The Delaware County Historical Society’s (DCHS) Pennies 4 Lincoln campaign, in which the nonprofit is asking all residents of Delaware County to donate to help restore an 1860 Abraham Lincoln presidential banner, launched earlier this year on Lincoln’s birthday.
When appraised by Frisk and Borodin, the Lincoln banner was described as a "fine, rare and important American painted cloth presidential inauguration parade banner for Abraham Lincoln's two inaugurations, Delaware County, PA, 1860, with minor alterations for the second inauguration in 1864."
The banner was made for a rally in front of the Media Courthouse to celebrate the 1860 election of Abraham Lincoln and his vice president, Hannibal Hamlin. It was used again in rallies in 1864 with Andrew Johnson’s name painted over Hamlin’s.
It is made of cotton, and its dimensions are 75 feet by 64 feet. The front side of the banner is painted with an oval framed portrait of a beardless Lincoln; the reverse side has painted “Lincoln, Johnson" (painted over Hamlin) supported by cherubs suspending a garland with an angel holding a flag shield. Beneath the flag shield is “Media/Delaware Co.”
The campaign is the main fundraising focus of the society for the next year. DCHS hopes to raise enough funding through donations to cover the restoration and preservation of the banner, as well as the costs of the campaign.
In support of the campaign, visitors to the Delaware County Historical Society are now welcomed by the “A Taste of Abraham Lincoln” display, highlighting materials from the collection, including a portrait of the president, a plate commemorating Lincoln’s 1959 sesquicentennial and three volumes of Albert Beveridge’s biography on the 16th president. The Lincoln-related materials touch upon the significance he had on the nation and in the county. (The banner itself is being preserved on the third floor of the building.)
Although Lincoln himself did not live in Delaware County, many of his relatives did. A large group of Lincolns came to the United States in the 1600s with the Swedes.
Lincoln’s father, Thomas, was born in Virginia in 1780 and then moved to Kentucky where the future president was born before the family moved to Illinois.
Other Lincolns settled in the Darby area, especially in the area of Springfield Road. Among them was Abraham Lincoln’s first cousin, Elizabeth Lincoln Worrell, who lived from 1839 until 1932.
Historians note the president visited her, but it’s believed he did not come to her home as it was unsafe and another meeting location was more than likely used.
These Lincoln items and more are housed at the home of the Delaware County Historical Society, located at 408 Avenue of the States in Chester. It is open to the public Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.; and the second Saturday of the month from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Appointments are also available upon request. Parking is free in the lot behind the building or across the street in the city’s municipal lot.
For more information or for ways to get involved, call 610-359-0832.