Abraham Lincoln arrived unceremoniously in Illinois in mid-March 1830, part of another anonymous wagonload of people making their way west. Thirty-one years later, he departed Illinois, the most famous person in the country.
In those years, he lived in Macon County, New Salem, and Springfield, where he met and married Mary Todd Lincoln and they raised four sons. In those 31 years, he was a failed businessman, a surveyor and postmaster. He studied law and built a successful legal practice. He honed his political skills in the state legislature, served a single term in Congress, and challenged one of the most prominent politicians of the time. He rose to become the President of the United States. In bidding farewell to his adopted hometown, Lincoln noted that “to this place, and the kindness of these people, I owe every thing.”