
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, December 20, 1907
Anent the proposed celebration in this city in October next year of the debate between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas on October 15, 1858, many interesting stories are told of by the older people of the occasion and the amenities that passed between the eminent speakers on the occasion. Great interest was stirred among the residents of the territory 75 to 100 miles around Alton. People came in all kinds of vehicles, some of them traveling for two days and nights. Some of them estimated the crowd at ten thousand, but this no doubt is larger than the actual number.

Thomas M. Long, city engineer, then deputy United States marshal under President Buchanan, happened to be in Edwardsville at the time on business and organized a crowd to come over to Alton. Something like twenty to thirty vehicles were used to convey the people from the county seat. All along the way, Mr. Long says that the procession was enlarged by farmers wagons filled with people, and when the procession reached that part of the city where Washington street now is, there must have been 200 vehicles of all kinds in line. Mr. Long got a good position in company with the late Z. B. Job and others, and heard the speakers distinctly. He says there was intense feeling and much enthusiasm, and the points made by the speakers were loudly applauded.

F. A. Hummert was at that time a lad, and with his father came in a wagon from Fosterburg to attend the debate. Mr. Hummert has a very vivid recollection of the men and what they said; of the crowd and its great size, and of the way the partisans of the two men cheered and applauded their favorites.

G. B. (Bradley) Weed was a boy at the time and lived in Alton and attended the meeting. He tells of his feelings and give interesting data of the occasion. Mr. Weed has lived in Girard since he moved away from Alton, and is now practicing his profession, a druggist, although he is 69 years of age. The writer remembers him well as being one of the pupils of the old school that formerly was on the site of the Garfield school.

R. J. Young says he was present and heard the debate. He says that the speakers addressed each other as "Abe" and "Steve." During the addresses Mr. Douglas said something about "Abe" which drew a long and loud volley of applause from the Democratic section of the crowd. After the applause, Mr. Lincoln responded: "Well Steve, I see you have a big lot of friends here in this little city of Alton, but there will be another time. You may beat me this time, but in the next race the longest pole will knock the persimmon on the highest limb." This was a remarkable prophecy, for Douglas did beat Lincoln that time. Two years afterwards the two men were opposing candidates for the Presidency, and Lincoln won the big persimmon. He carried Alton, which had always been Democratic at prior elections, giving Lincoln a majority of 13, and was in line with the entire North.

John S. Leeper of this city was present at the Freeport meeting and gives his impressions of both men. After Douglas closed his part of the debate in which he belabored Lincoln in his usually caustic and telling manner, Lincoln arose, and with great solemnity announced: "I now propose to stone Stephen." Stephen no doubt had many sore spots on his anatomy as "Abe" threw political stones at Stephen until the latter was almost ready to cry out. "Bold enough." There was great good humor between the two men, and they were seen to walk away from the meeting arm in arm and laughing over the jokes they perpetrated on each other.

Charles S. Leech was among those who listened to the debate. He was then as now a resident of Alton. He was 18 years of age at the time. Mr. Leech was walking along Piasa street on his way to the speakers' stand east of city hall. A few yards in front of him was Lincoln, accompanied by Amasa Barry and B. B. Harris, both now deceased, and heard part of the talk indulged in by the three men. Messrs. Barry and Harris ..... [unreadable] Lincoln about ..... to engage in .... "Little Giant," as .....in those days. Mr. Leech has a very distinct recollection of Douglas' voice, something on the order of the baying of an immense mastiff, "wow," "wow," as if at some distance. When near Douglas his words came slow and deliberate, very distinct. Lincoln, on the other hand, was a quick speaker, with a high-keyed voice, and every word could be very plainly heard at a distance.

Charles A. Rodemeyer of Upper Alton says he remembers the debate between Lincoln and Douglas, which occurred in 1858, as well as if it occurred yesterday. He says he was a small boy then, but he was always on hand when there was any excitement on and he stood very close to the two speakers while they were talking and afterward shook hands with Douglas. Mr. Rodemeyer says a man named Merritt from Chicago spoke right after the debate and he has heard no one say anything about that in speaking of the famous debate.

Mr. Edward Rogers, also of Upper Alton, says he remembers the debate very distinctly and remembers many things said by both speakers.

