Did Abraham Lincoln visit the Five Mile House?
With the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s assassination and the recent visit of the Lincoln Funeral Train to Charleston many visitors ask about Abraham’s connection to the Five Mile House. There is no evidence that Abe visited the FMH, but it is probable that he did. The road that he traveled on the 8th Judicial Circuit brought him past the Five Mile House twice a year during the 1840s & 50s.
The map to the right is from the 1869 Plat Maps of Coles County. The Five Mile House (in green) is located at the confluence of three roads - the York Trail (in red), the Westfield Road (in yellow) and the Archer Road (in blue, now Illinois Route 130). This would support the legend of the FMH being a stage coach stop or wayside inn. The name, Five Mile House, is also indicative of it being a wayside stopping place.
Historian, Charles Coleman documented that Abraham Lincoln traveled the York Trail and that he stopped to see Stephen Sargent (whose house was on the York Trail) as well as the Rennels family just east of the Five Mile House. This would bring Abraham past the Five Mile House when traveling to Charleston from Marshall, Illinois, and it would be logical and probable that he stopped at the FMH at one time or another.