Mt. Pulaski Courthouse Celebrates Lincoln’s Birthday on Feb.11
“Menter Graham” Meets His Descendants
Charles Stanley will portray Menter Graham, Lincoln’s teacher at New Salem, at the Mt. Pulaski Courthouse’s celebration of Abraham Lincoln’s 208th birthday, on Feb. 11, beginning at noon. Visitors that day will be welcomed by Abraham Lincoln to an afternoon which will include refreshments and a variety of children’s activities. Starling will include everyone in an old-time “blab” school.
Children will be invited to write with a quill pen and draw pictures on a slate just as children did in Lincoln’s time. There will be scratch off shapes and bookmarks along with an opportunity to make valentines. There will be a scavenger hunt with prizes, as well as other games. Parents are invited to come along to help their children.
Jeane Duff Connolley, who lives in Mt. Pulaski, is the great, great granddaughter of Menter Graham who lived at New Salem in the 1830’s and 1840’s. She and her two daughters, Jane Connolley Pharis, of Mt. Pulaski, and Ann Connolley Olson, of Elkhart, will greet Charles Starling in his role as Menter Graham.
One of Abraham Lincoln’s favorite desserts was Apple Pie with Rum Sauce. The pie will be made and donated by Mike and Jennifer Richner of Hilltop Catering. Cookies will be provided by several community members.
Starling portrayed Graham at new Salem for almost 20 years, until he retired in 2010. Since then he has volunteered to share the schoolmaster’s story occasionally. Starling’s first career was as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine until volunteering at New Salem led him to get a Master’s Degree in history. After that he worked at New Salem full time.
The Abraham Lincoln birthday party is sponsored by the Mt. Pulaski Courthouse Foundation, which was begun in 2011 to help care for and spark interest in the Courthouse, where Abraham Lincoln practiced law. The Courthouse, which was built in 1848, is one of the State Historic Sites operated by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency.