Lincoln: A Brief Biography
Abe Lincoln's Yarns and Stories
(Henry Neil, 1901)
Abraham Lincoln was born
on February 12, 1809 in a small cabin near Hogenville,
Kentucky. His father, Thomas Lincoln, was a carpenter
and farmer, and his mother, Nancy Hanks Lincoln, was
a seamstress. Lincoln also had an older sister, Sarah.
When Abraham was seven years old, his family settled in the Indiana
wilderness. Shortly thereafter, his mother died of milk sickness.
Lincoln’s father remarried to widow Sarah Bush Johnston,
bringing her and her three children to live at the Lincolns' Coles
Although Abraham and his sister Sarah attended school in both Kentucky
and Indiana, he was largely self-educated. He was an avid reader,
a trait likely inherited from his mother, who read the Bible to
the Lincoln children before her death. Abraham's preference for
reading allegedly caused a rift between him and his father, who
felt the boy should help with farming chores.
In the Boyhood of Lincoln
(D. Appleton and Co., 1986)
As a young man, Lincoln
worked as a businessman, surveyor, and postmaster. He
briefly served in the Black Hawk War of 1832. Eventually,
Lincoln built a successful legal practice and turned
his attention to politics. He was elected to the Illinois
legislature in 1834, and subsequently won three consecutive
bids for reelection. He was elected to the U.S. House
of Representatives in 1846.
In the midst of his political climb, Lincoln met Mary Todd, a socialite
descended from a prominent Kentucky family. The two were married
on November 4, 1842. Between 1843 and 1853, the Lincolns had four
sons: Robert, Edward, William, and Thomas. Only Robert survived
He Knew Lincoln
(McClure, Phillips and Co., 1908)
Lincoln was elected President
of the United States on November 6, 1860 in the midst
of volatile political conflict between the North and
South over slavery and states’ rights. By his March
inauguration, the South had seceded from the Union. By
April, the Civil War had begun.
Throughout the war, Lincoln served as Commander in Chief of the
Union Army. On January 1, 1863, he signed the Emancipation Proclamation,
freeing all slaves. His non-war initiatives included the Homestead
Act, National Banking Act, and Railroad Act, and making Thanksgiving
an official holiday.
On 11 April 1865, two days after Lee's surrender, Lincoln gave
a speech addressing Southern reconstruction and voting rights for
freed slaves. It would be his last public address. Infuriated by
this speech and hoping to rejuvenate the failing South, John Wilkes
Booth shot the president during a Good Friday production of “Our
American Cousin” at Ford's Theater. Lincoln died the next
day, 15 April 1865. He was buried at Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield.
for Abraham Lincoln in the PBO database