Frequently Asked Questions Abraham Lincoln Birthplace nhs maintains that Abraham Lincoln was born on the Sinking Spring Farm in Kentucky, February 12, 1809. What documentation does the park offer for this claim?

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National Park Service 2995 Lincoln Farm Road

U.S. Department of the Interior Hodgenville, KY 42748

Abraham Lincoln Birthplace 270-358-5722 phone

National Historic Site 270-358-0481 fax

Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site
Frequently Asked Questions

Abraham Lincoln Birthplace NHS maintains that Abraham Lincoln was born on the Sinking Spring Farm in Kentucky, February 12, 1809. What documentation does the park offer for this claim?

In 1859 while preparing for his 1860 presidential campaign, Abraham Lincoln wrote, “I was born February 12, 1809, in Hardin County, Kentucky. My parents were both born in Virginia, of undistinguished families – second families, I should say…at a point within the now County of Larue, a mile or a mile and a half from where Hodgen’s Mill now is. My parents being dead, and my own memory not serving, I know no means of identifying the precise locality. It was on the Nolin.”1

Deed records found in the Hardin County Courthouse documents that the Lincoln family was living on the Sinking Spring Farm in 1809. “In December 1808, Thomas Lincoln, the father of Abraham, received from one Isaac Bush an assignment of a parcel of land in central Kentucky, on the “waters of the South Fork of Nolin, containing three hundred acres beginning at or near a spring called the Sinking Spring …. On this land, somewhere in the vicinity of a knoll by the Sinking Spring, he built a rough cabin in which his son Abraham was born, in February of the following year.”2 Abraham Lincoln Birthplace NHS also exhibits the Lincoln family bible which list Lincoln’s birth to Thomas and Nancy Lincoln, February 12, 1809.
Dennis Hanks, Lincoln’s cousin, who lived within walking distance of the cabin on Sinking Spring Farm, describes visiting Nancy Hanks and her new baby the morning after Lincoln was born, “Nancy was layin’ thar in a pole bed lookin’ purty happy. Tom’d built up a good fire and throwed a b’ar skin over the kivers to keep ‘em warm.”3
Was Abraham Lincoln an only child?
No. Abraham had an older sister, Sarah who was two years and two days older than Abraham.4 She was born February 10, 1807 in Elizabethtown, KY. She died on January 20, 1828 in Spencer County, Indiana while giving birth to her first child who also died. Sarah, her baby, and husband, Aaron Grigsby, are buried in the Little Pigeon Creek Baptist Church cemetery in what is now Abraham Lincoln State Park in southern Indiana.
In addition to his sister Sarah, Abraham had a brother born while the family was living at Knob Creek between 1811 and 1816. No one knows when the child was born or when he died. The child was named Thomas after his father. Young Thomas was buried in the Redmon Cemetery.
Thomas Lincoln purchased the land and moved his family to the Sinking Spring Farm in December 1808. The family lived on this farm for two and half years until 1811. The move was prompted by legal dispute centering on the land patent. Richard Mather held a claim on the farm and refused to take money that Thomas Lincoln offered to settle the claim. Mather wanted the land back and filed a lawsuit against Lincoln and those who had owned it before Lincoln in 1811. Thomas Lincoln moved his family to 30 acres leased from George Lindsey at Knob Creek where they remained until 1816.
After his first wife, Nancy Hanks Lincoln, died in 1818 he married Sarah Bush Johnston, a widow from Elizabethtown, Kentucky on December 2, 1819. She had two girls and a boy.
What was the extent of Abraham Lincoln’s education?
