Abraham Lincoln Chronology

Abraham Lincoln Chronology

1809

 

February  12

Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site, Hodgenville, Kentucky. Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site, Hodgenville, Kentucky.

Abraham Lincoln was born in Hardin County, Kentucky.

March 1

Congress organized Illinois as a territory with Kaskaskia as the capital and Ninian Edwards as the governor.

March 4

James Madison took office as president of the United States.

 

 

1811

 

Spring

The Lincoln family moved to a farm on Knob Creek in Kentucky.

 

 

1812

 

 

Thomas Lincoln, Abraham's baby brother, was born and died.

June

Congress passed a declaration of war against England marking the beginning of the War of 1812.

 

 

1813

 

March 4

James Madison began his second term as President of the United States.

 

 

1815

 

Autumn

Abraham Lincoln and his sister Sarah attended school for a few weeks.

 

 

1816

 

December

Lincoln Boyhood Memorial, Lincoln City, IndianaLincoln Boyhood Memorial, Lincoln City, Indiana

 Abraham Lincoln’s family moved from Kentucky to Indiana.

 

 

1817

 

March 4

James Monroe took office as president of the United States.

 

 

1818

 

October 5

Lincoln’s mother, Nancy Hanks Lincoln, died of milk sickness.

December 3

Illinois came into the Union as the twenty-first state, and Kaskaskia became the first state capital. The population of the state was 34,620.

 

 

1819

 

December 2

Lincoln's father, Thomas Lincoln, married Sarah Bush Johnston.

 

 

1820

 

 

The population of Illinois was 55,211.

December 4

The Second Illinois General Assembly convened at the new state capital in Vandalia.

 

 

1821

 

February

The Illinois General Assembly chartered a state bank in Vandalia, with branches in Shawneetown, Edwardsville, and Brownsville.

March 4

James Monroe began his second term as President of the United States.

 

 

1825

 

March 4

John Quincy Adams took office as president of the United States.

October 26

The Erie Canal opened.

 

 

1828

 

January 20

Lincoln’s sister Sarah Lincoln Grigsby died in childbirth.

 

Lincoln and Allen Gentry took a flatboat of cargo to New Orleans.

 

 

1829

 

March 4

Andrew Jackson took office as president of the United States.

 

 

1830

 

 

The population of Illinois was 157,445.

 

The first state prison was built at Alton.

March

Abraham Lincoln’s family moved from Indiana to Illinois.

December 9

John Reynolds took office as governor of Illinois.

 

 

1831

 

 

Cyrus Hall McCormick invented the McCormick Reaper.

April - July

Lincoln took a flatboat of cargo to New Orleans for Denton Offutt.

July

Lincoln settled in New Salem, Illinois.

August 1

Lincoln first voted in an election.

September

Lincoln became a clerk in Denton Offutt's New Salem store.

November 12

Lincoln began writing legal documents for friends in New Salem, the first being a bond for deed for James Estep. Lincoln continued this practice until his admission to the bar in 1836.

 

 

1832

 

March 9

Lincoln became a candidate for the Illinois legislature.

April - July

Lincoln served in the Black Hawk War.

August

The Black Hawk War ended when the Sauk and Fox Indians left the Illinois lands that they had ceded in 1804.

August 6

Lincoln lost his first campaign for the Illinois House of Representatives.

December 15

Lincoln served as a witness in Close v. Ritter before Justice of the Peace John N. Moore. It is the first known legal case in which Lincoln was involved in Illinois.

 

 

1833

 

January 15

Berry/ Lincoln store, New Salem, IllinoisBerry/ Lincoln store, New Salem, Illinois

Lincoln and William F. Berry purchased a store in New Salem for $750.

March 4

Andrew Jackson began his second term as President of the United States.

May 7 - May 30, 1836

Lincoln served as postmaster of New Salem.

August 12

The Board of Trustees of Chicago met for the first time, marking the beginning of the legal existence of the town.

September - April, 1834

Lincoln appeared as a defendant in four cases in Sangamon County Circuit Court related to the indebtedness of his and William Berry’s failed general store.

 

 

1834

 

January 6

Lincoln made his first known land survey.

[July]

While Lincoln was campaigning for the legislature for a second time, John T. Stuart encouraged him to study law.

August 4

Lincoln won election to the Illinois House of Representatives.

November 17

William Lee Davidson Ewing took office as governor of Illinois after John Reynolds resigned.

December 1 - January 18, 1836

Lincoln served in the Illinois General Assembly.

December 3

Joseph Duncan took office as governor of Illinois.

 

 

1835

 

January 17

The formation of the First Judicial Circuit, which included Calhoun, Greene, Macon, Macoupin, McLean, Morgan, Sangamon, and Tazewell counties, became effective.

December 7

A special session of the Illinois Legislature began in Vandalia.

 

 

1836

 

March 24

On record of the Sangamon County Circuit Court, the clerk entered Lincoln’s name as a person of good moral character, one of the steps necessary to obtain a license to practice law.

June 13

Lincoln began campaigning for re-election to the Illinois General Assembly.

August - November

The First Judicial Circuit Court was in session.

August 1

Lincoln won election for a second term in the Illinois House of Representatives.

September 9

Lincoln was admitted to the Illinois bar by the Illinois Supreme Court.

October 8

In the Sangamon County Circuit Court, Lincoln defended David Wooldridge in Hawthorn v. Wooldridge, his first case as an attorney. The jury found for Hawthorn.

December 5 - July 22, 1837

Lincoln served his second term in the Illinois House of Representatives.

December 12

The Illinois Supreme Court began its session at Vandalia.

 

 

1837

 

 

John Deere invented the self-scouring steel plow.

February 24 - 25

The Illinois General Assembly, House and Senate,  voted to move the state capital from Vandalia to Springfield. Lincoln had been involved in the effort to relocate the state capital.

February 27

The Illinois General Assembly approved the Internal Improvements Act.

 

Livingston County became part of the First Judicial Circuit.

