Pioneers of Menard & Mason Counties|
Including Personal Reminiscens of
Abraham Lincoln & Peter Cartwright
By T.G. Onstot, 1902
Biographical Note of Lincoln
On the twelfth of February, 1809, there was born in the wilderness of Lame county, Kentucky, one of the best and greatest men that ever lived - Abraham Lincoln. His father was a poor farmer, and in the wild life of the backwoods, his entire schooling did not exceed a year, but while at school he was noted as a good speller, but more for his hatred of cruelty. His earliest composition was a protest against putting coals of fire on the back of a captured terrapin. He wore coarse, home-made clothes and a coon skin cap. His trousers, owing to his rapid growth (before his seventeenth birthday he was six feet, four inches tall) were always nearly a foot too short. His last attendance at school was in 1826 when he was 17 years old. After leaving school he read everything within his reach and copied passages and sentences, which attracted his attention. His first knowledge of law, in which he afterwards became eminent, was through the statutes of Indiana lent to him by a constable. He also obtained considerable knowledge of grammar from a borrowed book, which he studied by the light of shavings in a cooper shop. After his family had emigrated in 1830 to Illinois, in 1834 he was elected to the Illinois legislature. He was three times re-elected, was admitted to the practice of law in 1836 and then moved to Springfield - the state capitol. In 1846 he was elected to Congress, beating Peter Cartright, the backwoods preacher. In 1854 he was the recognized leader of the Republican part. In 1860 he was a candidate for presidency, receiving a majority of votes over any other candidate, and was installed in the presidential chair March 4, 1861. His election to the presidency was followed by the secession of eleven states and a war for the restoration of the union as a military measure. He proclaimed January 1, 1864, the freedom of all slaves in the seceding states and was re-elected to the presidency in 1864. The war was brought to a close April 2, 1865, and on the fifteenth of the same month, Abraham Lincoln's life was ended by the hand of an assassin. Thus when he
"Had mounted fame's ladder so high
From the round at the top he could touch the sky"
the great President passed to his rest, and in the moment of his triumph was laid by the side of Washington - the one, the father, and the other, the savior of his country.
Transcribed by:Brenda Hamilton Johnson