Both his mother Nancy Hanks Lincoln and his stepmother Sarah Bush Johnston Lincoln were barely literate so neither directly participated in his education. However, both played very important roles in encouraging his studies. Both oversaw his attendance at schools in Kentucky and Indiana. Sarah Bush Johnston Lincoln did own a few books that young Abraham Lincoln became much attached to; these included a biography of George Washington, and a book on elocution with passages of Shakespeare.
By 1832 15 year old Abraham’s formal education was complete.5 The total terms he spent in the schoolhouse did not add up to one year. His formal education began in Kentucky near the Knob Creek farm. At age six Lincoln studied under Zachariah Riney and it is likely that spelling was the only subject taught.6 The next term Lincoln studied under Caleb Hazel and the subjects included reading and writing. He attended three more terms in Indiana, and by 15 frequently read and wrote letters for his neighbors in the Pigeon Creek community. His time in school only gave him the abilities he required to further his education; he avidly sought out books on grammar, history, mathematics, elocution, and poetry throughout his youth. In 1834 his election to the Illinois state legislature placed Lincoln on the path to his future career in law. As he did with every other subject, Lincoln began intensely studying law books on his own.7
Even as the U.S. President during the Civil War, Lincoln continued his tradition of self-education. In January of 1862, to better his understanding of military campaigns, Lincoln researched Elements of Military Art and Science from the Library of Congress.8
What is the controversy regarding Abraham’s mother, Nancy Hanks Lincoln? What is the National Park Service’s position?
There is some belief that Abraham Lincoln’s mother was illegitimate.
The National Park Service provides these details about Nancy Hanks. She was the only daughter of James and Lucy Shipley Hanks and was born February 5, 1784 on Hat Creek near Brookneal, Campbell County, Virginia. She married Thomas Lincoln on June 12, 1806 in the home of her guardians Richard and Rachael Berry of Beech Fork, Washington County, Kentucky. Nancy Hanks died of milk sickness October 5, 1818 at age 34 in Little Pigeon Creek, Spencer County, Indiana. Her burial site was in a private cemetery near her home but is now included in the Abraham Lincoln Boyhood Home National Memorial.9
How was Abraham Lincoln perceived during and after his presidency?
Abraham Lincoln was vilified during his presidency. It’s doubtful he would have received his party’s nomination for a second term, let alone be re-elected until Sherman started winning in the south during the later months of 1864. The worst riots in the nation’s history occurred in New York City during his presidency in response to his announcement of the Emancipation Proclamation followed by the draft lottery in July 1863.
Abraham Lincoln expanded the presidency by suspending the writ of habeas corpus which up to that time was considered to be a power granted only to Congress. He expanded the powers granted the presidency by the Constitution, when he relied on the powers (rights) granted by the Declaration of Independence when issuing the Emancipation Proclamation.
The memory of Abraham Lincoln has changed over time. He was blamed for many of the ills resulting from reconstruction, yet by the mid to late 1880s his image had been sanitized and was approaching deification. A few years later, his status was elevated to among the top echelon of Presidents and memorials began being built in his honor. He is one of four Presidents on Mount Rushmore. He continues to serve as an example for civil liberties and as a role model to those seeking humanitarian justice—a legacy that remains vibrant today and may be the most sincere form of remembrance.10

