Before he was the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) came from humble beginnings, and grew up in a log cabin with just one room.
Abraham Lincoln was born in Hardin County in Kentucky, close to Hodgenville, before moving to southern Indiana when he was 7 years old. In 1830 as a 21-year-old, Lincoln and his family moved their lives to Macon County, Illinois, until he decided to settle in New Salem in 1837.
Read on to find out more about Abraham Lincoln’s rich history and how his early years led him to becoming one of the most famous US Presidents in history.
Modest Kentucky Origins
On February 12th 1809 in a decaying single-room shack, Abraham was born to father Thomas Lincoln and mother Nancy Hanks Lincoln. His older sister Sarah was born two years prior.
Take a peek into what the cabin would have looked like on the inside here:
Abraham lived with his family in Sinking Spring Farm, located in Hardin County near Hodgenville, Kentucky, until they moved to Knob Creek Farm 10 miles from Sinking Spring.
While his original home is no longer standing, there is a replica that remains within the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site memorial building in Sinking Spring Farm.
His mother Nancy gave birth to another son, named Thomas Jr., in 1812, although he sadly died just a few days later. The illness or other cause of death for Thomas Jr. is unknown.
Indiana Farm Life
There were multiple reasons why Thomas Lincoln decided to take his family out of Kentucky. He was still dealing with land and property disputes, the quality of the soil at their farm was deteriorating, and land was not observed properly or clearly divided with property lines.
In December 1816, Abraham’s parents and sister set up home in Pigeon Creek Farm, close to what is known as Gentryville, Indiana in the present day.
The farm was very remote, and Abraham and his father worked hard to make the area more suitable to live. They set up a fence, removed trees and unkempt shrubbery, erected another small log cabin, planted vegetation, and eventually raised some hogs.
While living on the farm, tragedy entered their lives when Nancy Lincoln died of milk sickness.
See one of Abe’s quotes about his mother below:
Abe’s sister Sarah was instantly left to care for everyone as the primary woman of the household. However, more misfortune struck the Lincoln family as Sarah died when she gave birth in the late 1820s.
Utterly distraught over the unexpected death of his sister, Abe had to continue toiling on the farm. He did not enjoy this kind of hard physical labor though, and was more interested in furthering his education through reading and writing.
His stepmother, Sarah Bush Lincoln, often encouraged his thirst for learning despite his father’s disapproval.
As Abe reached 13 years of age, the Little Pigeon Creek Community had grown in size. 9 families including 49 children now lived close by to the Lincoln household.
Moving to Illinois
Thomas’ decision to move his family to Illinois in the year 1830 is one that is largely unknown. His farm was doing well, and he became a prominent part of the community, so there were no clear grounds for why he needed to leave.
At 21 years old, Abraham moved with them to Macon County, Illinois.
Just one year after living in Macon County, the Lincoln family developed a plan to instead plant themselves in Coles County, Illinois. Although, Abe was more keen on advancing his self-taught education and going out on his own.
From there, Abraham came to settle in New Salem. He followed his ambitions and headed down a path of politics that eventually landed him the title of the President of the United States.