Explore KY's Abraham Lincoln

Tour curated by: Kentucky Historical Society

Abraham Lincoln traveled an uncommon course from the Kentucky frontier to the highest office in the nation. At a critical time in our history, Lincoln preserved the Union, led America out of slavery and shaped the destiny of millions. In telling Lincoln's Kentucky story, we sense the ambition, perseverance and moral courage of this remarkable leader.

In addition to being the birthplace of Lincoln, Kentucky was home to his wife, best friend, law partners and business associates. Although he left the Bluegrass State as a boy, these relationships with Kentuckians played a major role in forging his personal and political life. Lincoln's connections to Kentucky and his appreciation for the importance of the commonwealth to the Union cause further strengthened Lincoln's bonds to the history of this state.

Today, dozens of counties in Kentucky have Lincoln and Civil War sites that tell the story of this extraordinary man. Through "Explore Kentucky History," you can experience the people and places of Kentucky with connections to the 16th president.

Locations for Tour

Historical Marker #2244 in Danville commemorates John Todd Stuart, who was Abraham Lincoln's first law partner. When Abraham Lincoln moved to Springfield, Illinois, Kentuckian John Todd Stuart encouraged Lincoln to study law. He also became…

Historical Marker #1750 commemorates Camp Dick Robinson, a Garrard County recruiting camp that was instrumental in keeping Kentucky in the Union. Established on the farm of Richard Robinson in August 1861 by Union officer and Maysville native…

Historical Marker #1681 interprets Louisville's steamboat era, highlighting the role that river navigation played in the city's history. Many notable visitors arrived at the Louisville wharf at 4th Street, including Abraham Lincoln, who…

Historical Marker #858 in Hardin County identifies the path that Abraham Lincoln's family traveled during their migration to Indiana. In 1816, the Lincoln family moved from present-day Larue County, Kentucky, to southern Indiana. Abraham…

Historical Marker #1038 in Washington County identifies the location of the home of Jesse Head, who performed the marriage of Abraham Lincoln's parents. The Reverend Jesse Head was born in 1768 in Frederick County, Maryland, migrating to…

Historical Marker #12 in Fayette County identifies the birthplace of Mary Todd Lincoln, wife of the sixteenth president, Abraham Lincoln. Mary Ann Todd was born in Lexington, Kentucky, on December 13, 1818. She was the granddaughter of Levi Todd,…

Historical Marker #719 interprets the life of William Mentor Graham. Graham was born around 1800 and reared in Green County, Kentucky. He received his education in Hardin County, Kentucky, prior to moving to Sangamon County, Illinois, in 1826.…

Historical Marker #833 in Hardin County interprets the Helm Cemetery, resting place of Kentucky Governor John LaRue Helm and Confederate General Benjamin Hardin Helm. Benjamin Helm was a brother-in-law of Abraham Lincoln, having married Emilie…

Historical Marker #827 in Larue County recognizes Austin Gollaher, childhood friend of Abraham Lincoln. Gollaher is best known as the man who claimed to have saved Lincoln's life. Gollaher was born in 1805, died in 1898, and is buried in the…

Historical Marker #73 in Breckinridge County recognizes the path that Abraham Lincoln's family took when leaving Kentucky in 1816. Abraham Lincoln recounted the reason for this move as "partly on account of slavery; but chiefly on account…

Historical Marker #2297 in Washington County recognizes Lincoln Homestead State Park. The Lincoln family moved to this site after the death of Lincoln's grandfather-also named Abraham Lincoln-in 1789. His widow, Bersheba, and her five…

Historical Marker #2261 in Fayette County recognizes the Mary Todd Lincoln House, which is now a museum. Mary Ann Todd was born in Lexington, Kentucky, on December 13, 1818. She was the granddaughter of Levi Todd, one of the founders of Lexington,…

Historical Marker #846 recognizes Greensburg as the birthplace of William Henry Herndon, who was Abraham Lincoln's law partner for sixteen years. Herndon was born in Greensburg, Kentucky, in 1818. His family moved to Illinois in 1820 and…

