Lincoln and His Wife's Hometown


Lincoln and His Wife's Hometown


The Lexington History Museum celebrates the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial by exploring the development of his modern political, moral, and spiritual persona during the four visits he made to Lexington ― and how the community of the time reflected the deep divisions of the white and African-American communities in Lexington, fundamental causes that led to the nation to civil war.

William H. Townsend

A prominent Lexington corporate and trial lawyer, William H. Townsend was a nationally recognized authority and writer on Abraham Lincoln and collector of Lincolniana. A raconteur of rare talent, his recorded speech on Cassius M. Clay is regarded as a classic. He was a founder of the Kentucky Civil War Round Table in 1953 and served as its president until his death, chairman of the Kentucky Lincoln Sesquicentennial Commission and member of the national commission, a trustee of Lincoln Memorial University, and a long-time director of the Lexington Public Library.

Townsend’s first book on Lincoln published in 1936 was titled Lincoln and His Wife’s Hometown. In 1955, he expanded the body of knowledge and published Lincoln in the Bluegrass: Slavery and Civil War in Kentucky.

This exhibit takes its title from the first book, but the content is primarily based on the second. Both books are available for purchase online.

History Mysteries

One tends to regard history as “cast in stone.” By this view, once recorded, history cannot change. But we know different. Just recently, the archaeological remains of the original fort at Jamestown, Virginia, were discovered ― rewriting the “history” of the first permanent English colony in North America. This exhibit draws heavily on the research of William H. Townsend, a preeminent Lincoln historian of the mid-20th century. Respected and diligent as he was, we believe gaps exist in his research that we have difficulty documenting.

Look for the “History Mystery” discussions and draw your own conclusion. Remember, history is happening every day!