Page images
PDF
EPUB

LIFE AND SPEECHES

OF

ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

PART FIRST.

EARLY HISTORY.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN was born February 12, 1809, then in Hardin, now in the recently formed county of Larue, Kentucky. His father, Thomas, and grandfather, Abraham, were born in Rockingham county, Virginia, whither their ancestors had come from Berks.county, Pennsylvania. His lineage has been traced no farther back than this. The family were originally quakers, though in later times they have fallen away from the peculiar habits of that people. The grandfather, Abraham, had four brothers ; Isaac, Jacob, John, and Thomas. So far as known, the descendants of Jacob and John are still in Virginia. Isaac went to a place near where Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee, join, and his descendants are in that region. Thomas came to Kentucky, and, after many years, died there, whence his descendants went to Missouri.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Abraham, grandfather of the subject of this sketch, came to Kentucky and was killed by Indians, about the year 1784. He left a widow, three sons, and two daughters. The eldest son, Mordecai, remained in Kentucky till late in life, when he removed to Hancock county, Illinois, where, soon after, he died, and where several of his descendants still reside.

The second son, Joseph, removed at an early day to a place on Blue river, now within Harrison county, Indiana, but no recent information of him or his family has been obtained. The eldest sister, Mary, married Ralph Crume, and some of her descendants are now known to be in Breckenridge county, Kentucky. The second sister, Nancy, married Wm. Brumfield, and her family are not known to have left Kentucky, but there is no recent information from them. Thomas, the youngest son, and father of the present subject, by the early death of his father, and very narrow circumstances of his mother, even in childhood, was a wandering, laboring boy, and grew up literally without education. He never did more in the way of writing, than to bunglingly sign his own name. Before he was grown, he passed one year as a hired hand with his Uncle Isaac, on Wataga, a branch of the Holston river.

Getting back into Kentucky, and having reached his twenty-eighth year, he married Nancy Hanks, mother of the present subject, in the year 1806. She was also born in Virginia, and relatives of hers, of the name of Hanks, and of other names, now reside in Coles, Macon, and Adams counties, Illinois, and also in Iowa.

The present subject has no brother or sister of the whole or half blood; he had a sister, older than himself, who was grown and married, but died many years ago, leaving no child; also a brother, younger than himself, who died in infancy. Before leaving Kentucky, he and his sister were sent, for short periods, to A-B-C schools ; the first, kept by Zachariah Riney, and the second by Caleb Hazel. At this time his father resided on Knob creek, on the road from Beardstown, Ky., to Nashville, Tenn., at a point three or three and a half miles south or southwest of Atherton ferry, on the Rolling Fork. From this place he removed to what is now Spencer county, Indiana, in the autumn of 1816, Abraham then being in his eighth year. This removal was partly on account of slavery, but chiefly on account of the difficulty in land-titles in Kentucky. he settled in an unbroken forest, and the clearing away of the surplus wood was the great task ahead. Abraham, though very young, was large of his age, and had an axe put into his hands at once, and from that time till within his twenty-third year, he was almost constantly handling that most useful instrument, less, of course, in ploughing and harvesting seasons. At this place Abraham took an early start as a hunter, which was never much improved afterward. A few days before the completion of his eighth year, in the absence of his father, a flock of wild turkeys approached the log-cabin, and Abraham with a rifle-gun, standing inside, shot through a crack and killed one of them. He has never since pulled a trigger on any larger game. In the autumn of 1818, his mother died, and a year afterward his father married Mrs. Sally Johnston, at

« PreviousContinue »