 

ALTON WILL HAVE BIG ART EXHIBIT DURING LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATE CELEBRATION
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 26, 1908
In another column will be found a local ad by W. H. Wiseman, the photographer, who is asking Altonians and others to contribute to a big art exhibit which will be given at his place, fort Wiseman, October 12-17. St. Louis artists have already agreed to send some of the finest collections of paintings, etc., ever seen in Alton, and Mr. Wiseman himself will have on exhibition many remarkably fine specimens of his own work done with his new $250 camera. There will be on display a suit of armor taken from a Moro chief after he was killed by a United States soldier in the Philippines during the Spanish War. The armor is made of bronze and weighs seventy-five pounds. The chief was a small man weighing only about ninety pounds, and the exhibit for this alone will be of great interest. Among other things to be displayed will be a five-foot-long photograph of the Standard Oil refinery site and buildings, which was taken by Mr. Wiseman for the Standard Oil company from a tower one hundred and eight feet high, which was built especially for the purpose. This is pronounced by those who have seen it to be the finest piece of photographic work ever seen in Alton. Mr. Wiseman has also had a tower built on the Alton bridge and from this he will take an eight feet long photograph of Alton on the river front. He is waiting for weather conditions to improve a little and the river to become higher before taking this last picture. The exhibit will bring many fine art specimens and curious things generally to Alton, and all who can contribute to its interest ought to do so, as the studio will probably be visited by thousands of out of town visitors during the time the exhibition will be on.

 

BRONZE MEMORIAL TABLET ARRIVES FOR LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATE MEMORIAL
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 6, 1908
The bronze memorial tablet to be placed on the city building to mark the place where the famous closing debate between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas took place October 15, 1858, arrived this morning and is in the custody of Jacob Wead, who will make arrangements for having it set in place. The tablet will be placed on the panel in the east side of the city hall building, on the Market street side, between the two fire escapes. It will be set about eight feet from the ground to put it out of the way of people who might deface it or mar its beauty in any way. The tablet is severely plain. The lettering is raised and is of the plainest kind. The inscription on the tablet is as follows: "1858-1908. Erected by the Citizens of Alton commemorating the Closing Debate Between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas, which took place here, October 15, 1858." The tablet will be set in place before the time for its unveiling but will not be open to the view of the public until the morning of October 15, when the veil will be drawn by John Bowman, a son of Mr. and Mrs. Edward M. Bowman. Mr. Bowman is chairman of the committee which is in charge of preparations for the celebration and his son was chosen in recognition of is valuable services in behalf of the semi-centennial.

 

