PRINCETON — Fourth of July, 1856, is remembered in Bureau County for a visit by Abraham Lincoln. He came to Princeton that year for a political rally in support of the newly organized Republican Party. Lincoln and Owen Lovejoy were keynote speakers for the event.
The rally took place in Bryant Woods, a large grove of trees located west of the John Howard Bryant on South Main Street, Princeton. Bryant was among the earliest settlers to Bureau County, arriving in 1832 from Cummington, Mass. John Howard Bryant and Owen Lovejoy had both been involved with the formation of the Illinois Republican Party.
In 1978, the Bureau County Historical Society placed a marker in Bryant Woods to commemorate Lincoln’s visit. A dedication ceremony was held on July 4th.
The Lincoln Bicentennial in 2009 gave the historical society an opportunity to replace the original plaque. More information was added, along with edits to the old text. Visitors may see the new plaque in Bryant Woods Subdivision. It is located close to the road on the north side, about halfway into the housing development.