March 1

The clerk entered Lincoln’s name on the roll of attorneys in the Illinois Supreme Court Clerk’s office.

March 3

Cass County became part of the First Judicial Circuit.

March 3

Lincoln and Dan Stone presented an anti-slavery protest in the Illinois House of Representatives.

March 4

Martin Van Buren took office as president of the United States.

 

The Illinois General Assembly incorporated the city of Chicago.

March - April

The First Judicial Circuit was in session.

April 15

Lincoln moved to Springfield and became John T. Stuart’s junior law partner. They set up their law office in one of a row of newly built, two-story brick buildings known as “Hoffman’s Row” at what is now 109 N. Fifth Street.

May

During the Panic of 1837, the State Bank of Illinois suspended specie payments.

June

The Illinois Supreme Court began its session at Vandalia.

July

The Sangamon County Circuit Court was in session.

September - October

The First Judicial Circuit was in session.

November 8

A mob killed abolitionist newspaper editor Elijah P. Lovejoy in Alton, Illinois.

December

The Illinois Supreme Court began its session at Vandalia.

 

 

1838

 

January 27

Lincoln delivered an address to the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois.

March - May

The First Judicial Circuit was in session.

July

The First Judicial Circuit was in session.

August 6

Lincoln won election to a third term in the Illinois House of Representatives.

September - November

The First Judicial Circuit was in session.

October 12

Lincoln successfully defended Henry Truett, accused of murder, in People v. Truett, a politically charged case in Sangamon County Circuit Court.

November 6

John T. Stuart won election to the United States Congress as a Whig.

November 18

The first locomotive in Illinois began operating on the Northern Cross Railroad at Meredosia.

December

The Illinois Supreme Court began its session at Vandalia.

December 3 - February 3, 1840

Lincoln served his third term in the Illinois House of Representatives.

December 3

Lincoln was defeated for speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives.

December 7

Thomas Carlin took office as governor of Illinois.

 

 

1839

 

 

Springfield became the state capital.

February 23

The Eighth Judicial Circuit, which included Christian, Livingston, Logan, Macon, McLean, Menard, Sangamon, and Tazewell counties, became effective.

March

Sangamon County Circuit Court was in session.

March 3

Dewitt County became part of the Eighth Judicial Circuit.

May - July

The Eighth Judicial Circuit was in session.

June 24

Lincoln won election to the Springfield town board.

July

The Illinois Supreme Court began its session at Springfield.

September - December

The Eighth Judicial Circuit was in session.

October 8

Lincoln was named a Whig presidential elector.

November 2

After John T. Stuart left for Washington to assume his congressional responsibilities, Lincoln noted in their law office fee book: “Commencement of Lincoln’s Administration.”

December

The Illinois Supreme Court began its session at Springfield.

December 2 - March 3, 1841

Stuart served in the United States Congress. He remained in Washington for the rest of his law partnership with Lincoln.

December 3

The United States District Court admitted Lincoln to practice law.

December 9

The Illinois legislature met in Springfield for the first time.

 

 

1840

 

 

The population of Illinois was 476,183.

 

The National Road reached Vandalia, Illinois.

March

The Sangamon County Circuit Court was in session.

May - July

The Eighth Judicial Circuit was in session.

June

The United States district and circuit courts began their sessions at Springfield.

 

The Illinois Supreme Court began its session at Springfield.

June 18

Lincoln argued his first case in the Illinois Supreme Court.

August 3

Lincoln won election to a fourth term in the Illinois House of Representatives.

September - December

The Eighth Judicial Circuit was in session.

November 23 - March 1, 1841

Lincoln served his fourth term in the Illinois House of Representatives.

December

The United States district and circuit courts began their sessions at Springfield.

 

The Illinois Supreme Court began its session at Springfield.

 

 

1841

 

February 10

The Democratic-controlled Illinois General Assembly increased the number of Illinois Supreme Court justices by five to give the Democrats a six-to-three majority on the court.

February 23

The reformation of the Eighth Judicial Circuit, which included Champaign, Christian, Dewitt, Livingston, Logan, Macon, Mason, McLean, Menard, Piatt, Sangamon, Shelby, and Tazewell counties, became effective.

February 27

Woodford County became part of the Eighth Judicial Circuit.

March 4

William Henry Harrison took office as president of the United States.

March - June

The Eighth Judicial Circuit was in session.

April 4

President William Henry Harrison died in office, and John Tyler succeeded him.

April 14

Lincoln became the junior law partner of Stephen T. Logan. They began their partnership in a building opposite “Hoffman’s Row” at what is now 108-110 N. Fifth Street.

June

The United States district and circuit courts began their sessions at Springfield.

July

The Illinois Supreme Court began its session at Springfield.

July 23

In Bailey v. Cromwell & McNaghton, Lincoln represented Bailey and argued before the Illinois Supreme Court that his client’s promissory note to purchase a slave from Cromwell was invalid because Cromwell failed to prove that the woman was a slave. The court ruled for Bailey.

August - September

Lincoln visited his friend Joshua F. Speed in Kentucky for three weeks.

September - December

The Eighth Judicial Circuit was in session.

December

The United States district and circuit courts began their sessions at Springfield.

 

The Illinois Supreme Court began its session at Springfield.

 

 

1842

 

February 1

The Federal Bankruptcy Act became effective.

February 15

The first train, part of the Northern Cross Railroad from Meredosia, reached Springfield.

March - June

The Eighth Judicial Circuit was in session.

March 1

The United States District Court admitted Lincoln to practice law.

June

The United States district and circuit courts began their sessions at Springfield.

July

The Illinois Supreme Court began its session at Springfield.

 

The Sangamon County Circuit Court was in session.

August 1

Logan won election to the Illinois House of Representatives.

September - December

The Eighth Judicial Circuit was in session.

September 22

Friends kept Lincoln and James Shields from fighting a duel.

November 4

Reverend Charles Dresser married Lincoln and Mary Todd in a small ceremony at the home of Ninian W. Edwards in Springfield.

