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EARLY LIFE OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN.-His Own Record.—His ANCESTRY.“
CHANGES OF RESIDENCE.-Death AND FUNERAL OF HIS MOTHEP.-ENTRANCE UPON POLITICAL LIFE.—A MEMBER OF THE LEGISLATURE ANL OF CONGRESS. -The Mexican WAP.
The compiler of the “ Dictionary of Congress” states, that while preparing that work for publication, in 1858, he sent to Mr. Lincoln the usual request for a sketch of his life, and received the following reply:
“ BORN, FEBRUARY 12, 1809, in HARDIN County, KENTUOKY.
“Four TIMES A MEMBER OF THE ILLINOIS LEGISLATURE, AND WAS A MEMBER OF THE LOWER HOUSE OF CONGRESS.
“ YOURS, &o.,
Around the facts stated with such characteristic mod. esty and brevity clusters the history of the early life of our late President. The ancestors of Abraham Lincoln were of English descent; and although they are believed to have originally emigrated to this country with the followers of William Penn, it is difficult to trace them
farther back than to their place of residence in Berks County, Pennsylvania, whence a part of the family removed, in 1750, to that section of Virginia now known as Rockingham County. Thirty years later, Abraham Lincoln, the grandfather of our late President, finding civilization crowding him too closely, and possibly enticed by the stories which came back to the frontier settlements from that famous pioneer, Daniel Boone, but undeterred by the dangers which he knew he must inevitably encounter, determined to make another bold push westward, and settled on Floyd's Creek, in Kentucky, in what is now known as Bullitt County. Hardly had he secured a home for his little family, when he was fatally shot by an Indian, who came upon him stealthily while he was at work, some distance from his log cabin. Thus deprived of her protector, his widow at once removed, with her three sons and two daughters, to that part of Kentucky now known as Washington County. Thomas, the eldest of the sons, the father of Abraham Lincoln, was but six years old when his mother was so suddenly made a widow. The necessity of assisting to provide for her probably delayed his own settlement in life, for it was not until he was twenty-eight years old, in 1806, that he married Nancy Hanks. His wife was a Virginian by birth ; but no facts regarding either her ancestry or early life have been preserved, although it is a tradition, possibly originating in the reputation achieved by her son, that she was a woman of rare mental endowment. Immediately after their marriage the couple removed to Hardin County, Kentucky, and there, on February 12th, 1809, as has already been stated, Abraham Lincoln was born. His early life was spent in poverty and toil; but his father, feeling keenly his own deficiencies, determined to give his son every possible advantage in the way of gaining an education, and, when but seven years old, he was equipped with an old copy of Dilworth's Spelling Book, which constituted one-third of the family library, and was sent to school to a Mr. Hazel. It is also said that one Zachariah Riney, a Roman Catholin, having some connection with the Trappists, who had founded an institution on Pottinger's Creek, with Urban Guillet as superior, had the honor of instructing the future President in the rudiments. Whether Mr. Lincoln favored his other children, one a girl two years older than Abraham, and the other a boy two years his junior, to the same extent, is doubtful, for the routine of school life was not only broken in upon by his frequent demands upon his son's time, but finally it was interrupted altogether by his determination to abandon Kentucky and try his fortunes where his energies were not checked and repressed by the obstacles which slavery constantly thrust in his way. In 1817 Mr. Lincoln carried this plan into execution. The old home was sold, their small stock of valuables placed upon a raft, and the little family took their way to a new home in the wilds of Indiana, where free labor would have no competition with slave labor, and the poor white man might hope that in time his children could take an honorable position, won by industry and careful economy. The place of their destination was Spencer County, Indiana. For the last few miles they were obliged to cut their road as they went on. “With the resolution of veteran pioneers they toiled, sometimes being able to pick their way for a long distance without chopping, and then coming to a standstill in consequence of dense forests. Suffice it to say, that they were obliged to cut a road so much of the way that several days were employed in going eighteen miles. It was a difficult, wearisome, trying journey, and Mr. Lincoln often said, that he never passed through a harder experience than he did in going from Thompson's Ferry to Spenser County, Indiana.”
Thus, before he was eight years old, Abraham Lincoln began the serious business of life. The cabin in which the family lived was built of logs, and even the aid of such a mere child was of account in the wilderness where they now found themselves, after seven days of weary travel. Their neighbors, none of whom lived nearer than two or three miles, welcomed the strangers, and