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pioneer life. They were ever ready to lend a helping hand to new-comers, and to share with them the scanty blessings that Providence allowed them."
Mr. Lincoln was glad to reach the end of his journey ; and he found the spot suggested by his new friend in the cabin, whose name was Wood, a very inviting one.
“Better than I expected," said Lincoln. “I wouldn't ask for a better place than this.”
“I've had my eye on it some time,” replied Wood.
“ Chance for more settlers, though,” continued Lincoln. “One cabin in eighteen miles ain't very thick.”
“That's so," added Posey. “There's elbow-room for a few more families, and it won't be long before they'll be here."
“But you've neighbours nearer than that,” said Wood. “There's one family not more than two miles east of here."
“ Then I shall have two neighbours," said Lincoln.
"And there are two other families within six or eight miles,-one of them is north, and the other west," continued Wood. “The fact is, people are flockin' into this free State fast.”
We must not dwell. Posey returned with his team to Thompson's Ferry, and Mr. Lincoln, having deposited his goods, and secured Mr. Wood's promise to look after them, directed his steps on foot back to his family. It was about one hundred miles from his old home in Kentucky to his new one in Indiana. This was the distance, in a direct line. It was twenty-five miles farther the way Mr. Lincoln came. It was a part of his plan to return on foot. A direct line, about south-east, would bring him to Hardin County,—a three days' journey.
His family gave him a cordial welcome, and Abraham was somewhat taken with the story of his father's adventure, particularly the part relating to his plunge into the Ohio River.
Hasty preparations were made to remove the family, and such things as he did not take with him on the boat. He took no bedding or apparel with him on the boat. These were left to go with the family, on horseback. Two horses were provided, and on these were packed the aforesaid articles,—Mrs. Lincoln, her daughter, and Abraham sometimes riding and sometimes walking.
They were seven days in performing the journey, camping out nights, with no other shelter than the starry skies over them, and no other bed than blankets spread upon the ground.
It was a novel experience even to them, nor was it without its perils. Yet they had no fears. In that country, at that day, neither men nor women allowed themselves to cower in the presence of dangers.
Females were not the timid class that they are now. They were distinguished for heroism that was truly wonderful. Inured as they were to hardships and perils, they learned to look dangers steadily in the face, and to consider great privations as incidental to pioneer life. Experiences that would now destroy the happiness of most of the sex then served to develop the courage and other intrepid virtues that qualified them for the mission God designed they should fulfil.
Many facts are found in history illustrating the heroism of Western females in the early settlement of that part of our country. Soon after Abraham's grandfather removed to Kentucky, an Indian entered the cabin of a Mr. Davies, armed with gun and tomahawk, for the purpose of plundering it, and capturing the family. Mrs. Davies was alone with her children. With remarkable presence of mind she invited the Indian to drink, at the same time setting a bottle of whiskey on the table. The Indian set down his gun to pour out a dran, and at once Mrs. Davies seized it, and, aiming it at his head, threatened to blow his brains out if he did not surrender. The Indian dropped the bottle, sat down upon a stool, and promised to do no harm if she would not fire. In that position she kept him until her husband arrived.
In another instance, about the same time, the house of a Mr. Merrill was attacked in the night by several Indians, and Mr. Merrill was seriously wounded as he went to the door. The savages attempted to enter the house, when Mrs. Merrill and her daughter shut the door against them, and held it. Then the Indians hewed away a part of the door, so that one of them could get in at a time. But Mrs. Merrill, though her husband lay groaning and weltering in his blood, and her children were screaming with fright, seized an axe, when the first one had got partly into the room, and dealt upon him a mortal blow. Then she drew his body in and waited for the approach of another. The Indians, supposing that their comrade had forced an entrance, were exultant, and proceeded to follow him. Nor did they discover their mistake until she had despatched four of them in this way. Then two of them attempted to descend the chimney, whereupon she ordered her children to empty the contents of a bed upon the fire; and the fire and smoke soon brought down two Indians, half-suffocated, into the room. Mr. Merrill, by a desperate exertion, rose up, and speedily finished these two with a billet of wood. At the same time his wife dealt so heavy a blow upon the only remaining Indian at the door, that he was glad to retire.
Volumes might be filled with stories that show the heroism of Western women at that day. We have cited these two examples simply to exhibit their fortitude. Mrs. Lincoln was a resolute, fearless woman, like her pioneer sisters, and hence was cool and selfpossessed amidst all exposures and dangers.
We said they were seven days on the journey. Two miles from their destination they came to the cabin of their nearest neighbour, Mr. Neale, who treated them with great kindness, and promised to assist them on the following day in putting up a dwelling. It was a pleasant proffer of assistance, and it served to make them happier as they lay down in their blankets on the first night of their residence in Spencer County, Indiana.
We have been thus particular, in this part of the narrative, because this experience had much to do with the development of that courage, energy, decision, and perseverance for which Abraham was thereafter distinguished.
TT was in the new home in Indiana that Abraham I began to be a genuine pioneer boy. The axe was the symbol of pioneer life; and here he began to swing one in dead earnest. From the time he was eight years old until he had passed his majority, he was accustomed to the almost daily use of the axe. His physical strength developed with wonderful rapidity, so that he became one of the most efficient wood-choppers in that region. After he became President, and the “War of the Rebellion” was on his hands, he visited the hospitals at City Point, where three thousand sick and wounded soldiers were sheltered. He insisted upon shaking hands with every one of them; and, after performing the feat, and friends were expressing their fears that his arm would be lamed by so much handshaking, he remarked,—“The hardships of my early life gave me strong muscles.” And, stepping out of the open door, he took up a very large, heavy axe which lay there by a log of wood, and chopped vigorously for a few moments, sending the chips flying in all directions; and then, pausing, he extended his right arm to its full length, holding the axe out horizontally, without its even quivering as he held it. Strong men who looked on-men accustomed to manual labour-could not hold the same axe in that position for a moment. When the President left, a hospital steward gathered