December

The United States district and circuit courts began their sessions at Springfield.

 

The Illinois Supreme Court began its session at Springfield.

December 5 - March 6, 1843

Logan served in the Illinois House of Representatives.

 

 

1843

 

January

Lincoln successfully defended Illinois Supreme Court Justice Thomas C. Browne in his impeachment trial in the Illinois General Assembly.

February 16

Moultrie County became part of the Eighth Judicial Circuit.

March - June

The Eighth Judicial Circuit was in session.

March 3

Congress repealed the Federal Bankruptcy Act.

June

The United States district and circuit courts began their sessions at Springfield.

July

The Sangamon County Circuit Court was in session.

August

Sometime in the late summer, Logan and Lincoln moved their law office to the third floor of the Tinsley Building at what is now the corner of Sixth and Adams streets.

August 1

Robert Todd Lincoln, the Lincolns’ first child, was born in Springfield at the Globe Tavern, where Abraham and Mary resided.

September - November

The Eighth Judicial Circuit was in session.

December

The United States district and circuit courts began their sessions at Springfield.

 

The Illinois Supreme Court began its session at Springfield.

 

 

1844

 

January 16

 Lincoln Home National Historical Site.  Photo courtesy of the National Park Service.Lincoln Home National Historical Site. Photo courtesy of the National Park Service.

In Springfield, Abraham and Mary Lincoln purchased their first and only home for $1,200.

March - June

The Eighth Judicial Circuit was in session.

May 1

The Lincolns moved into their new home.

June

The United States district and circuit courts began their sessions at Springfield.

June 27

The violence against the Mormons in Nauvoo, Illinois, culminated when a mob murdered Joseph and Hyrum Smith at Carthage.

July

The Sangamon County Circuit Court was in session.

July 3

Lincoln filed the bill of complaint in Gilman et al. v. Hamilton et al., a case involving trusts and Illinois College.

August 5

Logan won election to a second term in the Illinois House of Representatives.

September - November

The Eighth Judicial Circuit was in session.

September 4

Lincoln acted as pension attorney for Jacob Gundy, the first of several pension clients whom Lincoln represented during his legal practice.

October - November

Lincoln campaigned for Whig presidential candidate Henry Clay.

December

Logan and Lincoln dissolved their partnership, and Lincoln formed a law partnership with William H. Herndon as the junior partner. The new partnership remained in the Tinsley Building.

 

The United States district and circuit courts began their sessions at Springfield.

 

The Illinois Supreme Court began its session at Springfield.

December 9

William H. Herndon was admitted to the bar.

 

 

1845

 

February 21

The reformation of the Eighth Judicial Circuit, which included Champaign, Christian, Dewitt, Edgar, Livingston, Logan, Macon, McLean, Menard, Moultrie, Piatt, Sangamon, Tazewell, Vermilion, and Woodford counties, became effective.

March - June

The Eighth Judicial Circuit was in session.

March 4

James K. Polk took office as president of the United States.

June

The United States district and circuit courts began their sessions at Springfield.

July - August

The Sangamon County Circuit Court was in session.

September - November

The Eighth Judicial Circuit was in session.

December

The United States district and circuit courts began their sessions at Springfield.

 

The Illinois Supreme Court began its session at Springfield.

 

 

1846

 

March - June

The Eighth Judicial Circuit was in session.

March 10

Edward Baker "Eddie" Lincoln, the Lincolns’ second child, was born.

May

The Mexican War began when General Zachary Taylor’s forces defeated the Mexicans in two battles north of the Rio Grande.

June

The United States district and circuit courts began their sessions at Springfield.

July

The Sangamon County Circuit Court was in session.

August 3

Lincoln won election to the United States Congress.

September - December

The Eighth Judicial Circuit was in session.

December

The United States district and circuit courts began their sessions at Springfield.

 

The Illinois Supreme Court began its session at Springfield.

December 9

Augustus C. French took office as governor of Illinois.

 

 

1847

 

 

Cyrus Hall McCormick began the manufacture of wheat reapers in Chicago.

February 11

The reformation of the Eighth Judicial Circuit, which included Champaign, Christian, Dewitt, Edgar, Logan, Macon, McLean, Moultrie, Piatt, Sangamon, Shelby, Tazewell, Vermilion, and Woodford counties, became effective.

March - June

The Eighth Judicial Circuit was in session.

June

The United States district and circuit courts began their sessions at Springfield.

July

The Sangamon County Circuit Court was in session.

September - November

The Eighth Judicial Circuit was in session.

October 16

In the Coles County Circuit Court, Lincoln represented a slave owner in the case In Re Bryant et al. Lincoln argued that his client had the right to take his slaves to Illinois. The court ruled that the slaves were free.

November

In anticipation of Lincoln’s congressional term in Washington, Herndon moved to a smaller law office in the Tinsley Building.

 

The Lincoln family visited Mary's relatives in Lexington, Kentucky.

December

The United States district and circuit courts began their sessions at Springfield.

 

The Illinois Supreme Court began its session at Springfield.

December 6 - August 14, 1848

Lincoln served in the first session of the 30th United States Congress, which kept him away from Springfield, leaving the law practice in the hands of Herndon, his junior partner.

December 22

Lincoln introduced his “Spot Resolutions” in the United States House of Representatives.

 

 

1848

 

January

An American carpenter discovered gold in the California foothills of the Sierra Nevada range, sparking the California Gold Rush.

February 2

The Mexican War ended with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.

March - June

The Eighth Judicial Circuit was in session.

March 6

Illinois ratified the state’s second constitution, which became effective April 1.

April 21

The Illinois and Michigan Canal between Chicago and Ottawa, Illinois, opened, connecting the headwaters of the Illinois River with Lake Michigan. Construction had begun in 1836.

June

The United States district and circuit courts began their sessions at Springfield.

June 7 - 9

Lincoln attended the Whig convention in Philadelphia which nominated Zachary Taylor for president.