SEMI-CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION OF LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATES
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 15, 1908
Fifty years ago today, the last of the series of debates between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas took place at Alton. The semi-centennial observance of the debate today was a gigantic success. The interest in the anniversary celebration far exceeded what was expected. Alton had been preparing for the anniversary day by making a thorough house cleaning. The city never looked prettier in her autumnal dress, and it never looked neater or cleaner after the strenuous exertions of the city government. It never looked more attractive either from the point of view of the artistic decorator. The decorations were quite an important feature of the occasion, and elicited many favorable comments from those who were back in their old home to spend the day and see what Alton had been doing in the many years they had been absent. Those who feared there might be lack of interest in the celebration were greatly mistaken. It was the reawakening of old memories to many of the old residents of Alton. It aroused the interest of hundreds of one-time residents here who flocked to Alton for the day from all parts of the country. Some had come from Denver and other western points. Some were here from New York, some from the north and some from the south. Alton's homes were filled with guests. The hotels were filled and there were many who had difficulty in finding places to stay. Among the visitors were great numbers who heard the debate of fifty years ago. The committee did not believe there would be so many, and the demand for badges far exceeded the supply. Alton probably had more old people in her borders today than she ever had in her history. The hundreds of old men, ranging from 90 years of age downward to 62 and 63, who were here, made the occasion a notable one in this respect alone. Among the oldest who were present as veterans and were given seats in the carriages were Captain Troy Moore of Upper Alton and Hon. George H. Weigler of Alton, both past 90 years of age and both well preserved. There were other "younger" men who were between 80 and 90, the number of them being so large that it would require a long roll to contain them. From that down to 60 years there were many who had heard the debates and who had not been in Alton in many years. The day was a complete counterpart of the date of the original debate. The air was warm and balmy, the skies were blue and everything in Nature helped to make the celebration what it was desired it should be. Preceding the unveiling of the tablet was the parade of the school children, military bodies and the city officers and those of the celebration. It was a thrilling sight. The parade was formed on Ridge street according to a plan prepared by the Grand Marshal, Col. A. M. Jackson. One by one the bodies fell in line marching down Second street toward the city hall. Fifteen hundred flags had been provided for the children of the Alton and Upper Alton public and parochial schools. There was not near enough, and the younger children had been ruled out of the parade because they were thought to be too young to march. The following was the formation of the parade: Grand Marshal and aides from Alton High school, mounted; automobiles and carriages, Western Military Academy band and cadets, Naval Militia, Shurtleff college, Upper Alton schools, Alton Y. M. C. A., White Hussars band, Board of Education, High School and Garfield School pupils, St. Mary's pupils, Humboldt school pupils, St. Patrick's and Cathedral schools, Lovejoy, Douglas, Washington annex and McKinley annex schools, Lincoln and Irving schools; reception committee, G. A. R. drum corps. The parade started moving about 10:15 a.m. There was wild enthusiasm among the marchers. Each section of the parade carried a banner denoting its identity. When the city hall was reached by the marchers it was almost impossible for the children to be massed in close enough to hear anything of the program. The audience was packed solidly with people who could not be moved, and after vainly trying to get close enough to the speakers stand to hear what was going on, many hundreds of the audience scattered out and moved around the city. An incident of the gathering was the efforts of some of the old timers trying to get themselves straightened out. They were puzzled coming to the new Alton. They could not get their bearings, the changes had been so radical since they came, and prior to the beginning of the program the old folks were working hard to find out where some of their old landmarks were and how to get around the city. At the opening of the program the White Hussars band played and the Invocation by Rev. Fr. E. L. Spalding, rector of SS. Peter and Paul's Cathedral, followed. The formal presentation of the memorial tablet by Rev. A. A. Tanner of the Congregational church followed. Rev. Tanner made a lengthy and scholarly address, dwelling on the historic features of the occasion. At the conclusion of his address, the unveiling of the tablet was done by John Drummond Bowman, son of Mr. and Mrs. E. M. Bowman. The tablet of bronze had been set in the panel of the wall on the east side of the city hall building. It was concealed by a curtain of two silk American flags, suspended from a bar above them. At the appointed time the flags were drawn aside amid the cheers of the audience. The acceptance of the tablet in behalf of the city was done by Mayor Edmund Beall. Mayor Beall made a short address in performing his official duty of acceptance. After a beautiful address by General Alfred Orendorf of Springfield, president of the Illinois Historical Society, which was the promoter of the celebrations, the morning program closed.

Sidelights on Lincoln-Douglas Debate:
This morning there was a banner borne in the parade which was carried fifty years ago by Ewing Dale of Edwardsville, a son of Judge Dale. A brother of the deceased banner bearer brought the banner to Alton this morning and displayed it. On the banner was the inscription: "Dinna ye hear the Slogan, Tis Douglas and his Boys." On the reverse of the banner was the inscription: "Douglas Blues." William G. Pluckard of Chicago had with him in Alton today the contract for the first house erected in Alton by contract. It was the property of his father and his grandfather, Samuel Pluckard, was the contractor.

Among those who attended the speaking were George C. Cockrell of Omaha, who was one of the marshals of the parade fifty years ago, and Hon. H. G. McPike, who was a member of the platform committee. The only living speaker who took part in the program fifty years ago, Joseph Sloss of Memphis, Tennessee, was unable to be here because of his great age.

Mayor Beall wore a rosette that was worn by Daniel Sullivan's wife in the celebration fifty years ago. It was loaned to the Mayor for the day.

The exercises at the Airdome were opened at 2:30 o'clock. The Amphitheatre was filled to its capacity and the east fence was taken down to admit of the overflow standing in the street, hearing the talk. After the prayer by Rev. R. P. Hammons, E. M. Bowman was presented by Mayor Beall, and presided during the exercises. On the stage were seated a large number of people who had heard the debate of 50 years ago.