How did Lincoln’s frontier life, exposure to slavery, and his father’s struggles with land titles in Kentucky influence his adult life and government policies?
While living at the Knob Creek Farm, Lincoln was under the influence of religious parents who were respected locally and hardworking. His parents were members of the Little Mount Baptist Church and adhered to its strict disciplines.11 This church had long been anti-slavery and had separated from other Baptist churches due to the issue of slavery.12 Thus at an early age, Lincoln was under anti-slavery influence which centered in his church and home.13 Thomas Lincoln’s opposition to slavery was not only due to religious reasons, but also based in simple economics as he feared competing with slave labor.14 The Kentucky years of Lincoln’s life established the foundation of the young boy who rose to become the 16th President of the United States.

The difficulties of Thomas Lincoln to obtain clear title to lands the family resided on in Kentucky also influenced his young son.15 These difficulties were due to the lack of a proper government survey of Kentucky, which had been settled randomly due to the issuance of land patents.16 Years later, Abraham Lincoln stated that his father left Kentucky “partly on account of slavery, but chiefly on account of the difficulty in land titles in Kentucky.”17

These issues helped to form the social and moral foundations of a young Abraham Lincoln. He struggled with the ideals put forth by the Declaration of Independence as the issue of slavery in the South contradicted them. Lincoln’s morals led him to believe that slavery in the South was both “morally and economically unjust.”18 These thoughts remained a constant throughout his life and influenced his governmental policies and politics.
Why did Lincoln issue the emancipation proclamation when he did?
The Emancipation Proclamation was issued by President Lincoln as a military measure. In a private meeting with Secretary of State William Seward and Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles on July 13, 1862, Lincoln announced his intention to issue an emancipation proclamation calling it “a military necessity, absolutely essential to the preservation of the Union.”19 Lincoln stated, “We must free the slaves or be ourselves subdued. The slaves are undeniably an element of strength to those who have their service, and we must decide whether that element should be with us or against us. Decisive and extensive measures must be adopted. The administration must set an example and strike at the heart of the rebellion.”20
The Emancipation Proclamation was designed to deprive the Confederacy of slave labor and bring additional men into the Union Army.21 As a military measure, President Lincoln offered the slaves freedom, and he firmly insisted, “The promise being made, must be kept.” Opponents of the Emancipation Proclamation condemned it as unconstitutional and many stated they would not fight to free Negroes. To this Lincoln replied, “Fight you, then, exclusively to save the Union.”22
How is Lincoln viewed by historians today, in terms of how effective a president he was and how important was his presidency?
Historian, Geoffrey Perret believes Lincoln created the modern presidency – “he created the role of commander-in-chief.” Doris Kearns Goodwin writes of Lincoln’s political genius. She believes that Lincoln’s personal qualities enabled him to form friendships with those who opposed him, escape hostilities by facing with honesty mistakes made by either himself or his subordinates, and to share credit for success with ease.23
Inheriting a desperate national crisis after President Buchanan’s ineffective administration, Lincoln is credited with saving the Union and freeing the slaves. He revolutionized presidential power during the Civil War and was often seen as a radical president.
Lincoln’s presidency is important today as it provides parallels and comparisons to issues faced by our current president; presidential use of constitutionality, civil liberties, executive privilege, and national hood. These issues debated today are as relevant as they have ever been.24
How did Lincoln’s feelings about slavery evolve during his presidency?
Although it is impossible to know what Lincoln or anyone else truly feels, there are some examples of his internal struggle with the issue of slavery and emancipation.
Lincoln-Douglas debates, August – October, 1858. Lincoln declares that he has no intention of interfering with slavery in states where it already exists. He felt there was a physical difference between whites and blacks, but held that there was no reason why the Negro was not entitled to all the natural rights enumerated in the Declaration of Independence. According to Lincoln, “he has the right to eat the bread that his hand has earned.” – Ottawa, 1858*
From the surrender of Fort Sumter Lincoln was urged to end slavery. He declared, “We didn’t go into war to put down slavery, but to put the flag back.” Shortly after this he devised a plan to pay Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri $500 for every slave and free them in small groups. By March 1862, Lincoln called upon Congress to adopt a program of emancipation compensation.
He also supported colonization for a short period fearing that blacks and whites could not live in harmony. By 1862 Horace Greeley demanded in his newspaper that Lincoln free the slaves. Lincoln responded, “If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it, and if I could save it freeing some and leaving others alone… I have here stated my purpose according to my view of official duty, and I intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men, everywhere, could be free.”
Following the battle of Antietam, Lincoln, told his Cabinet that he had promised God that he would free the slaves if General Lee should be driven back from Pennsylvania. Lincoln seemed to feel that freeing the slaves was God’s will. The Emancipation Proclamation was issued January 1, 1863.25
Lincoln changed much during his presidency – he even changed his position on issues – how might a politician be viewed today who did the same?
“I claim not to have controlled events, but confess plainly that events have controlled me,” said Lincoln to Albert G. Hodges, April 4, 1864. Lincoln had a pragmatic approach, he stated, “My policy is to have no policy.” If one solution did not work he was ready to try another. Influenced by Joshua Giddings, Horace Mann, and Frederick Douglas, President Lincoln changed his position on colonization and slavery.
The newspapers, magazines, and the internet are full of criticism for politicians who seem to “flip flop” on issues. Presidential and gubernatorial elections are full of condemnations from the public when a candidate changes or alters his or her positions on issues. Candidates today are expected to enter the public arena with their policies and positions decided fully supported by their party platform. There is little room to grow today in the public eye when a candidate is running for office or being elected. These questions pose an impossible analogy to make because media has changed so much since Lincoln’s day. Now everything anyone says can be distributed world-wide instantly which, of course was not true in Lincoln’s time. 26

What is the account of Thomas and Nancy Hanks Lincoln in Kentucky?

