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From the Election, November 6, 1860, to the Inauguration, March
LIFE OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN was born on the 12th of February, 1809, in Hardin county, Kentucky. His early life, like that of most of the great men whom our country has produced, was spent in poverty and in toil. At seven years of age he was sent to school to a Mr. Hazel, carrying with him an old copy of Dilworth's Spelling Book, one of the three books that formed the family library. His father keenly felt the disadvantages arising from his own lack of education, and determined, in spite of difficulties almost inconceivable, to give his son better facilities for study than he had himself enjoyed. His mother was a Christian woman, and desired earnestly that he should learn to read the Bible.
Thomas Lincoln, his father, finding a life in a Slave State a most unsatisfactory one for himself, and presenting only the prospect of a hopeless struggle in the future for his children, determined upon removal, and when Abraham was in the eighth year of his age, the plan was carried into execution. The old home was sold, their small stock of valuables placed upon a raft, and the little family took its 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 Spencer county, Indiana."
Thus, before he was eight years old, Abraham Lin. coln began the serious business of life. Their cabin 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 lent a hand towards building the rude dwelling in which the future President lay down, after fatiguing but healthful toil, to dream the dreams of childhood, undisturbed by thoughts of the future.
In this log-house, consisting of a room below and a room above, furnished by Thomas Lincoln and his son's own hands, Abraham passed the next twelve years of his life. So long as his mother lived, she assisted him in learning to read, and before her death, which occurred when he was ten years of age, she had
the satisfaction of seeing him read that Book which ho has never since neglected.
After a while he learned to write. This was an accomplishment which some of the friendly neighbors thought unnecessary, but his father quietly persisted, and the boy was set down as a prodigy when he wrote to an old friend of his mother's, a travelling preacher, and begged him to come and preach a sermon over his mother's grave. Three months after, Parson Elkins came, and friends assembled, a year after her death, to pay a last tribute of respect to one universally beloved and respected. Her son's share in securing the presence of the clergyman was not unmentioned, and Abraham soon found himself called upon to write letters for his neighbors.
His father married a second time a Mrs. Sally John. ston, who proved an excellent mother to her step-son, and who now survives to take her share of the credit to which she is entitled for her faithful care. In the course of a year or two a Mr. Crawford, one of the settlers, opened a school in his own cabin, and Abraham's father embraced the opportunity to send him, in order that he might add some knowledge of arithmetic to his reading and writing. With buckskin clothes, a raccoon skin cap, and an old arithmetic which had been somewhere found for him, he commenced his studies in the “higher branches.” His progress was rapid, and his perseverance and faithfulness won the interest and esteem of his teacher.
In that thinly settled country a book was a great rarity, but whenever Mr. Lincoln heard of one he endeavored to procure it for Abraham's perusal. In this