J. McCann Davis of Springfield was introduced for the first address. He prefaced his remarks by referring to the late Stephen A. Douglas, whose name was on the program, and who was to have delivered an address. He paid a tribute to the memory of Mr. Douglas, and spoke of a recent address of Mr. Douglas at Ottawa and Charleston. The address of Mr. Davis was on the two giants of Illinois, Lincoln and Douglas. Lincoln was little known, while Douglas was of national reputation. Fifty years ago these two giants in Alton debated momentous issues of the time. No two names in American history are so inseparably linked as those of Lincoln and Douglas. If Lincoln had not lived, the career of Douglas might have been the same. If Douglas had not lived the world would not have known Lincoln as it does today. Douglas' rise was rapid, at the age of 28 he being on the Supreme Court bench. Lincoln was elected to Congress when Douglas was the Senatorial compeer of Webster and Clay. Lincoln, in a dingy law office at Springfield, sat downcast when Douglas was being mentioned for the Presidency. Douglas for 28 years was the master spirit of the majority party, while Lincoln was in the weaker. In 1852 Lincoln was not even a delegate to the convention of his party. It was supposed the slave question was settled. Both parties had settled down to trivial issues, and Lincoln had his beginning in 1854. Prior to that time, though rivals in many ways, the two giants were personal friends and continued until death separated them. In 1854 Douglas forced through Congress his Kansas-Nebraska bill. He aroused from peaceful slumber Abraham Lincoln. He became a changed man - his soul was stirred to the depths. Slavery was a great institution of the country and its solution baffled the minds of the greatest statesmen of the age. Sooner or later the conflict had to be settled right. The effect of the Kansas-Nebraska bill was to bring forth a new party and its great leader. From that day Lincoln and Douglas opposed each other. In the great debate of 1858, Lincoln found himself at a disadvantage. The renown of his antagonist was world-wide. Of himself Lincoln said nobody expects me to be president. Douglas won the senatorial battle of 1858, but Lincoln had laid the foundation of the defeat of his rival in 1860. In the crisis following Lincoln's election, Douglas rose to the heights of statesmanship. Douglas predicted a great war that would last for years. When Lincoln was inaugurated, Douglas was at his side and offered him his help. The great union speech of Douglas, delivered before the Legislature at its next session, was said to be the greatest ever delivered before the Legislature. Douglas was in a hard position. He had a magnificent devoted following in the North. Defeat had come to his party. If he had lapsed in the sullen silence of disappointment the course of history would have been changed and the Confederacy would have been maintained. He was not silent, and his words went thundering over the country and stirred his followers to go forth to do battle for their country. American history furnishes no higher example of patriotism than that of Douglas in 1861. He died in the noonday of life, his ambition unfulfilled and if Lincoln could speak he would pay his tribute to his old antagonist.

Horace White of New York, who reported the Lincoln-Douglas debate, as a newspaper reporter, was the next speaker. Mr. White was the only person present at all the Lincoln-Douglas debates in 1858. He heard the Lincoln speech in Springfield on the "House divided against itself." He stated he remembered the Alton debate well. Douglas' voice was so worn out his words could not be heard ten feet from the platform. He had an air of entire confidence, notwithstanding. Madison county was the pivot, being controlled by the Whigs. Lincoln believed he could carry the Fillmore vote, but he was mistaken, and Lincoln lost in this county. Lincoln's voice was clear and high-pitched. He was perfectly at home. Lincoln is coming into his kingdom with a completeness that no one could have expected. Douglas brought Lincoln into the public eye and Lincoln now keeps there.

Lyman Trumbull was one of the giants of 1858. His old home is still in Alton. He made a great impression when he delivered his speech on the Kansas-Nebraska bill. That measure, backed by Douglas, had brow-beaten an almost terrorized foe. Before Trumbull appeared in the Senate, Douglas had only one antagonist. Trumbull was a perfect match for Douglas, and when he replied to Douglas the whole north rang with his praises and said a great man had come forth to do a great work. Lincoln's greatest mark was the emancipation proclamation. Yet it had no real effect, as it applied only to territory not under the President's control. It did not purport to rest upon constitutional rights but only as a war measure. Public opinion was divided. The questions that arose were puzzling. On January 13th, 1864, a resolution was introduced in Congress to abolish slavery, which became the 13th amendment. Illinois gave to the union three great men - Grant, Lincoln and Trumbull. Trumbull, the great senator who brought to the Senate the 13th amendment, should be applauded by his fellow townsmen. Trumbull never sought a personal controversy, but never declined one. His influence in the Senate was great. Such was the Senator the citizens of Alton gave to be the whole coadjutor of Lincoln and Grant.

