Abraham Lincoln Boyhood Home at Knob Creek

The summer before Abraham Lincoln was elected president, he wrote a response to Samuel Haycraft, who had asked Lincoln to return to Kentucky to visit his boyhood home. Although few Kentuckians supported Lincoln's bid for the presidency, the future sixteenth president fondly noted, "My earliest recollection is of the Knob Creek place." Today, Historical Marker #120 in Larue County marks the Lincoln farm on Knob Creek, where Lincoln lived as a boy.

Because of boundary disputes, in 1811, Lincoln's father, Thomas, moved the family from the cabin where Abraham had been born to the Knob Creek farm. Lincoln was two years old at the time, and they lived there until 1816, when he was almost eight. At Knob Creek, the Lincolns farmed 30 acres of a 228 acre tract.

Lincoln had many memories from Knob Creek, and while living there he had experiences that impacted his personality and sentiments. Once, he almost drowned while swimming in the creek, but was rescued by his friend and neighbor Austin Gollaher. In addition, his love for books and reading was solidified at Knob Creek, where he listened to his mother read from the family Bible. During these formative years Lincoln also attended school for the first time. He and his sister, Sarah, sporadically attended classes taught by Zachariah Riney and Caleb Hazel.

Abraham also developed a strong work ethic at Knob Creek. From an early age he had to help with farm chores, which was hard work for a boy. His aversion to unpaid labor and the spread of slavery may have also started there. Some historians contend that at Knob Creek Lincoln first saw enslaved African Americans being transported south on the Louisville-Nashville Turnpike, which ran near the family cabin.

In 1816, the Lincolns left Kentucky and moved to Spencer County, Indiana, where they lived until 1830. Then, the family settled near Decatur, Illinois. The following year Abraham struck out on this own and settled in New Salem, Illinois, where he first ran for public office. Lincoln's legacy, however, began in Kentucky.

Images

President Abraham Lincoln

President Abraham Lincoln

President Abraham Lincoln was born near Hodgenville, Kentucky. As a boy, he lived on a farm on Knob Creek, located near the Louisville-Nashville Turnpike. Courtesy the Kentucky Historical Society. View File Details Page

Lincoln Birthplace Memorial

Lincoln Birthplace Memorial

Located near Hodgenville, Kentucky, this memorial now commemorates the birthplace of President Abraham Lincoln. Courtesy the Kentucky Historical Society. View File Details Page

Abraham Lincoln's watch

Abraham Lincoln's watch

Abraham Lincoln's pocketwatch is on display at the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History in Frankfort. Courtesy of the Kentucky Historical Society. View File Details Page

Lincoln Birthplace Cabin, Hodgenville, Kentucky

Lincoln Birthplace Cabin, Hodgenville, Kentucky

Located in the Lincoln Birthplace Memorial near Hodgenville, this cabin is representative of the type of cabin that Lincoln's family would have lived in when he was born in 1809. Courtesy the Kentucky Historical Society. View File Details Page

President Abraham Lincoln

President Abraham Lincoln

Born near Hodgenville, Kentucky, President Abraham Lincoln's family moved to nearby Knob Creek when he was about two years old. In 1860, Lincoln wrote, "My earliest recollection is of the Knob Creek place." Courtesy the Kentucky Historical Society. View File Details Page

Lincoln Birthplace Memorial, Hodgenville

Lincoln Birthplace Memorial, Hodgenville

President Abraham Lincoln's birthplace is commemorated with this memorial, pictured here from the early 20th century. The site is now the Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site. Courtesy the Kentucky Historical Society. View File Details Page

Lincoln Birthplace Sale Broadside, 1905

Lincoln Birthplace Sale Broadside, 1905

When President Abraham Lincoln's birthplace was put up for sale in 1905, it was advertised with this broadside. Lincoln was born near Hodgenville, Kentucky. Courtesy the Kentucky Historical Society. View File Details Page

Old Nolan Mill, near Hodgenville

Old Nolan Mill, near Hodgenville

When President Lincoln was a boy, he reputedly played around this mill. Courtesy the Kentucky Historical Society. View File Details Page

Mary Todd Lincoln

Mary Todd Lincoln

President Abraham Lincoln's wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, was a native of Lexington, Kentucky. Courtesy the Kentucky Historical Society. View File Details Page

Audio

Ellen Wallace on Abraham Lincoln

Hopkinsville resident Ellen Wallace was opposed to President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. Taken from the Diary of Ellen Wallace, found at the Kentucky Historical Society. Audio clip courtesy the Kentucky Historical Society. View File Details Page

Edward Underwood on Abraham Lincoln

Addressing the African American community in Frankfort in 1909, Dr. Edward E. Underwood, a member of the Negro Peoples' Centenary Committee, spoke of Lincoln's significance in the broad sweep of history. Taken from "The Frankfort News," February 13, 1909. Audio clip courtesy the Kentucky Historical Society. View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Talbott, “Abraham Lincoln Boyhood Home at Knob Creek,” ExploreKYHistory, accessed April 29, 2017, http://explorekyhistory.ky.gov/items/show/100.

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