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Ceremonies to honor Abraham Lincoln and his mother, Nancy Hanks Lincoln, have long been a tradition at the site. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, these consisted of reunions by veterans of the GAR. Beginning in the 1920s, the Boonville Press Club began sponsoring annual programs. Initially held at the pavilion that was built near the gravesite of Nancy Hanks Lincoln in 1909, the ceremony was later moved to the memorial building. Regardless of the location, though, an integral part of every program has been a walk, or pilgrimage, to the gravesite on the hill.
Did You Know?
In 1868, a Civil War veteran named William Q. Corbin visited the boyhood home of his former commander-in-chief. Corbin was dismayed by the unkempt appearance of Nancy Hanks Lincoln’s gravesite and wrote a poem. It was among the first known public accounts of the grave’s condition.