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men who were drowning in the river near by, although their dismal cries for help were distinctly heard throughout the "city."

On the journey out, the Lincolns are said to have endured many hardships and encountered all the usual dangers, including several skirmishes with the Indians. They settled in Mercer County, but at what particular spot is uncertain. Their house was a rough log-cabin, their farm a little clearing in the midst of a vast forest. One morning, not long after their settlement, the father took Thomas, his youngest son, and went to build a fence, a short distance from the house; while the other brothers, Mordecai and Josiah, were sent to another field, not far away. They were all intent about their work, when a shot from a party of Indians in ambush broke the "listening stillness" of the woods. The father fell dead; Josiah ran to a stockade two or three miles off; Mordecai, the eldest boy, made his way to the house, and, looking out from the loophole in the loft, saw an Indian in the act of raising his little brother from the ground. He took deliberate aim at a silver ornament on the breast of the Indian, and brought him down. Thomas sprang toward the cabin, and was admitted by his mother, while Mordecai renewed his fire at several other Indians that rose from the covert of the fence or thicket. It was not long until Josiah returned from the stockade with a party of settlers; but the Indians had fled, and none were found but the dead one, and another who was wounded and had crept into the top of a fallen tree.

When this tragedy was enacted, Mordecai, the hero of it, was a well-grown boy. He seems to have hated Indians ever after with a hatred which was singular for its intensity, even in those times. Many years afterwards, his neighbors believed that he was in the habit of following peaceable Indians, as they passed through the settlements, in order to get surreptitious shots at them; and it was no secret that he had killed more than one in that way."

Immediately after the death of her husband, the widow

abandoned the scene of her misfortunes, and removed to Washington County, near the town of Springfield, where she lived until the youngest of her children had grown up. Mordecai and Josiah remained there until late in life, and were always numbered among the best people in the neighborhood. Mordecai was the eldest son of his father; and under the law of primogeniture, which was still a part of the Virginia code, he inherited some estate in lands. One of the daughters wedded a Mr. Krume, and the other a Mr. Brumfield.

Thomas seems to have been the only member of the family whose character was not entirely respectable. He was idle, thriftless, poor, a hunter, and a rover. One year he wandered away off to his uncle, on the Holston, near the confines of Tennessee. Another year he wandered into Breckinridge County, where his easy good-nature was overcome by a huge bully, and he performed the only remarkable achievement of his life, by whipping him. In 1806, we find him in Hardin County, trying to learn the carpenter's trade. Until then, he could neither read nor write; and it was only after his marriage that his ambition led him to seek accomplishments of this sort.

Thomas Lincoln was not tall and thin, like Abraham, but comparatively short and stout, standing about five feet ten inches in his shoes. His hair was dark and coarse, his complexion brown, his face round and full, his eyes gray, and his nose large and prominent. He weighed, at different times, from one hundred and seventy to one hundred and ninety-six. He was built so "tight and compact," that Dennis Hanks declares he never could find the points of separation between his ribs, though he felt for them often. He was a little stoop-shouldered, and walked with a slow, halting step. But he was sinewy and brave, and, his habitually peaceable disposition once fairly overborne, was a tremendous man in a rough-and-tumble fight. He thrashed the monstrous bully of Breckinridge County in three minutes, and came off without a scratch.

His vagrant career had supplied him with an inexhaustible fund of anecdotes, which he told cleverly and well. He loved to sit about at "stores," or under shade-trees, and "spin yarns," a propensity which atoned for many sins, and made him extremely popular. In politics, he was a Democrat, a Jackson Democrat. In religion he was nothing at times, and a member of various denominations by turns, a Free-Will Baptist in Kentucky, a Presbyterian in Indiana, and a Disciple-vulgarly called Campbellite-in Illinois. In this latter communion he seems to have died.

It ought, perhaps, to be mentioned, that both in Virginia and Kentucky his name was commonly pronounced "Linckhorn," and in Indiana, "Linckhern." The usage was so general, that Tom Lincoln came very near losing his real name altogether. As he never wrote it at all until after his marriage, and wrote it then only mechanically, it was never spelled one way or the other, unless by a storekeeper here and there, who had a small account against him. Whether it was properly"Lincoln," "Linckhorn," or "Linckhern," was not definitely settled until after Abraham began to write, when, as one of the neighbors has it, "he remodelled the spelling and corrected the pronunciation."

