(Gleaned from here and there—by J. F. Hunziker—)
The family had come from Kentucky to make their home here, where land was to be had for the settling. For ten miles north from the Ohio River the soil is black and very fertile. Then you reach the hills, or what the early settlers called “the barrens.” Here the soil is yellow, the land rolling. It is beautiful beyond compare. It is a country of timber and toil. Oak, walnut, ash, hickory, and other valuable hardwoods abound; springs flow from the hillsides; flowers are plentiful; song birds fill the woods, but the soil is stony and stubborn. You may tickle it with a hoe as much as you will, it will not laugh a harvest. Here the Lincoln family settled. There was the father, Thomas Lincoln, his wife, Nancy Hanks Lincoln; Sarah Lincoln, aged ten; and little Abe Lincoln, aged eight.
The family had four horses, old and lame. In the wagon were a few household goods, two sacks of cornmeal, a side of bacon. They built a shack from logs, closed on three sides open to the south. The reason the south side was left open was because there was no chimney, and the fire they built was half in the home and half outside.
Here the family lived the first dreary winter. To Sarah and Abe it was only fun. But to the mother, who was delicate, illy clothed, underfed, and who had known better things in her Kentucky home, it was hardship.
Long years afterward, Abe Lincoln wrote: “My mother worked steadily and without complaining. She cooked, made clothing, planted a little garden. She coughed at times and often would have to lie down for a little while. She was worn, yellow and sad.” One day when she was lying down she motioned to little Abe to come to her. She put her arm around Abe and pointed to his sister, Sarah and said, “Be good to her Abe!” She closed her tired eyes, and it was several hours before Abe and Sarah knew she was dead.
The next day Thomas Lincoln made a rough coffin of split boards. The body of the dead woman was placed in the rude coffin. Four men carried the coffin up to the top of a little hill nearby, and it was lowered into a grave. A mound of rocks was piled on top to protect the grave from wild animals. For the next year, little Sarah was the “little other mother.” She cooked, washed, patched the clothing, and looked after the household.
Then one day Thomas Lincoln went away and left the two children alone. When he came back, he brought the two children a stepmother—Sally Bush Johnson, a widow with three children of her own, but enough love for two more. Her heart went out to little Abe, and the lonely heart responded. J. F. Hunziker
Even though many Abraham Lincoln memorials and statues have been erected and a plethora of information gathered since J. F. Henziker’s 1934 gleanings, the article nonetheless extremely interesting. Visiting the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield, Illinois definitely worth the time and effort involved.
“With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right; as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and his orphan…to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.” Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln’s Tomb has been designated a registered National Historic Landmark under the provision of the historic sites act of August 31, 1955. This site possesses exceptional value in commemorating and illustrating the history of the United States. U. S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service. 1964