DeWitt County Genealogy Trails

Rachel Hutchin Turner's Memories of Abraham Lincoln
February 12, 1909
Kenney Gazette
DeWitt Co., Illinois


Today, February 12, 1909, is the one hundredth anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln and for weeks past the papers and magazines have teemed with stories by people who knew Lincoln. The following article concerning one of our townspeople is clipped from the Decatur Herald:

In the little town of Kenney, 20 miles northwest of Decatur, there lives a woman who was a onetime intimate friend of Abraham Lincoln. She is Mrs. Rachel J. Turner, aged 77 years, a pioneer resident of DeWitt county, now residing with her daughter, Mrs. O.W. Howard, in Kenney.

It was at the home of her father, Thomas Hutchin, one half mile north of Kenney, that Lincoln and other circuit riders used to stop over night. That was in the early fifties when Mrs. Turner was about 18 years old. Although well advanced in years Mrs. Turner relates with minute detail how Lincoln would ride into the barnyard, unsaddle his horse and stride into the house, sometimes to eat supper and retire, at other times to request a fresh horse in place of his own worn-out mount to continue on his journey, either to Clinton or Springfield.

Before Lincoln had stopped at the Hutchin house a half dozen times there sprung up a warm friendship between the members of the family and the sad faced young lawyer. Mrs. Turner?s father, Thomas Hutchin, and Lincoln became fast friends and many times the former accompanied Lincoln from one town to another on the circuit.

?Yes, I knew Lincoln very well,? says Mrs. Turner. ?I used to sit by my father?s side and listen to Lincoln?s stories, and I remember how he would look forward to the time when he would arrive with happy anticipation of a most enjoyable time. Once Lincoln took my father to Springfield with him where they spent several days together. I was to go also, but sickness prevented my leaving home. Whenever Lincoln would pass the house on his way to Clinton, and it was still early in the day he would always stop to shake hands with us and sometimes eat something before continuing on the way.?

Mrs. Turner smiled when she told of how on one occasion Lincoln came to the house with several other riders and cautiously mentioned a little trick which they played on Lincoln, but she refused to reveal the nature of the trick. She said that it was a great joke on Lincoln.

Mrs. Turner was born Sept. 26, 1831, in DeWitt county. She enjoys perfect health and possesses all her faculties, reading without the aid of glasses and sometimes walking long distances without apparent fatigue.

Submitted by Sue Barnett Gaumer who adds:
"Thomas Hutchin is my great-great-great grandfather. b. 11 Apr 1782; d. 29 Jul 1852 in Kenney, DeWitt, IL. Thomas is buried in Pleasant Valley Cemetery in Kenney, IL.
Rachel Jackson Turner, b. 26 Sep 1831 in Jacksonburg, Butler, Ohio; d. 4 Aug 1918 probably in Kenney, DeWitt, IL. Rachel is buried in Pleasant Valley Cemetery in Kenney, IL.

Rachel is a sister of my great-great grandfather: Charles E. Hutchin
Mary is buried in Pleasant Valley Cemetery in Kenney, IL."