Sullivan

Sullivan, Illinois

“More Than Just a Small Town”

Little Theatre on the Square located in Sullivan, Illinois

Little Theatre on the Square located in Sullivan, Illinois

“More Than Just a Small Town,” Sullivan serves as the county seat of Moultrie County and is home to The Little Theatre On the Square, the only Equity (professional) theatre located between Chicago and St. Louis.

In addition, the city serves as the north gateway to Lake Shelbyville, and also marks the west edge of the area’s large Amish settlement.

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Abraham Lincoln traversed the county as a circuit riding lawyer and tried many cases in one of the county’s first courthouses. The present courthouse, the county’s third, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Two local crafters, who regularly participate in craft shows throughout the United States, are Carol Gregory, owner of Briarwood in Sullivan, and Steve and Teresa Poland, whose wooden welcome wreathes are custom made for anyone, whether they be sports fans or farmers, professional people or those who like to change their welcome signs for each season of the year.

Briarwood features primitive, country, colonial and cottage painted pine furniture and accessories. It is located on West Harrison Street.

CivicCenter

Civic Center

Sullivan also is home to two large parks located on land donated by city residents. Wyman Park has baseball diamonds, tennis courts and children’s playground areas and a lake stocked each spring with rainbow trout.

Tabor Park, full of songbirds and wildlife, has beautiful walking prairie plantings and exercise stations. Both parks have pavilions for family picnics.

The community also boasts three modern medical facilities, a city library and many other amenities not always associated with small town living.

Sullivan High School

Sullivan High School

Sullivan Parks

Wyman Park

Wyman Park

Sullivan boasts two 40-plus acre parks. Wyman Park was established in the will of Albert Wyman in 1912. It offers picnic

facilities, tennis courts, baseball diamonds, playground equipment, including a Kiddie Korral for young children, and fishing in Wyman Lake.

Tabor Park

Tabor Park

 

Tabor Park, also bequethed to the city of Sullivan, offers jogging or hiking trails complete with excercise stations and is

handicapped accessible. It is located along tree-lined Asa Creek, and also features prairie grasses and some picnic facilities.

(Photos below by R.R. Best)

It all began at Fort Moultrie

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Sullivan and Moultrie County both have roots in Charleston S.C

Mason Point (formerly known as Masonic Home)

Arial View of masonic Home 406

Stately Masonic Home Located outside of Sullivan is home to more than 190 retired persons.


Sullivan Local Business Directory

Central Illinois Public Transit
5.00

Address:
114 E. Harrison St, Sullivan 61951
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Smyser Christian Church
0.00

Address:
1521 Whitley Point Road, Gays, Illinois 61928
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Moultrie Housing – Sullivan Landlord Association
3.83

Address:
Sullivan
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First Christian Church
4.00

Address:
RR1 Box 328, Sullivan
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Sullivan Church of God
0.00

Address:
321 N. West, Sullivan
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Faith Lutheran Church
1.00

Address:
H-32 S. PO 109, Sullivan
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Lovington Christian Church
0.00

Address:
301 S. County St, Lovington
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New Beginnings Apostolic Church
3.00

Address:
307 S. Washington, Sullivan
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Highway Church of Christ
0.00

Address:
704 W. Jackson, Sullivan
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Allenville Christian Church
0.00

Address:
2 blocks west on Martin Street off Rt. 121, Allenville
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Bible Baptist Church
0.00

Address:
Rt.# 3, Box 106, Sullivan
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First Church of God
5.00

Address:
1213 E. Jackson, Sullivan
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Bethany Cumberland Presbyterian Church
5.00

Address:
219 South Lincoln, Bethany
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First United Methodist Church
5.00

Address:
216 W. Jefferson, Sullivan
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Elizabeth Titus Memorial Library – August 2017

Story Time: Every Wed. 10:00 - 10:30 a.m. Book Club: August 24 at 1:00 pm. Reading "Education of Dixie Dupree" by Katherine Hewitt. TOPS: TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) meets every Tuesday morning at 10:00 a.m. DMV: There is no DMV scheduled for this month. Monday, August 7: Summer Reading Classes being this week. Grades K-2 is 9:00 - 10:00 am and grades 3-5 is 10:30 - 11:30 am. Friday, August 11: Prize Fair for Summer Reading from 9:00 am - 5:00 pm The library now has a color copier/printer for public use.

