Saturday, May 11, 2013
ABRAHAM LINCOLN NATIONAL BIRTHPLACE PARK
Abraham Lincoln was born in Hardin County, Kentucky on Feb. 12th, 1809, which is near Hodgenville, Kentucky. The National Park that commemorates his birthplace has a huge monument, cabins of the type he lived in, and a great film about the family. Lincoln often credited his mother with his inspiration but his father, Thomas Lincoln, pictured above, must have been a strong influence on Lincoln. Thomas, as a 10 year old boy, watched his father die at the hand of an indian arrow and stayed with the body while his brother kept shooting until the war party left. Thomas learned hard lessons, and survived a hardscrabble life and worked at farming, carpentry and any job he could find to help out at home.
The typical cabins of the time on the site which we viewed through the pouring rain.
Typical fencing of the time as well.
The film emphasized that Thomas Lincoln worked hard, built up a bank account, could apply for community service and take on responsibility. He was then allowed to buy land and established himself before marrying Nancy Hanks. The family grew to include children thus Abraham Lincoln does not remember his birthplace home, but the Knob Creek area home northeast of Hogdenville where he lived from about 3 years to 7 years old in the crumbling cabin pictured below. It might have known fancy furnishings like the replica above.
The film explains that the Lincolns were upper middle-class and not poor.
The monument on the site has 56 steps, one for every year he lived, and no elevator, so we didn't venture in. It holds a replica of the house before it completely disintegrated.
We moved on to Hogdenville which has a Lincoln Museum. It is housed in this beautiful old building with tin ceilings and wonderful old hardwood. A perfect setting for everything Lincoln.
The Museum has life-sized dioramas of Lincoln that I didn't care for, but there are some very nice old documents like this one of the death-bed. Wrinkled and crinkled and probably from an old magazine or perhaps a picture. Plus, under glass and difficult to photograph.
A collection of cards from his centennial celebration.
A collection of political memorabilia.
The museum has copies of many, many pictures of Lincoln, because photography was popular then. Through the pictures we watch him age.
A statesman with maturity.
And the ravages of the responsibility of the Civil War.
There were many paintings here. Some copies of old paintings, and other current, modern efforts to capture the man. This tender scene with his son Todd is my favorite.
And this modern painting of Lincoln with blue eyes. Is their authentic information that suggests his eyes were blue? I don't know. It surprised me because I always thought of Lincoln as a brown-eyed man with his craggy looks and seropis personality and dark hair.
There are other items in the museum that reflected the times, furnishings like this yarn winder, clothing, quilts and other nice things. A good museum to visit.
We then moved on to a third site, where the Knob Creek farm was located. The rebuilt cabins stands where the dilapidated old structure was located. The visitors center here was closed. It was still raining and we didn't stay long. It was here that Lincoln as a boy would see slave traders making their way along the river.
The Lincoln's were Baptists and the differences over slavery split the Baptist Church between slave protectors and those who found the practice abhorrent.
The Thomas Lincoln family were firmly sided with non-slavery. You don't find the vast history of the man without reading a good book. My self-educated father was a serious Lincoln scholar and I've admired this president above all others most of my life.
The Lincoln family moved on over serious land issues with the Kentucky territory, first to Illinois and later Indiana. I was also impressed with this area of Kentucky on Highway 31E, of all the historic monuments, parks, and things to see. We are moving through it quickly and can't see it all. But, it is well worth taking a trip on the back roads. Besides, we are staying at a Moose Club. I dutifully changed my clothes to items I don't care about getting smoked up only to discover our first club from Brownsville, Texas to Hodgenville Kentucky without cigarette smoke.
And, I couldn't let this photo from the visitors center go by without mentioning Lincoln Logs. My brothers, sister and I grew up playing with them.