July

The United States district and circuit courts began their sessions at Chicago.

 

The Sangamon County Circuit Court was in session.

July 19 - 20

The first woman's rights convention took place in Seneca Falls, New York.

September - November

The Eighth Judicial Circuit was in session.

September 12 - 22

Lincoln made a speaking tour in New England.

December

The United States district and circuit courts began their sessions at Springfield.

 

The Illinois Supreme Court began its session at Springfield.

December 4 - March 3, 1849

Lincoln served in the second session of the 30th United States Congress.

 

 

1849

 

January 8

Augustus C. French began his second term as governor of Illinois.

January 26

The reformation of the Illinois Supreme Court into three grand divisions became effective. The First Grand Division began its session in November at Mt. Vernon, the Second Grand Division in December at Springfield, and the Third Grand Division in June at Ottawa.

March - June

The Eighth Judicial Circuit was in session.

March 4

Zachary Taylor took office as president of the United States.

March 7

United States Supreme Court admitted Lincoln to bar.

 

Lincoln delivered his only oral argument before the United States Supreme Court in Lewis for use of Longworth v. Lewis.

May 22

Lincoln's was granted a patent on a device for refloating vessels that had run aground.

June

The United States district and circuit courts began their sessions at Springfield.

July

The United States district and circuit courts began their sessions at Chicago.

 

The Sangamon County Circuit court was in session.

September - November

The Eighth Judicial Circuit was in session.

September 27

Lincoln declined appointment as governor of Oregon Territory.

December

The United States district and circuit courts began their sessions at Springfield.

 

The Illinois Supreme Court began its session at Springfield.

 

 

1850

 

 

The population of Illinois was 851,470.

February 1

Edward  Baker “Eddie”Lincoln died.

March - June

The Eighth Judicial Circuit was in session.

June

The United States district and circuit courts began their sessions at Springfield.

July

The United States district and circuit courts began their sessions at Chicago.

July 9

President Zachary Taylor died in office, and Millard Fillmore succeeded him.

August - November

The Eighth Judicial Circuit was in session.

September 16

Congress passed the last of the six separate measures of the Compromise of 1850.

September 18

President Millard Fillmore signed the Fugitive Slave Act, part of the Compromise of 1850.

September 20

President Millard Fillmore signed congressional legislation giving the Illinois Central Railroad the first federal land grant for rail construction.

December

The United States district and circuit courts began their sessions at Springfield.

 

The Illinois Supreme Court began its session at Springfield.

December 21

William Wallace “Willie” Lincoln, the Lincoln’s third son, was born.

 

 

1851

 

January 17

Abraham Lincoln’s father Thomas Lincoln died in Coles County, Illinois.

March - June

The Eighth Judicial Circuit was in session.

April

The United States district and circuit courts began their sessions at Chicago.

June

The Illinois Supreme Court began its session at Ottawa.

July

The United States district and circuit courts began their sessions at Springfield.

August - November

The Eighth Judicial Circuit was in session.

October

The United States district and circuit courts began their sessions at Chicago.

December

The United States district and circuit courts began their sessions at Springfield.

 

The Illinois Supreme Court began its session at Springfield.

 

 

1852

 

 

Harriet Beecher Stowe published Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

 

Lincoln and Herndon moved their law office to a corner building at what is now the corner of Washington and Fifth streets.

March - June

The Eighth Judicial Circuit was in session.

April

The United States district and circuit courts began their sessions at Chicago.

July

The United States district and circuit courts began their sessions at Springfield.

July 6

Lincoln delivered a eulogy on Henry Clay in Springfield.

August - November

The Eighth Judicial Circuit was in session.

October

The United States district and circuit courts began their sessions at Chicago.

December

The United States district and circuit courts began their sessions at Springfield.

 

The Illinois Supreme Court began its session at Springfield.

 

 

1853

 

January 10

Joel A. Matteson took office as governor of Illinois.

February 3

The reformation of the Eighth Judicial Circuit, which included Champaign, Dewitt, Logan, McLean, Sangamon, Tazewell, Vermilion, and Woodford counties, became effective.

March 4

Franklin Pierce took office as president of the United States.

March - June

The Eighth Judicial Circuit was in session.

April

The United States district and circuit courts began their sessions at Chicago.

April 4

Thomas “Tad” Lincoln, the Lincoln’s fourth son, was born.

July

The United States district and circuit courts began their sessions at Springfield.

August - December

The Eighth Judicial Circuit was in session.

October

The United States district and circuit courts began their sessions at Chicago.

December

The United States district and circuit courts began their sessions at Springfield

 

The Illinois Supreme Court began its session at Springfield.

 

 

1854

 

March - May

The Eighth Judicial Circuit was in session.

April

The United States district and circuit courts began their sessions at Chicago.

April 4 - April 9, 1855

Herndon served as mayor of Springfield.

May

President Franklin Pierce signed the Kansas-Nebraska Act.

June 12

The Sangamon County Circuit Court began its session.

July

The United States district and circuit courts began their sessions at Springfield.

September - November

The Eighth Judicial Circuit was in session.

September 12 - October 16

Lincoln delivered speeches in several Illinois towns critiquing Stephen Douglas and the Kansas Nebraska Act

October

The United States district and circuit courts began their sessions at Chicago.

November 7

Lincoln won election to the Illinois legislature.

November 27

Lincoln resigned from the Illinois legislature to become a candidate for the United States Senate.

December

The United States district and circuit courts began their sessions at Springfield.

 

The Illinois Supreme Court began its session at Springfield.

 

 

1855

 

February 8

In the Illinois General Assembly Lincoln lost the election to the United States Senate to Lyman Trumbull.

February 13

Congress passed an act dividing the federal courts in Illinois into two districts. The northern district convened at Chicago in July, and the southern district at Springfield in December.

March

The United States district and circuit courts began their sessions at Springfield.

March - June

The Eighth Judicial Circuit was in session.

