Anna-Jonesboro - Trail of Tears Site - Lincoln-Douglas Debate
Elaine Shemoney Evans
The marker is located in a pull-out area west of Jonesboro on the south side of IL 146.
P.A.S.T of Union County and The Illinois State Historical Society
Union County was created January 2, 1818, when Illinois was still a territory. County commissioners established Jonesboro as the county seat on land donated by John and Juliet Grammer.
During the frigid winter of January 1839, thousands of Cherokee, enroute from Georgia to Indian Territory in Oklahoma, camped near here along Dutch Creek, unable to cross the Mississippi due to floating ice. Nearly 2000 of the 13,000 who began the “Trail of Tears” died during the journey.
In the 1850s the Illinois Central Railroad planned to run tracks through this area. Jonesboro was asked to have a survey made at a cost of $50. When the town failed to meet this requirement, Winstead Davie submitted a survey routing the railroad through his property east of Jonesboro. A town was platted in 1854 along the tracks and Davie named it “Anna” in honor of his wife, Anna Willard Davie.
On September 15, 1858, the third Lincoln-Douglas debate was held north of the Jonesboro square. Lincoln was a guest of D.L. Phillips at 511 S. Main in Anna. The debate was attended by less than 1500 people – the smallest crowd of the series.
During the Civil War, Anna served as one of the rendezvous points in Illinois for troops. Eight Union regiments were assembled here. General Grant spent one week in Anna mustering in troops. In 1869 the Southern Illinois Hospital for the Insane – now the Choate Mental Health Center – was built in Anna.
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