16 US counties named after Abraham Lincoln, but not Maine’s

Mon, 02/07/2022 - 8:45am

    Twenty-four U.S. counties are named Lincoln, according to e-Reference Desk; 16 are named after the 16th President Abraham Lincoln. Maine is one of seven not named after the “Great Emancipator.”

    Of the seven Lincoln counties not named after the president, five are named after Major Gen. Benjamin Lincoln, who fought in the American Revolutionary War. The Massachusetts native commanded the Southern Department of the Continental Army and received the official British sword of surrender at Yorktown, e-Reference Desk states. 

    The counties named after Major Gen. Lincoln are in Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina and Tennessee, according to www.constitutioncenter.org; two counties are not named for either the president or general. The website states Lincoln County, Maine was founded by the Massachusetts General Court from a portion of York County, Massachusetts in 1760; Maine’s Lincoln County was named after Lincoln, England by Provincial Governor Thomas Pownall. Lincoln, England was Pownall’s birthplace. 

    At its founding, Lincoln County, Maine accounted for three-fifths of the state's land, and stretched east to Nova Scotia. Thirteen counties were cut out of this land including Sagadahoc County to the west and part of Kennebec County to the north, according to the Maine State Archives. 
    The remaining Lincoln County is in South Dakota. According to e-Reference Desk, the South Dakotan county’s name stems from Wilmont W. Brookings’ suggestion to name the county after his birth place in Lincoln County, Maine. The territorial legislature created Lincoln County, South Dakota in 1862.
    The third Monday each February is Presidents Day, a nationwide holiday. President Washington’s birthday is Feb. 22, 1732 and President Lincoln’s birthday is Feb. 12, 1809. According to constitutioncenter.org, Washington’s birthday was established as a federal holiday in 1885. The holiday changed to Presidents Day in 1971, with the Uniform Monday Holiday Act to create more three-day weekends.  Currently, a Lincoln Birthday holiday is celebrated unofficially nationwide. It falls on Monday, Feb. 21 this year.
    A few states observe Lincoln’s actual birth date. Washington, D.C. holds a ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial, where a wreath is laid. There were efforts right after Lincoln’s death to get this birthday recognized as a holiday, but there has never been a federal Lincoln birthday holiday. By 1890, Lincoln’s birthday was observed as a paid holiday in 10 states, according to constitutioncenter.org; states with Lincoln Birthday holidays on Feb. 12 include Illinois, California, Connecticut, Missouri and New York; in 1940, 24 states and the District of Columbia observed Lincoln’s Birthday.
    The site notes two states honor Lincoln the day after Thanksgiving. Indiana and New Mexico honor Lincoln for his Emancipation Proclamation.