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diversified by continual incursions, repulsions, and reprisals, on one side and on the other. In one of these frequent invasions, Abraham Lincoln was killed by the Indians, who stole upon him while he was at work and shot him. There is historical mention made of an Indian expedition to Hardin county, Kentucky, in 1781, which resulted in the massacre of some of the settlers; but the date of Lincoln's death is fixed some three years later, and there is no other account of it than family tradition. His wife, his three sons and two daughters survived him ; but the dispersion of his family soon took place; the daughters marrying, and the sons seeking their fortunes in different localities. Of the latter, Thomas Lincoln, the father of Abraham Lincoln of to-day, was the youngest, and doubtless felt more severely than the rest the loss which had befallen them. They were poor, even for that rude time and country; and as a child, Thomas made acquaintance only with hardship and privation. He was a wandering, homeless boy, working when he could find work, and enduring when he could not. He grew up without education ; his sole accomplishment in chirography being his own clumsy signature. At twenty-eight he married Lucy Hanks, and settled in Hardin county, where, on the 12th of February, 1809, ABRAHAM LINCOLN was born. Lincoln's mother was, like his father, Virginian ; but beyond this, little or nothing is known of her. From
both his parents young Lincoln inherited an iron constitution and a decent poverty. From his father came that knack of story-telling, which has made him so delightful among acquaintances, and so irresistible in his stump and forensic drolleries. It is a matter of some regret that the information with regard to Thomas Lincoln and his wife is so meager. The information is, however, not altogether necessary to the present history, and the conjecture to which one is tempted would be aS idle as impertinent. It is certain that Lincoln cherished, with just pride, a family repute for native ability, and alluded to it in after life, when he felt the first impulses of ambition, and began in earnest his struggle with the accidents of ignorance and poverty. A younger brother of Abraham's died in infancy; and a sister, older than himself, married and died many years ago. With her he attended school during his early childhood in Kentucky, and acquired the alphabet, and other rudiments of education. The schooling which Abraham then received from the books and birch of Zachariah Riney and Caleb Hazel, (of pedagogic memory,) and afterward from Azel W. Dorsey,” and one or two others in Indiana, amounted in time to nearly a year, and can not be otherwise computed. It is certain, however, that this brief period limits his scholastic course. Outside of it, his education took place
through the rough and wholesome experiences of border life, the promptings of a restless ambition, and a profound love of knowledge for its own sake. Under these influences, he has ripened into a hardy physical manhood, and acquired a wide and thorough intelligence, without the aid of schools or preceptors. In the autumn of 1816, when Abraham was eight years old, his father determined to quit Kentucky. Already the evil influences of slavery were beginning to be felt by the poor and the non-slaveholders. But the emigration of Thomas Lincoln is, we believe, to be chiefly attributed to the insecurity of the right by which he held his Kentucky land; for, in those days, land-titles were rather more uncertain than other human affairs. Abandoning his old home, and striking through the forests in a northwesterly direction, he fixed his new dwellingplace in the heart of the “forest primeval” of what is now Spencer county, Indiana. The dumb solitude there had never echoed to the ax, and the whole land was a wilderness. 2. The rude cabin of the settler was hastily erected, and then those struggles and hardships commenced which are the common trials of frontier life, and of which the story has been so often repeated. Abraham was a hardy boy, large for his years, and with his ax did manful service in clearing the land. Indeed, with that implement, he literally hewed out his path to manhood; for, until he was twenty-three, the ax was seldom out of his hand, except in the intervals of labor, or when it was exchanged for the plow, the hoe, or the sickle. His youthful experiences in this forest life did not differ from those familiar to many others. As an adventurous boy, no doubt the wood was full of delight and excitement to him. No doubt he hunted the coon, trapped the turkey, and robbed the nest of the pheasant. As a hunter with the rifle, however, he did not acquire great skill, for he has never excelled an exploit of his eighth year, when he shot the leader of a flock of turkeys which ventured within sight of the cabin during his father's absence. The family had hardly been two years in their new home when it was desolated by the death of Abraham's mother. This heavy loss was afterward partially repaired by the marriage of his father to Mrs. Sally Johnston, of Elizabethtown, Kentucky. She was the parent of three children by a former husband, and was always a good and affectionate mother to Thomas Lincoln's motherless son.* The Lincolns continued to live in Spencer county, until 1830, nothing interrupting the even tenor of Abraham's life, except in his nineteeth year, a flat-boat trip to New Orleans. He and a son of the owner composed the crew, and without other assistance, voyaged
*This gentleman is still living in Schuyler county, Illinois.
“Down the beautiful river, Past the Ohio shore, and past the mouth of the Wabash, Into the golden stream of the broad and swift Mississippi,”
Trafficking here and there, in their course, with the inhabitants, and catching glimpses of the great world so long shut out by the woods. One night, having tied up their “culnbrous boat,” near a solitary plantation on the sugar coast, they were attacked and boarded by seven stalwart negroes; but Lincoln and his comrade, after a severe contest in which both were hurt, succeeded in beating their assailants and driving them from the boat. After which they weighed what anchor they had, as speedily as possible, and gave themselves to the middle current again. With this sole adventure, Lincoln resumed his quiet backwoods life in Indiana. # Four years afterward, on the first of March, 1830, his father determined to emigrate once more, and the family abandoned the cabin which had been their home so long, and set out for Illinois. The emigrant company was made up of Thomas Lincoln's family, and the families of Mrs. Lincoln's two sons-in-law. Their means of progress and conveyance were ox-wagons, one of which Abraham Lincoln drove. Before the month was elapsed they had arrived at Macon county, Illinois, where they remained a short time, and Lincoln's family “located ” on some new land, about ten miles northwest of Decatur, on the north bank of the Sangamon river, at a junction of forest and prairie land. Here the father and son built a log-cabin, and split rails enough to fence in their land. It is supposed that these are the rails which have since become historic ; though they were by no means the only ones which the robust young backwoodsman made. Indeed, there are other particular
* Mrs. Lincoln is still living, in Coles county, Illinois.