 

ABRAHAM LINCOLN'S WORDS TO A LITTLE BOY
[By G. F. Long of Alton]
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, October 16, 1908
G. F. Long of 524 west Vine street, Springfield, formerly of Alton, is down taking in the Lincoln-Douglas celebration. He was present fifty years ago at the debate between the two great men. Incidentally, Frank was one of the most heroic Union soldiers who shouldered a musket for his country. He is not very large physically, but was made up of a brave spirit and did his duty at the sacrifice of a limb, his hearing, and his eyesight. He was only 13 years old when he heard the great orators. What education he had received was mostly gotten in the East where his father's home, the late Dr. Long, was, and Douglas was the great man in that section, Lincoln not being known there. Mr. Long and his father were on the platform and Frank got as close to the future President as he could, sitting on the railing. Sitting there he looked up into Lincoln's face and mentally said, "he don't amount to much." Pretty soon Lincoln began to warm up, his face glowed and the muscles of his neck and throat swelled up as whip cords when some great idea struck him, and the orator swung his arms out wildly, sometimes lurching forward as he expressed his intense ideas. On one of those occasions he came very near where the boy was sitting, and Frank moved to get out of the way. Lincoln glanced down at Frank and said, "Never mind little boy, I won't step on you." As one of "Father Abraham's" soldiers a few years later, he was stepped upon quite severely by mini rifle balls and bombs bursting in the air, in the wildest of battle scenes in the South and in the last battle of Sherman's campaign at Bentonville, North Carolina.

 

RECOLLECTIONS OF THE LINCOLN – DOUGLAS DEBATE
From “The Valley of Shadows, Recollections of the Lincoln Country, 1858 – 1863”
By Francis Grierson, 1909
My family and I lived in a large old house on the southern outskirts, which had once been occupied by nuns who had a private school there. It faced the great high-road, leading out into the prairies, and we could see from the windows the wagons and buggies arriving from the country far beyond. One day our attention was attracted to the number of people coming down the hill in wagons and on horseback, and while watching them, two figures that looked familiar approached, jogging along on steeds that looked tired. The men had about them something odd, almost fantastic. As they passed the house, we recognized Azariah James and Elihu Gest. In less than half an hour, along came Isaac Snedeker, then other familiar faces. But what did it mean? All the old, outspoken Abolitionists from up-country, with some of the Pro-Slavery people, were filing past. When my father was asked what was the matter, he only said, “Tomorrow is the great day!”

It was the 15th day of October 1858. Crowds were pouring into Alton. For some days, people had been arriving by the steam packets from up and down the river – the up-boats from St. Louis, bringing visitors with long, black hair, goatees, and stolid, Indian-like faces, slave-owners and slave-dealers, from the human marts of Missouri and Kentucky. The northern visitors arriving by boat or rail, Abolitionists and Republicans, with a cast of features distinctly different from the types coming from the South.

They came from villages, townships, the prairies, from all the adjoining counties, from across the Mississippi, from far-away cities, from representative societies north and south, from congressional committees in the east, from leading journals of all political parties, and from every religious denomination within hundreds of miles, filling the broad space in front of the town hall, eager to see and hear the now-famous debaters – the popular Stephen A. Douglas, United State Senator, nicknamed the “Little Giant,” and plain Abraham Lincoln, nicknamed the “Rail-Splitter.”

The great debate had begun on the 21st of August at another town, and today the long-discussed subject would be brought to a close. Douglas stood for the doctrine that slavery was nationalized by the Constitution, that Congress had no authority to prevent its introduction in the new Territories like Kansas and Nebraska, and that the people of each State could alone decide whether they should be slave States or free. Lincoln opposed the introduction of slavery into the new Territories.

On this memorable day, the “irrepressible conflict,” predicted by Seward, actually began, and it was bruited about that Lincoln would be mobbed or assassinated if he repeated here the words he used in some of his speeches delivered in the northern part of the State. From the surging sea of faces, thousands of anxious eyes gazed upward at the group of politicians on the balcony, like wrecked mariners scanning the horizon for the smallest sign of a white sail of hope.

This final debate resembled a duel between two men-of-war, the pick of a great fleet, all but these two sunk or abandoned in other waters, facing each other in the open – the Little Giant hurling at his opponent from his flagship of slavery, the deadliest missiles; Lincoln calmly waiting to sink his antagonist by one simple broadside. Alton had seen nothing so exciting since the assassination of Lovejoy – the fearless Abolitionist - many years before.

