Clinton was founded in 1835 and named after DeWitt Clinton, an American politician. It is reported that in 1858 Abraham Lincoln gave a speech in Clinton in which he famously said, ‘You can fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time, but you cannot
fool all of the people all of the time”.
They dedicated their town square to President Lincoln.
We were armed with the 1933 Census data and knew his boyhood home address. It was the first place we set out to find. There it stood - in disarray. It appeared that a second story had been added but we could imagine my Grandmother and Grandfather living there with their three children: two girls and a boy. They were poor. His dad, Otto Gideon Pettyjohn died young. He was alcoholic. I never knew him. I got out and looked around the corner house, aware that I was walking in the very place that dad called his home. What must life have been like for him as a young boy?
Our next stop was the Catholic Church. Dad was an alter boy at this Church. Although the church doors were locked we did return later and went inside. The priest was less than friendly and seemed annoyed by our presence. The intense hatred dad had for the Church leaves much for my sisters and I to imagine.
We had lunch at the Shack. A restaurant that was there when dad lived there. As we sat at the table we speculated about whether he had eaten there. His family was poor. Maybe he worked there. Maybe he just passed by now and then.
Before we left on the trip I did some research, as I always do, developing an itinerary that maximizes our time. I found the C.H. Moore Homestead Museum. When I described this to my sisters, I said, “This probably won’t be that interesting. I saw a video on line, but lets try it anyway.” It turns out that it was a great find. And, this is the reason for the Apple and Pork Festival. It is a fundraiser to fund the mansion's upkeep. Imagine. This small community of just over 7,000 residents swells to over 80,000 during the festival.
Joey Woolridge, tells us about the old mansion before we explore. It turns out she was a wealth of information and had passion for Clinton history. She was more interesting than the mansion.
The Mansion was built after the Civil War and completed in 1867. It only took a couple of questions and Joey was off, talking about various families and Clinton history beyond the home. At one point she disappeared and upon return she presented information about James Pettyjohn who owned the Pettyjohn Saloon in Kenney, Illinois, a short drive from Clinton. This was our Great-Grandfather. There was a murder in his saloon. It must have been a big deal. How fun to learn this small detail!