A cabin much
like the one Abraham Lincoln was born in,
on February 12, 1809
THE TIME FOR
BLACK BEARS, BUFFALO, DEER, AND PANTHERS--RIGHT IN OUR BACKYARDS
(INDIANA AND ILLINOIS)
A cabin much like the one Abraham Lincoln was born in,
February 12, 1809
NOTE: SPECIAL PEOPLE WHO SEEMED TO LOVE FRONTIER LIFE, DESIRED TO HAVE LOTS OF
ELBOW ROOM, VERY LITTLE "CITY-PEOPLE" CONTACT, AND THE STYLE OF
LIVING CALLED SUSTENANCE FARMER.
The Lifestyle Histories of
Thomas, Sarah and Abraham Lincoln
story will describe the lives of Thomas Lincoln and his wife
Nancy. Their son, Abraham would not accept this life as his
life-long desire and future. Something different would happen
to him in Illinois. By the time Thomas and his second wife
Sarah Bush (actually a city lady) would move to Illinois (1830),
there would be a large extended family group living together in
Sarah Bush would provide a progressive approach to
the children being educated and learning to read. Thomas seemed
to go along with it and Abraham and Sarah would get a total of
one year of formal education in Kentucky and Indiana.
The era of Thomas Lincoln as a child, himself, was
set in the Territory of our own United States that would later
become our state of Illinois and the other great states
Education was always considered important by our
founding fathers and the writers of the Northwest Ordinance of
1787, but would have trouble making any of their "intents"
work. Formal education was nearly non-existant in the frontier
wilderness. If not for wandering "wizzards," there wouldn't
have been any schools. Parents were normally illiterate, and
work took up all of their time to simply EXIST. There was
competition in the wilderness with beasts, weather, and
Many of the families and individuals who
moved west during the late 18th and early 19th
centuries would start their new lives out without education.
School education was more common in the Eastern United States.
Organized public and private schools, and even universities were
established in eastern states. The rural areas of the original
thirteen colonies would not have the educational benefits of the
Not knowing why illiteracy was so rampant in
the new western territories and new states, we can only look at
the story of Thomas Lincoln to see possibly why he was
illiterate and disinterested in “eddication,” as he called it.
Thomas Lincoln was born in 1778 in
Virginia. His Virginia ancestors, including Grandfather Samuel
Lincoln, were land owners with some means. In 1782, Thomas and
the family were moved to Kentucky. The Lincolns and the Daniel
Boone family were acquaintances, and it seems that Daniel Boone
had convinced a lot of Virginia families to move west to
Daniel Boone, Frontier of the new west.
Founder of Boonesborough, Kentucky
In 1786 Thomas Lincoln’s father, Abraham, was killed by
a stealth Native American. Six year old Thomas stayed with his
father’s body in the field, while his brothers went back to the
cabin for their guns. Thomas survived this terrible event, and
from there we don’t know a lot about how he was brought up.
The United States was born in 1776, and until the late
1700’s she would be run as a Congress of the Confederation of
states. The Articles of Confederation were the law for the new
nation. The representatives of the Congress would write a
guiding law for the future states of Kentucky, Indiana,
Illinois, Wisconsin and a part of Minnesota. This was the
In 1792 Kentucky became a state. Kentucky would become
a slave state, and the Thomas Lincoln hated slavery. Part of
the reason was the morality of people owning people, but another
reason was the competition of slave workers with the single
family sustenance farmer.
Thomas Lincoln surely had an intelligent business mind
for buying and selling land. His farms usually had two to five
hundred acres. The problem with him in operating his farms was
that he needed more help. A small family could not clear the
land, plant and maintain the fields, build the cabins and other
structures, and provide food and other requirements for
survival. The land did not help him to maintain a kind of
poverty level in living.
Eastern and Southern farms of similar size to Thomas’
farms would require a crew of slaves or farm hands.
One other thing kind of interesting about Thomas Lincoln
was that he had a deep mistrust and dislike of lawyers and
surveyors. His only living son became a lawyer, surveyor and
later a politician. More about Abraham Lincoln’s education and
thinking will be covered later in this introduction.
Thomas Lincoln never learned how to read or write, and
also developed an attitude that these skills were not necessary
to survive in the wilderness. Indiana would be a part of the
Northwest Territory until 1816, while Illinois would become a
state in 1818.
Learning Lincoln On-Line Book Table of