  • 1778-1797

    • Thomas Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln's father, was born January 6, 1778, to Bathsheba and Abraham Lincoln. Thomas, who was born in Rockingham County, Virginia, was the fourth of five children born to the couple. His older siblings were Mordecai, Josiah, and Mary. Thomas had a younger sister named Nancy. During the early 1780s the family moved to Jefferson County in Kentucky. Thomas' father, Abraham, was killed in an attack by an American Indian in May, 1786. In 1795 Thomas was listed by name in the Washington County tax lists as a white male between the ages of 16 and 21. In 1797 Thomas spent a year working as a hired hand for his Uncle Isaac on the Watauga River in Tennessee.

  • 1784

    • Nancy Hanks Lincoln, birth mother of Abraham Lincoln, was born on Hatt Creek near Brookneal, Campbell County, Virginia on February 5th. About a year later she moves with her family to Kentucky.

  • 1802

    • Thomas moved to Hardin County, Kentucky 1802, and purchased a 238-acre farm the next year, (Mill Creek Farm).

  • 1806

    • Thomas married Nancy Hanks. The couple had three children: Sarah, Abraham, and Thomas (who died in infancy).27

  • February 19, 1807

    • Sarah Lincoln Grigsby, first child of Thomas and Nancy Hanks Lincoln. Married August 2, 1826, to Aaron Grigsby in Spencer County, Indiana. Died January 20, 1828, at age 21. Death due to complications of childbirth. Infant buried in same grave at Pigeon Church Cemetery, Indiana.

  • December 1808

    • Thomas, Nancy and Sarah moved to the Sinking Spring Farm, in what was then Hardin County, now LaRue County, Kentucky. Thomas paid $200 for 348 acres of stony ground on the south fork of Nolin Creek. The farm's name came from a spring on the property which emerged from a deep cave, which visitors may still see today.

  • February 12, 1809

    • Abraham Lincoln was born on the Sinking Spring Farm in a one room log cabin

  • 1811

    • The Lincolns moved to the Knob Creek Farm when a land claim dispute over Sinking Spring Farm caused the family to be evicted. During the time they lived on this farm a third son, Thomas was born but died in infancy.

  • 1816

    • The Lincolns moved to Spencer County Indiana.

The Symbolic Cabin Enshrined in the Memorial Building
Is the cabin enshrined within the Memorial Building the original Lincoln family cabin?
Members of the Lincoln Farm Association, representatives of the State of Kentucky, and the War Department all believed the cabin within the Memorial Building was the actual birthplace of Lincoln. It was only during the late 1940s and early 1950s after the cabin had passed to the National Park Service (in 1933) that questions about the cabin authenticity came to light. The resulting studies by the National Pak Service determined that the cabin was not the original cabin but a “symbolic cabin” on the original land.
In 2003, a dendrochronologist from the University of Tennessee was hired to conduct research on the authenticity of the cabin by aging the logs. This was accomplished by core sampling the logs which determined that the oldest log in the cabin dates to 1848. This indicates that the cabin enshrined in the Memorial was constructed later than 1848. Dwight Pitcaithley, former National Park Service historian, was on site to represent the Park Service. This core sampling confirms that the cabin is not Lincoln’s cabin.28
Did the cabin have a loft?

It is not documented whether the symbolic cabin had a loft or not.

Most cabins had a loft in them for sleeping and storage.29
Where in the cabin did the children sleep?
Most cabins had a loft for sleeping and storage which could be reached by either wooden pegs or ladder. Trundle beds were made to fit under a pole bed which may have been used for a baby or small child to sleep in.
Why was the cabin reduced in size when it was enshrined within the Memorial Building? Why is the cabin so tall?
When the cabin was first installed within the Memorial Building in 1911, it was determined by the architect, John Russell Pope, that it was too large for the interior of the building. Pope then proceeded to reduce the size of the cabin four feet in width and one foot in length. Thus the cabin was reduced from 16 x 18 feet to 12 x 17 feet. In the process of reducing the length of the logs, the notches were removed. The new notches were not cut as deeply as the originals so while the exact number of logs are in the cabin as were there in 1895, they do not nestle into one another as they did in 1895. There is an increased perception of height because the cabin is narrower today than when the Lincoln Farm Association purchased it in 1906. 30 (When settlers took the craft of log construction with them onto the frontier, they successfully adapted it to regional materials, climates and terrains.)31
Where was the original birthplace cabin located?
Located on a rise above the Sinking Spring, Abraham Lincoln was born in a one-room cabin on February 12, 1809.32
How long did it take to build a log cabin?
The time required to build a log cabin would depend on a wide variety of factors and/or circumstances including the size, people helping, types and condition of tools, types of trees, and notching techniques.

