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Colonel William Jones State Historic Site

Boone Street
Gentryville, Indiana

If you're planning to see the Lincoln Boyhood Home in southern Indiana, also consider stopping by this restored house in nearby Gentryville. Lincoln slept here the night he gave a campaign speech for Henry Clay, the Whig Party presidential candidate in 1844. Lincoln lived in Illinois at the time and included his old neighborhood in the campaign tour.

William Jones, owner of the house, served as a Whig party representative in the Indiana legislature from 1838 to 1841. He has been credited with steering Lincoln toward Whig politics. In the 1820s, Lincoln had worked odd jobs for Jones and clerked in his store. Jones reportedly said then, "Lincoln would make a great man one of these days." He also recalled that Lincoln read all his books, including one on American history.

In early 1861, before Lincoln traveled to Washington for his first inauguration, Jones visited him in Springfield, Illinois. A local paper reported, "Mr. Lincoln was called upon to-day by an old man from Indiana named Jones for whom thirty years ago he worked as a common farm-hand at a dollar a day." Once the Civil War broke out, Jones joined the Union Army, despite being in his sixties. He was a lieutenant colonel of the 53rd Regiment of Indiana Volunteers when he was killed at the battle of Atlanta in 1864.

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The house is a typical example of Federal architecture except for the second floor observatory. Jones and his wife Rachel built it about 1834, across the street from their store, which is no longer standing. The east room features 11-foot-high, built-in cupboards beside the fireplace. The kitchen once displayed the corner cupboard shown at the left. This piece, attributed to Lincoln's father, has since moved to an Indianapolis museum.

Hours: This historic site open free of charge (donation appreciated) mid-March through mid-December, Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m. and Wednesdays through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

Location: To reach Gentryville from I-64 in southern Indiana, take U.S. 231 south to Gentryville. Turn west on Boone Street to the site, about one-half mile distant. For more information call 812/937-2802 or write: Jones House State Historic Site, R.R. #1, Box 60D, Gentryville, IN 47537.

Related Link
Lincoln Early Life Timeline

Related Reading
Davenport, Don. In Lincoln's Footsteps: A Historical Guide to the Lincoln Sites in Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky. Revised edition, Trails Books, 2002.

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