June - August

Acting as an agent for Maria Bullock, Mary Todd Lincoln’s aunt in Kentucky, Lincoln sold real estate in Springfield and Sangamon County.

July

The United States district and circuit courts began their sessions at Chicago.

September - December

The Eighth Judicial Circuit was in session.

September 19 - 26

Lincoln traveled to Cincinnati, Ohio, to assist the defense in the case of McCormick v. Talcott et al., but Edwin Stanton, the lead attorney, would not allow Lincoln to help with the famous “reaper trial.”

October

The United States district and circuit courts began their sessions at Springfield.

December

The United States district and circuit courts began their sessions at Chicago.

 

The Illinois Supreme Court began its session at Springfield.

 

 

1856

 

January

The United States district and circuit courts began their sessions at Springfield.

January 16

In the Illinois Supreme Court case of Illinois Central Railroad v. McLean County, Lincoln successfully argued that the Illinois Central Railroad was exempt from county taxes.

February 22

Former Whigs and disaffected Democrats formed the Illinois Republican Party in Decatur, and Lincoln helped them adopt a statement of principles.

March - June

The Eighth Judicial Circuit was in session.

Spring

The Lincolns had their home enlarged from 1 1/2 to two stories.

April 21

The first train crossed the first railroad bridge across the Mississippi River, joining Rock Island, Illinois, and Davenport, Iowa.

Summer - Fall

Lincoln made more than fifty pro-Republican speeches during the presidential campaign.

June

The United States district and circuit courts began their sessions at Springfield.

June 19

Lincoln received 110 votes for vice president at the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia.

July

The United States district and circuit courts began their sessions at Chicago.

August 27

Lincoln spoke to a Republican meeting in Kalamazoo, Michigan, his only campaign speech outside Illinois.

September - December

The Eighth Judicial Circuit was in session.

December

The United States district and circuit courts began their sessions at Chicago.

 

The Illinois Supreme Court began its session at Springfield.

 

 

1857

 

 

The Panic of 1857 ended more than a decade of American prosperity.

January

The United States district and circuit courts began their sessions at Springfield.

January 12

William H. Bissell took office as governor of Illinois.

February 10

The Illinois General Assembly changed the sessions of the three grand divisions of the Illinois Supreme Court. The First Grand Division was scheduled to begin its session in November at Mt. Vernon, the Second Grand Division in January at Springfield, and the Third Grand Division in April at Ottawa.

February 11

The Eighteenth Judicial Circuit, which included Christian, Macoupin, Montgomery, and Sangamon counties, became effective.

 

The reformation of the Eighth Judicial Circuit, which included Champaign, Dewitt, Logan, McLean, and Vermilion counties, became effective.

March - June

The Eighth Judicial Circuit was in session.

March 4

James Buchanan took office as president of the United States.

March 6

The U.S. Supreme Court rendered its decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford.

April 7

In Fleming v. Rogers & Crothers, a McLean County Circuit Court malpractice suit, Lincoln demonstrated with a chicken bone that older bones were not as flexible as younger ones.

April - May

The Eighteenth Judicial Circuit was in session.

June

The United States district and circuit courts began their sessions at Springfield.

June 23

In the McLean County Circuit Court case of Lincoln v. Illinois Central Railroad, Lincoln won a judgment for the remaining $4,800 of his $5,000 legal fee.   Lincoln earned the fee for representing the Illinois Central Railroad in the case of Illinois Central Railroad v. McLean County, Illinois.  It was the highest legal fee Lincoln ever collected.

June 26

Lincoln delivered a speech against the Dred Scott decision in the House of Representatives in Springfield.

July

The United States district and circuit courts began their sessions at Chicago.

August - November

The Eighteenth Judicial Circuit was in session.

September - November

The Eighth Judicial Circuit was in session.

September 1 - 24

In the United States Circuit Court case of Hurd et al. v. Rock Island Bridge Co., Lincoln argued that a bridge spanning the Mississippi River at Rock Island did not obstruct the river. Although the jury was unable to reach a verdict, the “Effie Afton” case became one of Lincoln’s most famous.

December

The United States district and circuit courts began their sessions at Chicago.

 

 

1858

 

January

The United States district and circuit courts began their sessions at Springfield.

 

The Illinois Supreme Court began its session at Springfield.

March - April

The Eighth Judicial Circuit was in session.

April - May

The Eighteenth Judicial Circuit was in session.

April 6

In Bloomington, Illinois, Lincoln gave the first of several lectures on "Discoveries and Inventions."

April 22 - 24

Lincoln substituted for David Davis as judge in Champaign County Circuit Court and made notations in more than 140 cases.

May 7

Using an almanac to discredit the state’s attorney’s central witness, Lincoln successfully defended Duff Armstrong in a Cass County Circuit Court murder trial.

June

The United States district and circuit courts began their sessions at Springfield.

June 16

Lincoln accepted the Illinois State Republican Party’s nomination for the United States Senate and delivered his “House Divided” speech in Springfield.

July

The United States district and circuit courts began their sessions at Chicago.

August - December

The Eighteenth Judicial Circuit was in session.

August 21

Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas held the first of their senatorial campaign debates in Ottawa, Illinois.

August 27

Lincoln and Douglas debated in Freeport.

September - December

The Eighth Judicial Circuit was in session.

September 15

Lincoln and Douglas debated in Jonesboro.

September 18

Lincoln and Douglas debated in Charleston.

October 7

Lincoln and Douglas debated in Galesburg.

October 13

Lincoln and Douglas debated in Quincy.

October 15

Lincoln and Douglas debated in Alton.

November 2

Lincoln lost the election to the United States Senate to Stephen A. Douglas when a majority of Douglas supporters were elected to the legislature.

December

The United States district and circuit courts began their sessions at Chicago.

 

 

1859

 

January

The United States district and circuit courts began their sessions at Springfield.

 

The Illinois Supreme Court began its session at Springfield.

March - May

The Eighteenth Judicial Circuit was in session.