In the earlier discussions, Douglas seemed to have the advantage. A past-master in tact and audacity, skilled in the art of rhetorical skirmishing, he had no equal on the “stump,” while in the Senate, he was feared by the most brilliant debaters for his ready wit and his dashing eloquence.

Regarded in the light of historical experience, reasoned about in the light of spiritual reality, and from the point of view that nothing can happen by chance, it seems as if Lincoln and Douglas were predestined to meet side by side in this discussion, and unless I dwell in detail on the mental and physical contrast the speakers presented, it would be impossible to give an adequate idea of the startling difference in the two temperaments: Douglas – short, plump, and petulant; Lincoln – long, gaunt, and self-possessed. The one white-haired and florid; the other black-haired and swarthy. The one educated and polished; the other unlettered and primitive. Douglas had the assurance of a man of authority. Lincoln had moments of deep mental depression, often bordering on melancholy, yet controlled by a fixed, and I may say, predestined, will, for it can no longer be doubted that without the marvelous blend of humor and stolid patience so conspicuous in his character, Lincoln’s genius would have turned to madness after the defeat of the Northern Army at Bull Run, and the world would have had something like a repetition of Napoleon’s fate after the burning of Moscow. Lincoln’s humor was the balance-pole of his genius that enabled him to cross the most giddy heights without losing his head.

Judge Douglas opened the debate in a sonorous voice, plainly heard throughout the assembly, and with a look of mingled defiance and confidence, he marshaled his facts and deduced his arguments. To the vigor of his attack, there was added the prestige of the Senate Chamber, and for some moments, it looked as if he would carry the majority with him, a large portion of the crowd being Pro-Slavery men, while many others were “on the fence,” waiting to be persuaded. At last, after a great oratorical effort, he brought his speech to a close, amidst the shouts and yells of thousands of admirers.

And now Abraham Lincoln, the man who, in 1830, undertook to split for Mrs. Nancy Miller four hundred rails for every yard of brown jean dyed with walnut bark, that would be required to make him a pair of trousers. The flat boatman, local stump-speaker and country lawyer, rose from his seat, stretched his long, boney limbs upward as if to get them into working order, and stood like some solitary pine on a lonely summit, very tall, very dark, very gaunt, and very rugged – his swarthy features stamped with a sad serenity, and the instant he began to speak, the ungainly mouth lost its heaviness, the half-listless eyes attained a wondrous power, and the people stood bewildered and breathless under the natural magic of the strangest, most original personality known to the English-speaking world since Robert Burns. There were other very tall and dark men in the heterogeneous assembly, but not one who resembled the speaker. Every movement of his long, muscular frame denoted inflexible earnestness, and a something issued forth, elemental and mystical, that told what the man had been, what he was, and what he would do in the future. There were moments when he seemed all legs and feet, and again he appeared all head and neck; yet every look of the deep-set eyes, every movement of the prominent jaw, every wave of the hard-gripping hand, produced an impression, and before he had spoken twenty minutes, the conviction took possession of thousands that here was the prophetic man of the present, and the political savior of the future. Judges of human nature saw at a glance that a man so ungainly, so natural, so earnest, and so forcible, had no place in his mental economy for the thing called vanity.

Douglas had been theatrical and scholarly, but this tall, homely man was creating by his very looks what the brilliant lawyer and experienced Senator had failed to make people see and feel, The Little Giant had assumed striking attitudes, played tricks with his flowing white hair, mimicking the airs of authority with patronizing allusions; but these affectations, usually so effective when he addressed an audience alone, went for nothing when brought face to face with realities. Lincoln had no genius for gesture and no desire to produce a sensation. The failure of Senator Douglas to bring conviction to critical minds was caused by three things: a lack of logical sequence in argument, a lack of intuitional judgment, and a vanity that was caused by too much intellect and too little heart. Douglas had been arrogant and vehement, Lincoln was now logical and penetrating. The Little Giant was a living picture of ostentatious vanity; from every feature of Lincoln’s face there radiated the calm, inherent strength that always accompanies power. He relied on no props. With a pride sufficient to protect his mind and a will sufficient to defend his body, he drank water when Douglas, with all his wit and rhetoric, could begin or end nothing without stimulants. Here, then, was one man out of all the millions who believed in himself, who did not consult with others about what to say, who never for a moment respected the opinion of men who preached a lie. My old friend, Don Piatt, in his personal impressions of Lincoln, whom he knew well and greatly esteemed, declares him to be the homeliest man he ever saw, but serene confidence and self-poise can never be ugly. What thrilled the people who stood before Abraham Lincoln on that day was the sight of a being, who in all his actions and habits, resembled themselves, gentle as he was strong, fearless as he was honest, who towered above them all in that psychic radiance that penetrates in some mysterious way every fiber of the hearer’s consciousness.

