‘Our Wilsons & Lincoln’ will salute the statue’s 100 years

Celebration at Greene County courthouse Sunday, Nov. 11

An inspiring story of how the unique statue of President Abraham Lincoln was commissioned, placed and dedicated on the Greene County Courthouse square 100 years ago will be told again on Sunday, Nov. 11, in a 2 pm program in the courthouse rotunda in Jefferson.

“Our Wilsons & Lincoln –100 years later” has been organized by the Courthouse 100 committee, which in the fall of 2017 put together the celebration of the building’s centennial.

In the era 1915-’18, there was not only great pride across the county in the new courthouse, there was also great anticipation for the designation and construction of the new Lincoln Highway on a route taking it on the south side of the square.

photo courtesy of the Greene County Historical Society collection

All that prompted attorney E.B. Wilson and his wife Minnie, who were community leaders in Jefferson, to decide to order and donate a statue of President Lincoln, whose leadership in the Civil War and subsequent assassination made him an enduring national hero.

The statue was actually dedicated on Sept. 22, 1918, and the Jefferson newspapers reported more than 5,000 people attended.

A century later, on this Nov.11, there’ll be a much smaller, but still meaningful, 100th anniversary celebration.

Courthouse 100 chairperson Don Van Gilder will welcome the crowd, and introduce Rick Morain, the program’s narrator.

Allan Sieck of Rippey will do a recitation of Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address.” He will be followed by Jefferson native Dean Parr, an active leader in both the National and Iowa Lincoln Highway Associations, speaking about the building of that important highway and its impact.

Then there will be a theatrical portrayal of the Wilsons, “reappearing” to tell their own version of the story about their gift of the statue. And Tori Riley will conclude the program with an original poem.

The program in the rotunda is free, and refreshments will be, too – apple cider from Deal’s Orchard and donut holes from Dunkers by Matt.

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