 

The Eighth Judicial Circuit was in session.

February 17

Ford County became a part of the Eighth Judicial Circuit.

June

The United States district and circuit courts began their sessions at Springfield.

July

The United States district and circuit courts began their sessions at Chicago.

August - November

The Eighteenth Judicial Circuit was in session.

September - October

The Eighth Judicial Circuit was in session.

October 16

John Brown led a raid on the federal arsenal at Harper’s Ferry, Virginia.

December

The United States district and circuit courts began their sessions at Chicago.

 

 

1860

 

 

The population of Illinois was 1,711,951.

January

The United States district and circuit courts began their sessions at Springfield.

 

The Illinois Supreme Court began its session at Springfield.

February - April

The Eighth Judicial Circuit was in session.

February - June

The Eighteenth Judicial Circuit was in session.

February 27

Lincoln delivered his Cooper Union address in New York City.

February 28

Lincoln began a two-week tour of New England.

March 18

John Wood took office as governor of Illinois when Governor William H. Bissell died in office.

March 23 - April 4

In one of his last cases of major importance, Lincoln successfully argued that the defendants in the United States Circuit Court case of Johnston v. Jones & Marsh owned valuable accreted land in Chicago.

May 9 - 10

The Illinois Republican Party chose Lincoln as their presidential nominee in Decatur.

May 18

The Republican National Convention nominated Lincoln for president in Chicago.

June

The United States district and circuit courts began their sessions at Springfield.

July

The United States district and circuit courts began their sessions at Chicago.

 

Robert Todd Lincoln enrolled at Harvard University.

August - November

The Eighteenth Judicial Circuit was in session.

September - October

The Eighth Judicial Circuit was in session.

October 19

Grace Bedell of Westfield, New York, suggested Lincoln should grow a beard.

November 6

Lincoln won election as President of the United States.

December

The United States district and circuit courts began their sessions at Chicago.

December 20

South Carolina seceded from the Union.

December 26

Major Robert Anderson and his troops moved from Fort Moultrie to the more defensible Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor, South Carolina.

 

 

1861

 

January

The Illinois Supreme Court began its session at Springfield.

January 9

South Carolina troops fired on the Star of the West, preventing Union resupply of Ft. Sumter.

January 9 - February 1

Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas seceded from the Union.

January 29

Kansas was admitted to the Union as a free state.

February 4

Delegates from six states established the Confederate States of America.

February 11

Lincoln delivered his farewell address and left Springfield for Washington, DC.

February 18

Jefferson Davis was inaugurated provisional president of the Confederacy.

February 23

Lincoln arrived secretly in Washington, DC, about 6:00 a.m. after changing his plans to avoid an assassination plot in Baltimore, Maryland.

March 4

Executive Mansion, 1860s.Executive Mansion, 1860s.

Lincoln became the sixteenth president of the United States and delivered his inaugural address.  Hannibal Hamlin became vice president.

March 4 - 28

Special session of the United States Senate, 37th Congress.

March 29

Lincoln ordered a relief expedition to provision Ft. Sumter.

April 12 - 14

Confederate forces fired on Ft. Sumter, eventually forcing its surrender and evacuation.

April 15

Lincoln issued a proclamation calling for 75,000 volunteers. 

April 17 - June 8

Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina, and Tennessee seceded from the Union.

April 19

Lincoln proclaimed a blockade of the coastline of the Confederacy.

April 27

Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus in an area between Philadelphia and Washington, DC.

May 24

Colonel Elmer Ellsworth of the 11th New York Zouaves, and friend of Lincoln, was shot and killed after removing a secession flag from a hotel in Alexandria, Virginia.

June 3

Stephen A. Douglas died in Chicago.

July 4 - August 6

First session of the 37th United States Congress.

July 21

The first Battle of Bull Run or Manassas (VA).

July 27

Lincoln made General George B. McClellan commander of all the troops in the Washington area.

August 2

Congress passed the first federal income tax which assessed 3% on incomes greater than $800.

August 30

General John C. Frémont proclaimed emancipation in Missouri, but Lincoln ordered modifications to the proclamation.

October 21

Lincoln's good friend Colonel Edward D. Baker was killed at the Battle of Bull's Bluff.

October 24

The transcontinental telegraph was completed.

November 1

General George B. McClellan replaced General Winfield Scott as Union army commander.

November 2

Lincoln removed controversial General John C. Frémont from command in the west.

November 6

Jefferson Davis was elected to a six-year term as Confederate president.

November 8

Captain Charles Wilkes of the U.S.S. San Jacinto stopped the British mail ship Trent and removed the Confederate commissioners James M. Mason and John Slidell, precipitating the diplomatic crisis with Britain known as the "Trent Affair."  The U.S. agreed to release captive Confederate commissioners Mason and Slidell on December 26.

December 2 - July 17, 1862

Second session of the 37th United States Congress.

December 3

Lincoln sent his first annual message to Congress.

December 9

Congress established the controversial Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War.

 

 

1862

 

January 11

Lincoln accepted Simon Cameron's resignation as Secretary of War.

January 15

The Senate confirmed Edwin M. Stanton as Secretary of War.

February 6 - 16

Union forces under Ulysses S. Grant capture Forts Henry and Donelson in Tennessee.

February 20

William Wallace "Willie" Lincoln died of typhoid fever.

February 22

Jefferson Davis was inaugurated as President of the Confederate States of America.

February 25

Union troops occupied Nashville, Tennessee.

March 4

Senate confirmed Lincoln's nomination of Andrew Johnson for military governor of Tennessee.

March 9

The battle between the iron clads U.S.S. Monitor and C.S.S. Merrimack took place at Hampton Roads, Virginia, and resulted in a draw.

April 6 - 7

Battle of Shiloh (or Pittsburg Landing) in Tennessee was one of the bloodiest of the War.

April 24

David G. Farragut and his fleet ran past the Confederate forts below New Orleans and occupied the city on April 25.

May 20

Lincoln signed the Homestead Act which provided land grants for settlers.

