#105: Lincoln and Kankakee – Shocking New Discoveries with Tom George and the Kankakee County Museum


Abraham Lincoln paid a visit to Kalamazoo, MI only one time in his life. This once in a lifetime visit actually has a connection to Kankakee, IL. 

On this episode with the Kankakee County Museum, Tom George, Vice President of the Kalamazoo Abraham Lincoln Institute, shares his passion for local history and his research on Lincoln’s visit to Kalamazoo in 1856. He explains that Lincoln’s visit was a result of internal Illinois politics and his desire to secure the vote of Alonzo Mack, a state representative from Kankakee County. This episode also sheds light on the political intrigue and corruption that existed during Lincoln’s time in politics and his role as a watchdog for the people of Illinois.

Listen in to learn more about Lincoln’s connection to Kalamazoo and Kankakee County and how you can help fill in the gaps in local history.

References and links:

“‘Mechem’ or ‘Mack’: How a One-Word Correction in the Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln Reveals the Truth about an 1856 Political Event”
JALA Summer, 2012
“Lincoln and the First Corruption of Illinois”
JALA Fall, 2021
“Overlooked Letter to Lincoln Reveals Misstep in 1855 Senate Race”
For The People, The Newsletter of the Abraham Lincoln Association, Winter, 2015. Page 6-8.

Kankakee County Museum: https://www.kankakeecountymuseum.com/

Kalamazoo Abraham Lincoln Institute: https://kalamazoolincolninstitute.org/