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the eldest daughter, married Ralph Crume, and Nancy, the fourth child, married William Brumfield. Their descendants are still found in Hardin, Washington, and other counties in that neighborhood.
Explanations are wanting for the circumstance that Thomas, the youngest son and brother of this prosperous family, whose father was slain before his eyes when he was only six years old, was turned adrift, without home or care, for at ten years of age we find him a wandering, laboring boy" who was left uneducated \ and supported himself by farm work and other menial employment, and learned the trades of carpenter and cabinet-maker. But he must have had good stuff in him, for when he was twenty-five years old he had saved enough from his wages to buy a farm in Hardin County. Local tradition, which, however, cannot always be trusted, represents him to have been "an easy going man, and slow to anger, but when 'roused a formidable adversary." He was above the medium height, had a powerful frame, and, like his immortal son, had a wide local reputation as a wrestler.
While learning his trade in the carpenter shop of Joseph Hanks, Thomas Lincoln married Nancy Hanks, his own cousin, and the niece of his employer. He probably met her at the house of Richard Berry, with whom she lived, and must have seen a good deal of her at the home of her uncle. At all events, the cousins became engaged; their nuptial bond was signed according to the law on June 10, 1806, and two days later they were married by the Rev. Jesse Head, at the home of Richard Berry, near Beechland, Washington County, Kentucky.
Nancy Hanks was descended from William Hanks, who came to this country in 1699 and settled at Plymouth, Massachusetts. Four of his five sons moved to Amelia County, Virginia, where they had a large tract of land. One of their descendants, Joseph Hanks, married Nancy Shipley, and in 1789 moved to Kentucky
with a large party of his relatives. In 1793 he died, leaving eight children, who were scattered among their relatives, and Nancy, the youngest, when nine years old, found a home with her aunt, Lucy Shipley, the wife of Richard Berry. She is represented to have been a sweet-tempered and handsome woman, of intellect, appearance, and character superior to her position; and could even read and write, which was a remarkable accomplishment among the women of that day. She taught her husband to write his name. But she had no means whatever, being entirely dependent upon her uncle, and it is probable that she was willing to marry even so humble a husband as Thomas Lincoln, for the sake of securing independence and a home.
Thomas Lincoln took his wife to a little log cabin in a hamlet called Elizabethtown, probably because he thought that it would be more congenial for her than his lonely farm in Hardin County, which was fourteen miles away; and perhaps he thought that he could earn a better living by carpenter work than by farming. Here their first child, Sarah, was born about a year after the marriage.
Thomas Lincoln either failed to earn sufficient money to meet his household expenses or grew tired of his carpenter work, for, two years later, he left Elizabethtown and moved his family to his farm near Hodgensville, on the Big South Fork of Nolen Creek. It was a miserable place, of thin, unproductive soil and only partly cleared. Its only attraction was a fine spring of water, shaded by a little grove, which caused it to be called "Rock Spring Farm." The cabin was of the rudest sort, with a single room, a single window, a big fireplace, and a huge outside chimney.
In this cabin Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809, and here he spent the first four years of his childhood. It was a far reach to the White House. Soon after his nomination for the Presidency he fur
nished a brief autobiography to Mr. Hicks, an artist who was painting his portrait, in which he said,
"I was born February 12, 1809, in then Hardin County, Kentucky, at a point within the now County of Larue, a mile or a mile and a half from where Hodgen's mill now is. My parents being dead, and my own memory not serving, I know no means of identifying the precise locality. It was on Nolen Creek.
"June 14, 1860."
The precise spot has since been clearly identified, and the cabin was still standing after his death.
In 1813 the family removed to a more comfortable home on Knob Creek, six miles from Hodgensville, where Thomas Lincoln bought a better farm of two hundred and thirty-eight acres for one hundred and eighteen pounds and gave his note in payment. This was Abraham Lincoln's second home, and there he lived for four years.
We know little about his childhood, except that it was of continual privation in a cheerless home, for Thomas Lincoln evidently found it difficult to supply his family with food and clothing. Mr. Lincoln seldom talked freely of those days, even to his most intimate friends, although from remarks which he dropped from time to time they judged that the impressions of his first years were indelible upon his temperament and contributed to his melancholy. On one occasion, being asked if he remembered anything about the War of 1812, he said that when a child, returning from fishing one day, he met a soldier in the road and, having been admonished by his mother that everybody should be good to the soldiers, he gave him his fish.
Thomas and Nancy Lincoln had three children. Sarah, the eldest, at the age of fourteen married Aaron