Petersburg’s history dates back to 1833 when George Warburton and Peter Lukins, friends of Abraham Lincoln, founded the settlement. Abraham Lincoln surveyed the town in 1835-1836. In 1840, many of the New Salem residents (this is “Lincoln’s New Salem”) moved into Petersburg (the living town we see today) and New Salem ceased to exist, passing into history. The New Salem residents were responsible for creating Petersburg and for its  growth. In 1839 Menard County was formed from the North part of Sangamon County. Petersburg was selected as the county seat and continues to be the location of the county courthouse and county offices.

(1) OAKLAND. Ann Rutledge, Abraham Lincoln’s sweetheart during his New Salem days, is buried at Oakland Cemetery just south of Petersburg. This is the in the header for the webpage. Edgar Lee Masters, one of America’s greatest modern poets and authors (Spoon River Anthology) is also buried in Oakland Cemetery a short distance from the Rutledge burial site.
(2) ROSE HILL. New Salem friends of Lincoln (Samuel Hill, Dr. John Allen and Dr. Francis Regnier) are buried in Rose Hill Cemetery just east of Petersburg on Route 123. Major B. F. Stephenson, who founded the Grand Army of the Republic, is also buried at Rose Hill Cemetery.

(3) FARMERS POINT. Mentor Graham, who was Lincoln’s teacher and long-time friend, is buried in the Farmers Point cemetery. This cemetery is located about one mile south of New Salem at the junction of State Routes 97 and 123.


Edgar Lee Masters lived with his family in Petersburg for eleven years in the house that is now the Masters Memorial Museum. Masters. Many of the lush Victorian-era homes built by early wealthy inhabitants still stand on the bluffs of Petersburg. Some of the original cobblestone streets are preserved, complementing the beautiful residential architecture

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