Resource Material Guide

Resource Materials

Lincoln's Time Line

1637 - Samuel Lincoln immigrates from Hingham, England settling in Hingham, Massachusetts.

1778 - January 6, Thomas Lincoln (Abraham's father), descendant of Samuel, is born in Rockingham County, Virginia.

1782 - Thomas and family move to Kentucky.

1786 - In early May, Thomas' father is killed by American Indians.

1806 - June 12, Thomas marries Nancy Hanks.

1807 - February 10, Thomas and Nancy Lincoln's first child, Sarah Lincoln, is born.

1808 - December, Thomas buys a farm called Sinking Spring near Hodgenville, Kentucky.

1809 - February 12, Abraham Lincoln is born in a one room log cabin on the Sinking Spring Farm in Hardin (now LaRue) County, Kentucky.

1811 - In the spring, the Lincoln family moves to 30 rented acres on what is known as the Knob Creek Farm ten miles from Sinking Spring.

1812 - A brother, Thomas Lincoln, Jr., is born at Knob Creek, but dies in infancy.

1815- Young Abraham and his sister, Sarah, attends school in a log cabin. Teachers: Zachariah Riney and Caleb Hazel.

1816 - In December, the Lincoln family leaves Knob Creek; crosses the Ohio River and settles in the backwoods of southcentral Indiana.

1817 - In February, Abraham, age 7, shoots a wild turkey but suffers great remorse and never hunts game again.

1818 - Young Abraham is kicked in the head by a horse and for a brief time is thought to be dead. On October 5, Nancy Hanks Lincoln (his mother) dies of "milk sickness."

1819 - December 2, Abraham's father, Thomas, marries a widow, Sarah Bush Johnston, and becomes stepfather to her three children. Abraham develops much affection for his stepmother.

1820 - Briefly attends school in Indiana.

1822 - Again attends school for a few months.

1824 - Does plowing and planting and work for hire for neighbors. Once again Abraham attends school in the fall and winter. Borrows books and reads whenever possible.

1826 - August 2, Lincoln's sister, Sarah, marries Aaron Grigsby.

1828 - January 20, his married sister, Sarah, dies while giving birth. In April, Abraham, now 19, and Allen Gentry take a flatboat of farm produce to New Orleans. During the trip they fight off a robbery attack by seven black men. At New Orleans Abraham observes a slave auction.

1830 - In March, Abraham and his family begin a 200 mile journey to Illinois where they settle on land along the Sangamon River, near Decatur. Abraham makes his first political speech in favor of improving navigation on the Sangamon River.

1831- Abraham makes a second flatboat trip to New Orleans. His father moves again, but Abraham doesn't go and instead settles in New Salem, Illinois, where he works as a clerk in the village store and sleeps in the back. Lincoln wrestles the town bully, Jack Armstrong, to a draw. Learns basic math, reads Shakespeare and Robert Burns and participates in a local debating society.

1832 - In March, Lincoln becomes a candidate for the Illinois General Assembly. The Black Hawk War breaks out. In April, Abraham enlists and is elected Captain of his rifle company. Re-enlists as a private after company is disbanded. He serves a total of three months but does not fight in a battle. August 6, loses the election. The village store he worked in goes out of business. Lincoln and partner, William Berry, purchase another village store in New Salem.

1833 - Their store fails, leaving him badly in debt. Lincoln is appointed Postmaster of New Salem. In autumn, Lincoln is appointed Deputy County Surveyor.

1834 - August 4, Lincoln, age 24, is elected to the Illinois General Assembly as a member of the Whig party. Begins to study law. In December, meets Stephen A. Douglas, 21, a Democrat.

1835 - In January, former store partner William Berry dies, increasing Lincoln's debt to $1000. On August 25, Ann Rutledge, Lincoln's love interest, dies from fever at age 22.

1836 - August 1, re-elected to the Illinois General Assembly and is a leader of the Whig party. On September 9, Lincoln receives his law license. Begins courtship of Mary Owens. Has an episode of severe depression in December.

