Recently, the Lincoln Tomb State Historic Site resurrected the Lincoln Monument Association to serve as a support group for the Lincoln Tomb as well as the War Memorials within Oak Ridge Cemetery. In referencing the original National Lincoln Monument Association, it is worth reviewing the goals and purposes of the founding organization.
Planning that had been undertaken by committee required something more permanent for addressing the long-term issues of designing, funding, constructing, and maintaining an appropriate memorial to Abraham Lincoln. While committees continued to address the immediate needs of Lincoln’s funeral arrangements, a group of 13 which later expanded to 15 members drew up articles of incorporation. On May 11, 1865, The National Lincoln Monument Association came into existence as a voluntary society. Their mission was “to construct a Monument to the memory of Abraham Lincoln, in the city of Springfield, State of Illinois.” A board of directors was created who would serve a term of 20 years.
The board elected four officers to direct the affairs of the Association. Governor Richard J. Oglesby was the clear favorite for President. Jesse K. Dubois, who was a neighbor of Lincoln’s and long-time political associate, became Vice President. Clinton L. Conkling, a friend of Robert Todd Lincoln and son of James C. Conkling, was elected secretary but not a member of the Association board. He stepped down at the end of 1865 and was replaced by O. M. Hatch. James H. Beveridge, who served as the Illinois State Treasurer under Governor Oglesby, became treasurer for the National Lincoln Monument Association.
More than elections occurred at the May 11th meeting. Bylaws were approved to govern the Association, “agents appointed to collect funds, agricultural and horticultural societies called on to contribute, and the Treasurer directed to invest funds — which were already beginning to reach the treasury — in United States securities.” A great deal of progress had been made in a very short period of time. But just as things appeared to be in good order, an incident occurred that threatened to undo the entire project. (To be continued.)
THE NATIONAL LINCOLN MONUMENT ASSOCIATION
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Richard J. Oglesby was a political associate of Lincoln’s. He gained honor and distinction for his service in the Civil War, returning to Illinois to be elected Governor in 1864.
Orlin H. Miner served as Illinois State Auditor under Governor Oglesby.
John Todd Stuart served in the Illinois legislature, the U.S. House of Representatives, and was a leading lawyer in Illinois.
Jesse K. Dubois served in the Illinois legislature, was receiver of the U.S. Land Office, then Auditor for the State of Illinois, and was a close associate of Lincoln.
James C. Conkling served as mayor of Springfield, in the Illinois legislature, and was a leading lawyer and businessman in the city.
John Williams was a banker.
Jacob Bunn was a banker and eventually became Mrs. Lincoln’s conservator.
Sharon Tyndale served as Illinois Secretary of State under Governor Oglesby.
Newton Bateman was Superintendent of Public Instruction for the State of Illinois and was a friend of Abraham Lincoln.
Samuel H. Treat served as a Judge of the U.S. Court for Illinois.
Ozias Mather Hatch served as Illinois Secretary of State and was a close political confidant and ally to Abraham Lincoln.
S. H. Melvin was a prominent merchant, banker, and railroad man.
James H. Beveridge served as Illinois Treasurer for Governor Oglesby.
Thomas J. Dennis was mayor of Springfield and an accomplished architect.
David L. Phillips served as the U.S. Marshal for the Southern District of Illinois.