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Here's an article I did on a Lincoln statue in Rosamond, Illinois, which is southeast of Springfield.

By Tom Emery

Memorials to Abraham Lincoln dot the Illinois landscape, and are found in the largest of cities and the smallest of towns. One of the most out-of-the-way landmarks is the Lincoln statue in the Rosamond Cemetery in southeastern Christian County.

Commissioned in 1903, the full-length statue, entitled Lincoln the Orator, is highly regarded among critics and is one of the few depictions of Lincoln to show him with an outstretched arm, gesturing for effect.

The village of Rosamond was founded by settlers from the Northeast in 1856 and was possibly named for wild roses that bloom in spring and early summer. The spelling of the settlement was originally “Rosemond,” though the name of the post office was changed to its present spelling in 1923.

Residents founded the Rosamond Cemetery Association to administer the local burial place, Rosamond Grove Cemetery. That same year, the association was the recipient of the statue, a gift of Capt. John Kitchell, an area businessman and philanthropist who had enlisted in the 9th Illinois Infantry at the outbreak of the Civil War.

Kitchell was in the audience at the Great Western Depot in Springfield on Feb. 11, 1861, when President-elect Lincoln delivered his farewell address to the city as he departed for his inauguration.

To create the statue, Kitchell hired sculptor Charles Mulligan, whose other Lincoln credits include The Rail Splitter in Chicago’s Garfield Park. The Irish-born Mulligan came to America with his family at age six in 1872 and began his career by working with modeling clay dug from the Illinois-and-Michigan Canal.

Mulligan subsequently was a stonecutter at Pullman, near Chicago, and studied at the Art Institute of Chicago under Lorado Taft, the state’s most accomplished sculptor. Mulligan later succeeded his mentor as head of the department of sculpture at the Institute.

During construction of the buildings for the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago, Taft appointed Mulligan as foreman of the shop where international sculptors created their works for the fair. Mulligan died in 1916.

At Rosamond, Mulligan created an eighteen-foot image of Lincoln, including a massive granite block that serves as the base, on which a portion of the Gettysburg Address is engraved. The statue is reportedly the only depiction of the sixteenth President with a raised hand, to imitate a gesture to a crowd. Lincoln wears a knee-length coat, reflective of dress of the era, in the statue.

Critics of the period charged that Lincoln would not have gestured during an address such as his famous oration in Gettysburg. Kitchell, however, declared that he saw Lincoln use similar gestures during at least three speeches.

The statue was unveiled and dedicated on Oct. 29, 1903 in front of a crowd of some 2,000 onlookers, including a parade of sixty carriages and a band from nearby Pana. Kitchell took the opportunity to defend his decision to include Lincoln’s extended right hand and declared his hope that “here may come youth to gather inspiration and fresh incitement to noble deeds and purposes, and that here, too, they may meditate on the achievements of the past.”

There was plenty of support for Kitchell’s decision on the hand. During the dedication, a letter was read from a former Army captain in Topeka, Kan, who stated that “I do not believe that Lincoln in all his life ever made such a gesture (but) I think, nevertheless, there is one time when he ought to have done so, and that was at Gettysburg. If he did not lift it then, it is no crime for us to lift it for him.”

Lincoln’s son Robert Todd, the only one of the President’s four children to survive to adulthood, carefully watched many depictions of his father in art and sculpture as part of his lifelong effort to properly preserve his legacy. In several cases, Robert made public spectacles of what he deemed were poor likenesses of his father, creating national controversies.

He apparently approved of the Rosamond work. In a letter to Kitchell, Robert wrote that “the statue of my father stands out splendidly in the surroundings and is manifestly full of life.”

In the keynote address of the event, Benson Wood of Effingham, a former Congressman and mayor of that town, said that “anarchy, socialism, and lawlessness would never be tolerated under the shadow of the magnificent statue.”

The statue has stood the test of time, and remains a remarkable contribution to Lincoln art. In 1929, the Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society declared the statue was “little know, yet interesting and valuable in many ways as the celebrated Lincoln” statues of Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Gutzon Borglum, and Daniel Chester French.

The Journal also lauded the quiet setting of the cemetery, a “seclusion, with its sense of removal from the world (which) gives to the place a great sense of peace.”

The statue was rededicated in 1933 and remains accessible to the public. Kitchell and his wife, Mary, are buried nearby.

Also on the site is a small cannon, dubbed the “Mary Lincoln” in honor of the President’s wife. The gun was commissioned by the Republican Club of Rosamond in 1860 and escorted to Springfield, where it was first fired at a Republican political rally.
Here is some additional info and a photo of the statue.
(03-08-2018 06:01 PM)Tom Emery Wrote: [ -> ]Also on the site is a small cannon, dubbed the “Mary Lincoln” in honor of the President’s wife. The gun was commissioned by the Republican Club of Rosamond in 1860 and escorted to Springfield, where it was first fired at a Republican political rally.

Here's a story with photos of the Mary Lincoln cannon. Offhand, I do not believe I have previously seen that photo of the Lincoln Home.
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