Designed and painted by: G. Byron Peck
William Hervy Lamme Wallace could have begun the practice of law with a Springfield lawyer named Abraham Lincoln. Instead, while traveling to Springfield, he met Ottawan T. Lyle Dickey and established a successful law practice here. Dickey and Wallace were to enjoy a long and close relationship, first as law partners, then as soldiers in the Mexican War, then as father- and son-in-law after Wallace married Dickey’s daughter, Ann. On politics they did not always see eye-to-eye, but when the Civil War came, they were fighting on the same side, The Union.
Even as Wallace was lying wounded on the Shiloh battlefield, his wife was struggling to reach her husband in Tennessee. She was to spend the final moments of Wallace’s life by his bedside.
Wallace, Ann and their daughter Isabelle are shown in the mural created by G. Byron Peck. The faces of several of the soldiers who surround the painted general are Ottawa soldiers. Honored by military historians for withstanding a Confederate onslaught at the Battle of Shiloh, Wallace was nearly forgotten in his adopted hometown until the mural brought him and his heroism to life again. Wallace now lies in a family cemetery on Ottawa’s north bluff, not far from the home he built in 1858. The two-story Gothic Revival-style home known as “The Oaks” is also pictured in the mural. The Wallaces furnished their eight-room house in a handsome fashion with furniture brought west from Boston, Mass. In the late 1930s, the house was made into a state museum, but it was eventually sold to a private owner and its contents, which still included many of Wallace’s personal possessions, were liquidated.
Ann’s father, T. Lyle Dickey, is also buried in the family cemetery. His home, “Valley View” is also located on the north bluff.
T. Lyle Dickey was a respected Ottawa attorney and justice of the Illinois State Supreme Court, as well as a commander in the Union cavalry in the Civil War. He was a circuit court judge from 1848-51, and from 1868 to 1870, served as an assistant U.S. Attorney General, carrying arguments to the
U.S. Supreme Court. From 1875 until his death in 1885, he was a justice on the Illinois Supreme Court. Dickey was a beloved friend of Abraham Lincoln, and their friendship endured despite political differences. Dickey campaigned for Stephen Douglas against Lincoln. During most of his stays in Ottawa, Lincoln was a house guest of the Dickeys.