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chusetts. In 1811 he was appointed Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court by President Madison, an office which he declined. From the close of the Revolutionary War he was considered the head of the Massachusetts bar.
His eldest son, Levi Lincoln, born in 1782, had also an honorable public career. He was a Harvard graduate, became Governor of the State of Massachusetts, and held other important public offices. He received the degree of LL.D. in 1824 from Williams College, and from Harvard in 1826.
Another son of Levi Lincoln, Enoch Lincoln, served in Congress from 1818 to 1826. He became Governor of Maine in 1827, holding the position until his death in 1829. Enoch Lincoln was a writer of more than ordinary ability.
The fourth son of Samuel Lincoln was called Mordecai (President Lincoln descended from him, being his great-great-greatgrandson). Mordecai Lincoln was a rich "blacksmith," as an iron-worker was called in those days, and the proprietor of numerous iron-works, saw-mills, and grist-mills, which with a goodly amount of money he distributed at his death among his children and grandchildren. Two of his children, Mordecai and Abraham, did not remain in Massachusetts, but removed to New Jersey, and thence to Pennsylvania, where both became rich, and dying, left fine estates to their children. Their descendants in Pennsylvania have continued to this day to be well-to-do people, some of them having taken prominent positions in public affairs. Abraham Lincoln, of Berks County, who was born in 1736 and died in 1806, filled many public offices, being a member of the General Assembly of Pennsylvania, of the State Convention of 1787, and of the State Constitutional Convention in 1790.
One of the sons of this second Mordecai, John (the greatgrandfather of President Lincoln), received from his father "three hundred acres of land, lying in the Jerseys." But evidently he did not care to cultivate his inheritance, for about 1758 he removed to Virginia. "Virginia" John, as this member of the family was called, had five sons, all of whom he established well. One of these sons, Jacob, entered the Revolutionary Army and served as a lieutenant at Yorktown.
The settlers of western Virginia were all in those days more or less under the fascination of the adventurous spirit which was opening up the West, and three of "Virginia" John's sons decided to try their fortunes in the new country. One went to
Tennessee, two to Kentucky. The first to go to Kentucky was Abraham (the grandfather of the President). He was already a well-to-do man when he decided to leave Virginia, for he sold his estate for some seventeen thousand dollars. A portion of this money he invested in land-office treasury warrants.
On emigrating to Kentucky he bought one thousand seven hundred acres of land. But almost at the beginning of his life in the new country, while still a comparatively young man, he was slain by the Indians. His estate seems to have been inherited by his eldest son, Mordecai, who afterward became prominent in the State; was a great Indian fighter, a famous story-teller, and, according to the traditions of his descendants, a member of the Kentucky legislature. This last item we have not, however, been able to verify. We have had the fullest collection of journals of the Kentucky legislature which exists, that of Dr. R. T. Durrett of Louisville, Kentucky, carefully searched, but no mention has been found in them of Mordecai Lincoln.
It is with the brother of Mordecai, the youngest son of the pioneer Abraham, we have to do, a boy who was left an orphan at ten years of age, and who in that rude time had to depend upon his own exertions. We find from newly discovered documents that he was the owner of a farm at twenty-five years of age, and from the contemporary evidence that he was a very good carpenter; from a document we have discovered in Kentucky we learn that he was even appointed a road surveyor, in 1816. We have found his Bible, a very expensive book at that time; we have also found that he had credit, and was able to purchase on credit a pair of suspenders costing one dollar and fifty cents, and we have learned from the recollections of Christopher Columbus Graham that in marrying the niece of his employer he secured a very good wife. The second child of Thomas Lincoln was Abraham Lincoln, who became the sixteenth President of the United States and the foremost man of his age.
The career of Abraham Lincoln is more easily understood in view of his ancestry. The story of his life, which is here told more fully and consecutively, and in many points, both minor and important, we believe more exactly than ever before, bears out our belief that Abraham Lincoln inherited from his ancestry traits and qualities of mind which made him a remarkable child and a young man of unusual promise and power. So far from his later career being unaccounted for in his origin and early history, it is as fully accounted for as in the case of any man.
