A Short Life of Abraham Lincoln eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 609 pages of information about A Short Life of Abraham Lincoln.

“March 1, 1830, Abraham having just completed his twenty-first year, his father and family, with the families of the two daughters and sons-in-law of his stepmother, left the old homestead in Indiana and came to Illinois.  Their mode of conveyance was wagons drawn by ox-teams, and Abraham drove one of the teams.  They reached the county of Macon, and stopped there some time within the same month of March.  His father and family settled a new place on the north side of the Sangamon River, at the junction of the timber land and prairie, about ten miles westerly from Decatur.  Here they built a log cabin, into which they removed, and made sufficient of rails to fence ten acres of ground, fenced and broke the ground, and raised a crop of sown corn upon it the same year....  The sons-in-law were temporarily settled in other places in the county.  In the autumn all hands were greatly afflicted with ague and fever, to which they had not been used, and by which they were greatly discouraged, so much so that they determined on leaving the county.  They remained, however, through the succeeding winter, which was the winter of the very celebrated ‘deep snow’ of Illinois.”


Flatboat—­New Salem—­Election Clerk—­Store and Mill—­Kirkham’s “Grammar”—­“Sangamo Journal”—­The Talisman—­Lincoln’s Address, March 9, 1832—­Black Hawk War—­Lincoln Elected Captain—­Mustered out May 27, 1832—­Reenlisted in Independent Spy Battalion—­Finally Mustered out, June 16, 1832—­Defeated for the Legislature—­Blacksmith or Lawyer?—­The Lincoln-Berry Store—­Appointed Postmaster, May 7, 1833—­National Politics

The life of Abraham Lincoln, or that part of it which will interest readers for all future time, properly begins in March, 1831, after the winter of the “deep snow.”  According to frontier custom, being then twenty-one years old, he left his father’s cabin to make his own fortune in the world.  A man named Denton Offutt, one of a class of local traders and speculators usually found about early Western settlements, had probably heard something of young Lincoln’s Indiana history, particularly that he had made a voyage on a flatboat from Indiana to New Orleans, and that he was strong, active, honest, and generally, as would be expressed in Western phrase, “a smart young fellow.”  He was therefore just the sort of man Offutt needed for one of his trading enterprises, and Mr. Lincoln himself relates somewhat in detail how Offutt engaged him and the beginning of the venture: 

“Abraham, together with his stepmother’s son, John D. Johnston, and John Hanks, yet residing in Macon County, hired themselves to Denton Offutt to take a flatboat from Beardstown, Illinois [on the Illinois River], to New Orleans; and for that purpose were to join him—­Offutt—­at Springfield, Illinois, so soon as the snow should go off.  When it did go off, which was about the first of March, 1831, the county was so flooded as to make traveling

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A Short Life of Abraham Lincoln from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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