1837 - Helps to get the Illinois state capital moved from Vandalia to Springfield. On April 15, leaves New Salem and settles in Springfield. Becomes a law partner of John T. Stuart. In summer, proposes marriage to Mary Owens, is turned down and the courtship ends.

1838 - Helps to successfully defend Henry Truett in a famous murder case. On August 6, re-elected to the Illinois General Assembly, becoming Whig floor leader.

1839 - Travels through nine counties in central and eastern Illinois as a lawyer on the 8th Judicial Circuit. On December 3, admitted to practice in United States Circuit Court. Meets Mary Todd, 21, at a dance held at her sister's home in Springfield.

1840 - In June, Lincoln argues his first case before the Illinois Supreme Court. On August 3, re-elected to the Illinois General Assembly. In fall, becomes engaged to Mary Todd.

1841 - January 1, breaks off engagement with Mary Todd. Has episode of depression. On March 1, forms new law partnership with Stephen T. Logan. In August, makes a trip by steamboat to Kentucky and sees twelve slaves chained together.

1842 - Does not seek re-election to the legislature. In summer, resumes courtship with Mary Todd. In September, accepts a challenge to a duel by Democratic state auditor James Shields over published letters making fun of Shields. On September 22, duel with swords is averted by an explanation of letters. On November 4, marries Mary Todd in Springfield.

1843 - Lincoln is unsuccessful in attempt for the Whig nomination for U.S. Congress. On August 1, first child, Robert Todd Lincoln, is born.

1844 - May, the Lincoln family moves into a house in Springfield, purchased for $1500. Campaigns for Henry Clay in the presidential election. In December, dissolves law partnership with Logan, and then sets up his own practice.

1846 - March 10, a son, Edward Baker Lincoln is born. On May 1, nominated to be the Whig candidate for U.S. Congress. On August 3, elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

1847 - Moves into a boarding house in Washington, D.C. with his wife and sons. On December 6, takes his seat when Thirtieth Congress convenes. On December 22, presents resolutions questioning President Polk about U.S. hostilities with Mexico.

1848 - January 22, gives a speech on floor of the House against President Polk's war policy regarding Mexico. In June, attends the national Whig convention supporting General Zachary Taylor as the nominee for president. Campaigns for Taylor in Maryland and in Boston, then in Illinois.

1849 - March 7 and 8, makes an appeal before the U.S. Supreme Court regarding the Illinois statute of limitations, but is unsuccessful. On March 31, returns to Springfield and leaves politics to practice law. On May 22, Abraham Lincoln is granted U.S. Patent No. 6,469 (the only president ever granted a patent).

1850 - February 1, his son Edward dies after a two month illness. Lincoln resumes his travels in the 8th Judicial Circuit covering over 400 miles in 14 counties in Illinois. "Honest Abe" gains a reputation as an outstanding lawyer. On December 21, his third son, William Wallace Lincoln (Willie) is born.

1851 - January 17, Lincoln's father, Thomas, dies in Coles County, Illinois.

1853 - April 4, his fourth son, Thomas (Tad) is born.

1854 - Re-enters politics opposing the Kansas-Nebraska Act. Elected to Illinois legislature but declines the seat in order to try to become U.S. Senator.

1855 - Does not get chosen by the Illinois legislature to be U.S. Senator.

1856 - May 29, helps organize the new Republican party of Illinois. At the first Republican convention Lincoln gets 110 votes for the vice-presidential nomination, bringing him national attention. Campaigns in Illinois for Republican presidential candidate John C. Fremont.

1857 - June 26, in Springfield, Lincoln speaks against the Dred Scott decision.

1858 - In May, wins acquittal in a murder trial by using an almanac regarding the height of the moon to discredit a witness. On June 16, nominated to be the Republican senator from Illinois, opposing Democrat Stephen A. Douglas. Gives "House Divided" speech at the state convention in Springfield. Also engages Douglas in a series of seven debates with large audiences.

