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HOMAS LINCOLN selected a quarter-section of land situated on Nolin's Creek, near Hodgensville, for a farm. The site chosen for his home was near an ever-flowing spring of pure, cool, refreshing water, issuing from a cleft in a rock shaded by forest trees. Asters, columbines, and other flowers bloomed around it, drawing their moisture from the crystal fountain.
We may justly infer that the carpenter could not earn much money by working at his trade. Not many mills had been built for sawing
THE SPOT ONCE OCCUPIED BY THE CABIN IN WHICH
lumber, and consequently the time had not come for erecting frame-houses. A log-cabin could be easily constructed by the settler himself felling the trees and notching the logs. His neighbors would manifest their friendship by coming to the "rolling," lifting the logs that were to form the cabin walls, and partaking freely of the whiskey provided for the occasion. The owner of the house could lay the stones for the fireplace and hew the timbers for the floor. The cabin built by Thomas Lincoln had but one
room. The floor was not laid, no glass had been purchased for a window, or boards provided for a door, when it became the home of the family.
The wife had not many utensils for house - keeping - probably a Dutch-oven, frying-pan, a few tin dishes, wooden plates, and a bucket. None of his ancestors could have ever lived in a home more destitute of needed articles or one more cheerless. Perchance the cabin of his father on the Yadkin or that at Bear-grass Fort may have been but little better; but the home of Mordecai, the iron-founder of Scituate, and that of Mordecai, the land proprietor of Freehold and Amity, were palaces in comparison with this habitation. Shall we conclude that inability to acquire wealth or that intellectual decadence are the natural outcome of the adverse circumstances of life on the picket - line of civilization? It is not probable that the grandfather or father of Thomas Lincoln had much opportunity to attend school. Theirs was a limited education. The owner of the home on Nolin's Creek did not know the letters of the alphabet until taught them by his devoted wife. How shall we account for the gradual waning of intellectual endowment in the generations between the active and energetic "gentleman," the landed proprietor of Freehold, and the unambitious carpenter of Hodgensville? Though the roots of the husband's ancestral tree reached down to Puritan England, and, on the part of the wife, to the days when a King of Britain confronted imperial Rome, nature gave no intimation, through hereditary descent, of the coming of one who should be a redeemer to millions of his fellow-men. The evolution had been downward rather than upward. No prophetic voice whispered of coming greatness; no sign appeared; no star rested above the cheerless cabin by Rock Spring, in which, February 12, 1809, Abraham Lincoln, son of Thomas and Nancy Hanks Lincoln, was born.
To keep out the snow and rain possibly the skin of a bear may have hung across the doorway of the cabin, or that of a deer over the opening left for a window; but the wintry winds had free access through the unplastered crevices between the logs. Here the mother folds in her
arms her infant son. Here she attends to her household duties-living the routine of drudgery, baking the corn-bread, frying the bacon, dressing the skins of the deer brought down by her husband's rifle, making his clothing, carding cotton and wool to obtain a dress for herself and garments for her children.
It was not a difficult matter for Thomas Lincoln to obtain meat for his family, as the woods abounded with deer and wild turkeys. It was more of a task to obtain corn. When obtained, it must be taken to Mr. Hodgen's mill for grinding. What other home surpasses this in exhibition of pathetic scenes? Another child came, to live only a few hours. Nancy Hanks Lincoln-queenly in personal appearance, imperial in her aspirations-attends to her wifely duties. The day begins and ends with religious service. The cultured wife reads the Bible to the uncultured husband. His lips utter the prayer. The Puritan instinct in the husband has come down through the successive generations from the Hingham straw-thatched cottage in old England, and in the wife from the Friends' home on the white hills of Wales. In the gloaming, when work for the day is done, the mother tells the stories of Abraham, Moses, David, and the Child of Nazareth. The horizon of her life was wider than the walls of her home. That her kind-hearted husband might be more than he was to her, himself, and his fellow-men, she taught him the alphabet; but he never was able to construct sentences. She showed him how to write his name, but his proficiency with the pen ended with that attainment. The iron which had given vigor to his ancestors seems to have been wanting in his blood. Little did this mother know how deeply her lessons of truth and virtue went down into the heart of her listening son; how in the fulness of time the germs would put forth their tender shoots; how her own spirit would reappear in his, and the beauty of her soul glorify his life.
She had few opportunities to gratify her longings or enlarge her sphere of usefulness. Occasionally a preacher came to the log meetinghouse at Little Mound to hold services on Sunday. Like her own home, it had no floor. Logs split in halves served for seats. Public spirit in Hodgensville had erected the building, but had not provided glass for the windows. To this meeting-house, located three miles from the Lincoln home, settlers came from far and near-parents and children, on foot or on horseback. It was not only a place for religious service, but the news exchange, where, before and after the sermon, they could hear what was going on in the community and in the world outside of Nolin's Creek. At Little Mound young men could look into the faces of the