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home, but there was young life to be taken into the account. The new sons-in-law of Mrs. Lincoln, as well as Abraham, were doubtless averse to repeating the severe experiences of the father, and with fresh life and enterprise desired a new and more inviting field of operations.
Mr. Lincoln sold out his squatter's claim in Indiana, and, on the first of March, 1830, less than a month after Abraham had completed his twenty-first year, he started for the land of promise in company with his family and the sons-in-law and two daughters of his wife. Their journey was difficult and tedious in the extreme. They found the rivers swollen by the spring rains, and through such mud as only the rich soil of the West can produce, the ox-teams dragged the wagons, loaded with the entire personal effects of the emigrants. One of these teams was driven by Abraham. Taking a northwesterly course, they struck diagonally across the southern part of Indiana, making toward the central portion of Illinois. After a journey of two hundred miles, which they made in fifteen days, they entered Macon County in that state, and there halted. The elder Lincoln selected a spot on the north side of the Sangamon River, at the junction of the timber land and prairie, about ten miles westerly of Decatur. Here, Abraham assisted his father in building a log cabin, and in getting the family into a condition for comfortable life. The cabin, which still stands, was made of hewed timber, and near it were built a smoke house and stable. All the tools they had to work with were a common ax, a broad ax, a handsaw, and a “ drawer knife.” The doors and floor were made of puncheon, and the gable ends of the structure boarded up with plank “rived” by Abraham's hand out of oak timber. The nails used—and they were very few—were all brought from their old home in Indiana. When the cabin and outbuildings were completed, Abraham set to work and helped to split rails enough to fence in a lot of ten acres, and built the fence. After breaking up the piece of inclosed prairie, and seeing it planted with corn, he turned over the new home to his father, and announced his intention to seek or make his
own fortune. He did not leave the region immediately, however, but worked for hire among the neighboring farmers, picking up enough to keep himself clothed, and looking for better chances. It is remembered that during this time he broke up fifty acres of prairie with four yoke of oxen, and that he spent most of the winter following in splitting rails and chopping wood. No one seems to know who Mr. Lincoln worked for during this first summer, but a little incident in the pastoral labors of Rev. A. Hale of Springfield, Illinois, will perhaps indicate his employer. There seems to be no room for the incident afterwards in his life, and it is undoubtedly associated with his first summer in Illinois. Mr. Hale, in May, 1861, went out about seven miles from his home to visit a sick lady, and found there a Mrs. Brown who had come in as a neighbor. Mr. Lincoln's name having been mentioned, Mrs. Brown said: “Well, I remember Mr. Linken. He worked with my old man thirty-four year ago, and made a crap. We lived on the same farm where we live now, and he worked all the season, and made a crap of corn, and the next winter they hauled the crap all the way to Galena, and sold it for two dollars and a half a bushel. At that time there was no public houses, and travelers were obliged to stay at any house along the road that could take them in. One evening a right smart looking man rode up to the fence, and asked my old man if he could get to stay over night. Well,' said Mr. Brown, we can feed your crittur, and give you something to eat, but we can 't lodge you unless you can sleep on the same bed with the hired man.' The man hesitated, and asked Where is he?' Well,' said Mr. Brown, you can come and see him.' So the man got down from his crittur, and Mr. Brown took him around to where, in the shade of the house, Mr. Lincoln lay his full length on the ground, with an open book before him. “There,' said Mr. Brown, pointing at him, he is.' The stranger looked at him a minute, and said, “Well, I think he 'll do,' and he staid and slept with the President of the United States."
There are some mistakes in this story. Mr. Lincoln worked for Mr. Taylor, who owned the farm, and boarded with Mr. Brown. There is an evident mistake in the date of the incident, for it puts Mr. Lincoln into Illinois three years or more before he removed from Indiana. Of the fact that he worked a summer, or part of a summer, on this farm, there is no doubt; and it is strongly probable that it was the first summer he spent in Illinois.
The expectation of the family to find a more healthy location than the one they had left was sadly disappointed. In the autumn of that year, all were afflicted with fever and ague. This was a new enemy, and they were much discouraged ; but no steps for relief or removal could be taken then. They determined, however, to leave the county at the first opportunity. In the meantime, the winter descended, and it proved to be the severest season that had been known in the new state. It is still remembered for the enormous amount of snow that fell. In the following spring, the father left the Sangamon for a better locality in Coles County, where he lived long enough to see his son one of the foremost men of the new state, to receive from him many testimonials of filial affection, and to complete his seventy-third year. He died on the 17th day of January, 1851.
A man who used to work with Abraham occasionally during his first year in Illinois,* says that at that time he was the roughest looking person he ever saw. He was tall, angular and ungainly, and wore trousers made of flax and tow, cut tight at the ankle, and out at both knees. He was known to be very poor, but he was a welcome guest in every house in the neighborhood. This informant speaks of splitting rails with Abraham, and reveals some interesting facts concerning wages. Money was
Money was a commodity never reckoned upon. Abraham split rails to get clothing, and he made a bargain with Mrs. Nancy Miller to split four hundred rails for every yard of brown jeans, dyed with white walnut bark, that would be necessary to make him a pair of trousers. In these days he used to walk five, six and seven miles to his work.