1859 - Illinois legislature chooses Douglas for the U.S. Senate over Lincoln by a vote of 54 to 46. In the fall, Lincoln makes his last trip through the 8th Judicial Circuit. On December 20, writes a short autobiography.

1860 - March 6, delivers an impassioned political speech on slavery in New Haven, Connecticut. Also in March, the "Lincoln-Douglas Debates" published.

1860 - May 18, nominated to be the Republican candidate for President of the United States. Opposes Northern Democrat Stephen A. Douglas and Southern Democrat John C. Breckinridge. In June, writes a longer autobiography. On November 6, Abraham Lincoln is elected the 16th President and the first Republican to hold that office. Receives 180 of 303 possible electoral votes and 40 percent of the popular vote. On December 20, South Carolina secedes from the Union. Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas follows within two months.

1861 - February 11, Lincoln gives a brief farewell to friends and supporters at Springfield and departs by train for Washington. Receives a warning during the trip about a possible assassination attempt in Baltimore, Maryland.

March 4, 1861 - Inauguration ceremonies in Washington. President Lincoln delivers his First Inaugural Address.

April 12, 1861 - At 4:30 a.m. Confederates open fire on Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina. The Civil War begins.

April 15, 1861 - President Lincoln issues a Proclamation calling for 75,000 volunteers for 3 months and convening Congress.

April 17, 1861 - Virginia secedes from the Union. Followed within five weeks by North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas, thus forming an eleven state Confederacy.

April 19, 1861 - The president issues a Proclamation of Blockade against Southern ports.

April 27, 1861 - The president authorizes the suspension of the Writ of Habeas Corpus.

June 3, 1861 - Political rival Stephen A. Douglas dies unexpectedly of acute rheumatism.

July 21, 1861 - The Union suffers a defeat at Bull Run in northern Virginia. Union troops fall back to Washington. The president realizes the war will be long.

July 27, 1861 - Appoints George B. McClellan as commander of the Department of the Potomac.

August 6, 1861 - Signs a law freeing slaves being used by the Confederates in their war effort.

August 12, 1861 - The president issues a Proclamation of a National Day of Fasting.

September 11, 1861 - Revokes Gen. John C. Fremont's unauthorized military proclamation of emancipation in Missouri.

October 24, 1861 - Relieves Gen. Fremont of his command and replaces him with Gen. David Hunter.

November 1, 1861 - Appoints McClellan as commander of the Union army after the resignation of Winfield Scott.

January 27, 1862 - Issues General War Order No. 1 calling for a Union advance to begin February 22.

February 3, 1862 - Writes a message to McClellan on a difference of opinion regarding military plans.

February 20, 1862 - The president's son, Willie, dies at age 11. The president's wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, is emotionally devastated and never fully recovers.

March 11, 1862 - President Lincoln relieves McClellan as general-in-chief and takes direct command of the Union armies.

April 6, 1862 - Confederate surprise attack on Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's troops at Shiloh on the Tennessee River in southwest Tennessee results in a bitter struggle with 13,000 Union and 10,000 Confederates killed and wounded. The president is pressured to relieve Grant, but resists.

April 9, 1862 - Writes a message to McClellan urging him to attack.

April 16, 1862 - Signs an Act abolishing slavery in the District of Columbia.

May 20, 1862 - Approves the Federal Homestead Act giving 160 acres of publicly owned land in the west to anyone who will claim and then work the property for 5 years. Thousands cross the Mississippi River to tame the "Wild West."

June 19, 1862 - Approves a Law prohibiting slavery in the territories.

July 1, 1862 - Signs the Pacific Railroad Act authorizing the use of government bonds and western land grants by the Union Pacific Railroad and Central Pacific Railroad for the construction of a transcontinental railroad.

August 29/30, 1862 - Union defeat at the second Battle of Bull Run in northern Virginia. The Union Army retreats to Washington. The president relieves Union commander Gen. John Pope.