Elizabeth Titus Memorial Library – July 2017

Story Time: Every Wed. 10:00 - 10:30 a.m. On Wednesday, July 26, story time will be with Molly Foust. Book Club: July 20 at 1 p.m. Reading: "A Man Called Ove" by Fredrik Backman MMQ's: Every Tuesday 9:30 - 11:30 a.m. TOPS: TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) meets every Tuesday morning at 10:00 a.m. DMV: Thursday, July 20, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Kids PG Movie: Every Friday in July at 1 p.m.

Elizabeth Titus Memorial Library – June 2017

Story Time: Every Wed. 10:00 - 10:30 a.m. Book Club: Reading: "Hidden Figures" by Margot Lee Shetterly - June 15 at 1 p.m. Summer Reading: K-5 Summer Reading begins Thursday, June 1 MMQ's: Every Tuesday 9:30 - 11:30 a.m. TOPS: TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) meets every Tuesday morning at 10:00 a.m. DMV: Thursday, June 22, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. YA Summer Reading: Every Thursday beginning June 8 from 1-3 p.m.

Elizabeth Titus Memorial Library – May 2017

Story Time: Every Wed. 10:00 - 10:30 a.m. Book Club: May 18, 1 p.m.: "Brother Wind" by Sue Harrison MMQ's: Every Tuesday 9:30 - 11:30 a.m. TOPS: TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) meets every Tuesday morning at 10:00 a.m. DMV: Thursday, May 18, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Closed: Monday, May 29 Plant A Kiss: Wednesday, May 3 Y.A. Summer Reading: Young Adult Summer Reading registration begins May 8th and ends May 26th. This is open to students going into 6th grade and up. Sign up for one class or all. There will be a scavenger hunt, a murder mystery, and design building. June 8, June 15, June 22: 1-3 p.m. Our pizza party and movie will be June 29 (1-3 p.m.) Volunteer Opportunity: ETML is looking for Summer Reading Volunteers. All student volunteers will receive service credit. Multiple dates and times are available June 6 through August 12. Summer Reading: Prevent the sum mer slide; build a bridge Reading by design Registration begins May 8th How the program works: • Register any day from May 8th_July 28th • Summer Reading is open to all students going into Kindergarten to 5th grade. • Keep track of how may books you read this summer using the log sheet we give you • Come in once a week to have your log updated and earn library bucks for prizes. • Start reading June 15'. Last day to log books is August 5th. • Classes will be August 7th - 11th There will be crafts, activities, and games • Kindergarten-2 grade: 9:00-10:00 • 3rd-5th grade: 10:30-11:30 End of Summer Reading Prize Fair is August 12th 9:00am -- 5:00pm, all age group

Elizabeth Titus Memorial Library – March 2017

Story Time: Every Wed. 10:00 - 10:30 a.m. Book Club: "Mother Earth Father Sky" by Sue Harrison TOPS: TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) meets every Tuesday morning at 10:00 at Elizabeth Titus Memorial Library, Sullivan. Crazy 8's Math Club: Tuesdays starting March 14th (runs for 8 weeks) from 4 - 5 p.m. Quilting: Tuesdays 9:30 - 11:30 a.m. DMV: Thursday, March 16, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Elizabeth Titus Memorial Library – February 2017

Wee Time: Every Wed. 9:35 - 9:50 a.m. Story Time: Every Wed. 10:00 - 10:30 a.m. Book Club: Thursday, February 16, 2 p.m. - "The Last Kingdom" by Bernard Cornwell TOPS: TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) meets every Tuesday morning at 10:00 at Elizabeth Titus Memorial Library, Sullivan. MMQ's: Mondays from 9:30 - 11:30 a.m. DMV: Thursday, February 16, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Elizabeth Titus Memorial Library – January 2017