June 19

Lincoln signed a law prohibiting slavery in the territories.

June 23 - 25

Lincoln traveled by train to New York City and West Point to confer with General Winfield Scott.

June 25 - July 1

The Seven Days Battles outside Richmond led to the withdrawal of McClellan's forces from the Peninsula.

July 1

Lincoln signed a revised income tax bill and a bill to establish a transcontinental railroad.

July 2

Lincoln signed the Morrill Act which provided land grants to the states and territories for the establishment of agricultural and mechanical colleges.

July 11

Lincoln named Henry W. Halleck general-in-chief of the Army.

July 17

Lincoln signed the Second Confiscation Act.

 

Congress authorized the use of blacks as soldiers and sailors.

July 22

Lincoln read the first draft of the Emancipation Proclamation to his cabinet.

August 17 - September 23

A Sioux uprising took place in Minnesota.

August 22

Lincoln, answering New York Tribune editor Horace Greeley's critical editorial, wrote that his goal was to save the Union with or without slavery.

August 29 - 30

Second Battle of Bull Run or Manassas (VA).

September 17

Battle of Antietam or Sharpsburg, Maryland was the bloodiest single day of the Civil War.

September 22

Lincoln issued the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation.

September 24

Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus for "all Rebels and Insurgents" and their supporters, and made them subject to military trials.

September 27

The first regiment of free blacks was mustered in at New Orleans.

October - November

Democrats gained seats in the Congressional elections.

October 8

The Battle of Perryville, Kentucky, led the Confederate forces to retreat into Tennessee.

November 5

Lincoln removed George B. McClellan as commander of the Army of the Potomac and replaced him with Ambrose E. Burnside.

December 1 - March 3, 1863

The third session of the 37th United States Congress met.

December 1

Lincoln sent his second annual message to Congress.

December 13

Battle of Fredericksburg, Virginia.

December 31 - January 2, 1863

Battle of Murfreesboro or Stone's River, Tennessee.

 

 

1863

 

January 1

Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing slaves in the rebellious states.

January 25

Lincoln relieved Ambrose E. Burnside as commander of the Army of the Potomac and replaced him with Joseph Hooker.

March 4 - 14

Special session of the U. S. Senate, 38th Congress to deal with appointments requiring Senate approval.

March 10

Lincoln proclaimed amnesty for soldiers absent without leave if they reported by April 1.

April 2

Richmond, Virginia "Bread Riot."

May 1 - 4

Battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia.

May 18 - July 4

Siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi.

June 9

Battle of Brandy Station, Virginia--the largest cavalry battle fought in the United States.

June 27

Lincoln replaced Joseph Hooker with George G. Meade as commander of the Army of the Potomac.

July 1 - 3

Battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

July 4

Vicksburg surrendered to the Federal forces under Ulysses S. Grant.

July 8

Port Hudson, Louisiana, the final Confederate garrison on the Mississippi River, surrendered.

July 13 - 16

Anti-draft riots took place in New York City.

July 18

Union charges against Battery Wagner, on Morris Island, South Carolina, resulted in the death of Colonel Robert Gould Shaw and many of his soldiers of the 54th Massachusetts Colored Infantry.

August 18

Lincoln fired a few shots to test a Spencer rifle.

August 21

William Clarke Quantrill and his Missouri guerillas sacked Lawrence, Kansas, killing about 150 men and boys.

September 18

Lincoln discharged his former legal client William "Duff" Armstrong from the army.

September 19 - 20

Battle of Chickamauga, Georgia.

October - November

Union/Republican candidates defeated their Democratic opponents in many gubernatorial and congressional elections.

November 19

Lincoln delivered his brief Gettysburg Address at the dedication of the soldier's cemetery.

November 21 - 29

Lincoln was ill with varioloid (a mild type of smallpox).

November 23 - 25

Battle of Chattanooga, Tennessee.

November 26

Thanksgiving Day in the Union, as previously proclaimed by Lincoln.

December 7 - July 4, 1864

First session of the 38th Congress.

December 8

Lincoln issued his Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction, pardoning Confederates who took on oath of allegiance to the United States.

 

Lincoln issued his second annual message (it was read in Congress December 9).

 

 

1864

 

March 10

Ulysses S. Grant became commander-in-chief of the Union armies.

March 14

Lincoln issued an order to draft 200,000 men.

March 18

Lincoln spoke at the closing of the Sanitary Commission Fair in Washington, DC.

March 26

Lincoln clarified that his amnesty oath of December 8, 1863, applied to those who took it voluntarily, not to prisoners of war.

April 12

Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest and his cavalry captured Fort Pillow, Tennessee, and killed some of the Union troops, especially blacks, after they surrendered.

April 18

Lincoln attended the Maryland Sanitary Commission Fair at Baltimore and spoke briefly.

April 22

As a result of an act of Congress, the phrase "In God We Trust" was first stamped on United States coins.

May 5 - 6

Battle of the Wilderness, Virginia.

May 7

William T. Sherman and his forces began their campaign against Atlanta, Georgia.

May 8 - 21

Battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse, Virginia.

May 31

A group of Radical Republicans, meeting in Cleveland, OH, nominated General John C. Frémont for president.

June 1 - 3

Battle of Cold Harbor, Virginia.

June 8

In Baltimore, the National Union Party Convention nominated Lincoln for president and Andrew Johnson for vice president.

June 15 - 18

Several assaults on Petersburg, Virginia, failed.

June 16 - 17

Lincoln attended the Great Central Sanitary Fair in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

June 18 - April 12, 1865

Siege of Petersburg, Virginia.

June 19

U.S.S. Kearsarge sank the notorious commerce raider C.S.S. Alabama in battle off the coast of Cherbourg, France.

June 27

Battle of Kennesaw Mountain, Georgia.

June 30

Lincoln accepted Salmon P. Chase's resignation as Secretary of the Treasury.

July 1

William P. Fessenden became Secretary of the Treasury.