September 17, 1862 - General Robert E. Lee and the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia are stopped at Antietam in Maryland by McClellan and numerically superior Union forces. By nightfall, 26,000 men are dead, wounded or missing - the bloodiest day in U.S. military history.

September 22, 1862 - President Lincoln issues a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation freeing the slaves.

November 5, 1862 - The president names Ambrose E. Burnside as commander of the Army of the Potomac, replacing McClellan.

December 13, 1862 - Army of the Potomac suffers a costly defeat at Fredericksburg, Virginia with a loss of 12,653 men. Confederate losses are 5,309.

December 22, 1862 - The president writes a brief message to the Army of the Potomac.

December 31, 1862 - The president signs a bill admitting West Virginia to the Union.

January 1, 1863 - President Lincoln issues the final Emancipation Proclamation freeing all slaves in states and territories held by Confederates.

January 25, 1863 - The president appoints Gen. Joseph (Fighting Joe) Hooker as commander of the Army of the Potomac, replacing Burnside.

January 29, 1863 - Gen. Grant is placed in command of the Army of the West with orders to capture Vicksburg.

February 25, 1863 - Signs a Bill creating a national banking system.

March 3, 1863 - Signs an Act introducing military conscription.

May 1-4, 1863 - A Union defeat at the Battle of Chancellorsville in Virginia. Confederate Gen. Stonewall Jackson is mortally wounded. Gen. Hooker retreats. Union losses are 17,000 killed, wounded and missing; Confederate losses are 13, 000.

June 28, 1863 - The president appoints Gen. George G. Meade as commander of the Army of the Potomac, replacing Hooker.

July 1-3, 1863 - Confederate defeat at the Battle of Gettysburg.

July 2, 1863 - Signs the Morrill Land-Grant Act creating engineering and agricultural colleges.

July 4, 1863 - Vicksburg, the last Confederate stronghold on the Mississippi River, is captured by Gen. Grant and the Army of the West.

July 13, 1863 - Lincoln writes a message to Gen. Grant.

July 14, 1863 - Writes an undelivered letter to Gen. Meade complaining about his failure to capture Lee.

July 30, 1863 - Issues an Order of Retaliation.

August 8, 1863 - Writes a letter to his wife regarding Tad's lost goat.

August 10, 1863 - The president meets with abolitionist Frederick Douglass who pushes for full equality for Union "Negro troops."

September 19-20, 1863 - Union defeat at Chickamauga in northern Georgia leaves Union forces in Chattanooga, Tennessee under Confederate siege. The president appoints Gen. Grant to command all operations in the western theater.

October 3, 1863 - Issues a Proclamation of Thanksgiving.

November 19, 1863 - President Lincoln delivers the Gettysburg Address at a ceremony dedicating the Battlefield as a national cemetery.

December 8, 1863 - The president issues a Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction for restoration of the Union.

March 12, 1864 - President Lincoln appoints Gen. Grant as general-in-chief of all the Federal armies. Gen. William T. Sherman succeeds Grant as commander in the West.

June 3, 1864 - A costly mistake by Gen. Grant results in 7,000 Union casualties in twenty minutes during an offensive against entrenched Confederates at Cold Harbor, Virginia.

June 8, 1864 - Abraham Lincoln is nominated for president by a coalition of Republicans and War Democrats.

July 18, 1864 - Issues a call for 500,000 volunteers for military service.

August 31, 1864 - Makes a speech to the 148th Ohio Regiment.

September 2, 1864 - Atlanta is captured by Gen. Sherman's army. Later, the president, on advice from Gen. Grant, approves Sherman's March to the Sea.

October 19, 1864 - A decisive Union victory at Cedar Creek by Gen. Philip H. Sheridan in the Shenandoah Valley.

November 8, 1864 - Abraham Lincoln is re-elected president, defeating Democrat George B. McClellan. Lincoln gets 212 of 233 electoral votes and 55 percent of the popular vote.

