Merced County Times Newspaper
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Experiencing The Very Place Where Lincoln Walked The Earth

John Derby Headshot
Times Publisher John Derby

EDITOR’S NOTE: Publisher John Derby drove more than 4,000 miles in less than a week to be with his sister for her 88 birthday and present in Illinois for the birth of his first great grandson. He arrived in time for both, which is how he happened to be in Lincoln country.

There is something hallowed about the ground on which Abraham Lincoln walked, and one feels it through the soles of their shoes when they enter the museum dedicated to his life.

No man, with the exception of Jesus Christ, ever had more written about his life; however, Lincoln only served as President from 1861 until his death in 1865.

Lincoln was firm in believing slavery was morally wrong, and he issued the Emancipation Proclamation that declared forever free those slaves within the Confederacy in 1863.

He was a Republican, and yet today the party for which he served is the one most blacks vote against.

He was the tallest person ever to become president at 6’4,” and the first to be assassinated. He would not be the last, and the vice president serving under him was also assassinated.

He was born in Kentucky but moved to Illinois with his family. He never received a college degree. He was also the only one who had his name in the Wrestling Hall of Fame.

His museum, in Springfield, Illinois, is one of the best in the country. In fact, it is so good that it was worth making a second trip to take it all in. It should be noted that the most recent exhibit was financed by the late publisher of the local newspaper.

One can almost envision Lincoln riding from one town to another as court was brought to the people, not the other way around.

The famous debates between he and Steven Douglas, on the issue of slavery, come to life in his old stomping ground. Until then, people had hardly heard of him and they may not have heard of him had the other three candidates running for president not spent their time fighting each other.

They were all different concerning their views on slavery and even Lincoln never envisioned that slaves would become citizens with voting rights. With the Democratic Party split, it gave Lincoln, the tall clown, who told funny jokes, the chance to become the greatest president who ever lived.

His greatest speech, after the Battle of Gettysburg, was considered far too short for the occasion, written on a train ride to the battle field. However, this whole nation knows the importance of the words he spoke that day. “Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth … a new nation … conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”

Not a year goes by when this country and his words are not put to the test.

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