John Wolf drove to Cherry Grove, Illinois, from Maryland in a
covered wagon in 1840. Two years later he bought a farm north of
what later became Lanark.
According to his granddaughter, Grace M. Wolf (a Carroll County
resident who talked with other members of the Wolf family and thoroughly
researched the story), John Wolf did indeed take Lincoln for a ride
-- a very famous ride at that.
Wolf was in Freeport on August 27, 1858, having delivered a load
of grain from Lanark in his Conestoga wagon pulled by four horses.
So was Lincoln who had come out from Chicago on the Illinois Central
Railroad to debate Stephen Douglas in the second of a series of
meetings throughout the state.
Lincoln supporters asked John Wolf if he would transport their
man in his wagon from the Brewster Hotel to the speakers platform
two blocks away in a nearby grove. Being a Lincoln admirer, Wolf
was happy to oblige.
Someone came up with an additional team, so with six horses - Wolf
riding the left horse of the wheel pair - they made the trip in
plenty of time for Lincoln to lead off the debate promptly at 2
p.m. The Democratic "Freeport Bulletin," and obviously
no friend of Lincoln's, reported, "Mr. Lincoln was placed in
or near the rear of the box on the wagon as his legs extended forward
several feet and resembled the skeleton of some greyhound.
He is as queer looking as he is queer spoken." Another and
kindlier source reported that "the 'railsplitter' with a few
of his friends sat upon common chairs in the box of the wagon which
resembled a large flat boat." Douglas' supporters had
secured a handsome carriage and matched pair of horses for their
man, but when the Senator saw Lincoln leave the Brewster Hotel in
a farm wagon, he decided to walk. Lincoln lost the debate and the
Senatorial race but took a giant step toward winning the Presidential
election two years later.
John Wolf retired from the Bank he founded some twenty years after
his meeting with Lincoln and died in February 1896.
Home | About
Us | Deposits | Loans
| Services | Protect Yourself
© 2001-2005 Exchange State Bank of Lanark, All Rights