Lincoln Bicentennial: Christian County Courthouse
There will be a historical re-enactment at the Christian County Courthouse on Feb. 12th and 13th. These displays and theatrics will convey Lincoln’s presence in Taylorville. The Christian County Courthouse is only two blocks from our Springfield IL lodging.
Lincoln Hometown Courthouse History
The courthouse of Christian County (originally Dane County) was built in 1840 for $2,350. It was first located in Taylorville’s public square. Court was held on the lower level with county officers sharing the upstairs floor. The circuit court came to town only twice each year, so the courtroom was available the rest of the year for use by County Commissioners for public functions. Until 1853, Christian County was part of the Eighth Judicial Circuit. A judge would travel to all county seats in the circuit twice each year to hear cases. The circuit was almost 450 miles long and took almost three months to complete by horse and buggy. Wow!
Abraham Lincoln was one of the attorneys who traveled the Eighth Circuit and came to Taylorville. He had trials in this courthouse before Judge David Davis, whom he later appointed to the United States Supreme Court. A piece of Linconland history unique to Taylorville: during one trial, Lincoln was interrupted by a loud noise from the hogs underneath the courthouse. In mock earnestness, he asked Judge Davis to issue “writ of quietus” requiring the sheriff to abate the nuisance! This courthouse was replaced with a new one in 1856 and sold for $267. It was moved several times before being placed on the museum grounds in honor.
The hilarious moment with the pigs has been immortalized in Taylorville with a bronze statue in the public square where the Christian County Courthouse was located. Donated by local contractor Monte Siegrist and family, the sculpture was unveiled in May 2005 as the world’s only statue of Lincoln and a pig. Lincoln’s bemused expression is rare in an artwork. The pig has since been named “Liberty” by local schoolchildren.