Side A: Abraham Lincoln spoke from the rear of a Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton Railroad passenger train on Saturday, September 17, 1859, to about 1000 people at South Fourth and Ludlow streets (about 785 feet south of here). Lincoln, elected president of the United States a year later, made five Ohio speeches, considered an extension of his 1858 debates with Stephen A. Douglas while they competed for a U.S. Senate seat from Illinois. After Douglas defeated Lincoln, he toured Ohio supporting 1859 Democratic candidates. The Republican response was to ask Lincoln to do the same for his party. He spoke twice in Columbus on September 16, and in Dayton, Hamilton, and Cincinnati the next day. Later, Republicans swept the 1859 elections, selecting William Dennison Jr., an 1835 Miami University graduate, as governor and winning majorities in the legislature. When Lincoln became president, he appointed Dennison postmaster general in 1864. [Continued on other side]
Side B: [Continued from other side] Abraham Lincoln was accompanied to Ohio by his wife Mary and son Tad. His host on the trip was John A. Gurley, a Cincinnati congressman. Lincoln and Gurley together on the speech platform caused some laughter. At six feet four inches, Lincoln towered over Gurley. Lincoln took note, saying “My friends, this is the long of it,” pointing to himself, “and this is the short of it,” placing a hand on Gurley’s head. But turning to the seriousness of the slavery issue, he observed that “this beautiful and far-famed Miami Valley is the garden spot of the world.” He then said, “your sons may desire to locate in the West; you don’t want them to settle in a territory like Kansas, with the curse of slavery hanging over it. They desire the blessing of freedom, so dearly purchased by our Revolutionary forefathers.” Lincoln won the Republican presidential nomination eight months later.