TAYLORVILLE - The pig's name is
That symbolic moniker was probably the most serious
thing about Saturday's dedication ceremony at the
Christian County Courthouse for the new Abraham
Lincoln-with-pig statue, which commemorates one of the
lighter Lincoln legends.
"This statue is not only about Lincoln, but it's
about us as well," said Decatur artist John McClarey,
who created the bronze sculpture. "We all need to spread
a little humor and goodwill to those we meet in life."
The piece shows a young Lincoln, coat slung over his
left shoulder, reaching for Liberty, who is hovering
around Lincoln's right foot.
The statue, named "The Last Stop," is based on a tale
from Lincoln's early days as a lawyer, when he was a
circuit rider on the 8th Judicial Circuit. During a stop
in Taylorville, Lincoln asked a judge for a "writ of
quietus" to silence noisy pigs under the building.
Liberty - so named by a second-grade class at North
Elementary School - is clutching the "writ" in his mouth
now. After the statue was unveiled Saturday, young
visitors seemed indifferent about Lincoln's likeness but
delighted in rubbing Liberty's snout.
Anita Grundy's students won the pig-naming contest
sponsored by the Taylorville Women's Club. The class won
$100 and a Lincoln lithograph.
The $250,000 statue was financed by Taylorville
businessman Monte Siegrist.
The hour-long dedication attracted several hundred
spectators, who crowded the courthouse lawn to hear
speakers ranging from a Lincoln impersonator to U.S.
Sen. Dick Durbin.
Durbin said his family has some roots in the
Christian County area. While he's not sure they ever
interacted with Lincoln, "it's quite possible we had
something to do with those pigs."
"(Lincoln) not only showed a sense of humor," Durbin
said about the legend. "He showed that while he took his
job seriously, he didn't take himself seriously."
The statue doesn't show a smiling Lincoln - McClarey
said Lincoln appears "amused" - but it is a rare
depiction of Lincoln as something other than somber.
"It allows us to see the man Lincoln as just that - a
man," said Kim Bauer, curator at the Abraham Lincoln
Presidential Library in Springfield. "By placing him
back among the people, it reminds us that anyone is able
to achieve the American dream."
The statue is part of the statewide "Looking for
Lincoln" program. Taylorville officials think the statue
will draw sightseers to the small city.
"We fully expect the world to be coming to our
doorstep very soon," said tourism director Carol
Daniel Pike can be reached at 788-1532 or