Historical Marker #1329 in Union County identifies the location of Abraham Lincoln's 1840 speech on behalf of Whig presidential candidate William Henry Harrison. It is the only known speech that Lincoln gave in Kentucky. Although the Whig…

Historical Marker #2297 recognizes Abraham Lincoln's boyhood home near Knob Creek. Lincoln's earliest memories centered around the Knob Creek Farm. The Lincoln family, Thomas and Nancy and their son Abraham and daughter Sarah, moved to…

Historical Marker #526, located in Springfield, Kentucky, references the marriage of Abraham Lincoln's parents in Washington County in 1806. The original marriage bond between Thomas Lincoln and Nancy Hanks is housed at this site in the…

Historical Marker #667 in Hancock County designates the location of Abraham Lincoln's first law case in which he successfully defended himself against charges of operating a ferry without a license. In the fall and winter of 1826-27, Lincoln…

Historical Marker #2231 in Louisville denotes Farmington Historic Plantation, a fourteen-room Federal-style home built by John and Lucy Speed in 1816. The house was designed from plans drawn by Thomas Jefferson. For much of its existence,…

Historical Marker #2235 identifies the home of Henry Clay, one of the most influential U.S. politicians of the nineteenth century. After Clay's death in 1852, his heirs sold Ashland land to his son, James Brown Clay, who built the current…

Marker #101 identifies the site where Abraham Lincoln, Sr., grandfather of the sixteenth president, was killed by Indians in 1786. In referring to his grandfather in a letter to Jesse Lincoln in 1854, Lincoln wrote that "the story of his death…

Marker #1482 identifies the approximate site of Abraham Lincoln's first school, which was located 2-3 miles from the family's Knob Creek farm. His first teacher was Zacharia Riney. Lincoln attended these ABC, or "blab" schools…

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…

Historical Marker #816 in Robertson County commemorates the naming of that county after George Robertson, a prominent judge who tangled with Abraham Lincoln about slavery during the Civil War. Born in Mercer County in 1780, Robertson was a lawyer,…

Historical Marker #2277 notes Lexington's First Presbyterian Church and one nineteenth century pastor, the Reverend Robert J. Breckinridge. During the Civil War, Kentucky Presbyterian minister Robert J. Breckinridge was an important advisor to…

Historical Marker #1910 in Christian County commemorates Kentucky governor Charles Slaughter Morehead, who practiced law in Hopkinsville prior to the Civil War. During the conflict, Morehead was arrested and imprisoned by Union authorities during…

Historical Marker #552 in Breckinridge County commemorates Joseph Holt, the Unionist judge advocate general who prosecuted the Lincoln assassination conspirators. Born in Breckinridge County in 1807, Holt practiced law in Kentucky and Missouri. A…

Historical Marker #786 in Magoffin County commemorates the county being named for Beriah Magoffin, one of Kentucky's Civil War governors. A Harrodsburg lawyer, Magoffin became governor of Kentucky on the eve of the Civil War. Although he…

Historical Marker #2234 in Louisville's Cave Hill Cemetery commemorates Kentucky Governor Thomas E. Bramlette, a Union veteran of the Civil War. Elected in 1863 after an active Civil War career as a Union colonel, Bramlette frequently tangled…

Historical Marker #604 in Adair County commemorates Union Colonel Frank Wolford, a Columbia native who had a controversial military career. Wolford was a vocal opponent of President Abraham Lincoln's policies in Kentucky during the Civil War,…

Two historical markers--#1515 and #2222---commemorate Camp Nelson in Jessamine County, where most of the state's African American Union soldiers were recruited. Established near Nicholasville in 1863, Camp Nelson was named for Union General…

Historical Marker #57 in Todd County marks the birthplace of Confederate President Jefferson Finis Davis. Both Davis and his Union counterpart, President Abraham Lincoln, were born in Kentucky. Born on June 3, 1808, near the Fairview community of…

Historical Marker #215 in Vanceburg notes the Union monument placed there in 1884 by the citizens of Lewis County. Kentucky, like the United States, was divided during the Civil War. Although the commonwealth sent more than two-thirds of its…