Adlai Stevenson II Found Solace at Farm

Article excerpt

Byline: Diana Dretske

Politics often runs in a family and Adlai E. Stevenson II (1900-1965) definitely had the pedigree for it.

Stevenson was governor of Illinois from 1948 to 1952, and twice the Democratic nominee for president. His grandfather and namesake was vice president to Grover Cleveland in the 1890s, and his great-grandfather was a close friend of Abraham Lincoln and the first to suggest that Lincoln run for president.

Stevenson made his first political appearance at age 10 at a big Democratic rally in Bloomington. He was brought up "in the tradition that politics and public service should be high and honorable callings in a democracy."

Lake County became Stevenson's chosen home in 1938 when he built "the farm" as a getaway from the world of law (he graduated from law school in 1926) and politics.

One of Stevenson's farm aides recalled that "in the (1940s), he would come home every evening after working in his Chicago law office. He'd ride horses on weekends and we'd talk about plowing and reseeding." He loved to take walks along the trail that ran from the 12-room home to the Des Plaines River, often commenting on Lake County's lush green prairies.

Guests at one party at "the farm" included Eleanor Roosevelt. Interestingly, when Stevenson was nominated to run against Dwight D. Eisenhower for president in 1952, he opted to let the Democratic convention choose his running mate. …