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HOME > Biographical > The Life of Abraham Lincoln > CHAPTER I. THE BABE OF THE LOG CABIN AND HIS KIN.
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Near five scores of years have gone by since a poor, plain babe was born in a log hut on the banks of a small stream known as the “Big South Fork” of No-lin’s Creek. This was in Ken-tuc-ky and in what is now La-rue Coun-ty.
It was Sun-day, Feb. 12, 1809, when this child came to bless the world.
The hut, not much more than a cow-shed, held the fa-ther and moth-er, whose names were Thom-as and Nan-cy, and their girl child, Sa-rah. These three were the first who saw the strange, sad face of the boy, who, when he grew to be a man, was so great and good and did such grand deeds that all the world gave most high praise to him.
The folks from whom the fa-ther came were first known in A-mer-i-ca in 1618. They came from Eng-land at that time, and made a home at Hing-ham, Mass. They bore a good name, went straight to work, had health, strength, thrift, and soon tracts of land for their own.
All the long line of men from whom this babe came bore Bi-ble names. The first in this land was Sam-u-el. Then came two Mor-de-cais. Next was John, then A-bra-ham, then Thom-as who was the fa-ther of that Ken-tuc-ky boy.
Though there was room for hosts of men in Mas-sa-chu-setts, yet scores left that state and took up land in New Jer-sey. Mor-de-cai Lin-coln, with his son John, went to Free-hold, New Jer-sey. They made strong friends there and had a good home. When more land was want-ed, Mor-de-cai left his son in New Jer-sey for a while, and went to the Val-ley of the Schuyl-kill in Penn-syl-va-ni-a, where he took up a large tract of land. John Lin-coln, the son, joined his fa-ther lat-er. Near their farm was that of George Boone who had come from Eng-land with e-lev-en chil-dren. One son of George had great love for the woods, the song of the
 birds and camp life. He was Dan-iel Boone, the great hun-ter.
The men on Penn-syl-va-ni-a farms, thought it best to buy land on the oth-er side of the Po-to-mac, so the Lin-colns went in-to the val-ley of the Shen-an-do-ah and took up tracts on lands which had been sur-veyed by George Wash-ing-ton. The Boones went to North Car-o-li-na.
When John Lin-coln’s first born son, A-bra-ham, born in Penn-syl-va-ni-a, came of age, he left his Vir-gin-ia home and went to see the Boones in North Car-o-li-na. Here he met the sweet Ma-ry Ship-ley whom he wed.
Dan-iel Boone told them that there was a fine land be-yond the moun-tains. Boone and three more men had found a gate-way in the moun-tains in 1748. They named it Cum-ber-land Gap, in hon-or of the Duke of Cum-ber-land, Prime-min-is-ter to King George. They
 found rich soil on that oth-er side of the moun-tains, and the haunts of the buf-fa-lo and deer. Boone got up a band of two score and ten men in 1775 and made a set-tle-ment at a spot to which he gave the name of Boons-bor-ough, in what is now Ken-tuc-ky.
When the war of the Rev-o-lu-tion came, the In-di-ans had arms and shot which had been giv-en to them by the Brit-ish. The red men fought hard for the lands where they were wont to hunt. The white men had to build forts and watch the foe at all points when they went forth to clear or till the ground.
Still, more and more folks went to Ken-tuc-ky. Of these, in 1778, were A-bra-ham Lin-coln and his wife, Ma-ry Ship-ley Lin-coln. With them were their three boys, Mor-de-cai, Jo-si-ah and Thom-as, the last a babe in the arms of his moth-er.
From their North Car-o-li-na home, on the banks of the Yad-kin, this group made a trip of 500 miles. The end of their route was near Bear-grass Fort, which was not far from what is now the cit-y of Lou-is-ville, Ken-tuc-ky.