Closed: Monday, January 2 Wee Time: Every Wed. 9:35 - 9:50 a.m. Story Time: Every Wed. 10:00 - 10:30 a.m. Book Club: Thursday, Jan. 19 at 2 p.m. - "Ordinary Grace" by William Kent Krueger. TOPS: TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) meets every Tuesday morning at 10:00 at Elizabeth Titus Memorial Library, Sullivan. MMQ's: Mondays from 9:30 - 11:30 a.m. DMV: Thursday, January 19, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Elizabeth Titus Memorial Library – December 2016

Story Time: Every Wed. 10:00 - 10:30 a.m. Story Time Christmas Party Wednesday, Dec. 21 Cookie Decorating: Wednesday, Dec. 14, 3:30 - 5 p.m. Crazy 8's Math: Monday, Dec. 5 and Tuesday, Dec. 6, 4-5 p.m. Library Closed: Friday, Dec. 23, Monday, Dec. 26 and Friday, Dec. 30 Book Club: Thursday, Dec. 15, 1-2 p.m. "The Girl Who Escaped Isis" by Farida Khalaf

Elizabeth Titus Memorial Library – November 2016

MMQ's: Every Monday 9:30-11:30a.m. Wee Time Story Time: Every Wed. 10:00 - 10:30 a.m. TOPS: (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) meets every Tuesday morning at 10:00 for an hour at the Sullivan Library. DMV: Thursday, November 17, 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. Library Closed: Friday, November 25

Elizabeth Titus Memorial Library – October 2016

MMQ's: Every Monday 9:30-11:30a.m. Wee Time Story Time: Every Wed. 10:00 - 10:30 a.m. TOPS: (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) meets every Tuesday morning at 10:00 for an hour at the Sullivan Library. DMV: Thursday, October 20th, 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. Halloween Party: Wednesday, October 26, 10 - 10:30 a.m. Crazy 8's Math Club: The Crazy 8's Math Club is being offerd again at the library. Session 2 will start in October. It is open to any students who participated in the first session or new students. The classes are all new and just as fun as the first session! K-2nd Grades will meet Mondays from 4-5 p.m. Fist session meets Monday, Oct. 17th and the last session meets Monday, Dec. 6th 3rd-5th Grades will meet Tuesdays from 4-5 p.m. First session meets Tuesday, Oct. 18th and the last session meets Tuesday, Dec. 7th All students must register before Oct. 12th. Class size is limited to 10-12 students, so sign up today!

Spotlight – Lake Shelbyville

Covering 11,100 acres, Lake Shelbyville is a premier recreational lake operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with cooperation from the Illinois Dept. of Natural Resources. The lake, located in Moultrie and Shelby counties, has approximately 172 miles of shoreline dotted with secluded coves and features nine federal park facilities, two state parks and three marinas. The range of activities available both on the lake and through these facilities includes boating, fishing, swimming, water skiing, camping, hiking, picnicking, horseback riding and hunting - and that’s just during the warm months. Winter sports include ice fishing, snowmobiling and cross-country skiing. Construction of the lake started in May 1963, and water impoundment began in the summer of 1970. In addition to the main dam, which is located at Shelbyville, the lake features two unusual bridges, the 3,200 ft. Findlay Bridge and the Coal Shaft Bridge, the design of which are unique in the United States. Two of the three marinas on Lake Shelbyville are located in Moultrie County. Sullivan Marina, located south of Sullivan on Illinois Route 32, has overnight facilities, a restaurant on the lake, gas, fresh water service for boaters and a campground. Findlay Marina, located just west of the Findlay Bridge, offers boat and motor sales, a snack bar and gas service. Both of these marinas, as well as the Lithia Springs Marina, located near the Shelbyville Dam at the south end of the lake, offer boat rentals and information on fishing guide services. The numerous coves along the 172 mile shoreline are secluded and often used to picnic, overnight in houseboats, swimming and fishing.

