18th Century Pioneer Contributions to America’s Destiny Showcased at Cumberland Gap National Historical Park

Subscribe RSS Icon | What is RSS
Date: October 17, 2008
Contact: Pamela Eddy, (606) 246-1072

At the time of the American Revolution, Cumberland Gap, the mountain doorway leading to the west, swung wide open…and through it surged fearless and hardy pioneers who changed the very destiny of our nation.  Who were these 300,000 men, women and children who risked lives and fortunes to follow a dream that beckoned beyond these cloud enshrouded mountains?  Find out during Cumberland Gap National Historical Park’s October 24-26 “The Pioneer Roots of Our Nation’s Destiny: The Lincoln Family Moves West.” 

This event will bring to life famous names including Daniel Boone, but also pioneers almost forgotten: women who worked alongside their husbands helping to create a home in the wilderness, free African Americans and slaves who helped steady the backbreaking work of settling the frontier, pioneer doctors who worked to save lives, and missionaries who came to save souls.

The story of one such Cumberland Gap pioneer cannot be forgotten.  Abraham was a Captain of the militia in the Revolutionary War.  Around 1781, he brought his young family west into Kentucky through the Cumberland Gap.  Several years later, as he was working in his field alongside his sons, a shot suddenly rang out from the forest, and Abraham fell to the ground.  The boys scattered, except for Thomas who stood inshock by his father’s body. As the attacking Indian came out of the forest and moved to where Abraham lay, son Mordecai took careful aim with his flintlock and pulled the trigger.   

That shot saved Thomas from the hand of fate.  Or did fate take America by the hand that day?  For that same small boy would grow up to one day become the father of our beloved President, Abraham Lincoln.

This free event will begin on Friday October 24th at 9:00 a.m. with 1200 school children from the three states attending to see history come to life.  As part of this heritage event, on Friday evening at 7:00 p.m. the Abraham Lincoln Museum and Library in Harrogate, Tennessee will present the drama “The Lincoln Family Moves West” in their Arnold Auditorium.  Reservations are required for the drama and can be made by calling (423) 869-6235 or (423) 869-6439.

On Saturday and Sunday the event resumes at 10:00 a.m. at the national park visitor center and will feature live portrayals of pioneers, period music, a Colonial Trade Faire, 18th century craftsmen, a Genealogy Gateway, the Kentucky History Mobile, and more!  At sunset on Saturday, October 25th, join pioneer descendants from across the nation as they walk in the footsteps of their ancestors into the historic Cumberland Gap.  Many will carry with them 18th century replica “Legacy Lanterns” inscribed with the name of their pioneer ancestors.  One by one, these lanterns will illuminate the Gap in memory of our pioneer roots and will rekindle our American pioneer spirit.  The event concludes at 3:00 p.m. Sunday.  For additional event information, please call (606) 248-2817, extension 1075.   

Last updated: April 14, 2015

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

91 Bartlett Park Road
Middlesboro, KY 40965


(606) 248-2817

Contact Us