Abraham Lincoln is mainly associated with Springfield in Illinois, but he was born in Kentucky and grew up in Kentucky and Indiana. It is rather ironic that both Lincoln and his Civil War opponent Confederate President Jefferson Davis were born in Kentucky. Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809, the second child of Thomas Lincoln and Nancy Lincoln (née Hanks), in the one room log cabin of Sinking Spring Farm. When Lincoln was about two and a half the family moved to Knob Creek Farm, about 15 kilometres (9 miles) away where their home was again a one room log cabin. The family stayed there until 1816 when Lincoln was nearly eight years old, leaving Kentucky to move to Indiana. This move was not the end of Lincoln’s association with Kentucky as in 1842 he married to Mary Todd from Lexington in Kentucky.
Sinking Spring, Abraham Lincoln Birthplace
One thing that is authentic to the days when Lincoln lived here is the spring after which the farm was named. Sinking Spring is just a hole in the ground with water dripping into it, but it was a vital source of water for the Lincoln family when they lived at the farm. Abraham Lincoln was too young to remember Sinking Spring and the farm there, his first memories were of Knob Creek Farm.
Gollaher Cabin, Knob Creek Farm, Lincoln Boyhood Home
The Lincoln family moved to Knob Creek farm in 1811 to farm the fertile land along the creek. While living here, Abraham went to school for the first time, albeit on a rather irregular basis as he was often needed to help with errands around the farm such as fetching water. It was a school friend called Austin Gollaher who saved Lincoln’s life when he fell into Knob Creek. The Lincoln family moved to Indiana in 1816 and the cabin that they lived in at Knob Creek Farm was demolished in 1870. This cabin was built on the original site in 1931. It is known as the Gollaher Cabin because some of the logs might to have come from the cabin where Austin Gollaher lived.
Abraham Lincoln Birthplace
Sinking Spring Farm has long gone but the site is now marked by an imposing memorial building that forms the centrepiece of the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park. Lincoln was 56 when he was assassinated and 56 steps lead up to the neo-classical memorial building designed by John Russell Pope. Work on it commenced in 1909 and it was dedicated in 1911 by President William Howard Taft. The original plan was to rebuild the Sinking Spring Farm cabin inside the monument, but it was concluded that the logs thought to have come from the cabin were not authentic. Instead a symbolic cabin was constructed using logs from a cabin of a similar vintage. Click Tab 2 to see the cabin housed in the monument.
Abraham Lincoln Sites
Click on Minimap to navigate
Mary Todd Lincoln House, Lexington
Mary Todd was born in Lexington in 1818, the fourth child of wealthy businessman and politician Robert Smith Todd. The family moved to this house in 1832. In 1839 Mary moved to Springfield in Illinois to join her sister, married to the son of a former Illinois governor. There she met Abraham Lincoln, by then a junior partner in a law firm. Their backgrounds could not be more different, she came form a wealthy slave-owning family while he came from a poor background. As the guides who show you round the Mary Todd Lincoln House point out, the cabin in which Lincoln was born would fit easily into a single room of the house where Mary grew up. Despite their different backgrounds, Abraham and Mary found that they shared interests in poetry, literature and politics. They married in November 1842.
To move forwards or backwards through the Kentucky trail click the arrows above, or select your next destination on the Minimap.