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A work week in rural Illinois with Black Hawk, Joseph Smith and Abe Lincoln by Ann Treacy
March 17, 2023, 4:56 pm
Filed under: Illinois

The band is back together. I’m on the road in rural Illinois with Bill, one of my favorite work-road-trip buddies. It’s always a good mix of productive work chat, small town sight seeing, catching up and good advice. We saw a few highlights.

The tourism portion of our trip began with the Black Hawk Statue in Oregon IL. It’s quite impressive at 50 feet and is a memorial to Chief Black Hawk, Sauk leader in what is known as the Black Hawk war 1832. We also did drive-bys for the birthplace of John Deere and childhood home of Ronald Regan.

For work, I got to tour a hog farm with 60,000 hogs as well as soybean fields and processing facilities. (Thankfully, we couldn’t see the hogs because of bio-security issues. Whew!) I’ve toured hog farms before. What’s amazing is that success is made in pennies per pound. So every penny you can save in the nurturing, butchering or process of making the bacon helps and precision ag makes a big difference. Also I got to sit on big tractor. Woo!

Because we were in Carthage, we visited death place of Joseph Smith, founder of Latter Day Saints. We went to the jail where he was shot and we met by tour guides who may or may not have been dressed in period piece attire. They are clearly devotees; super informative but also a little unsettling. Here’s the abridged story (thanks to Wikipedia)…

Carthage Jail is best known as the location of the 1844 killing of Joseph Smith, founder of the Latter Day Saint movement, and his brother Hyrum, by a mob of approximately 150 men.

We spent time in the jail. Creepy! And saw the door through which Joseph was shot and the window through which he thrust himself to save the followers who were with him (in front of the mob) in the small room. Word is, the Smiths knew they were going to die in Carthage but were peaceful that day anticipating the murder.

Our biggest stop was the Abraham Lincoln Museum in Springfield. It is worth av visit! The multimedia makes it feel interactive. The segment on the emancipation was particularly interesting. Even on his own team, some think he goes too far, and some think he doesn’t go far enough. There’s a hallway set up that reminds me of walking the MN Capitol when contentious topics are being discussed. No one listens; everyone shouts. It emphasizes the need to vote for people you think you will actually do the right thing when the time comes.

A striking exhibit is a bronze cast or Lincoln’s face as he started he’s presidency and five years into it. The aging is palpable. Then there are “rooms” that focus on segments of Lincoln’s life that help us see how that fast aging happened. Lincoln not only led the nation during an extremely tumultuous time but he had a lot of person tragedy happening at the same time. Hearing about his plans to focus on the positive on the day of his assassination is heartbreaking.


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