December 20, 1864 - Gen. Sherman reaches Savannah, Georgia, leaving behind a path of destruction 60 miles wide all the way from Atlanta.

March 4, 1865 - Inauguration ceremonies in Washington. President Lincoln delivers his second Inaugural Address.

March 17, 1865 - A kidnap plot by John Wilkes Booth fails when Lincoln fails to arrive as expected at the Soldiers' Home.

April 9, 1865 - Gen. Robert E. Lee surrenders his Confederate army to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at the village of Appomattox Court House, Virginia.

April 10, 1865 - Celebrations break out in Washington.

April 11, 1865 - President Lincoln makes his last public speech, which focuses on the problems of reconstruction. The United States flag, "Stars and Stripes," is raised over Fort Sumter.

April 14, 1865 - Lincoln and his wife Mary see the play "Our American Cousin" at Ford's Theater. About 10:13 p.m., during the third act of the play, John Wilkes Booth shoots the president in the head. Doctors attend to the president in the theater then move him to a house across the street. He never regains consciousness.

April 15, 1865 - President Abraham Lincoln dies at 7:22 in the morning.

April 26, 1865 - John Wilkes Booth is shot and killed in a tobacco barn in Virginia.

May 4, 1865 - Abraham Lincoln is laid to rest in Oak Ridge Cemetery, outside Springfield, Illinois.

December 6, 1865 - The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, passed and adopted by Congress. Slavery is abolished in the United States.

Through the Cumberland Gap

The boy who would grow up to be the 16th President of the United States was named for his paternal grandfather, Captain Abraham Lincoln, a true pioneer and good friend of Daniel Boone. In 1782 Captain Abraham Lincoln brought his family through the Cumberland Gap into Kentucky, which was still part of Virginia. Kentucky entered the Union as the 15th state on June 1, 1792.

In early May 1786, shortly after settling in this new land, Captain Abraham Lincoln was shot and killed by an Indian. This was a defining event in young Thomas Lincoln's life. At the time of his father's death, Mordecai Lincoln, the oldest son, inherited his father's entire estate, leaving Thomas and his older brother to fend for themselves. There is no indication that Thomas Lincoln ever resented his brother's good fortune or spent much time brooding over his fate. After his father's death, Thomas moved with his mother to Washington County.

Nancy Hanks was also born in Virginia, the daughter of Lucy Shipley and James Hanks. When Nancy's father died her mother moved with other family members to Kentucky. Eventually, Nancy went to live in Washington County and was a neighbor of Thomas Lincoln. On June 12, 1806, Nancy Hanks and Thomas Lincoln were married near Springfield, Kentucky.

Thomas and Nancy Lincoln Settle on Sinking Spring Farm

After their wedding, Thomas and Nancy moved to Elizabethtown near his carpenter shop and in the vicinity of the Mill Creek Farm that he had purchased in 1803. On February 10, 1807, a daughter, Sarah, was born. Thomas Lincoln was known and respected as a steady worker, and his dedication paid off by 1808, when he and Nancy purchased the Sinking Spring Farm for $200 cash from Isaac Bush.

With Nancy expecting her second child, the Lincoln family moved into a cabin somewhere in the vicinity of a knoll by the Sinking Spring, a reliable source of fresh water from which Abraham Lincoln probably took his first drink.

The Lincolns had chosen well and had every reason to expect a prosperous future. Although they moved into a one room cabin, probably no more than 16 by 20 feet with only one window and one door, they would have brought with them items from Elizabethtown that made the new home comfortable. They still owned a farm near Elizabethtown and Thomas' skills as a carpenter would guarantee any furniture items the family wanted. Nancy was reputed to be a talented spinner who could spin and weave clothing for her husband and young children.

Thomas, like other settlers in the area, would have planted corn, beans, squash, and pumpkins. He probably had a few head of livestock. This young family had every reason to rejoice upon the prospects of their future when a son, Abraham, named for his paternal grandfather, was born February 12, 1809.

