« PreviousContinue »
THE NEW HOME.
quences of intemperance were not so prominent in the thinly populated country as they afterward became, and public opinion was not then enlightened on this subject. Whisky was a common beverage among all classes, rich and poor, ministers and people. Little log distilleries were found in every neighborhood, and the whisky-jug in almost every house. If such customs prevailed now the consequences would be indescribably destructive of morals, life, and property.
Having selected a home in Spencer County, Indiana, he returned for his family, and they were soon housed in a new cabin. The little furniture which they had was in the river. To begin with, a bed must be had; they had no bedstead, and no means of getting one but to make it, and no tools but the augur and ax to make it with. But the process was simple. A stake was driven in the ground near the corner of the cabin, about four feet from one wall and six from the other; augur-holes were then bored in the logs opposite, and poles driven into them, the other ends meeting on the stake. Across these were laid laths, rived from an oak log, and upon them rested the straw bed. A little three-legged stool, also the result of saw-and-ax carpentry, was the incipient
presidential chair. A fire-place, nearly as wide as the end of the cabin, built of logs, and lined with broad stones and clay, a few shelves, a puncheon table, and such like conveniences, completed the establishment.
Shortly after the family were settled in their new quarters, little Abe distinguished himself by a noted feat with his father's rifle, which always hung upon a pair of wooden hooks above the fireplace. His father was out chopping, and his mother and little sister engaged in firing brushheaps, when Abe heard the call of a flock of wild
a turkeys in the woods at the back of the house. Mounting his stool, he reached the rifle down with trembling hands, put the muzzle out of a crevice, and gave the adventurous gobblers a broadside. One of them sprang high in the air, and came down flapping and fanning up the dry leaves in its last flutter. Dropping his gun, he ran out with a whoop of triumph, and bore his to his admiring little sister and mother. Game was abundant-in fact the only reliance of the pioneers for meat—and doubtless little Abe, with his father, often followed the bay of the trusty 'coon-dog, in the darkness and stillness of the heavy forests; yet he never afterward so greatly
A MOTHER IN HEAVEN.
distinguished himself as a hunter as on the famous day when he brought down his first gobbler.
But a dark day was at hand for the little pioneer family. The devoted, tender wife and mother was seized with a quick consumption, and almost before the desolate family could realize it she was gone to her Savior. With many a bitter tear and despairing sob, they prepared a grave near the cabin and laid her to rest.
So passed away from an humble cabin home a woman who had done more to elevate and bless the human race than the greatest empress that ever wore a crown. The principles of justice, the love of truth, which she had implanted in the heart of her little boy, and the kindly, patient, persevering nature which he inherited from her, made him the great liberator of a prostrate
Little Abe sat down, in his grief, and wrote to Parson Elkin, who lived near the old Lincoln home in Kentucky, requesting him to come and preach a funeral sermon at the grave of his mother. In due time an answer came, appointing a day when the parson would preach. He traveled over one hundred miles on horseback to pay the last honors to one whose godliness and worth he had so well known. Word had been passed from house to house, and on the appointed day a congregation of about two hundred people assembled, some of them coming a distance of twenty miles. At the foot of the grave, and surrounded by that congregation of coarsely-clad but earnest worshipers, the minister lifted his voice in the solemn hymn, the simple prayer, and the plain-spoken but eloquent appeals of the Gospel.
About two years afterward the father married a Mrs. Sarah Johnston, who lived near their old home in Kentucky. She proved to be an amiable and provident step-mother.
LIFE IN INDIANA.
LIFE IN INDIANA.
HE inconveniences and privations of their life in Indiana is shown by the fact that
there was no grist-mill nearer than fifty miles distant from their home, and that was a rude affair, in which the grinding-stones were slowly turned by a horse hitched at the end of a lever. Meal was usually manufactured in a large wooden mortar, formed by burning a bowl into the end of a log of oak or other hard wood. The corn was beaten in this with a heavy wooden pestle, suspended by bending over a tough sappling and tying the pestle to it with a piece of leather. This saved labor by lifting the pestle after it had been brought down with all the operator's force upon the corn.
When Abraham was about fourteen years old he went occasionally to the horse-mill, ground his corn and returned, the whole trip occupying