When a family moved to a new area they wanted to get their first cabin (shelter) built as soon as possible so they would have protection from the elements. This being the case they would most likely build a small cabin using round logs with only the bark removed; they would probably use the saddle (round) notch because it was easier and faster to make.

Later if the family decided to stay in the area, they would either build a new, larger cabin (house) with squared logs or they might just add rooms to their existing cabin. More than one “log cabin” has been found when tearing down very old houses.33
In the early 19th century log cabins in Kentucky were built 16 x 18 feet with one room, one door, one window, a fireplace and usually a loft for storage and a place for the children to sleep. The floor was dirt. So, to get back to the original question, “How long did it take to build a log cabin?” No one knows except the people who built them.
When the Lincoln family moved to Indiana in 1816, Thomas went first to buy land and build a temporary shelter for the family to live in until the cabin was constructed.34 In the book Lincoln’s Youth, Indiana Years 1816 – 1830, Warren writes of a cabin being built with the help of neighbors in four (4) days.
Short chimneys were sometimes built because they did not draw well so most of the heat from the fire remained in the cabin. Also, because there is little or no draw, short chimneys burn less wood than a taller chimney. The type of chimney on the symbolic cabin is called a “Log and Plank” chimney with a “drop off” feature. The greatest prevention keeping the chimney and roof from catching the roof on fire was the type of chimney on the cabin. A short, low draw chimney, by its nature, prevented sparks from rising up through the chimney and on to the roof. A “drop off” chimney was designed to prevent the entire cabin from catching fire. The top section from the planks up was not connected to the side of the cabin and could, in case of fire, be made to fall away from the cabin.35
The chimney was usually the last component of a cabin to be constructed. A “hole” was cut out of one end of the cabin where a mud and stick chimney was constructed on the outside and a stone and mortar fireplace built inside the cabin. Most fireplaces were built with a mantle over them. The mantle was a catchall for the family and also served as a place for candles used for light.
What cooking techniques did they use?
Kettles were held over the fire hanging from trammels which were held by strong poles. A most essential utensil was a long handle pan used for cooking meat and was held over the fire by the cook. The best item for baking was a flat-bottomed iron kettle with a tight-fitting lid known as a Dutch oven. The bread would bake quickly with hot coals over and under this admirable invention.
Memorial Building
Was the Memorial Building inspired by the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D. C.?
No. The Memorial Building erected on the Sinking Spring Farm was not inspired by, designed after, or connected to the National Lincoln National Memorial in Washington, DC.
The Lincoln Memorial National Memorial in Washington DC was constructed between February 12, 1914 and 1922. The building was dedicated May 30, 1922. Henry Bacon was selected as the architect and Daniel Chester French was selected as the sculptor.36
The Memorial Building was constructed between 1907 and 1911.37
In November, 1907, the Norcross Brothers Company of Louisville, Kentucky was selected as the primary contractor and began construction of the Memorial.
The Lincoln Farm Association hoped to finish and dedicate the Memorial on February 12, 1909, the centennial of Lincoln’s birth but because of a lack of funds, the building was not finished until 1911.

President Theodore Roosevelt laid the cornerstone February 12, 1909 and President William H. Taft attended the opening ceremonies in the fall of 1911.

The Memorial is constructed of pink granite and marble. The exterior “Stony Pink Granite” was provided by the Dodds Granite Company of Milford Mass. The interior marble was quarried in Tennessee.
The cost of the Memorial was $250,000.

