Today is the 190th birthday of the state of Illinois. The “Land of Lincoln” entered the Union on December 3, 1818 and in ten years will celebrate it’s Bicentennial! The state took its name from an Algonquin word meaning “tribe of superior men”. (Source: Library of Congress)
From Illinois came our 16th President – Abraham Lincoln – and our President-elect, Barack Obama (though neither were born there, they both settled in Illnois as adults and became Illinois statesmen). Both gave important speeches on the steps of the Old State Capital. Lincoln gave his famous “House Divided” speech, and Obama kicked off his presidential candidacy there.
I have spent quite a bit of time traveling through Illinois in the last twenty years when we take our normal summer vacation to Missouri and then through Illinois to Ohio. I also spent time outside Chicago as a child when we went to my Uncle Norman’s house for the annual Amore Sibling reunion. The summer before my sophomore year in high school our church’s youth group spent a week in Chicago visiting Deaconess hospital, staying at a UCC church (our denomination), and visiting the Museum of Science and History, among other activities. This summer as we traveled through Illinois we attempted to visit historical sites related to Abraham Lincoln.
Illinois has a very rich and extensive history and I urge to you learn what you can about the 21st state of our Union as well as your own state – especially if you had ancestors that lived there at one time or another.
For more information please go to here (today!) or Google: “Illinois History” to find out more!