The enthusiasm created by Douglas was wrought out of smart epigram thrusts and a facile superficial eloquence. He was a match for the politicians born within the confines of his own intellectual circle: witty, brilliant, cunning, and shallow, his weight in the political balance was purely materialistic; his scales of justice tipped to the side of cotton, slavery, and popular passions, while the man who faced him now brought to the assembly cold logic in place of wit, frankness in place of cunning, reasoned will and judgment in place of chicanery and sophistry. Lincoln’s presence infused into the mixed and uncertain throng something spiritual and supernormal. His looks, his words, his voice, his attitude were like a magical essence dropped into the seething cauldron of politics, reacting against the foam, calming the surface and letting the people see to the bottom. It did not take him long.

“Is it not a false statesmanship,” Lincoln asked, “that undertakes to build up a system of policy upon the basis of caring nothing about the very thing that everybody does care the most about? Judge Douglas may say he cares not whether slavery is voted up or down, but he must have a choice between a right thing and a wrong thing. He contends that whatever community wants slaves has a right to have them. So they have, if it is not a wrong; but if it is a wrong, he cannot say people have a right to do wrong. He says that upon the score of equality, slaves should be allowed to go into a new Territory like other property. This is strictly logical if there is no difference between it and other property. If it and other property are equal, his argument is entirely logical; but if you insist that one is wrong and the other right, there is no use to institute a comparison between right and wrong.”

This was the broadside. The great duel on the high seas of politics was over. The Douglas ship of State Sovereignty was sinking. The debate was a triumph that would send Lincoln to Washington as President, in a little more than two years from that date.

People were fascinated by the gaunt figure, in long, loose garments, that seemed like a “huge skeleton in clothes,” attracted by the homely face, and mystified, yet proud of the fact that a simple denizen of their own soil should wield so much power.

When Lincoln sat down, Douglas made one last feeble attempt at an answer, but Lincoln, in reply to a spectator who manifested some apprehension as to the outcome, rose, and spreading out his great arms at full length, like a condor about to take wing, exclaimed, with humorous indifference, “Oh! Let him go it!” These were the last words he uttered in the greatest debate of the ante-bellum days.

The victor bundled up his papers and withdrew, the assembly shouting, “Hurrah for Abe Lincoln as next President!” “Bully for old Abe!” “Lincoln forever!” etc. Excited crowds followed him about, reporters caught his slightest word, and by nighttime, the barrooms, hotels, street corners, and prominent stores were filled with his admirers, fairly intoxicated with the exciting triumph of the day.

NOTES:
Francis Grierson’s real name was Benjamin Henry Jesse Francis Shephard. Born in England in 1848, he was a composer, pianist, and writer, who used the pen name of Francis Grierson. His family immigrated to Illinois in 1849, while he was yet a baby. They settled in Sangamon County, where his father, Joseph, engaged in farming. In 1858, before moving to St. Louis, the family lived in Alton, where Benjamin was a witness to the Lincoln – Douglas debate. Benjamin spent only ten years in Illinois before moving to St. Louis with his family. His mother, Emily, found the Illinois prairies lonesome and monotonous. In St. Louis, Benjamin served as a page on the staff of General John C. Fremont. He then moved with his family to Niagara Falls, and then to Chicago. He became a successful composer and skillful pianist, and traveled in both Europe and America.

