Lincoln Boyhood Home National Memorial

Abraham Lincoln is most associated with Illinois, but he was born in Kentucky and spent much of his childhood in Indiana. The Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial stands on the site of the farm in Little Pigeon Creek where Lincoln and his family lived from 1816 to 1830. Lincoln arrived here from Kentucky as a 7 year old boy and left for Illinois as a 21 year old man, so it is fair  to say that he spent his most formative years in Indiana. The single room cabin where Lincoln grew up has long gone, but you can see the site where it stood and the fields where he helped his father with the work. One sad relic of Lincoln’s time here is the grave of his mother Nancy Hanks Lincoln in the Pioneer Cemetery. His sister Sarah died in 1828 and is buried in the cemetery of the nearby Little Pigeon Baptist Church.


Site of Lincoln Cabin

The story of Abraham Lincoln is told at the Memorial Visitor Center that was completed in 1944, but the centrepiece of the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial is the site of the Lincoln cabin.  The Lincoln family left here in 1830 and Abraham Lincoln became US President in 1861, some 31 years later. However, it was not until the late 1870s that discussion began about preserving his heritage. It took until 1917 to locate the site of the Lincoln cabin, so it should be no surprise that only a few foundations remain of the of his former home. What may be surprise, looking at the outline marking where the cabin once stood, is how small it was. Nowadays many people have bathrooms bigger than the cabin that housed the entire Lincoln family.

Memorial to Nancy Hanks Lincoln, Pioneer Cemetery

Nancy Hanks was born in 1784 in Virginia but was orphaned before she reached the age of nine. After her parents died she went to live with her uncle Richard Berry in Kentucky. Thomas Lincoln met Nancy while working at a nearby farm and in 1806 they were married  in her uncle’s house. She gave birth to daughter Sarah in 1807 and to Abraham in 1809. A third child, Thomas Jr. died in infancy in 1812. The Lincoln family moved from Kentucky to Little Pigeon Creek, Indiana in 1816, but tragedy was waiting in the wings. In 1818 some neighbours became seriously ill with  milk sickness. When cows eat the white snakeroot plant their milk becomes highly poisonous, but the pioneers were unaware of this and they thought it was a sickness linked to the milk. Nancy helped to care for their neighbours, but soon she developed symptoms and  within two weeks she was dead. Nancy Hanks Lincoln was buried in a casket built by Thomas with the help of 9 year old Abraham. A modern headstone marks the site of her grave in cemetery where she was buried and around it are the graves of at least 27 other settlers.

Living Historical Farm

There is little left at Little Pigeon Creek that Lincoln would recognise, but to give a feel for the living conditions at the time a Living Historical farm has been built close to the site of the Lincoln cabin. It replicates a typical pioneer farm of the 1820s and  is worked by Park Rangers dressed in period clothing. It is typically open from mid-spring to early autumn. Click Tab 2 to see the interior of the Living Historical Farm complete with Park Ranger in period clothes.

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- The Living Historical Farm does help to bring alive the story of Lincoln’s early life.
- With few original relics, unless you are specifically interested in the history of Abraham Lincoln  it is not worth a long journey to visit this rather out-of-the-way attraction.
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Site of Lincoln cabin, Lincoln Boyhood Home National Memorial, IN, USA


Memorial to Nancy Hanks Lincoln, Pioneer Cemetery, Lincoln Boyhood Home National Memorial, IN, USA


Living Historical Farm, Lincoln Boyhood Home National Memorial, IN, USA
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