When Lincoln Left

When Lincoln left Lincoln’s final visit to Moultrie County precipitated a memorable riot on the Sullivan square during his unsuccessful Senatorial campaign against Stephen Douglas. On Monday morning Sept. 20, 1858, Ben D. Hamlin got on his horse and started to school near what is now Coles Station. He was soon overtaken by a crowd of people. Some of the people knew him and called “Ben, go to Sullivan and hear Douglas and Lincoln.” He had seen Douglas and Lincoln at Charleston when they debated, but not knowing when he would see such great men again, he joined the procession. Farther down the road Abraham Lincoln was riding in Cunningham’s carriage with John Will True driving the fine, cream-colored, matched team with white manes and tails. Cunningham’s son, John, was riding in the carriage with Lincoln. The mile-long procession which Ben had joined, consisted of wagons, the Bowling Green, Ind. brass band, and horsemen with banners and flags waving. They crossed the river at Nelson Ford, passed the Charles Shuman farm and came into town on the same road that the Lincoln family had taken when they came to Illinois in 1830. Lincoln was taken directly to the home of Judge James A. Elder, 1/2 mile east of town, where the Tim Singiser residence is now. (None of the Elders residing in the county now are direct descendants of this family, but the News-Progress has learned that the late Art Palmer’s mother was an Elder.) Judge Douglas came to Sullivan that day along the Charleston road which passed Old Julian and near what is now the Illinois Masonic Home. His procession was headed by a band, followed by a delegation of ladies on horseback with their colored scarves and bright hued flags waving. Next came Douglas, the charming Mrs. Douglas, Mr. Merrick and Bob and Lizzie Ginn riding in a fine carriage which Bob Ginn had purchased in Chicago for the occasion. According to an account in the Charleston News, Sept. 18, 1907, Ben Hamlin, when asked about the debates at Charleston, said, “I don’t remember much about it,” but he did remember Abraham Lincoln standing on Judge Elder’s porch and waving to Senator Douglas who was going to Joseph Thomason’s “Eagle House.” And he remembered more of this entire eventful day in Sullivan. Douglas had announced that his speech would start at 10 a.m., but he delayed most of the morning at Ginn’s place and seemed to be in no hurry to get started. In the Wilder Publishing Co. 1900 Biographical Album it states that in June 1856, at Shelbyville, Anthony Thornton and Mr. Lincoln were to have a joint discussion on slavery and the Nebraska Bill. Mr. Thornton said, “As it was my meeting, and as a matter of courtesy, I consented that Mr. Lincoln should open the discussion. He commenced at 2 o’clock and spoke until nearly 5.” Since it was a farm community, this left very little time for Mr. Thornton’s reply. Apparently this incident was the reason for Douglas’ delay. Mr. Thornton and John R. Eden, another wise politician were with Douglas. As time dragged on, and thousands of people milled about the unpaved streets of Sullivan, the dust got thicker and tempers got shorter. The Sullivan Express of Sept. 17, 1858 had printed the following story: “Speaking! Senator Douglas and A. Lincoln will appear before our citizens on next Monday to address them on political matters. Let everybody be in town at an early hour for we expect to have a glorious time. The ladies are especially invited — two brass bands expected.” The north side of the square at this time was lined with “bacchanalian halls” and the walk was a “sod corn row,” but the south side was respectable enough to advertise an “oyster saloon and eating house.” It was between these two streets that the Douglas speaking stand was set up. Finally, a little before 1 p.m. George Lynn Jr. delivered a note to Douglas in his hotel room. The note read, “Understanding that Judge Douglas would speak before dinner, I announced that I would address our friends at Freeland’s Grove (currently on the site of the parking lot between the Sullivan Civic Center and the American Legion building) at 2 p.m. As he does not begin till 1 o’clock, if he will announce the fact, so that I can understand it, I will postpone to three o’clock. A. Lincoln.” Shortly after this incident Douglas went to the speaker’s stand where John R. Eden gave a welcome speech. When Douglas rose to speak, he said, “Just as I was approaching the stand, I received a message from Mr. Lincoln, who, as you know, is a candidate for the United States Senate, stating that he had made an appointment to speak in this town, this date, at Freeland’s Grove, in the vicinity of this place, but would postpone his speech there until three o’clock, he requesting that I should make this announcement.” He then proceeded with his speech. Sometime between 2:30 and 3 p.m. the Lincoln group decided that they had waited long enough so they fell in line behind a wagon carrying their band and marched from the north down the west side of the square and turned east at the south side of the square. The band was playing loudly, and when they attempted to pass through the crowd pandemonium broke loose. Apparently no one was very badly hurt, though there were blows struck by both sides. Although Lincoln was in Sullivan many times while riding the circuit, Sept. 20, 1858, according to what researchers have been able to find, was the last time he was here, and a memorable day it was.

