Veteran’s Day


9 April 1945

Mr. Dale Myers
Hamilton, Il

Dear Mr. Myers:

….In regard to the death of your brother Lawrence W. Myers, 36303536, S/Sgt. who died of gun shot wounds on 16th March: the men said of him “he always played the game” and was a good organizer to get teamwork in whatever he did. They think of him as “one who did more than his share” at all times. He is buried in USAF Cemetery Zamboanga, which is carefully tended by the Phillippinoes for the United States government…..

Very sincerely,
Vincent B. Appleton
Chaplain, AUS


1931 Bill Dispute Page 1

Billing disputes are as old as mankind, and women have been trying to help out their menfolk for just as long.  The disputed amount, $8.50, is equivalent to about $111 in 2009 dollars.


Nauvoo, Illinois —  April 22, 1931

Dear Mr. Seigfried:-

  Leonard Pagers and you are having trouble over $8.50 which at first you claimed he still owed on the Ford Roadster.  Now it is on a garage bill or labor.  Leonard says he has paid it and you say not.  I don’t know any thing about it, but I try to be fair and I want to see that this bill is paid, so there will be no trouble at all.  I am Leonard Pager’s girl, so I am hoping this leaves me a good name.  It is not my place to pay this bill, but if Leonard really owes it or not I am paying his bill anyway.  Mr. Weeks was out to see Leonard Pagers the other day, he also gave him a slip of paper which told him to appear at Burnside the twenthy-fifth day of this month.  I hope this trouble will all be over with.  I am Tom Mapes’ daughter.  Please let me hear if you get the money.

Sincerely yours,

Rosalie Mapes

Nauvoo, IL

The Lincoln Doorway

The Lincoln Doorway comes from the home where Abraham Lincoln habitually stayed when he visited Carthage, Illinois.  Lincoln Doorway

As Lincoln grew up in Green County, Kentucky, one of his close friends was a boy from the next farm over, Alexander Sympson.  The friendship was interrupted when Lincoln’s family moved to Indiana.  Sympson’s family subsequently moved and Alexander became a farmer and hotel-keeper in Monmouth, Illinois.  In 1844, he came to Carthage.

Just when and where the two became reacquainted is not clear, but we know that by 1858 they were close friends again, as Lincoln secured for Sympson the post of enrolling and engrossing clerk of the Illinois House of Representatives.

By this time, Sympson was now a Major and a well-established citizen of Carthage.  He lived in a brick residence on block west and one block south of the city square  and courthouse.

“Looking out toward the southeast was a room wherein Lincoln often slept after a fatiguing journey by horseback or buggy.  Mr. Lincoln’s visits to the home of his friends Sympson were always the  signal for a gathering of the pioneer citizens, and no matter how many of them came, or how late they remained, Mr. Lincoln was ever urbane and entertaining.” — Scofield’s History

At this time (1858), Lincoln was engaged in the historic campaign for the U.S. Senate seat against Douglas.  Major Sympson was an enthusiastic supporter of Lincoln and it was he who made the arrangements for Lincoln to speak at Republican nominating convention at a Presbyterian church in Augusta, Illinois on 25 August, 1858.  He and Lincoln drove from Carthage to Augusta in a buggy, followed by a large crowd on horseback and in vehicles.

Lincoln came back to Carthage on October 20th and spoke to a large crowd at the courthouse square.  This is the occasion that is marked near the south entrance to the courthouse with a boulder and a DAR plaque.  Following this speech, much of the crowd followed Lincoln the short distance to Sympson’s house, and he addressed them again from the doorway.  He remained in Carthage for the next four days. 

The Senate campaign ended in defeat for Lincoln, and he wrote to Sympson shortly afterward:  “I expect the result of the election went hard with you.  So it did with me, tho’  perhaps not quite so hard as you may have supposed.  I have an abiding faith that we shall beat the in the long run.” 

Although the campaign had failed, the friendship continuted.  In 1861, Lincoln assisted Sympson’s son in obtaining the post of enrolling and engrossing clerk in the U.S. Senate.  In his letter of recommendation for the job, Lincoln wrote, “His father is one of my best friends, whom I have not, so far, been able to recognize in any substantial way.”

After its heyday, the Sympson mansion fell into disrepair.  It stood unoccupied for many years, surrounded by weeds and rumored to be haunted.  When the structure was finally razed to make way for a new home,  the doorway was saved and used as a trellis for a rose garden.   Ultimately, it and a limestone doorstep from the home were rescued and donated to the museum.

The doorway now serves as the interior entrance to the Museum and additional Lincoln artifacts are on display to your right as you enter.

A Naval Hero’s Uniform: Commander James Carlin

James W. Carlin was born in 1844 in a log cabin that is thought to have stood on the southeast corner of the square in Carthage, Illinois.  In 1862, at the age of 18, he enlisted in the 118th Regiment and fought in the Civil War, inlcuding the battle of Walnut Hills. In 1864, he received an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, graduating in 1868.

Commander Carlin served for over 30 years in the navy. A high point in his career was his bravery during the hurricane at Apla, Samoa in 1889, as an officer serving in the USS Vandalia. Seven vessels were crowded in the small harbor. The Vandalia was smashed against a reef, settled, and began filling with water.

When the captain of Vandalia was washed overboard, Carlin assumed command and ordered his men to climb into the rigging. When another ship, Trenton, was borne down upon them, he ordered his crew to leap to her decks. His actions saved all but 39 of the crew.Officers of USS Vandalia (1876-1889)

The officers of the USS Vandalia. Lieutenant Carlin is seated third from the left. Source:

A banquet in his honor was held in San Francisco on June 5, 1889. One of the guests was Rudyard Kipling, who describes the event in his “American Notes” (Kipling’s biting wit about the event can be read in full here.) He was quite cynical about the speeches until Carlin rose to speak. Kipling notes, “Such a big brave gentle giant! He rose to his feet and delivered what seemed to me as the speech of the evening…and I for one fell in love with Carlin on the spot. He was a man!” (In another testament to Carlin’s nature, as well as some insight into the recollected horrors of the hurricane in Samoa, the Army Navy Journal published an article  in 1900 about his encounter with a mouse.)

Carlin died of typhoid fever on December 13, 1900, aboard the vessel City of Peking, two days out of Manila, enroute home. When Carlin was buried in Carthage, a company of naval reservists, an infantry company, and a drum corps came on a special train from Quincy, IL. They marched to the home of his sister and her husband, Mr. and Mrs. W. E. Boswell on South Madison Street, located at the present site of the gray apartment house on the east side of Madison. There, the body lay in state, clothed in an “undress” navy uniform with an officer’s cap on his breast. At the opera house (now the site of the city library), the procession was joined by Alexander Sympson Post of Grand Army of the Republic and proceeded to the Methodist Church. Stores were closed and schools dismissed for the occasion.

Following the service, the cortege proceeded to the old Carthage cemetery where Carlin was buried next to his parents. There, a modest grey headstone bearing an anchor still marks his grave.

His uniform is on display at the Kibbe Museum.

More about Commander Carlin:

New York Times death notice