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John McClarey Statues in Metamora, Illinois

Titled "Out of Court," these bronze statues by Illinois sculptor John McClarey were dedicated on August 22, 2009, the bicentennial year of Abraham Lincoln's birth. They stand in the town square just south of the restored Metamora Courthouse where Lincoln practiced law before the presidency. Located in Woodford County east of Peoria, this courthouse was on the old Eighth Judicial Circuit which Lincoln traveled as early as the 1830s.

The woman depicted in the full-size statue grouping is Melissa Goings, a 70-year-old accused of killing her abusive husband in 1857. Lincoln had been assigned to her case, but the charges were stricken from the docket because she failed to appear in court. Supposedly Lincoln counseled her in a downstairs office or somewhere outside before her case came up. Lincoln explained her absence to the judge by saying "I did not chase her off. She simply asked me where she could get a good drink of water, and I said ... Tennessee has mighty fine water." It was believed that the townspeople sympathized with Goings and allowed her to escape capital charges.

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