What Lincoln Wrote

What Lincoln wrote Each spring and fall between 1847 and 1853, Lincoln again passed through Moultrie County accompanying the circuit judge through the counties of the Eighth Judicial Circuit. The lawyers would take cases to be tried before Judge David Davis, circuit judge, who later became Abraham Lincoln’s campaign manager. The exact route to and from the county seat is not well known, although it is known that they came from Shelbyville to Sullivan and went from Sullivan to Decatur. Although nothing was written by Lincoln about his trips to Sullivan, it has been assumed that his attitude toward Sullivan was a little kinder than that of Judge Davis. In reference to Sullivan in letters written to his wife, Judge Davis wrote that it was a little town “not any better than Clinton.” “The people are the regular hunting shirt Tennesseans.” These excerpts from Davis’ letters appear in a biography of Davis written by Willard L. King. According to the book, Davis described an all-day trip to Sullivan in the rain. “With a buffalo robe, umbrella and overcoat, he claimed that he kept from getting wet. In time they learned to stop at farms along the way.” Again, quoting from a letter to his wife, Davis wrote, “Lincoln, Anthony Thornton, Campbell & Moulton and myself went to John Ward’s about five miles from Shelbyville. Whiled away several hours, got a fine dinner, & about 3 o’clock started for Sullivan where we got about 6 o’clock.” “As usual the tavern at Sullivan looked bad, and they tried to stay somewhere else: We found Mrs. James Elder with a very sick headache and abed. We went to a tavern, but I only got supper. Really got vexed on account of (bad) stable for horses. Went to Mrs. Elder’s & slept & next morning got breakfast at tavern & afterwards took all our meals & slept at Mrs. Elder’s. The tavern was so tough, that I should have been in a bad humor to have staid there.” “With joy, Davis drove from Sullivan to Decatur. Leaving Sullivan one morning they reached Decatur about 3 p.m.” The circuit riders used to stay in each county seat about one week or as long as was necessary to try the cases that had come up in the past six months. In 1853 several counties were removed from the Eighth Judicial Circuit. Among these was Moultrie. Only one court record bearing A. Lincoln’s signature, promissory note, was found by researchers when they searched old records in the courthouse several years ago. Any others were believed lost when the county’s first permanent courthouse burned down in 1864. There is evidence that Lincoln also went through Moultrie County on his way from Springfield to visit his father and stepmother when they lived near Charleston. During these journeys he passed by the Shuman farm to cross at the Old Nelson Ford. The Rev. Donald Brown, while a minister at the First Baptist Church here, did some research with the Shumans about the trail past the home of Charles B. Shuman’s grandmother, the daughter of Major Addison McPheeters who owned the land at that time. Although Mrs. Shuman did not remember seeing the tall lawyer, she was told by friends and family that she had seen him when she was quite young. It was a custom for the travelers on horseback, as well as the stage coaches, to evade the mud holes at the corner of the farm by crossing the pasture. This hospitality was likely granted to Lincoln. Grandmother Shuman told of the popularity of Lincoln in her time. When he forded the river on his return toward Springfield, he is supposed to have stopped near the Shuman farm to care for his tired horse. Each time, the neighbors would gather to listen to the future president talk. He made friends quickly with his humor and storytelling. In other stories about Lincoln in the county, old settlers in Allenville tell of his pleading cases in the settlement of Old Nelson south of Nelson Ford. He is supposed to have pleaded cases in a log building west of the late Walter Welsh’s barn. All that remain of this settlement today are a cemetery on the south bank of the river, evidence of a mill in the field between the road and the river and old maps of the county showing the settlement. It is also believed that on some of his trips through the county he stopped at the Black Horse Tavern in Lovington, which was on the stagecoach route. The site of the tavern is now the location of the Lovington Post Office. Lincoln was definitely not a stranger to Moultrie County before he spoke in Sullivan during the Senatorial campaign in 1858.
*Correction : Abe Lincoln's full sister, Sarah, did not accompany the Thomas Lincoln family to their homestead in Illinois. Two years older than Abe, she died in childbirth when the family still lived in Indiana.