By the middle of 1806, Lincoln had acquired a very limited knowledge of the carpenter's trade, and set up on his own account; but his achievements in this line were no better than those of his previous life. He was employed occasionally to do rough work, that requires neither science nor skill; but nobody alleges that he ever built a house, or pretended to do more than a few little odd jobs connected with such an undertaking. He soon got tired of the business, as he did of every thing else that required application and labor. He was no boss, not even an average journeyman, nor a steady hand. When he worked at the trade at all, he liked to make common benches, cupboards, and bureaus; and some specimens of his work of this kind are still extant in Kentucky and Indiana, and bear their own testimony to the quality of their workmanship.

Some time in the year 1806 he married Nancy Hanks. It was in the shop of her uncle, Joseph Hanks, at Elizabethtown, in Hardin County, that he had essayed to learn the trade. We have no record of the courtship, but any one can readily imagine the numberless occasions that would bring together the niece and the apprentice. It is true that Nancy did not live with her uncle; but the Hankses were all very clannish, and she was doubtless a welcome and frequent guest at his house. It is admitted by all the old residents of the place that they were honestly married, but precisely when or how no one can tell. Diligent and thorough searches by the most competent persons have failed to discover any trace of the fact in the public records of Hardin and the adjoining counties. The license and the minister's return in the case of Lincoln and Sarah Johnston, his second wife, were easily found in the place where the law required them to be; but of Nancy Hanks's marriage there exists no evidence but that of mutual acknowledgment and cohabitation. At the time of their union, Thomas was twenty-eight years of age, and Nancy about twenty-three.

Lincoln had previously courted a girl named Sally Bush, who lived in the neighborhood of Elizabethtown; but his suit was unsuccessful, and she became the wife of Johnston, the jailer. Her reason for rejecting Lincoln comes down to us in no words of her own; but it is clear enough that it was his want of character, and the "bad luck," as the Hankses have it, which always attended him. Sally Bush was a modest and pious girl, in all things pure and decent. She was very neat in her personal appearance, and, because she was particular in the selection of her gowns and company, had long been accounted a "proud body," who held her head above common folks. Even her own relatives seem to have participated in this mean accusation; and the decency of her dress and behavior appear to have made her an object of common envy and backbiting. But she had a will as well as principles of her own, and she lived to make them both serviceable to the

neglected and destitute son of Nancy Hanks.

Thomas Lin

Sally Bush as

coln took another wife, but he always loved much as he was capable of loving anybody; and years afterwards, when her husband and his wife were both dead, he returned suddenly from the wilds of Indiana, and, representing himself as a thriving and prosperous farmer, induced her to marry him. It will be seen hereafter what value was to be attached to his representations of his own prosperity.

Nancy Hanks, who accepted the honor which Sally Bush. refused, was a slender, symmetrical woman, of medium stature, a brunette, with dark hair, regular features, and soft, sparkling hazel eyes. Tenderly bred she might have been beautiful; but hard labor and hard usage bent her handsome form, and imparted an unnatural coarseness to her features long before the period of her death. Toward the close, her life and her face were equally sad; and the latter habitually wore the woful expression which afterwards distinguished the countenance of her son in repose.

By her family, her understanding was considered something wonderful. John Hanks spoke reverently of her "high and intellectual forehead," which he considered but the proper seat of faculties like hers. Compared with the mental poverty of her husband and relatives, her accomplishments were certainly very great; for it is related by them with pride and delight that she could actually read and write. The possession of these arts placed her far above her associates, and after a little while even Tom began to meditate upon the importance of acquiring them. He set to work accordingly, in real earnest, having a competent mistress so near at hand; and with much effort she taught him what letters composed his name, and how to put them together in a stiff and clumsy fashion. Henceforth he signed no more by making his mark; but it is nowhere stated that he ever learned to write any thing else, or to read either written or printed letters.


Nancy Hanks was the daughter of Lucy Hanks. mother was one of four sisters, Lucy, Betsy, Polly, and


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