“If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong. I cannot remember when I did not so think and feel.” ~ Abraham Lincoln
A sunny autumn day seemed the perfect time to visit the site where one of our most influential US Presidents took his first breath on February 12, 1809, at the Sinking Spring Farm in Hodgenville, Kentucky. Abraham Lincoln’s journey, from child born to a hardscrabble frontier farmer, to occupying the greatest house in our nation, the White House, speaks to the limitless possibilities available to each of us in this country.
Today we walked the grounds of Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Park, the very site where our 16th President took his first steps, perhaps his first sip of water from the spring that still runs here today. This very spring was most likely one of the prominent reasons for Abraham’s father, Thomas, settling at Sinking Spring Farm. However, less than fertile soil and a property title dispute forced them to move a short two years later to 30 acres at Knob Creek, ten miles further down the road, where the soil was rich and a farmer could more easily raise corn, pumpkin, vegetables to eat fresh during the summer and dry for the winter months, and herbs for medicine.
It was at Knob Creek where Abraham Lincoln got his first taste of education at Caleb Hazel’s “ABC School”. This may be where his early views on slavery were formed, as Hazel was an outspoken emancipationist and the Lincoln family belonged to an anti-slavery church. In 1816, plagued by lawsuits over his farm titles and the slavery issue in Kentucky, Thomas Lincoln moved his family to Indiana, then on to Illinois where Abraham grew to manhood.
In 1909 the cornerstone for the memorial that now stands at Abraham Lincoln’s birthplace was laid by President Theodore Roosevelt. The building was dedicated in 1911 by President William Howard Taft and almost 100 years after Lincoln moved from Sinking Spring Farm, a symbolic birthplace cabin was placed inside the memorial building.
This first memorial to one of our most beloved Presidents features 16 windows, 16 rosettes on the ceiling and 16 fence posts, representing our 16th President. Fifty-six granite steps leading up to the memorial represent the number of years Abraham Lincoln walked this earth, far too few even in those early hard times.
Abraham Lincoln’s humble beginnings likely shaped the character of the man he became. He will always be known as the President who guided our nation through the bloodiest conflict on American soil, the Civil War, and for his staunch passion to abolish slavery at all costs.
With everything he accomplished as our 16th President, it is the virtues he embodied that solidified his legacy as one of the most venerable men of all time. He stood for tolerance, fairness, equality, had a clear vision of right and wrong, the capacity to forgive, and an intense desire to help those in great need. Sadly these seem to be some of the very same qualities lacking today by many of our politicians.
For those interested in learning more about the presidency of this great man, I urge you to read Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin.
76 thoughts on “From Humble Beginnings…A Visit to Abraham Lincoln’s Birthplace”
Something else we have in common -I loved Goodwin’s ‘Team of Rivals’. Such a rich view back to such a historic time. She is such a great author bringing that era completely alive.
I completely agree with you Gunta…a fascinating read. 🙂
You posted this like a true travel writer, Lu! Thanks for the tour.
My pleasure Rommel.
What a great history lesson you presented. I did not remember most of these things about Abe. Your photos were exquisite, also. NG will soon be knocking at your door. Thank you for sharing your adventures with us.
Thanks Joan. 🙂
Reblogged this on Blog of an e-marketer by Main Uddin.
Thanks for the reblog. 🙂
It looks like it was a great day visiting one of the greatest presidents the world has ever seen. When someone says to think of an American President not including the present one, 85% of people will say Abraham Lincoln. He changed so much, unfortunately he learnt about secondary cranial ventilation the hard way.
Yes he did, but he accomplished much in his short life.
A definite place to visit, thank you for the sneak peek. We have come to enjoy, admire and appreciate all the great past presidents since we began our travel here on the east.
A great place to do just that. We are looking forward to seeing and revisiting some of these sites next year.
Thanks for the lovely tour, LuAnn. He was indeed a great man. I enjoyed your beautiful photos and also the history surrounding them. 🙂
Thanks Sylvia! 🙂
Lovely header photo! Thanks for the tour and a reminder of what this great man stood for.
I want to go here!!! I have read so much about Washington, Jefferson, Adams, but only little about Lincoln. Thanks for the heads up on the book. Perfect timing. We are going to an outstanding used bookstore. One book I will pick up!
Thanks Marsha. Doris learns Goodwin is a great historian.
You always give a such a great perspective on the places you visit. Thanks once again for a great post. We look forward to seeing you in Florida in January.
Thanks Janie. We are very excited to see the two of you again this winter. 🙂
Nice post and sentiments LuAnn. I haven’t been there in years, so your post and photos are a great reminder. And on a less serious note, if Terry didn’t pick up bottle Knob Creek bourbon in Abe’s honor, he might want to. It’s pretty good hooch. ~James
I will pass that on to Terry. Guess I know what will be added to our liquor cabinet next. 😉
Nice tour. Thank you. I will be purchasing the book.
Thanks Nan and thanks for dropping by. 🙂
This is one Lincoln location we haven’t visited yet. I love the symbolism in the building.
Beautifully written blog:)
John really enjoyed that book. He is a huge Lincoln fan.