A sad thing came to the Lin-colns in 1784. A-bra-ham with his three sons went out to clear the land on
 their farm. A squad of In-di-ans was near. At the first shot from the brush the good fa-ther fell to the earth to breathe no more. The two old-er boys got a-way, but Thom-as, the third son, was caught up by a sav-age, and would have been tak-en off had not a quick flash come from the eld-est boy’s gun as he fired from the fort, tak-ing aim at a white or-na-ment on the Indian’s breast, and kill-ing him at once.
It was the way of those days that the first born son should have what his fa-ther left. So all went to Mor-de-cai. Jo-si-ah and Thom-as had to make their own way in the world.
Young Thom-as, at ten years of age was at work on land for small pay. As he grew in strength he took up tools, put by his coin, and, at last, could buy some land of his own. When he was a man grown he wed Nan-cy Hanks, who made a good and true wife for him. He built a hut for her near E-liz-a-beth-town. In a year’s time, the first child, Sa-rah, was born.
Two years went by, and as there was but small gain and scarce food for three there, the Lin-colns went to Big South Fork, put up a poor shack, a rude hut of one room. The floor was not laid, there was no glass for the win-dow and no boards for the door. In this poor place A-bra-ham Lin-coln, II, first saw the light.
The moth-er, Nan-cy Hanks, when she came to be the wife of Thom-as Lin-coln, was a score and three years old. She was tall, had dark hair, good looks, much grace, and a kind heart. It is said that at times she had a far off look in her eyes as if she could see what oth-ers did not see. She had been at school in her Vir-gin-ia home, could read and write, and had great love for books. She knew much of the Bi-ble by heart, and it made her glad to tell her dear ones of it. The brave young wife did all she could to help in that poor home.
 The love she had for her babes kept joy in her heart. Her boy was ver-y close to her. As she looked in-to his deep eyes, she seemed to know that child was born for grand deeds. As he learned to talk, his moth-er hid his say-ings in her heart, tell-ing but few friends who were near her, how she felt a-bout that son. But she had too much to do to dream long. As Thom-as was much from home the young wife had to leave her babes on a bed of leaves, take the gun, go out and bring down a deer or a bear, dress the flesh, and cook it at the fire. She used skins for clothes, shoes, and caps. All the time it was toil, toil, but love kept the work less hard.
As the boy, A-bra-ham, grew in strength and health, his eyes turned to his moth-er for all that made life dear. In af-ter years he oft-en said, “All that I am I owe to my moth-er.”
There was no door to the Lin-coln hut, so the moth-er hung up a bear skin as a shield from the cold, and pressed her babe to her breast as the chill winds swept in be-tween the logs.
At the fire on the hearth the corn-cake was baked and the ba-con fried. Game was hung up in front of the
 fire, and turned from time to time, that it might all be brown and crisp. When free from toil the moth-er taught her lad and lass, and the “gude-man,” too, that it might make him more than he was to her, to him-self, and to oth-ers. The truths the moth-er gave out sank deep in the heart of her boy, and in due time they put forth shoots which grew to a great size, and were of use to the world.
Four years went by, and then the Lin-colns took a bet-ter farm at Knob Creek, built a cab-in, dug a well, and cleared some land. The new home was but a short way from the patch on the side of that hill on No-lin’s Creek, but a good farm might have been made there if Thom-as Lin-coln had been a man who would stay in one place, and work the soil year in and year out. He had not the pluck to keep a farm up to the mark.
When A-bra-ham was five years old he oft-en went with his folks three miles from home to a place called “Lit-tle Mound.” A log-house had been built there, and a man found whose name was Rev. Da-vid El-kins, and who was glad to come a long way through the woods to preach from the Word of God.
The small boy soon had a great love for that good
 man. The ways of the child drew the preach-er to him and they were soon fast friends.
Ere long one came by who said he could teach all the folks to spell and read. A class was made up, and, strange to say, the five-year-old A-bra-ham stood at the head of it! His moth-er had taught him. She, al-so, had told him to be kind and good to all. There were sol-diers on the road from time to time, go-ing home from the war of 1812. One day the young child saw one near him when he held in his hand a string of fish he had just caught. He gave all his fish to the sol-dier.

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