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While he lived in Kentucky, he never saw even the exterior of what was properly a church edifice. The religious services he attended were held either at a private dwelling, or in some log school-house, or in the open grove :
"Fit shrine for humble worshiper to hold
The boast of our vain race, to change the form
Unsatisfactory results of these many years' toil on the lands of Nolin Creek, or a restless spirit of adventure and fondness for more genuine pioneer excitements than this region continued to afford, led Thomas Lincoln, now verging upon the age of forty, and his son beginning to be of essential service in manual labor, to seek a new place of abode, far to the west, beyond the Ohio river.
MR. LINCOLN'S EARLY LIFE IN INDIANA.
The Removal from Kentucky.-An Emigrant Journey.-The Forests of Southern Indiana.-New Home of the Lincoln Family.-Indiana in 1816.-Slavery and Free Labor.-Young Lincoln at His Work.His Schools and Schoolmasters.-Self-Education.-A Characteristic Incident.-Acquaintance with River Life.-His First Trip to New Orleans as a Flatboatman.-Death of His Mother.-His Father's Second Marriage.-Recollections of an Early Settler.-Close of an Eventful Period in Young Lincoln's History.
EARLY in the autumn of 1816, an immediate departure for the new wilds of Indiana, was determined on by Thomas Lincoln. It was no very imposing sight, certainly, as the little. family, bidding the old Kentucky home adieu, moved forward upon their long and winding pioneer march. Many sad thoughts there undoubtedly were in that small group, and perhaps some forebodings, also, as their former place, gradually receding, at length disappeared from their reverted eyes. But these emotions must soon have been lost in the excitements of their journey.
It was no novel picture which they presented, for that period, as they advanced on their lonely way, for the days required to bring them to the place whence they were to cross the "Beautiful River." The plain wagon, with its simple covering as a shelter for its lading of household utensils, articles of food, and "varieties," was drawn by a not too-spirited or overfed horse, in a harness probably compounded of leather and hempen cords of an uncertain age. In the forward part of this conveyance, sat the emigrant wife and her daughter, nine years old, while the father and his son, now past seven, walking in the rear, took care that the indispensable cow kept pace to the
music of the jolting wheels. Underneath the wagon, or scouting at pleasure through the surrounding woods, was of course a large dog, constant to the fortunes of his master's family, and ready for any fate to which their migrations might lead him. Arrived at the appointed landing on the banks of the Ohio, it only remained to embark the little caravan upon a flatboat, and to cross the stream, now swelled to fair proportions by the autumn rains. Finally, after reaching the Indiana side, the adventurers landed at or near the mouth of Anderson's Creek, now the boundary between the counties of Perry and Spencer, about one hundred and forty miles below Louisville, by the river, and sixty above Evansville. In a direct line across the country from their former residence, the distance is, perhaps, hardly one hundred miles.
The place at which Mr. Lincoln settled, at the end of this journey, is some distance back from the Ohio river, near the present town of Gentryville. Under the earliest organization, this was in Perry county, of which Troy was the county-seat. Two years later, Spencer county was formed, embracing all that part of Perry west of Anderson's Creek, and including the place at which Mr. Lincoln had located himself.
Here his emigrant wagon paused, and aided by the busy hands of his son, a log cabin was speedily built, which was to be their home through many coming years. The particular site of his dwelling was doubtless determined, as usual, by the discovery of a living spring of water, after fixing on his selection for a farm. This completed, and a shelter provided for their stock, the next business was to clear up a space in the forest which should produce a crop of grain for their sustenance the next season. Hard work had begun in good earnest for the young Kentuckian. He was to learn the realities of genuine pioneer life, such as he had before but imperfectly understood, unless by tradition and the evening tales of his father.
Indiana, at this date, was still a Territory, having been originally united under the same government with Illinois, after the admission of Ohio as a State, "the first-born of the great North-west," in 1802. A separate territorial organization was made for each in 1809. A few months before the arrival
of Thomas Lincoln, namely, in June, 1816, pursuant to a Congressional "enabling act," a Convention had been held which adopted a State Constitution, preparatory to admission into the Union. Under this Constitution, a little later, in December, 1816, Indiana became, by act of Congress, one of the United States.
The population of Indiana was now about 65,000, distributed chiefly south of a straight line drawn from Vincennes, on the Wabash, to Lawrenceburg, on the Ohio. Vincennes was long the territorial capital, and with the surrounding country, had been occupied by French emigrants, many years before the Revolution. In 1800, the whole number of residents in these colonies was less than 5,000. These, like other French set tlements, made little progress of themselves. From 1800 to 1810, there had been a large increase, mostly by emigrations to Southern Indiana from Kentucky, swelling the population to 24,520, at the latter date. In 1811 had occurred serious difficulties with the Indians, terminating in the decisive victory over them at Tippecanoe. So general had become the settlements, eastward from Vincennes and up the Ohio river, that the capital was removed far eastward to Corydon, in 1813, as a central location. This place, the capital of Harrison county, is about twenty-five miles west from Louisville, and more than a hundred south of the present metropolis of the State. But one county intervened between Harrison and Perry, and Gentryville is hardly forty miles, in a direct line, from Corydon. This place continued to be the seat of government for the State until 1824, as it had been for the Territory during the three years next preceding 1816. It was but natural, therefore, that emigration should be prominently directed to this part of the State, at the period under consideration. In 1820, the population had increased to over 147,000, or more than six-fold during ten years, and nearly thirty-fold since 1800.
There is little doubt that, in emigrating, Thomas Lincoln had fallen in with a prevalent contagion in his own State, and that he took up his residence in the part of Indiana then deemed most desirable of all that was unoccupied. It is common to attribute these extensive migrations from the border slave
holding States into the non-slaveholding North-west, to a preference for institutions based upon free labor to the exclusion of slavery. This was, beyond question, a powerful inducement with many, yet, by no means the only one; and, with some, it did not exist at all. In the earlier days of Kentucky, the proportion of slaves to the free white population was small, and in many places slavery can hardly have been an appreciable element. But in 1816, the number of slaves must have exceeded 100,000, and their ratio of increase was becoming very high. Upon a man in the circumstances of Mr. Lincoln, with a young family to rear, this consideration undoubtedly had its weight, among the others we have suggested as the cause of his removal to Indiana. We have at least the fact, that, though painfully, and with an exile's sadness, he yet turned his back forever on a State that tolerated slavery, to seck a new home where free labor had been sacredly assured exclusive rights and honors.
The next thirteen years Abraham Lincoln spent here, in Southern Indiana, near the Ohio, nearly midway between Louisville and Evansville. He was now old enough to begin to take an active part in the farm labors of his father, and he manfully performed his share of hard work. He learned to use the ax and to hold the plough. He became inured to all the duties of seed-time and harvest. On many a day, during every one of those thirteen years, this Kentucky boy might have been seen with a long "gad" in his hand, driving his father's team in the field, or from the woods with a heavy draught, or on the rough path to the mill, the store, or the river landing. He was specially an adept at felling trees, and acquired a muscular strength in which he was equaled by few or none of those about him. In the sports of hunting and fishing, he was less skilled.
A vigorous constitution, and a cheerful, unrepining disposition, made all his labors comparatively light. To such a one, this sort of life has in it much of pleasant excitement to compensate for its hardships. He learned to derive enjoyment from the severest lot. The "dignity of labor," which is with