It is a great book and the grounds here are lovely.
A venerable man indeed! There is such a dire need in the world for visionaries like him today. Thank you for a beautiful and informative post Luann. I enjoyed every word and photo 🙂
Thanks so much Madhu. 🙂
A beautiful post LuAnn, with both photos and your written word. Lovely!
Thanks Sheila. Hope you are enjoying being on the road again.
What a worthwhile trip and beautiful blog; great to be inspired and pay tribute to a great man at the same time.
Thanks so much for the comment.
Would be a wonderful place to see! I think Lincoln is extraordinary. He did so much to end such a horrid tragic thing. There is a new documentary out called 12 years a slave and I am dying to see it. Slavery is so hard to imagine.
I cannot fathom it either Nicole.
If you can see the film 12 years a slave, highly recommend it. AMAZING!
I have it on the list of films to see. Thanks Nicole! 🙂
What a beautiful day…
I haven’t read Team of Rivals. Will check it out…..
It is a lengthy read but well worth it.
Well here is a place I have not had the chance to visit…thanks for taking us here.
My pleasure Laurie. 🙂
Beautifully put. Thanks for sharing your eloquent thoughts and adventurous travels! Miss ya.
Thanks Lisa. Hope all is well in San Elijo. We were just reminiscing about all of you the other day. Sending big hugs your way.
Thanks for the tour LuAnn! 🙂
I have noted the book as a Christmas gift for my son. He loves history – especially US history.
It’s a lengthy read but I think well worth it.
as ever my friend a compelling post and one that teaches me things and that makes me happy. Of course I particularly enjoyed your last point about politicians. I am sure it is the same over here than back home that the politicians rely on the money of big business and then claim to be impartial over such things as giving those same companies the big contracts. Politicians have a lot to learn if they ever want to be able to truly do a proper job.
No truer words have been spoken my friend. Hope you are having a splendid time in the good ole USA.
Each day I feel more like a local…I want spurs and a hat but am told I wouldn’t fit in up here with that on, so I’m going to go for one of those American Football helmets instead!
Somehow I cannot see you walking down the street with spurs and a cowboy hat, unless of course you can walk rather bow-legged lol! Do try to contain the urge to wear a football helmet while walking along the sidewalk or you might find any companions you have with you walking about 10 paces behind you. 😉
Ah the usual wise words my friend…I shall follow your instructions to the letter but perhaps wear some stars and stripes boxers instead!
Now there is a vision! 😀
LuAnn, I love the way you blog! Your insights and pictures are just awesome. I love this one and the one about Keeneland. I have gone past that Horse Farm for years as we have relatives that live very near. You gave me a new appreciation for it. And that up front view of the races…Wow! I have been having trouble with my password on your site…so these are very late comments. I think I got it figured out now. Love to you and Terry!
Thanks so much Jan! We have had a great time in KY so far. Our internet connection is spotty at best so sorry for the late response. Hope all is well with you and Kent. 🙂
How beautiful is that place where he grew up. I love the history you provided with the photos. Something about the birthplace of someone that really brings their character home. Beautiful place for him to grow. Love it.
Thanks Angelia! Hope you are enjoying that new grand baby! 🙂
Fascinating stuff, though I have to admit when I saw the cabin I was waxing nostalgic for the lincoln logs I played with as a child. 🙂
I thought the same thing when I went inside the memorial and it was consumed by the replica of Lincoln’s birthplace! 🙂
One of the few places I have not visited (with reference to our Presidents that I would enjoy seeing LuAnn. Excellent job of walking me through. Gorgeous photographs and of course your words are brilliant and true when it comes to the great man he was. Thank you for this one. a wonderful tribute to one of (if not the) very best Presidents we’ve been lucky to have. Exceedingly well written! 🙂
Thank you my dear friend! 🙂
We loved “Team of Rivals”. We visited here a couple of years ago and you gave us a chance to experience it again. Great Photos!
I love all the fall colors. The grounds look amazing. Hope you’re enjoying your time in the area 🙂
I am enjoying the sights. It is a beautiful state. Can you read between the lines? 😉
Oh, trust me…. I can. I’ve stopped myself several times from writing a lengthy email. Its obvious, we need to do coffee!
I wish you were here to do just that!
I love Abe’s quote: “I am what I am because of my mother”, and the letter he wrote to his son’s principal. One of the finest personalities who walked the face of the earth 🙂 😀
Well written history lesson. “…seem to be some of the very same qualities lacking” is an understatement!
What a great memorial, 16X16…. Fifty-six granite steps leading up to the memorial, Wow! Thank you for the wonderful tour, LuAnn!
Thanks Amy. The grounds were lovely.
Thank you for the recommendation, LuAnn 🙂 We need some politicians like him here.
My pleasure! 🙂
I just downloaded the book 🙂 Thanks again, LuAnn!
My pleasure. Enjoy!
We need another Abraham Lincoln today. I’ve enjoyed this tour.
Thanks for the comment and stopping by! 🙂
Thanks for this LuAnn. The world is indeed a brighter place with you in it
I am touched by your comment Ardythe. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to get to know you and Chris. 🙂