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ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

CHAPTER I.

THE RAW MATERIAL.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN knew little concerning his progenitors, and rested well content with the scantiness of his knowledge. The character and condition of his father, of whom alone upon that side of the house he had personal cognizance, did not encourage him to pry into the obscurity behind that luckless rover. He was sensitive on the subject; and when he was applied to for information, a brief paragraph conveyed all that he knew or desired to know. Without doubt he would have been best pleased to have the world take him solely for himself, with no inquiry as to whence he came,

as if he had dropped upon the planet like a meteorite; as, indeed, many did piously hold that he came a direct gift from heaven. The fullest statement which he ever made was given in December, 1859, to Mr. Fell, who had interrogated him with an eye "to the possibilities of his being an available candidate for the presidency in 1860:" "My parents were both born in Virginia, of un

distinguished families, second families, perhaps I should say. My mother . . was of a family of the name of Hanks, some of whom now remain in Adams, some others in Macon, counties, Illinois. My paternal grandfather, Abraham Lincoln, emigrated from Rockingham County, Virginia, to Kentucky, about 1781 or 1782. His ancestors, who were Quakers, went to Virginia from Berks County, Pennsylvania. An effort to identify them with the New England family of the same name ended in nothing more definite than a similarity of Christian names in both families, such as Enoch, Levi, Mordecai, Solomon, Abraham, and the like."

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This effort to connect the president with the Lincolns of Massachusetts was afterward carried forward by others, who felt an interest greater than his own in establishing the fact. Yet if he had expected the quest to result satisfactorily, he would probably have been less indifferent about it; for it is obvious that, in common with all Americans of the old native stock, he had a strenuous desire to come of "respectable people;" and his very reluctance to have his apparently low extraction investigated is evidence that he would have been glad to learn that he belonged to an ancient and historical family of the old Puritan Commonwealth, settlers not far from Plymouth Rock, and immigrants not long after the arrival of the Mayflower. This descent has at last been traced by the patient genealogist.

1

So early as 1848 the first useful step was taken by Hon. Solomon Lincoln of Hingham, Massachusetts, who was struck by a speech delivered by Abraham Lincoln in the national House of Representatives, and wrote to ask facts as to his parentage. The response 1 stated substantially what was afterward sent to Mr. Fell, above quoted. Mr. Solomon Lincoln, however, pursued the search further, and printed the results. Later, Mr. Samuel Shackford of Chicago, Illinois, himself a descendant from the same original stock, pushed the investigation more persistently. The chain, as put together by these two gentlemen, is as follows: Hingham, Massachusetts, was settled in 1635. In 1636 house-lots were set off to Thomas Lincoln, the miller, Thomas Lincoln, the weaver, and Thomas Lincoln, the cooper. In 1638 other lots were set off to Thomas Lincoln, the husbandman, and to Stephen, his brother. In 1637 Samuel Lincoln, aged eighteen, came from England to Salem, Massachusetts, and three years later went to Hingham; he also was a weaver, and a brother of Thomas, the weaver. In 1644 there was a Daniel Lincoln in the place. All these Lincolns are believed to have come from the County of Norfolk in England, though what kinship existed be

1 Two letters, now in the possession of Mr. Francis H. Lincoln, of Boston, Mass.

2 New England Hist. and Gen. Register, Oct., 1865.

8 Ibid., April, 1887, vol. xli. p. 153.

4 See articles in N. E. H. and G. Reg. above cited. Mr. Lincoln's article states that in Norwich, Norfolk County, Eng., there

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