A son of two uneducated Kentucky farmers, Abraham Lincoln was born in a one room log cabin on February 12th, 1809. When his family went to relocate in 1830, after living in Indiana and Macon County Illinois, young Abraham set out to make his own way. The following year, at age 22, he and a couple of companions where traveling by flatboat down the Sangamon River when they neared New Salem. Stranded by a milldam that day, Lincoln showed his ingenuity in easing the stuck barge over the dam by displacing weight.

Along with friend and businessman, Denton Offutt, the tall young man undertook the building of a small store. Odd jobs where to come while waiting for the construction to be finished, including a stint on a steamboat. Lincoln participated in his first election in August of 1831. Though not a candidate, he showed enthusiasm and stayed close to the action all day. It would be his first step in what would gain him the trust and support of the men of the village. In 1832 the arrival of Indians from across the Mississippi River sent a panic among the Illinois frontier communities. Compelled by Governor Reynolds call for volunteers for what would be known as the "Blackhawk Indian war" Lincoln enlisted at Richmond IL on April 21st of that year. With the store's failure looming, he originally signed up for 30 days service but eventually stayed on for a total of 51, coming to an end on July 10th. While serving in the militia, the men of Lincoln's company had been friends and neighbors of New Salem, and he was elected Captain by an overwhelming majority. Though he saw no fighting during his time, the store clerk turned soldier did help bury men who'd been killed and scalped.

Discharged far from home, Lincoln made his way back to New Salem by walking. Retuning home just two weeks before an August election, he jumped back into a campaign for the State Legislature's race he'd had to put on hold. With little time left for speeches Lincoln lost the election of 1832, but gained a taste for politics that was to remain with him for life. After the loss of 1832 Lincoln looked to the future, taking on William Berry as a partner, the two purchased a small store in January of 1833. Three months later though, he sold his interest to Berry. In May things began looking up and Lincoln found himself the new Postmaster, a position he would hold until the post office moved to Petersburg in May of 1836. Lincoln often supplemented his income while Postmaster by splitting rails, helping around the mill and other odd jobs. Later in 1833 Lincoln was approached by the county surveyor, John Calhoun, about a position as an assistant. In 1834, he won his first election to the state legislature.

Though not formally educated, Lincoln had shown interest in legal proceedings as early as a young boy back in Indiana. One summer, while living at New Salem, he bought a book of legal form and began drawing up simple mortgages, deeds and other documents for some of his friends, and even tried his hand in arguing a few small cases. Lincoln was later known to travel the 20 miles to Springfield in order to borrow books, as an association with the law office run by John Stuart grew. September of 1836 marked Lincoln being issued a license to practice law. Six months later, with the approval of the Illinois Supreme court, he would gain admittance to the bar. With the adjournment of the State Legislature on March 6, 1837, Lincoln left and returned to see his home of New Salem as a fading village. By mid April 1837, packing everything he owned, Lincoln moved to Springfield.

Abraham Lincoln wed Marry Todd on November 4th, 1842 and went on to be elected to the presidency in 1860. He may be best known as the "Great Emancipator" enacting the 13th Amendment toward the end of the Civil War. Abraham Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth, while attending a play at Ford's theater on April 14th, 1865.

Lincoln was pronounced dead the following morning.



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