The Making of a Man: Lincoln grows up on the frontier

Board member Bruce Leathem works on construction of the cabin.

Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809 in Hardin County, Kentucky. He and his family lived in a one-room log cabin. At the Kibbe Hancock County Heritage Museum, you will be able to see a replica of just such a cabin,. In 1816, Abraham’s father lost his land in a title dispute; the family moved to Perry County, Indiana, and once again their home was a log cabin. When Abe was nine years old his mother died of milk fever, a disease gotten from drinking milk from cows that had grazed poisonous white snakeroot. Abe had to work just like a man to help his father keep the farm and feed the family.

His father married widow Sara Johnston, with three children of her own,in 1819. Abe loved her from the start. He had learned to read from itinerate teachers that traveled the country and in all, had about 18 months of formal schooling. From then on he was totally self taught and Sara encouraged him.

Abe didn’t like the physical labor of farming , but was an excellent ax man and gained a good reputation as a rail fence builder. As was the custom, all outside earnings were given to his father until he was 21. When Abe was 22, he canoed down the Sangaman River to New Salem. He got a job taking goods to New Orleans on a flatboat by going down the Sangamon, Illinois and Mississippi rivers. He saw slavery, firsthand, in New Orleans and was so upset by it that he walked all the way home.

Visit a log cabin and learn more about the hardships of settling the frontier when the Kibbe Musuem opens its new exhibit  “Lincoln:  The Making of a Man” on 14 April, 2012.


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