February 10, 2009

The Lincolns of Virginia

With Abe Lincoln's 200th birthday approaching, it is fitting to mention that his grandfather was born on the family farm in Virginia. If you travel south on Route 42 from Broadway going toward Harrisonburg, you may glimpse this historical marker on the left. (Then again, you may miss it... it's a bit off the highway, and traffic moves swiftly at that point.) Historical Marker Database gives the coordinates as 38° 33.538′ N, 78° 50.08′ W.

The marker reads:

Lincoln's Virginia Ancestors

In 1768, John Lincoln moved here with his family from Pennsylvania. His eldest son, Abraham, grandfather of the president, might have remained a Virginian had his friend and distant relative, Daniel Boone not encouraged him to migrate to Kentucky by 1782. Abraham’s son, Thomas Lincoln, born in Virginia (ca. in 1778), met and married Nancy Hanks in Kentucky, where the future president was born on 12 February 1809. Nearby stands the Lincoln house built about 1800 by Captain Jacob Lincoln, the President’s great-uncle, near the original Lincoln homestead. Five generations of Lincolns and two family slaves are buried on the hill.
On February 12 at 2 PM, Lincoln's birthday will be remembered at the family cemetery. According to the Mountain Courier, the president of Bridgewater College will speak. This is a rare opportunity for the public to visit the property.

If you don't have access to the February edition of the Courier, there's a book with two pages on the old Lincoln homestead. It's Old Houses in Rockingham County Revisited, 1750-1850 by Isaac Long Terrell and Ann Terrell Baker. The descriptions show us that the Lincolns were not poor farmers but had the means to purchase some nice furnishings.

There is another marker not too far away on U.S. 11 called Abraham Lincoln's Father - see HMDB.org for that one.

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