Journey of the
Boulder in Lincoln-Douglas Park
In 1911 The Woodford County Historical Society selected a
granite boulder to commemorate an important historical event that
took place in Page’s Grove south of the city limits. Stephen
Douglas spoke first on September 30, 1858 and Abraham Lincoln spoke
on October 4, 1858 during the 1860 campaign for the presidency. The
boulder was donated by Thomas Bratt from his farm in Cazenovia
Township near Washburn.
The following article was written by G. Frederich Wright,
President of the Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Society, and author of “The
Ice Age in North America”.
The boulder chosen is a fine specimen of granite, or
rather of syenite, since as a third element it contains hornblend
instead of mica. In composition it is similar to the blocks which
were chosen for the casing of the pyramids in Egypt, and for the
monoliths and statues which were set up to adorn the valley of the
Nile. In the case of this monument, nature has done the quarrying
and the transporting. The nearest point where this rock was found
in place is several hundred miles to the northeast, some distance
beyond Lake Huron.
started upon its pilgrimage many thousand years ago when the great
ice sheet which crept down from the north during the glacial period
reached the granite ledges which appear upon the surface all over
Ontario and Quebec. They became entangled at a rate of not more
than four or five hundred feet a year and perhaps much less. The
glacier upon which it was transported filled the bed of Lake Huron,
advanced over the southern peninsula of Michigan, obliterated for
the time being the deep depression of Lake Michigan, and bore its
burden of boulders as far as Princeton, Peoria, Clinton, Decatur,
Mattoon and Paris, Illinois. This boulder did not quite complete
this journey, but was dropped off twenty-five or thirty miles before
it reached the terminal moraine of the Wisconsin Glacial epoch.
Woodford County is completely buried beneath the debris
which was brought along by this continental ice sheet, there being
hardly any out-crops of rocks anywhere in the county. At Metamora
these glacial deposits are 280 feet deep, and at Eureka 150 feet.
The wells with which you supply your water works in Eureka go down
only about half way through the glacial deposits, finding a supply
of water in beds of sand and gravel that are interstratified in the
general mass of ground moraine. Boulders similar in character to
the one chosen are probably confined to the upper portion of this
glacial deposit, the lower and older portion having been formed by a
glacial movement which came down from the northwest.
In proof that our boulder came from the north of Lake
Huron I would say that while we cannot demonstrate this with
reference to granitic boulders, since granite is so widely
distributed over British America, yet in one case, that of a
beautiful red jasper conglomerate rock whose only outcrop is a few
miles north of Lake Huron I have traced the boulders through the
southern peninsula of Michigan, across northern Indiana and
Illinois, passing almost exactly Woodford County, to Warsaw on the
Mississippi, where there was a boulder of this material three feet
in diameter, the enterprise of an Iowa citizen led him to transport
it to his door yard in Keokuk, where it remains as its most striking
ornament. One reason for my mentioning this is to warn you against
inferring that the ice crossed the Mississippi at Koekuk from the
fact that you may find this boulder on the Iowa side. It was first
captured in Illinois. Iowa obtained it by bold-faced robbery.
The boulder is now safe and has already proved in a
remarkable manner its power to resist the corroding tooth of time.
Without doubt it has lain for ten thousand years in the place where
you found it awaiting the service which it is now permitted to
render to the world. Doubtless, also, it was exposed for ten
thousand years more on its slow journey to witness the memorable
occasion when the two intellectual giants of the Prairie State
contended for the highest prize within the reach of a citizen of the
American Republic. Happy is it that it is now permitted to
perpetuate the memory of this great occasion to the end of time.
Dedication of the
Lincoln-Douglas Boulder took place during the Old Settlers' Picnic
held on August 24, 1911.
photo submitted by Shirley A. Adams.