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LIFE OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN.
Birth of Abraham Lincoln--The Lincoln Family-Abraham's first Schooling-Death of Mrs. Lincoln, and the new "Mother"- Lincoln's Boyhood and Youth-Self-Education-Great Physical Strength-First Literary Efforts-Journey to New Orleans-Encouraging Incident.
BRAHAM LINCOLN was born in Kentucky, on the 12th day of February, 1809. The log-cabin which was his birth-place was built
the south branch of Nolin's Creek, three miles from the village of Hodgensville, on land which was then in the county of Hardin, but is now included in that of La Rue. His father, Thomas Lincoln, was born in 1778; his mother's maiden name was Nancy Hanks. The Lincoln family, which appears to have been of unmixed English descent, came to Kentucky from Berks County, Pennsylvania, to which place tradition or conjecture asserts they had emigrated from Massachusetts. But they did not remain long in Pennsylvania, since they seem to have gone before 1752 to Rockingham, County Virginia, which state was then.
There is, however, so
one with that of Kentucky. much doubt as to these details of their early history, that it is not certain whether they were at first emigrants directly from England to Virginia, an offshoot of the historic Lincoln family in Massachusetts, or of the highly respectable Lincolns of Pennsylvania.1 This obscurity is plainly due to the great poverty and lowly station of the Virginian Lincolns. "My parents," said President Lincoln, in a brief autobiographic sketch, "were both born of undistinguished families-second families, perhaps, I should say." To this he adds that his paternal grandfather was Abraham Lincoln, who migrated from Rockingham, County Virginia, to Kentucky, "about 1781 or 2," although his cousins and other relatives all declare this grandsire's name to have been Mordecai-a striking proof of the ignorance and indifference of the family respecting matters seldom neglected.
This grandfather, Abraham or Mordecai, having removed to Kentucky, "the dark and bloody ground," settled in Mercer County. Their house was a rough log-cabin, their farm a little clearing in the midst of the 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,
1 Lamon, c. i. p. 1. 2 Addressed to J. W. Fell, March, 1872.
while the other brothers, Mordecai and Josiah, were sent to a field not far away. They were all intent upon their work, when a shot from a party of Indians in ambush was heard. The father fell dead. Josiah ran to a stockade, or settlement, two or three miles off; Mordecai, the eldest boy, made his way to the house, and, looking out from a loop-hole, 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 towards the cabin, and was admitted by his mother, while Mordecai renewed his fire at several other Indians who rose from the covert of the fence, or thicket. It was not long before 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. Mordecai, it is said, hated the Indians ever after with an intensity which was unusual even in those in those times. As Allan Macaulay, in "Waverley," is said to have hunted down the Children of the Mist, or as the Quaker Nathan, in Bird's romance of "Nick of the Woods," is described as hunting the Shawnese, so we are told this other avenger of blood pursued his foes with unrelenting, unscrupulous hatred. For days together he would follow peaceable Indians as they passed