Page 282Transcribed by: Jeanie Lowe
Mount Vernon, the ancestral home of the Father of His Country, is dear to every American heart. His mortal remains lie entombed there, and feelings of patriotism diverge from the venerated spot, as golden rays are reflected back from the setting sun. As Columbia's first and greatest son, he is embalmed in the national memory as Joseph was by his brethren, and reverently assigned a place
"Among the few immortal names
That were not born to die."
In that portion of Menard County to which this chapter is devoted, is an historical spot, that, next to Mount Vernon, should be highly cherished as long as liberty and true patriotism prevail in this great republic. We allude to Old Salem, formerly the home of Abraham Lincoln. Here it may be said that he made his start in the world, and, although little remains of the original town, the spot is endeared to the people of the county as the early home of the martyred President. It seems to us a duty that the State owes to his memory, to purchase the site of the old town, appropriately care for it, as the National Government does Mount Vernon, and doubt not but the time will come when this additional honor will be paid him. We shall have more to say of the old historical town elsewhere in these pages.
Petersburg is the largest township or precinct in Menard County, and likewise the most important, inasmuch as it contains the seat of justice. It embraces portions of Town 18 north, Range 6, 7, and 8 west, and by Government survey contains about fifty-seven sections, and is bounded north by Sandridge Precinct, east by Indian Creek and Athens, south by Rock Creek and Tallula, and west by Cass County. The Sangamon River flows through the precinct, entering it at very nearly the southeast corner, running almost a northwest course to Section 25, in Range 7, when it turns due north, passing out through Section 1, when it becomes the boundary line between Indian Creek and Sandridge Precincts. Indian Creek forms the boundary between this and Indian Creek Precinct, while Clary's Creek runs through the western part of the precinct, and Little Grove Creek has its source at a few miles distance, southwest of Petersburg, flowing northwest to the Sangamon River. These streams supply an abundance of water for all general purposes, as well as ample means of drainage. Excellent timber borders the watercourses, as more minutely described in the general history of this work, and consists of the species usually found in this part of the State. A large portion of the precinct is fine prairie land, the timber, as above stated, being confined chiefly to the margin of the streams. The Chicago & Alton Railroad and the Springfield & Northwestern intersect it, the one crossing from northeast to southwest and the other from southeast to northwest, thus affording ample means of communication with the outside world. Petersburg, the capital of the county, is the only town of any note within its borders, and will be more particularly referred to further on in this chapter. It also contains the historic, but now almost defunct town of Old Salem, which received due notice in another page.