Legal Problems with the Sinking Spring Farm

In 1786 a large track of land, which included the Sinking Spring Farm, was purchased by Richard Mather, a land speculator from New York. He later began to sell tracts of this land to settlers coming into Kentucky. David Vance bought the 300 acre Sinking Spring Farm in 1805 with an agreement that Mather would hold a lien on the land until the entire sum was paid in full. In the same year Vance signed the bond over to Isaac Bush, who then signed it over to Thomas Lincoln in December 1808. When no one paid the debt, Mather brought suit against Vance, Bush, and the Lincolns. Vance had disappeared, leaving Isaac Bush and Thomas Lincoln to answer for the bill. After a lengthy court battle the court decided in favor of Mather and the land was offered for sale by auction.

Historians question why Thomas Lincoln and his family did not move back to Elizabethtown where they owned the Mill Creek Farm instead of leasing land in the Knob Creek Valley. It is possible the title for the Elizabethtown property was also in question. Deputy surveyors, using less than perfect techniques, possessing poor math skills, and using trees, rocks, and creeks as survey markers, contributed to the problems with obtaining clear title to land. Land surveys were sent to a land office in Richmond, Virginia for filing. But problems with mail delivery meant many claims could not be substantiated. It was common in Kentucky for those who purchased property in good faith to later find they did not have a clear title to their land.

The Lincoln Farm Association

Local and national efforts to commemorate Lincoln in Kentucky lagged behind endeavors taken by New York, Illinois and in Washington, D.C. Popular feelings toward Lincoln, during and immediately after the Civil War, were mixed in Kentucky. In 1861 when the Union flag flew over the Kentucky state capitol many southern supporters, including the governor, left the state.

As the Centennial of Abraham Lincoln's birth approached, interest in his birthplace grew, especially the interest of a few entrepreneurs. In 1894, Alfred W. Dennett, who planned to build a hotel and park on the historic spot, bought the Sinking Spring Farm from Richard Creal. Dennett purchased a cabin from John Davenport and erected it near the Sinking Spring in November 1895. Efforts to bring people to this remote location failed. In 1897, Dennett dismantled the cabin and took it on tour. Eventually, the logs were put into storage in College Point, Long Island. When Dennett went bankrupt, 110 acres of the Sinking Spring Farm were purchased in August 1905 at public auction for $3,600 by Richard Lloyd Jones, an editor for Collier's Weekly. On April 18, 1906, the Lincoln Farm Association was incorporated. The twenty eight members of the Board of Trustees agreed to raise money by voluntary subscription for the purpose of honoring and perpetuating the memory of Abraham Lincoln by erecting a Memorial Building to house and preserve the log cabin where he was born.

The Memorial Building

The Lincoln Farm Association envisioned a two-story museum with an avenue of trees leading to the entrance, and selected architect John Russell Pope to design the Memorial Building, which was to house Lincoln's birthplace cabin. A central court and a copy of the August Saint-Gaudens' famous Lincoln statue were proposed. Funds fell short of the anticipated goals however, and Pope's plans for the birthplace cabin to be placed in a central court with a movable roof were simplified. The building was made smaller and completely enclosed the cabin.

Granite was supplied from Milford, Massachusetts for the building's exterior. The interior marble was quarried in Tennessee. A wide formal stair of fifty-six steps, one for each year of Lincoln's life, offers a dramatic approach. Beyond the one-story Doric portico are two bronzed-panel doors with matching double doors at the rear entrance.

