The Lincoln Buggy

Buggy1.jpg The "Lincoln Buggy," located in the Knox County Historical Museum, was not the buggy used by Abraham Lincoln to travel to the Oct. 7, 1858 debate in Galesburg. However, Lincoln did use it while campaigning in the area two weeks later.

The buggy has appeared in many Galesburg parades over the years, and as far back as Oct,1, 1933, an article in the Peoria Journal-Transcript incorrectly described the buggy as the one in which Lincoln rode from Knoxville to Galesburg.

However, affidavits given to Knox County Historical Sites Inc., show the buggy was used by Lincoln for the first time on Oct. 22, 1858, when traveling from Plymouth to Carthage.

The buggy was made in Warren, Ohio, in 1828 by George D. Chapman. It is a linchpin buggy and was made by hand. None of the nuts and bolts are interchangeable. Records indicate that all parts are original.

The buggy was used by Chapman and his bride to move from Ohio to an area of Illinois known as St. Mary's Prairie. He settled in Plymouth, and when Lincoln arrived there by train on Oct. 21, 1858, Chapman used the buggy the next morning to take Lincoln to Carthage, where he was scheduled to speak.

The buggy may have been used by Lincoln for other campaign stops, but documents are not available to support such claims.

The Chapman family owned the buggy for several generations before selling it to Herbert K. Tabler, another Plymouth resident.

Buggy2.jpg Tabler's cousin, Charles T. Salisbury, lived in Galesburg and stored the buggy for Tabler. The first photographs of the buggy being used in Galesburg are of a parade in 1928.

A bill of sale dated Sept. 26, 1930, shows Salisbury and O.J. Johnson purchased the buggy jointly for $100. The buggy was displayed in the window of the old O. T. Johnson store on Main Street in Galesburg.

In 1930, the buggy was insured for $400 through Lindstrum and Company Insurance, Galesburg. The yearly premium was $20.

The owners wanted to find a place to house and display the buggy, as indicated in copies of letters written by Salisbury between 1930 and 1935.

"I am therefore deeply interested in this old buggy finding a home where the youth of the country may be fully posted as to just why it rests in the Lincoln Memorial Home," Salisbury wrote to Jacob Thompson, Springfield, in 1930.

However, the buggy remained in Knox County and was reportedly housed on the third floor of the Knox County Courthouse.

Buggy3.jpg In the early 1970's, it was given to the Knox County Historical Sites, Inc, and in 1972 was put on permanent display in the Knox County Historical Museum.

The museum contains other items associated with both Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas.

Douglas was a judge in the early 1840's and presided over court in Knoxville. A desk he was reported to have used and a top hat he reportedly wore are on display.

Photocopies of papers written by Douglas are also on display, along with photographs and other memorabilia of the time.

Photos were taken during the 1928 parade in Galesburg.

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