Vermillion County Museum and Fithian House

Vermillion County Museum and Fithian House

The true house Museum is housed in a home built by pioneer physician William Fithian, who in his time, served as prairie legislator, horseback doctor, Civil War surgeon and personal friend of Abraham Lincoln. Dr. Fithian and Lincoln became friends when they both served in the Illinois legislature in 1834 and the association continued until Lincoln's death. Lincoln first came to Danville to represent Fithian in a court case.

Fithian hosted Lincoln many times when he visited Danville and supported him both financially and with speeches when Lincoln ran for office. In September of 1858, Lincoln gave a speech from the south balcony of the Museum when he was campaigning for the U. S. Senate. The balcony, the window Lincoln stepped out and the bedroom Lincoln used on his visits remain as they were that autumn day in 1858. The bed in the Lincoln room is the bed the tall statesman slept in when he visited Fithian. There is also an original newspaper announcing Lincoln's candidacy, a photograph of him taken in Danville and a hand-written note from Lincoln to Secretary Risley written just a few months before his assassination.

Because he was a close friend of Dr. Fithian's, Abraham Lincoln was often a visitor in the home. Lincoln came to Danville for one of his last visits on September 21 1858. Lincoln was campaigning for a seat in the U. S. Senate and had completed four of the Lincoln/Douglas debates when he arrived in Danville. After arriving at the Doctor's home, Lincoln spoke informally, in his stocking feet, from the balcony on the south side of the house to people below on the lawn. After a political rally that evening, and the next night, Lincoln returned to spend the night in the Fithian home. The Lincoln Room contains the original floor that Lincoln walked upon and the canopied bed in which he slept. The picture made of yarn flowers has hung on the walls of this home since 1859.