LINCOLN, Abraham, 16th President of the United States: b. in a rude farm cabin near Hodgensville, Ky., 12 Feb. 1809; d. Washington, D. C., 15 April 1865. The birthplace is marked by a memorial structure dedicated on his hundredth anniversary. He was the first son and second child of Thomas Lincoln and Nancy Hanks, both born in Rockingham County, Va., of parents who were among the earliest emi grants to the new country beyond the moun tains. They were married in Washington County, 12 June 1806, at the home of Richard Berry, guardian of the bride and husband of Lucy Shipley, her aunt. Thomas was not yet six when his father, Abraham, was killed by lurking Indians while he was at work on his farm. The estate, mostly of wild land, de scended by the existing law to his eldest son. No account remains of the widow's subsequent life. Probably she did not long survive the tragedy. Thomas grew up utterly without edu cation and apparently without a definite home. Principally occupied as a farm and forest la borer he acquired some knowledge of the tools and trade of a carpenter. For reasons not uncommon in the lives of families separated by distant migrationi the President had little knowledge of his forbears beyond the paternal grandfather. Long after his death it tran spired that the first American progenitor was Samuel Lincoln who came from England as a weaver's apprentice in 1637. Two elder brothers had previously settled at Hingham, Mass.; named after the English shire town of County Norwich, their ancestral home. Samuel joined them there after completing his apprenticeship at Salem. Neither of the brothers left issue, the name being perpetuated through Mordecai, son of the young weaver; Mordecai 2d, his grandson; John, a great-grandson who lived for a time in Berks County, Pa. removing to Virginia; Abraham, the pioneer ; and Thomas, fifth in the order of American birth. The pedigree has been further traced through four generations in England. In both the old home and the new the main and converging lines of heredity gave promise of family dis tinction should time and occasion propitiously meet. It was mistakenly believed for a time that Thomas and his wife were first cousins. She was the daughter of Joseph Hanks and Nancy Shipley (eNannye as named in the hus band's will who was a sister of Lucy Shipley, wife of Richard Berry before mentioned. Another sister, Mary by name, had married Abraham Lincoln the elder, and it was assumed that she was the mother of all his children. In fact, however, Mary Shipley died prior to the Kentucky migration and was succeeded by Bathsheba Herring, daughter of Leonard Her ring, a Virginian of English parentage. Thomas was the son and only child of this second marriage and therefore unrelated by blood to Nancy his wife. It is worthy of passing mention that still another of the Ship ley sisters was married to Thomas Sparrow and went with him to the Kentucky wilderness. Through the marriage of their daughter with one Charles Friend she became the grand mother of Dennis Friend who somehow came to be known as Dennis eHankse; and was no credit to either name. The irresponsible chatter of this waif did much to mislead the biographers both as to the story of Lincoln's youth and the Hanks genealogy. (Consult Lea and Hutchinson, The Ancestry of Abra ham Lincoln,) Boston 1909). The first home of Thomas and his wife was at Elizabethtown, Ky., where he pursued his trade as carpenter. Two adventures in farming ensued, the first on the Nolin Creek place where their famous son was born. A second son, also born there, lived but a few weeks. Upon neither farm apparently were payments made sufficient to create a salable interest. In 1817, several re lated families accompanying them, they moved to Indiana, settling on a wooded tract near Gentryville in Spencer County; so named after the keeper of a cross-roads store. A railroad junction point called Lincoln City occupies a part of the chosen homestead. In October of the following year a mysterious epidemic swept the district, Mrs. Lincoln being one of many victims. During the next 14 months, the daughter, but two years older than Abraham, kept house for the sorrowing family. On 2 Dec. 1819, Thomas took another wife from Kentucky, Sarah lohnston (nee Bush), a widow with three children residing at Eliza bethtown. Her advent greatly improved the
circumstances, for besides household conveniences such as the children had never known she brought a kind and cheerful na ture. Among otter benefits conferred she en couraged the boy in studies, which his father regarded as a form of idleness. Less than a year of school attendance is all that fell to his lot, but with this meagre help he learned to read and write and to ecipher to the rule of three.' Luckily there were a few good books within reach, all of which he eagerly read. He remembered well, thought much and diligently exercised the knowledge gained. In other re spects he was a boy among boys, loving fun and not enamored of manual toil. He was made to work at home or on the neighboring farms, clerked at odd times in Gentry's store and at the age of 19 accompanied the son of that worthy on a flat-boat trip to New Orleans, trading along the way and returning by river packet. On that memorable venture he first came into conscious contact with slavery, wit nessing, it is said, an auction sale of negroes and vowing that if ever the opportunity came o "hit" that system he would "hit it hard.° the spring of 1830 at the beginning of his majority the family moved to Illinois to settle (temporarily as it proved) near Decatur. After helping to fence and break up part of a prairie farm and to erect a cabin thereon for the fam ily shelter the young man turned to face the world on his own account. Besides the cloth ing he wore, he had nothing but his well-mus cled frame of six and one-third feet in height, a mind matching his great stature in native strength and manners, rude and quaint, to be sure, but springing from a brave and generous soul. After a few weeks of labor with axe and hoe he engaged with John Hanks, one of his mother's tribe, to conduct another flat-boat down the great river. Their employer, Dennis Offut, had failed to provide the boat as prom ised whereupon the two men proceeded to build one. The delay caused Hanks to abandon the voyage but Lincoln with other help completed it. Offut, a merchant, loosely planted at New Salem, on the Sangamon, near Springfield, formed a liking for the , stalwart youth, with the result that Lincoln became a resident of the mushroom village and a helper in the varied and often disastrous enterprises of his new made friend. Offut soon drifted away but Lin coln remained, serving the small community as a mill-hand, clerk in the village stores, master, deputy surveyor and the like, rapidly growing in public esteem. Indian disturbances (the Black Hawk War) called for the creation of a military force. Lincoln volunteered as a private and was elected captain. No fighting occurred in his vicinity and the "war" soon ended. Returning to New Salem he became a candidate for the legislature, failing of elec tion but receiving nearly the entire vote of his precinct. Settled in nothing save the desire for self-improvement, he ventured, with another as poor as himself and wholly on credit, to pur chase a failing store. It continued to fail till only the debt remained. This burden, which he whimsically called "the national debt," fell upon himself alone and was not fully discharged until his pay as Congressman at last provided the means. To business disaster was added the discipline of love and a lover's bereavement. He wooed and won Ann Rutledge, who shortly after the engagement died of a sudden illness. She was one of the Southern family of Rut ledges, her father having been caught with the rest in the New Salem eddy along the inflow ing stream of settlers. He was so nearly un manned by this blow that his friends were alarmed, but it passed. By the election of 1834 he was sent to the legislature and was thrice re-elected. Largely through his efforts the State capital was removed from Vandalia to Springfield in his own county. Measuring him self against his fellows, many of them lawyers, he dared to enter the bar. With no help ex cept from borrowed books, he had so far ad vanced by the autumn of 1836 as to gain ad mission. On 15 April of the following year he moved to Springfield and engaged in the practice. That day 28 years later, at the sum mit of national power and fame, an assassin's shot was to lay him low.