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hazarded and lost his life in the then slightly broken wilderness. The State now numbered some 400,000 inhabitants, and had all the benefits of an efficient local administration, the want of which had greatly increased the dangers and difficulties of the first settlers. ITenry Clay had already, though little more than thirty years of age, begun his brilliant political career, having then served for a year or two in the United States Senate.
Yet, with all these changes, the humble laborers, settled near "Hodgen's Mills," on Nolin Creek, had no other lot but incessant toil, and a constant struggle with nature in the still imperfectly reclaimed wilds, for a plain subsistence. Here tho boy spent the first years of his childhood. With apparently the same frowning fortune which darkened the eai !y days of Robert Burns, it was not destined that young Lincoln's father should succeed in these first endeavors to secure a competency. Even before the date of his earliest distinct recollections, ha removed with his father to a placo six miles distant from Hodgenville, which was also ere long to be surrendired, as we shall presently see, for a homo in the far-off wilderness, and for frontier life, in its fullest and most significant meaning.
The period of Abraham Lincoln's Kentucky life extends through a little more than seven years, terminating with the autumn of 1816. If it be true as a rule (as Horace Mann was wont to maintain), that the experiences and instructions of the first seven years of every person's existence, do more to mold and determine his general character, than all subsequent training, then must we regard Mr. Lincoln as a Kentuckian (of the generation next following that of Clay), by his early impressions and discipline, no less than by birth.
In those days there were no common schools in that country. The principal reliance for acquiring the rudiments of learning was the same as that to which the peasant-poet of Ayrshire was indebted. Education was by no means disregarded, nor did young Lincoln, poor as were his opportunities, grow up an illiterate boy, as some have supposed. Competent teachers were accustomed to offer themselves then, as in later years, who opened private sohools for a neighborhood, being sup
ported by tuition fees or subscription. Duriug bis boyhood days in Kentucky, Abraham Lincoln attended, at different times, at least two schools of this description, of which he has clear recollections. One of these was kept by Zachariah Riney, a Roman Catholie, whose peculiarities have not been wholly effaced from the memory of his since so distinguished pupil. But although this teacher was himself an ardent Catholie, he made no proselyting efforts in his school, and when any little religious ceremonies, or perhaps mere catechising and the like, were to be gone through with, all Protestant children, of whom, it is needless to say that young Abraham was one, were accustomed to retire, by permission or command. Riney was probably in some way connected with the movement of the "Trappists," who came to Kentucky in the autumn of 1805, and founded an establishment (abandoned some years later) under Urban Guillet, as superior, on Pottinger's Creek. They were active in promoting education especially among the poorer classes, and had a school for boys under their immediate supervision. This, however, had been abandoned before the date of Lincoln's first school-days, and it is not improbable that the private schools under Roman Catholic teachers were an offshoot of the original system adopted by these Trappists, who subsequently removed to Illinois.
Another teacher, on whose instructions the boy afterward attended, while living in Kentucky, was named Caleb Hazel. His was also a neighborhood school, sustained by private patronage.
With the aid of these two schools, and with such further assistance as he received at home, there is no doubt that he had become able to read well, though without having made any great literary progress, at the age of seven. That he was not a dull or inapt scholar, is manifest from his subsequent attainments. With the allurements of the rifle and the wild game which then abounded in the country, however, and with the meager advatages he had, in regard to books, it is certain that his perceptive faculties, and his muscular powers, were much more fully developed by exercise than his soholastic talents.
While he lived in Kentucky, he never saw even the exterior of what was properly a church edifice. The religious services he attended were held either at a private dwelling, or in some log school-house, or in the open grove:
"Fit shrine for humble worshiper to hold ,
Unsatisfactory results of these many years' toil on the landa of Nolin Creek, or a restless spirit of adventure and fondness for more genuine pioneer excitements than this region continued to afford, led Thomas Lincoln, now verging »pon the age of forty, and his son beginning to be of essential service in manual labor, to seek a new place of abode, far to the west, beyond the Ohio river.
MR. LINCOLN'S EARLY LIFE IN INDIANA.
The RemoTal from Kentucky.—An Emigrant Journey.—The Forests of Southern Indiana.—New Home of the Lincoln Family.—Indiana in 1816.— Slarery and Free Labor.—Young Lincoln at His Work.— His Schools and Schoolmasters.—Self-Education.—A Characteristic Incident.—Acquaintance with River Life.—His First Trip to New Orleans as a Flatboatman.—Death of His Mother.—His Father's Second Marriage.—Recollections of an Early Settler.—Close of an Eventful Period in Young Lincoln's History.
Early in the autumn of 1816, an immediate departure for the new wilds of Indiana, was determined on by Thomas Lincoln. It was no very imposing sight, certainly, as the little family, bidding the old Kentucky home adieu, moved forward upon their long and winding pioneer march. Many sad thoughts there undoubtedly were in that small group, and perhaps some forebodings, also, as their former place, gradually receding, at length disappeared from their reverted eyes. But these emotions must soon have been lost in the excitements of their journey.
It was no novel picture which they presented, for that period, as they advanced on their lonely way, for the days required to bring them to the place whence they were to cross the "Beautiful River." The plain wagon, with its simple covering as a shelter for its lading of household utensils, articles of food, and "varieties," was drawn by a not too-spirited or overfed horse, in a harness probably compounded of leather aud hempen cords of an uncertain age. In the forward part of this conveyance, sat the emigrant wife and her daughter, nine years old, while the father and his son, now past seven, walking in the rear, took care that the indispensable cow kept pace to th» music of the jolting wheels. Underneath the wagon, or scouting at pleasure through the surrounding woods, was of course a large dog, constant to the fortunes of his master's family, and ready for any fate to which their migrations might lead him. Arrived at the appointed landing on the banks of the Ohio, it only remained to embark the little caravan upon a flathoat, and to cross the stream, now swelled to fair proportions by the autumn rains. Finally, after reaching the Indiana side, the adventurers landed at or near the mouth of Anderson's Creek, now the boundary between the counties of Perry and Spencer, about one hundred and forty miles below Louisville, by the river, and sixty above Evansville. In a direct line across the country from their former residence, the distance is, perhaps, hardly one hundred miles.
The place at which Mr. Lincoln settled, at the end of this journey, is some distance back from the Ohio river, near the present town of Gentryville. Under the earliest organization, this was in Perry county, of which Troy was the county-seat. Two years later, Spencer county was formed, embracing all that part of Perry west of Anderson's Creek, and including the place at which Mr. Lincoln had located himself.
Here his emigrant wagon paused, and aided by the busy hands of his son, a log cabin was speedily built, which was to be their home through many coming years. The particular site of his dwelling was doubtless determined, as usual, by the discovery of a living spring of water, after fixing on his selection for a farm. This completed, and a shelter provided for their' stock, the next business was to clear up a space in the forest which should produce a crop 01 grain for their sustenance the next season. Hard work had begun in good earnest for the young Kentuckian. He was to learn the realities of genuine pioneer life, such as he had before but imperfectly understood, unless by tradition and the evening tales of his father.
Indiana, at this date, was still a Territory, having been originally united under the same government with Illinois, after the admission of Ohio as a State, "the .first-born of the great North-west," in 1802. A separate territorial organization was made for each in 1809. A few months before the arrival