World icon. This link bypasses navigation taking you directly to the contents of this page.


How to Use the Context


Inquiry Question





Table of

Setting the Stage

In the years following the War of 1812, emigration to the Old Northwest--an area that would eventually become the states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin--increased dramatically. With the defeat and relocation of the American Indians, who sided with the British, vast new acreage was opened to settlement. Large numbers of people from other parts of the country, especially the South, began to move northwest and set about clearing the forests and cultivating the land. Many of these emigrants came from Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Kentucky. One such pioneer was Thomas Lincoln, who, with his family, settled in present-day Spencer County. Thomas Lincoln was attracted to Indiana by the rich land, the absence of slavery, and by the security of the systematic federal land survey, as stipulated in the Land Ordinance of 1785. This legislation passed by Congress opened the area for settlement. Because the land was surveyed by the government before it was made available to settlers, Thomas was able to file a claim on a piece of land and acquire clear title to it. Having lost several farms in Kentucky due to conflicting claims, the prospect of obtaining a clean title made Indiana very attractive.

Thomas Lincoln's son, Abraham Lincoln spent 14 formative years of his life, from the ages of 7 to 21, on a farm in Indiana. He and his family moved to Indiana in 1816 and stayed until 1830 at which time they moved to Illinois. During this period, Lincoln grew physically and intellectually into a man. The people he knew here and the things he experienced had a profound influence on his life. The time he spent on the frontier helped shape the man that went on to lead the country.



Comments or Questions

National Park Service arrowhead with link to NPS website.