Young Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809, in an area called Knob Creek, near what is now Hodgenville, Kentucky. At that time Kentucky was mostly wilderness, and Abraham Lincoln grew up in a one-room log cabin on the frontier. When he was 7, his family moved to Indiana. When he was 9, his mom died from "milk sickness." Abraham was always big for his age, and ended up being 6'4" tall as a man. He had a lot of chores, especially chopping wood, but always would read books whenever he had the chance. In the picture below, you can see the farm site where Abraham grew up in Indiana. Scroll down to find more info about Abraham Lincoln as a kid!

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Abraham Lincoln's favorite toy was said to be a child's wagon his father bought him when he was 6. He probably played a common game called "stick horses" and played with clay marbles with his childhood friend, Austin. He also enjoyed and was good at sports, especially wrestling, running races, pitching quoits (similar to throwing horseshoes), and tossing a copper (throwing a penny for points).

Education was very important to Abraham, although, living on the frontier, he did not have the chance to go to school as regularly or as long as he may have liked. He went to a so-called "blab" school, where the kids read their lessons out loud (probably because there were no writing supplies). Reading, writing, and basic math were the subjects taught at school in those days. Beyond that, everything that Abraham learned, he learned by reading on his own. Books were hard to come by on the frontier, but his family did have a Bible and a Webster's Speller, a book on proper American spelling. This is a picture of Abraham reading by firelight.

Abraham Lincoln's family did not own slaves, but there were over 1000 slaves in the county where he grew up in Kentucky at that time. From a young age he was against slavery. Later, as an adult, he wrote in a letter, "I am naturally anti-slavery. If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong. I can not remember when I did not so think, and feel." In the picture you can see Lincoln in 1858, when he was the Republican candidate for the Senate, with Stephen A. Douglas, the Democratic candidate. The two politicians held famous debates over the issue of slavery.

Many of his family and friends tell how Abraham loved animals. During his lifetime he had dogs, cats, goats, and horses. According to his childhood friend Austin, he also had a pet raccoon and a pet crow. They say that when he was a boy he preached sermons to his family, saying he was against cruelty to animals. Legend has it that he found a dog with a broken leg, made a splint and took care of it, naming it "Honey."

Abraham's mother died when he was 9 from "milk sickness," which happens when a person drinks milk from a cow which has fed on the poisonous herb called white snakeroot (which you can see in the picture). Thousands of settlers died in the early 1800's from milk sickness as people from the East settled in the Midwest and were unfamiliar with the plant.

Take a quick quiz below! You can click the question to see the answer.

Answer: Kentucky

Answer: Indiana

Answer: Chopping wood

Answer: Read

Answer: Reading, writing, and basic math

Answer: A wagon

Answer: As long as he can remember

Answer: Over 1000

Answer: Dogs, cats, goats, horses; also maybe a pet raccoon and pet crow when he was a boy

Answer: He was 9; she died of "milk sickness"