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war, with deepest reverence and affection. “All that I am or hope to be,” he said, “I owe to my angel mother—blessings on her memory.” It is much to have such a mother on earth, much to have such a mother in heaven to draw our affections to that blessed place, and to meet us when Jesus shall have redeemed us and called us to himself. Let us who are so blessed thank God every day for a pious mother, whether she be on earth or in heaven.
There was no church or school within many miles of the humble home of this little family. Abraham had a little sister whom he tenderly loved, and a little brother who died young. The well-worn Bible and the family circle were almost the only means of religious instruction afforded to these children. An itinerant Baptist minister, Parson Elkin, came at intervals of many months and held public worship at some of the settlers' cabins, or beneath the spreading branches of a forest tree, and to his rude but earnest eloquence the little family and their neighbors listened with pleasure and profit. Those early pioneer preachers, in their simplicity and devotion, remind us of the saints of olden time, “who wandered about in sheep
skins and goat-skins destitute and afflicted.” They rode through forests and wilds, swam rivers, and braved the tempests for the love of Jesus. They thought little of their hardships, and God was with them. God always goes with his children who love him. An old itenerant, with white locks, relates the following incident of those times. He was walking across a wide prairie. Night came upon him, and foot-sore and weary, he sought a place to rest. Finding a little tree he lay down and placed his feet tip against it, as they ached less while raised higher than his body. He heard the wolves howling in the distance and was greatly afraid. However, he prayed and fell asleep. As soon as he slept he dreamed he saw a bright angel standing over him with a drawn and glittering sword, who said, “Sleep without fear, I have come to protect you.” The morning sun awoke the minister from a refreshing sleep, and he went on his way with a psalm of joy.
The opportunities for education were quite as limited. At the age of seven Abraham was sent to school for about two months. The school was kept in a vacant cabin by a catholic schoolmaster named Zachariah Riney. A schoolteacher he could scarcely be called.
66 Zack' was as innocent” of any knowledge of geography or grammar as little bare-footed Abe himself. But the young pupil rapidly mastered the mysteries of his borrowed speller, and took care, when the school closed, not to forget what he had learned. The next year he had another opportunity of attending a school kept by a young man named Caleb Hazel. At the end of Hazel's "quarter" little Abe could both read and write pretty well. For several years afterward his penmanship was cultivated by writing with coals upon the smooth end of chopped logs, and his reading by lessons in the Bible and a copy of Pilgrim's Progress, which, taken together, constituted the "family library." His time was busily employed in wielding the ax and hoe, clearing fields, building fence, and such other rugged labors as he had strength to perform.
These were hardships, and yet how much of genuine boyish pleasure was mingled with them. For instance, what grand sport it was to fire the brush-heaps at night! How the flames leaped and crackled, the great trees suddenly standing out from the darkness with
shadows swaying like phantoms in a dream. And then to see the dry trees in the “deadening” wrapped in twisting fire, or tumbling with a crash in clouds of sparks and smoke. Those were better bon-fires than those made of store-boxes and barrels, lighted for a better purpose, and free from evil surroundings.
THE FIRST REMOVAL.
HEN Abraham was ten years old, his father sold his farm for ten barrels of
whisky and twenty dollars in money. Leaving his family at home, he took his whisky and a few farming utensils, on an ox-wagon, and started to find and prepare a new abode in the dark woods of Indiana. Arriving at the Ohio River, he attempted to cross it, with his valuables, in a flat-boat. Unfortunately-fortunately, we would
of a similar occurrence in our timesone of the barrels slipped from its place, upsetting the boat and tumbling whisky, plows, and boatman into the river. He saved but little of his property, and considered himself fortunate to have escaped with his life.
It must not be supposed that Mr. Lincoln was an immoral man because he received whisky in part pay for his farm. The terrible conse