Abraham Lincoln History

2002 The Moultrie-Douglas Experience

Abraham Lincoln history

Sullivan is located on the Lincoln Heritage Trail which was dedicated in August 1963.  Abraham Lincoln traveled through the county with his family as a young man, returned here to practice law when he was riding the circuit and later during his unsuccessful campaign against Stephen A. Douglas for the U.S. Senate. Abraham A promissory note signed by A. Lincoln in 1851 was discovered a few years ago in the Moultrie County Courthouse by a team of researchers who are reconstructing his career as a lawyer riding the Eighth Judicial Circuit. His final visit to Moutrie County was when he was unsuccessful in his bid for the Senate seat in 1858. Although this visit was not one of the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates, both men were scheduled to speak while here and their encounter ended in a near riot. Abraham Lincoln arrived in town in a carriage accompanied by the Bowling Green, Ind. brass band and horsemen with banner and flags waving. They crossed the river at Nelson Ford, east of Sullivan, on the same road the Lincoln family had taken when they first came to Illinois in 1930.  Lincoln was taken to the home of Judge James A. Elder just east of Asa Creek on what is now Rt. 121. Judge Douglas' arrival way by way of the Charleston road.  His procession was headed by a band, followed by a delegation of ladies on horseback.  His destination was Joseph Thomason's Eagle House. The Sullivan Express of Sept. 17, 1858 reported: "Speaking! Senator Douglas and A. Lincoln will appear before our citizens on next Monday to address them on political matters.  Let everybody be in town at an early hour for we expect to have a glorious time.  The ladies are especially invited -- two brass bands are expected." As remembered by Ben D. Hamelin, it was Monday, Sept. 20. Douglas' speaking stand was set up on the square. Thousands of people milled about the unpaved streets of Sullivan, and the dust got thicker and tempers got shorter. A little before 1 p.m. a note was delivered to Douglas which read, "Understanding that Judge Douglas would speak before dinner, I announced that I would address our friends at Freeland's Grove (next to the Present Civic Center) at 2 p.m. As he does not begin until 1 o'clock, if he will announce the fact, so that I can understand it, I will postpone to three o'clock.  A. Lincoln " Shortly thereafter, Douglas went to the speaker's stand where John R. Eden gave a welcome speech. When Douglas rose to speak, he said, "Just as I was approaching the stand, I received a message from Mr. Lincoln, who, as you know is a candidate for the United States Senate, stating that he had made an appointment to speak in this town, this day, at Freeland's Grove, in the vicinity of this place, but would postpone his speech there until three o'clock, he requested that I should make this announcement." He then proceeded to speak. Sometime between 2:30 and 3 p.m. the Lincoln group decided that they had waited long enough, so they fell in line behind a wagon carrying their band and marched down the west side of the square.  The band played loudly, and when they attempted to pass through the crowd, pandemonium broke loose. Apparently no one was very badly hurt, though there were blows struck by both sides.