What was the Lincoln Farm Association?
The Lincoln Farm Association (a nonprofit association of prominent Americans) was incorporated April 18, 1906, for the purpose of honoring and perpetuating the memory of Abraham Lincoln, the taking and holding of 110 acres of his birthplace farm, and the development and maintenance of the same.38
When and why was the park established?
The Birthplace of Abraham Lincoln became a National Park under the Department of War, July 17, 1916.
The National Park Service was not established until August 25, 1916.
The park was transferred to the National Park Service in1933.
On July 17, 1916 an act of Congress (39 STAT. 385) authorized the United States to accept as a gift from the Lincoln Farm Association which included “…land near the town of Hodgenville, County of Larue, State of Kentucky, embracing the homestead of Abraham Lincoln and the log cabin in which he was born.” It was stated that the land described, together with the buildings and appurtenances thereon, “shall be forever dedicated to the purpose of a national park or reservation, the United States of America agreeing to protect and preserve the said lands, buildings and appurtenances and especially the log cabin in which Abraham Lincoln was born and the Memorial enclosing the same.”39
The Act of March 1, 1872, Congress established Yellowstone National Park and placed it under the exclusive control of the Secretary of the Interior.

In the following years, the United States authorized more national parks and monuments, most of them in the Western part of the country. These were also administered by the Department of Interior. Concurrently, other monuments, natural and historical areas were administered by the War Department and the Forest Service (Department of Agriculture). At the time there was no single agency which provided unified management of the varied federal parks.

President Woodrow Wilson signed the act creating the National Park Service on August 25, 1916. This newly created federal bureau in the Department of Interior was responsible for protecting the 35 national parks and monuments and those to be later established.
An Executive Order in 1933 transferred 56 national monuments and military sites from the Forest Service and the War Department to the National Park System.40
Who was Jefferson Davis? Where and when was he born?
Jefferson Davis was born in Fairview, Kentucky, a small town nine miles east of Hopkinsville. Coincidently, Fairview, Kentucky is approximately 100 miles southeast from Abraham Lincoln’s birthplace. Jefferson Davis was born on June 3rd, 1808, less than a year earlier than Abraham Lincoln.
Both men were presidents at the same time: Jefferson Davis for the Confederate States of America and Abraham Lincoln for the United States of America.
Jefferson Davis can serve as an example of the difficult choices many southerners had to make when southern states seceded. Jefferson Davis was a West Point graduate; served in the United States Congress as a representative of the state of Mississippi; was a member of the Senate Military Affairs Committee; and served as Secretary of War during the Franklin Pierce administration. Here was a prominently elected official of the United States, yet left the service of his country to serve in the Confederate government.41
What events took place in Kentucky, Hodgenville, and at the Birthplace during the sesquicentennial (150th) of Lincoln’s birth?
On September 2, 1957, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the bill establishing the Lincoln Sesquicentennial Commission. The Commission worked in cooperation with various government agencies and states in preparations for the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln. A special service was held at the Washington Cathedral in Washington D.C. on Sunday, January 11, 1959 to launch the “Year of Lincoln.”42 Various government agencies, including the Library of Congress and the National Archives, established Lincoln Sesquicentennial Exhibitions that included letters, documents, photographs and other Lincoln memorabilia. The Commission also authorized the production of busts of Lincoln by noted sculptors Robert Berks and Avard Fairbanks to be unveiled at Ford’s Theater, of which Berks’ bust, “Gettysburg Lincoln,” became the portrait of the Lincoln Sesquicentennial and is currently on display in the Visitor Center of Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site.43 The Lincoln Sesquicentennial Commission also authorized the redesigning of the Lincoln penny to display the Lincoln Memorial on the reverse side and the issuance of a one cent Sesquicentennial Lincoln Stamp.44

At the state level, the state of Kentucky produced little activity in conjunction with the Lincoln Sesquicentennial. Locally in Hodgenville, the Post Office was designated as the first day sale site of the new Lincoln one cent stamp.45 On Lincoln’s 150th birthday, a parade with four local school bands and the color guard from Fort Knox led a procession of about 2,000 people from downtown Hodgenville to Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Park. The keynote speakers at the Birthplace were George M. Moore, Executive Assistant to the Postmaster General and William H. Townsend, Chairman of the Kentucky Lincoln Sesquicentennial Commission, who stood in for an absent Governor A.B. Chandler.46

Preparations for the Lincoln Bicentennial
How are the three states of Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky working together to tell the entire story of Lincoln’s life?
A Tri-State Commission was formed so that the three states could work together with the goal of inspiring and educating the public about the life and legacy of Abraham Lincoln. Committees were formed to provide teachers, students, and the public with opportunities to learn about Abraham Lincoln by coordinating workshops, guest speakers, symposia, encouraging educational programming and disseminating cross-curricular educational resources. A Tri-State interpreter’s training workshop that provided historians from the Organization of American Historian to all three states, a Tri-State teacher’s workshop, and a Tri-State handbook will all be able for visitors.
Kentucky - (1809- 1816) Birthplace of Abraham Lincoln and where his family lived for 2 ½ years before moving ten miles northeast to the Knob Creek farm. Lincoln is quoted as remembering, “My earliest recollections however, are of the Knob Creek place.” He left Kentucky at the age 7.