July 4

Lincoln pocket-vetoed the Wade-Davis Bill which would have put Congress in control of Reconstruction.

July 11 - 12

Lincoln observed the attack by Confederate General Jubal Early's raiders on Ft. Stevens, Maryland, just outside of Washington, DC.

July 22

Battle of Atlanta, Georgia.

July 30

Union mining efforts under the Confederate lines at Petersburg resulted in a huge explosion and formation of "the Crater," but the Union assault which followed failed.

August 5

Admiral David Farragut and his fleet ran past the Confederate forts at the entrance of Mobile Bay with the loss of two ships in the Battle of Mobile Bay.

 

Representative Henry Winter Davis (Maryland) and Senator Benjamin Wade (Ohio) issued their anti-Lincoln "Wade-Davis Manifesto" in the New York Tribune.

August 23

Lincoln had his cabinet members sign without reading a memo about actions to take should Lincoln not be re-elected.

August 31

The Democratic Party, meeting in Chicago, nominated General George B. McClellan for president and George H. Pendleton of Ohio for vice president.

September 1

Confederate forces under John Bell Hood evacuated Atlanta, Georgia destroying stockpiled ammunition and supplies, before the city was occupied by William T. Sherman's forces.

September 23

Postmaster General Montgomery Blair, long unpopular with the Radical Republicans, resigned at Lincoln's request.

September 24

Lincoln appointed William Dennison, former governor of Ohio, to replace Montgomery Blair as Postmaster General.

October 5

Military authorities arrested Lambden P. Milligan, a Copperhead, in Indiana, for conspiracy against the United States, leading to the 1866 Supreme Court ruling Ex parte Milligan.

October 11

Early elections in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana indicated surprising Republican strength.

October 12

Chief Justice Roger B. Taney died in Washington, DC.

October 20

Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday of November 1864 would be a Thanksgiving day.

October 31

Nevada became the 36th state by presidential proclamation.

November 8

Abraham Lincoln won election for a second term as President of the United States.

November 16 - December 10

Sherman's troops marched through Georgia to the sea at Savannah.

November 29

Colonel J. M. Chivington and his Union troops massacred several hundred peaceable Indians on Sand Creek, Colorado Territory.

November 30

Battle of Franklin, Tennessee.

December 1

Lincoln appointed James Speed Attorney General after Edward Bates resigned.

December 5 - March 3, 1865

Second session of the 38th Congress met.

December 6

Clerks read Lincoln's fourth annual message to Congress.

 

Lincoln named Salmon P. Chase to succeed Roger B. Taney as Chief Justice.

December 15

Battle of Nashville, Tennessee.

December 20

Confederate troops evacuated Savannah, Georgia.

December 22

In a telegram William T. Sherman presented Savannah, Georgia to Lincoln as a "Christmas gift."

 

 

1865

 

January 31

The U. S. House of Representatives passed the 13th amendment abolishing slavery as the Senate had previously done.  Two-thirds of the states ratified it by December 1865 and it became law.

February 1

Illinois was the first state to ratify the 13th Amendment.

February 3

Lincoln and Secretary of State William H. Seward met with Confederate peace commissioners Alexander H. Stephens, John A. Campbell, and R. M. T. Hunter on board ship at Hampton Roads, Virginia.

February 17

Sherman's troops captured Columbia, South Carolina.

February 18

Confederate troops evacuated Charleston, South Carolina.

March 3

Lincoln signed an act establishing the Freedmen's Bureau.

March 4 - 11

Special session of the Senate, 39th Congress.

March 4

Lincoln began his second term as President and delivered his second inaugural address.  Vice President Andrew Johnson gave a drunken speech after consuming too much medicinal whiskey.

March 6

Lincoln appointed Hugh McCulloch to replace William Fessenden (now Senator from Maine) as Secretary of the Treasury.

March 9

Secretary of the Interior John P. Usher resigned, effective May 15.

March 19 - 21

Battle of Bentonville, North Carolina.

March 27 - 28

Lincoln met with Generals Grant and Sherman and Admiral David D. Porter on the River Queen at City Point, Virginia.

April 1

Union success in the Battle of Five Forks, Virginia, led to the fall of Petersburg and Richmond, Virginia.

April 2

Petersburg fell and the Confederate government evacuated Richmond.

April 3

Federal troops occupied Richmond and Petersburg.

April 4 - 5

Lincoln visited Richmond.

April 5

Secretary of State William H. Seward was seriously injured in a carriage accident.

April 9

General Robert E. Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House in Virginia.

April 11

Lincoln gave his last speech.

April 12

Mobile, Alabama surrendered to Federal troops.

April 14

In a special ceremony General Robert Anderson raised the Union flag at Ft. Sumter, South Carolina.

April 14

John Wilkes Booth shot Abraham Lincoln during a performance of Our American Cousin at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, DC.

April 15

Lincoln died at 7:22 am.  At 11:00 am Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase administered the oath of office to Andrew Johnson at the Kirkwood House hotel.

April 19

Lincoln's funeral was held in the East Room of the White House.

April 19 - 20

Lincoln's body lay in state in the U. S. Capitol.

April 21 - May 3

The Lincoln funeral train traveled from Washington, DC to Springfield, Illinois with numerous stops for memorial observances.

April 26

John Wilkes Booth was shot and killed.

May 4

 Lincoln's Tomb, Oak Ridge Cemetery, Springfield, Illinois.Lincoln's Tomb, Oak Ridge Cemetery, Springfield, Illinois.

Lincoln's funeral in Springfield was followed by burial in the receiving vault at Oak Ridge Cemetery.

May 9 - June 30

Eight Lincoln assassination conspirators were tried by a military commission in Washington, DC.

July 7

Four assassination conspirators--David E. Herold, Lewis Paine, George A. Atzerodt, and Mary E. Surratt--were hanged in Washington, DC.

Chronology Key

Key:
Personal Life;
Historical Events;
Legal Career;
Political Career;
Court Sessions.

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