Beardstown is one of Illinois’s older towns, first settled in 1819. The City’s founder, Thomas Beard, was from Ohio, and with his friend General Murray McConnel of Edwardsville, arrived at an Indian Mound Village in 1819, located just below the Mascouten Bay. French explorers had named the site “Beautiful Mound Village” because the Indian camp was at the base of large Indian burial mounds. Beard erected a log cabin at the river’s edge and began trading with the Indians.
Later Beard built a two story brick building which was used for 85 years as a store and inn. This inn was later razed when the new post office was erected on the site. Many people soon settled in this bounty land. In 1829, the city was plotted and named for Thomas Beard.
The original town consisted of 21 blocks along the river front, 3 blocks deep, with the City Square as the center block. The inn sheltered the young lawyer Abraham Lincoln on his visits to Beardstown, and the square is where Abraham Lincoln gave his “a house divided cannot stand” speech in 1858.
As a young man, Abraham Lincoln was chosen to lead the Sangamon County company of soldiers during the Black Hawk War in 1832. He was installed as Captain on a spot near the Illinois River located in Schmoldt Park at the North end of Wall Street in Beardstown.
Beardstown prides itself as being a town rich with history. In his heyday, Al Capone traveled here frequently for the spectacular duck hunting, and you’ll still find many residents with vivid memories of encounters with him. Many of our older buildings proclaim our past architectural heritage.
Though many years have passed and modern improvements have taken place, Beardstown maintains a flavor of days gone by, while continuing to be one of the fastest growing communities in Illinois.
We are know far and wide as the Watermelon Capitol of the nation, with melons trucked to every major city in the country where they are advertised as “Beardstown Melons”. Along with the melons, Beardstown is know for the catfish meals served here. A town rich with history growing to the future with an eye on maintaining our roots, Beardstown continues to be a hometown we are all proud of.