John Hancock, a well-traveled, heart-broken poet, arrived in Springfield in the summer of 1831. His journey began in Cornwall, England, in the late 18th century, with stops in Italy, France, London (where he studied law), and Canada before his arrival in the Sangamo Country, where he secured a job selling whisky and sundries in Jacob Capps’ Grocery. According to ISHS director John Hallwas, professor emeritus of history and English at Western Illinois University and a Medievalist who has written more than 20 books about Illinois history and culture, Hancock was the finest poet in the Midwest in the 1830s, a writer of exceptional depth who wanted to capture the Prairie experience in verse. He succeeded admirably. Hallwas’ book, The Poetry of H: Lost Poet of Lincoln’s Springfield (Ellis Press, 1982), is the basis for his new play, The Mysterious Bard of Sangamo, which was recorded this past summer.