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.