So far as possible, the statements in this work are based on original documents. This explains why in several cases the dates differ from those commonly accepted. Thus the year of the death of the grandfather of Abraham Lincoln is made 1788, instead of 1784, because of the recently discovered inventory of his estate. The impression given of Thomas Lincoln is different from that of other biographies, because we believe the new documents we have found and the new contemporary evidence we have unearthed, justify us in it. We have not made it a sign of shiftlessness that Thomas Lincoln dwelt in a log cabin at a date when there was scarcely anything else in the State.
An effort has been made, too, to give what we believe to be a truer color to the fourteen years the Lincolns spent in southern Indiana. The poverty and the wretchedness of their life has been insisted upon until it is popularly supposed that Abraham Lincoln came from a home similar to those of the "poor white trash" of the South. There is no attempt made here to deny the poverty of the Lincoln household, but it is insisted that this poverty was a temporary condition incident to pioneer life and the unfortunate death of Thomas Lincoln's father when he was but a boy. Thomas Lincoln's restless efforts to better his condition by leaving Kentucky for Indiana in 1816, and afterwards, when he had discovered that his farm in Spencer County was barren, by trying his fortunes in Illinois, are sufficient proof that he had none of the indolent acceptance of fate which characterizes the "poor whites."
In telling the story of the six years of Lincoln's life in New Salem, we have attempted to give a consecutive narrative and to show the exact sequence of events, which has never been done before. We have shown, what seems to us very suggestive, the persistency and courage with which he seized every opportunity and carried on simultaneously his business as storekeeper and postmaster and surveyor and at the same time studied law. To establish the order of events in this New Salem period, the records of the county have been carefully examined, and many new documents concerning Lincoln have been found in this search, including his first vote, his first official document (an election return), and several new surveying plats. The latter
show Lincoln to have been much more active as a surveyor than has commonly been supposed. We have also brought to light the grammar Lincoln studied, with a sentence written on the title page in Lincoln's own hand.
For the first time, too, we publish documents signed by Lincoln as a postmaster. These two letters are also earlier than any other published letters of Lincoln. Many minor errors have been corrected, such as the real number of votes which he received on his first election to the legislature, and the times and places of his mustering out and into service in the Black Hawk War.
The number of illustrations in the work is many times greater than ever has before appeared in connection with the early life of Lincoln. The scenes of his life in Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois have been photographed especially for us, and we have collected from various sources numbers of pictures illustrating the primitive surroundings of his boyhood and young manhood, together with portraits of many of his companions in those days. Our object in giving such a profusion of homely scenes and faces has been to make a history of Lincoln's early life in pictures. We believe that one examining these prints independently of the text would have a good idea of Lincoln's condition from 1809 to 1836.
By far the most important of the illustrations of the work is the collection of portraits. This is the first systematic effort to make a complete collection of portraits of the great President. Our success so far encourages us in believing that before we end our work on Lincoln we shall have such a collection. Already we have some seventy-five different portraits. Of these, the great majority are photographs, ambrotypes, and daguerreotypes. It was Mr. Lincoln's custom, after the introduction of photography into Illinois, to sit for his picture whenever he visited a town to make a speech. This picture he usually gave to his host; the result was that there now remain, scattered among his old friends, a large number of interesting portraits, of which nobody but the owners knew until we undertook this work. Thus of the twenty portraits which appear in this volume, twelve have never before been published anywhere, so far as we know.
It has been through the generosity and courtesy of collectors and of our correspondents and readers that it has been possible for us to gather so great a number of portraits and documents. On all sides collections have been put freely at our service, and numbers of our readers have sent us unpublished ambrotypes, daguerreotypes, and photographs, glad, as they have written us, to aid in completing a Lincoln portrait gallery. It is not possible to mention here the names of all those to whom we are indebted, not only for portraits but for documents and manuscripts, but credit is given in inserting the material furnished.