 

OBITUARY OF LETITIA V. RUTHERFORD REVEALS STORY OF LOCAL SPEAKERS AT LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DEBATE
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 20, 1910
Mrs. Letitia V. Rutherford, a resident of Alton since 1858, died at 7:15 o'clock Wednesday morning, at her home, 431 east Ninth street, after an illness of two weeks. Her death was due to a breaking down of her system from old age, and had been expected for almost a week. She was taken ill two weeks before her death with what was believed to be a slight ailment, and she never was able to be around again. Up to the evening before her death she was conscious, her mind was undimmed, and while she knew for several days she was dying, she was glad and ready to go and was happy with the members of her family around her. Up to the time she lost consciousness finally, the evening before her death, she conversed about current events, seemed to be still as deeply interested in her friends and her family as ever, and was not in the least perturbed by the certainty of her near dissolution. Mrs. Rutherford had always maintained her youthful interest in the young people. Her family and friends said she would never grow old in spirit, because she loved children so well, and this prediction was borne out to the last. She had a sweet simplicity of soul that would not countenance any display, her family and her friends were her little world, and she was never so happy as when, surrounded by many of her descendants, she lay on her dying bed. She was a devoted member of the Presbyterian church and had held membership in the First Presbyterian church of Alton since she came to this city. Her father was Rev. James Sloss, a Presbyterian minister. She was born in Florence, Ala., and would have been 79 years of age June 13. She was married on her 18th birthday to Friend S. Rutherford, at her home, and she was separated from him by death in June 1864. Her husband was the colonel of the 97th Illinois volunteers, and he was taken sick after a long campaign in the neighborhood of Vicksburg, and at New Orleans. His wife went south and brought him home, and soon thereafter she was left with a large family of children, by her husband's death. She always maintained her home circle, made it the center for the other home circles that grew from her own, and was imbued with the spirit of hospitality that made her home a delightful place to be. She leaves four daughters, Mrs. W. C. Johnston of St. Louis; Miss Mary Rutherford; Mrs. John F. McGinnis; Mrs. William Russell of Alton; and one son, F. S. Rutherford of St. Louis. She leaves also an adopted daughter, her niece, Miss Grace Sloss. She is survived by two brothers, Joseph Sloss of Memphis, Tenn., and Robert Sloss. She leaves thirty-six of grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren. In 1852 Mr. and Mrs. Rutherford and their 13 months' old daughter, Anna, later Mrs. J. A. Cousley, now deceased, removed to Edwardsville, where Mr. Rutherford began the practice of his profession, the law. The family resided in Edwardsville until 1858, until Mr. Rutherford received an appointment as one of the officials of the Illinois State Penitentiary, then at Alton. Their residence was continued here until the present time. Mrs. Rutherford's brother, Joseph Sloss, is the only survivor of the persons who participated in the original Lincoln-Douglas debate. Prior to the arrival of the principal speakers it was planned that speeches would be made by local talent. Her husband, F. S. Rutherford, and her brother, Joseph Sloss, both attorneys, were the speakers selected to represent the two parties, the brother being on the Douglas side and her husband on the Lincoln side. Later both enlisted in armies, the one to fight for the Union, the other for the Confederacy. Later her brother was elected as representative in the United States congress, and was later appointed U. S. Marshall for the North District of Alabama of the Federal Court, by President Grant. The funeral will be held Friday afternoon at 2:30 o'clock, and services will be held in the First Presbyterian church by Rev. A. O. Lane. Burial will be in City Cemetery.

 

SAMUEL PITTS RECALLS INCIDENTS OF LINCOLN-DOUGLAS DAYS
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 30, 1911
Editor Telegraph: After reading the account in the Alton Telegraph of the Lincoln-Douglas times and affairs, I decided to job down a few lines from my standpoint. It was the lot of my good wife and I to sit at the table, at the right and left with Lincoln and Douglas, at my father and mother's table. The conversation between the two great men was very friendly, but they would occasionally assume their individual sides of the question with much spirit, and as both orators were of marked ability, strong points were brought out by them. As my wife and I were married diagonally across the street from Lincoln's old home in Springfield, we felt more freedom than other guests at the table. As to the other two orators (Colonel F. S. Rutherford and Captain Joseph Sloss) mentioned in the Telegraph, although much younger than either, it was my lot to sit up with the Colonel later, when ill (1862). Dr. C. M. Smith, a brother-in-law, was the physician in attendance. While on the subject of men and times, I wish to mention that the older men of Alton at that time, such as Isaac Scarritt, Samuel Wade, John L. Blair, J. G. Lamb, and many others who were held up to youthful guidance and example, men who were as near to the line of perfection as it was possible for men to be in this world, I feel thankful for their conduct and help. They have nearly all passed away. I recall their noble lives with pleasure and profit. Samuel Pitts.

 

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