Indiana – (1816-1830) Lincoln’s Boyhood Years – He spent 14 years in Indiana.

Known as a Rail-splitter

Work as a Ferryman – Lincoln earned his first dollar as a young man, age 16 in 1827 by ferrying passengers across the mouth of Anderson Creek in Indiana to steamers on the Ohio River.
Illinois – (1830 - 1860) Lincoln’s Adult Years – He spent 30 years in Illinois. Age 21-51.

1829 Store Clerk –New Salem

1832 Served as Captain of Black Hawk War

1833 Postmaster at New Salem


1834 Elected Illinois State Legislature

1837 Became a Lawyer

1846 Served as Whig Congressman from Illinois

1854 Ran for Senate – Lost

1858 Won National acclaim for the Lincoln –Douglass Debates in his unsuccessful attempt to defeat Stephen A. Douglas for the Senate

1860 Elected as President – November 6, 1860 – Age 51

1864 Re-Elected as President

1865 Lincoln assassinated by John Wilkes Booth at Ford’s Theater, Age 56

Buried at the Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield, Illinois

What are some of the best books or authors on Abraham Lincoln that you would recommend?
Lincoln by David Herbert Donald
Why read this book? It is a very thorough overview of Lincoln’s entire life. It’s not an easy read, but it is very useful as a resource.
Herndon’s Informants: Letters, Interviews, and Statements about Abraham Lincoln, Edited by Douglas L. Wilson and Rodney O. Davis.
Why read this book? William Herndon conducted interviews and solicited letters from many of the people who knew Lincoln personally. If you are aware of Herndon’s bias toward Mary Todd Lincoln and his pressing financial needs which color his observations, this exhaustive collection provides one of the most complete collections of information about Lincoln as remembered by the people who knew him.
With Malice None: A Life of Abraham Lincoln, by Stephen B. Oates.
Why read this book? This is an attempt to show Lincoln as a human instead of as a martyr who has been deified. Oates has an accessible writing style that manages to be entertaining while enlightening.

A Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin
Why read this book? This is a unique approach to Lincoln the politician. If people want to know about Lincoln and his remarkable skill as a politician, I recommend this book. Although the book is long, the prose reads much like a novel.
If You Grew Up With Abraham Lincoln, by Ann McGovern, Illustrated by George Ulrich
Why read this book? This book is suitable for upper level elementary to junior high school students. The author chronicles Abraham Lincoln’s journey from the Sinking Spring Farm, to the Knob Creek Farm, then on to Indiana, New Salem, Springfield, and finally, the White House. Her format of posing questions, then answering them is an effective way for readers to learn a great deal about Abraham Lincoln’s childhood, teenage years, and adult life.
Discover Abraham Lincoln, by Patricia A. Pingry, Illustrated by Stephanie McFetridge Britt
Why read this book? This book is suitable for young readers because it uses short sentences, large print, and illustrations on almost every page. It doesn’t devote much time to Lincoln’s Kentucky years, but the vocabulary list in the front of the book is commendable.
Meet Abraham Lincoln, by Patricia A. Pingry, Illustrated by Stephanie McFetridge Britt
Why read this book? This is a wonderful introductory book for pre-school children and beginning readers. The book is filled with colorful illustrations and easy to understand text.