Authenticity of the Lincoln cabin

The authenticity of the cabin was often questioned. But it was not until scholar Roy Hays published an article titled, "Is the Lincoln Birthplace Cabin Authentic?" in The Abraham Lincoln Quarterly in 1949 that scholarly research began. When a dendrochronologist removed core samples in 2004, absolute proof was obtained. The sampling determined that the oldest log in the cabin dates to 1848, indicating that the cabin enshrined in the Memorial Building was constructed later than 1848 and could not be the original birthplace cabin. Although not the original cabin, it is nonetheless significant for its role in perpetuating the image of Lincoln's dramatic rise from poverty to the White House. Today, in light of the respectful manner the Lincoln Farm Association and the government treated the cabin, it is referred to as the symbolic cabin; a symbol of the conditions and times of Lincoln's birth and early childhood in rural Kentucky.

National Park Status

In 1911, the Lincoln Farm Association, their task completed, turned the park over to the State of Kentucky. In 1916, the Sinking Spring Farm became federal property. The park was managed by the War Department until jurisdiction over the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace was transferred the Department of the Interior and entrusted to the care of the National Park Service in August 1933.

Abraham Lincoln Boyhood Home: Knob Creek Farm

During a conversation in the White House, President Lincoln once remarked, "I remember the old home very well. Our farm was composed of three fields, which lay in a valley surrounded by high hills and deep gorges."

The Lincolns moved to Knob Creek in 1811. Their one room log cabin at Knob Creek was near the Bardstown and Green River Turnpike. It was common for people traveling along the turnpike to spend the night at the Lincolns, and young Abraham would probably listen attentively to their stories of the world beyond Knob Creek. He might have seen merchants taking their goods to market, soldiers coming home from the War of 1812, and slaves being taken South to the auctions. Today, we know the Bardstown and Green River Turnpike as 31E.

Abraham may have played with John and Isaac Hodgen. Their father, Robert Hodgen, owned the mill where people would take their corn to be ground. Each year, the neighbors would gather at the Hodgen's for a feast. Because Robert Hodgen was such a strong supporter of the community, when it came time to name the town, they named it Hodgenville out of appreciation for his civic contributions.

While living at Knob Creek, the children were sent to the ABC School taught by Zachariah Riney and Caleb Hazel. Some people called these "blab schools" because the students recited their lessons out loud. Abraham Lincoln later stated that his formal education was less than one year.

Legends say that while living at Knob Creek, young Abraham Lincoln found a dog with a broken leg. He made a splint and took care of the dog, naming it "Honey." According to his childhood friend Austin Gollaher, Abraham also had a pet crow, adopted a raccoon, and was given a goat named "Billy."

Misfortune seems to have followed the Lincolns from the Sinking Spring Farm, however, for on December 27, 1815, they were served with an eviction notice from the Knob Creek Farm. Thomas Lincoln and his neighbors countered with their own legal action. Now Thomas Lincoln was involved in two lawsuits: the Sinking Spring Farm he had bought and the Knob Creek Farm he was currently leasing! On September 12, 1816, the Hardin Circuit Court ruled against Thomas Lincoln, and he lost his claim to the Sinking Spring Farm. When he was served with an eviction notice to leave the Knob Creek Farm, Thomas decided to move his family to Indiana.

Thomas Lincoln moved his family to Perry (now Spencer) County, Indiana in December 1816. Thomas Lincoln's brother, Josiah, had already moved to Harrison County, Indiana. Thomas Lincoln and his family were living in Indiana when the suit against the Knob Creek families was settled in their favor. Eventually the $200 dollars Thomas and Nancy paid for the Sinking Spring Farm was returned.

Knob Creek Farm becomes a unit of the National Park Service

In 1928 the Howard family purchased the Kentucky boyhood home of Abraham Lincoln and dedicated themselves to preserving the memory of Lincoln's time spent on this farm. Possession and management of this property remained in the family until November 2001, when the Howard family sold the site to the Preservation of Lincoln's Kentucky Heritage, who donated it to the National Park Service, to be administrated by the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site. Today, visitors can walk the same fields the Lincolns plowed, view a historic garden and follow a hiking trail to an overlook of the Knob Creek valley.

Last updated: December 13, 2021

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2995 Lincoln Farm Road
Hodgenville, KY 42748


270 358-3137

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