1 Scripps, John Locke, Life of Abraham Lincoln, Greenwood Press, 1968, 26-27

2 Ibid.

3 Ibid.

4 Warren, Louis A., Lincoln’s Youth Indiana Years, 1816 – 1830, 173

5 Donald, David Herbert. Lincoln. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1995.

6 Warren, Louis A. Indiana Years, 1816- 1830. New York: Appleton, Century, Crofts Inc., 1959.

7 Donald, David Herbert. Lincoln. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1995.

8 Warren, Louis A. Indiana Years, 1816- 1830. New York: Appleton, Century, Crofts Inc., 1959.

9 Microbe, Susan, The Hanks Women “Lucey and Nancy”, 6.

10 Williams, Frank J., OAH Magazine of History, Vo. 21, Num. 1, 5.

11 Tarbell, Ida M. In the Footsteps of the Lincolns. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1924, 108.

12 Ibid, 109.

13 Ibid, 110.

14 Donald, David Herbert. Lincoln. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995, 24.

15 Tarbell, 111.

16 Donald, 24.

17 Ibid, 24.

18 Carwardine, Richard. Lincoln: A Life of Purpose and Power. New York: Vintage Books, 2003, 3 – 4.

19 McPherson, James M. Battle Cry of Freedom. New York: Oxford University Press, 1988, 504.

20 Ibid, 504.

21 Abraham Lincoln Papers, Library of Congress, General Correspondence Series 2.

22 Donald, David Herbert. Lincoln. New York: Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, 1995, 456.

23 Goodwin, Doris Kearns, Team of Rivals, Simon & Schuster, 2005.

24 Williams, Frank J., Lincoln and the Constitution, OAH Magazine of History, vol. 21, no. 1, 1/2007.

25 Fehrenbacher, Don E., ed. Abraham Lincoln: A Documentary Portrait Through His Speeches – section

29, “The Negro Question.” and Lincoln’s War, Geoffrey Perret.

26 Donald, David Herbert, “Lincoln,” Simon & Schuster, 1995

27 McCrobie, Susan Evans, The Hanks Women, “Lucey and Nancy,” - pamphlet

28 Pitcaithley, Dwight, “Abraham Lincoln’s Birthplace Cabin: The Making of an American Icon,” from

Myth, Memory, and the Making of the American Landscape, edited by Paul A. Shackel, University of Florida Press, 2001.

29 Jordan, Terry G. & Matti Kaups, The American Backwoods Frontier, (Article on Log Cabin


30 Pitcaithley, 249.

31 Bomberger, Bruce, D., Preservation & Repair of Historic Log Buildings, 4.

32 Lawlis, Lucy and Susan Hitchcock, Abraham Lincoln Birthplace NHS – Cultural Landscape Report,

SERO/NPS, 2004, 3. Peterson, Gloria, Administrative History of Abraham Lincoln Birthplace NHS, September 20, 1968, 2.

33 Jordan, Terry G. & Kaups, Matti, The American Backwoods Frontier, 1

34 Warren, Louis Austin, Lincoln’s Youth, Indiana Years 1816 – 1830, 21 & 22

35 Bealer, Alex W. and Ellis, John O. , The Log Cabin, Homes of the North American Wilderness, 48 & 49

36 Lincoln Memorial Official National Park Service Hand Book 129, US Department of Interior,

Washington, DC 1986, 40 – 42.

An Administrative History of Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site, September 20,

1968, Gloria Peterson, 23 & 31.

37 Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site, Abraham Lincoln Birthplace Memorial

Building Historic Structures Report, Cultural Resources Southeast Region, 2001; 9, 11, 138.

38 Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site, Abraham Lincoln Birthplace Memorial

Building Historic Structures Report, Cultural Resources Southeast Region, 2001, 9.

39 Cultural Landscape Report, Abraham Lincoln Birthplace NHS, Cultural Resources, Southeast Region,

2004, 2.

40 National Park Service, Accessed February 7, 2008.

41 Hamilton, Holman, The Three Kentucky Presidents: Lincoln, Taylor, Davis, University Press of Kentucky.

Holman Hamilton was professor emeritus of History at the University of Kentucky when this book was published.

42 Abraham Lincoln Sesquicentennial, 1959 – 1960: Final Report, Washington D.C., 1960.

43 Fairbanks Art and Books Accessed February 7, 2008.

44 Abraham Lincoln Sesquicentennial, 1959 – 1960: Final Report, Washington D.C., 1960, p. 61 – 63.

45 Herald News, Hodgenville, Kentucky, January 15, 1959.

46 The Louisville Courier-Journal, Louisville, Kentucky, Vol. 209, No. 44, February 13, 1959, p. 1.

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