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) ABRAHAM LINCOLN

chap. i. most picturesque heroes in all our annals, it is not to be wondered at that his own circle of friends should have caught the general enthusiasm and felt the desire to emulate his career.

Boone's exploration of Kentucky had begun some ten years before Lincoln set out to follow his trail. In 1769 he made his memorable journey to that virgin wilderness of whose beauty he always loved to speak even to his latest breath. During all that year he hunted, finding everywhere abundance of game. " The buffalo," Boone says, "were more fre­quent than I have seen cattle in the settlements, browsing on the leaves of the cane, or cropping the herbage on these extensive plains, fearless because ignorant of the violence of man. Sometimes we saw hundreds in a drove, and the numbers about the salt springs were amazing." In the course of the winter, however, he was captured by the Indians while hunting with a comrade, and when they had contrived to escape they never found again any trace of the rest of their party. But a few days later they saw two men approaching and hailed them with the hunter's caution, " Hullo, strangers; who are you 1" They replied, " White men and friends." They proved to be Squire Boone and another adventurer from North Carolina. The younger Boone had made that long pilgrimage through the trackless woods, led by an instinct of doglike affection, to find his elder brother and share his sylvan pleasures and dangers. Their two com­panions were soon waylaid and killed, and the Boones spent their long winter in that mighty solitude undisturbed. In the spring their ammuni­tion, which was to them the only necessary of life,

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ran low, and one of them must return to the settle- chap. l ments to replenish the stock. It need not be said which assumed this duty; the cadet went uncom­plaining on his way, and Daniel spent three months in absolute loneliness, as he himself expressed it, " by myself, without bread, salt, or sugar, without company of my fellow-creatures, or even a horse or dog." He was not insensible to the dangers of his situation. He never approached his camp without the utmost precaution, and always slept in the cane-brakes if the signs were unfavorable. But he makes in his memoirs this curious reflection, which would seem like affectation in one less perfectly and simply heroic: u How unhappy such a situation for a man tormented with fear, which is vain if no danger comes, and if it does, only augments the pain. It was my happiness to be destitute of this afflicting passion, with which I had the greatest reason to be afflicted." After his brother's return, for a year longer they hunted in those lovely wilds, and then returned to the Yadkin to bring their families to the new domain. They made the long journey back, five hundred miles, in peace and safety.

For some time after this Boone took no con­spicuous part in the settlement of Kentucky. The expedition with which he left the Yadkin in 1773 met with a terrible disaster near Cumberland Gap, in which his eldest son and five more young men were killed by Indians, and the whole party, dis­couraged by the blow, retired to the safer region of Clinch River. In the mean time the dauntless spec­ulator Richard Henderson had begun his occupation with all the pomp of viceroyalty. Harrodsburg had been founded, and corn planted, and a flourishing

6 ABRAHAM LINCOLN

chap. i. colony established at the Falls of the Ohio. In 1774 Boone was called upon by the Governor of Virginia to escort a party of surveyors through Kentucky, and on his return was given the command of three garrisons; and for several years thereafter the history of the State is the record of his feats of arms. No one ever equaled him in his knowledge of Indian character, and his influence with the savages was a mystery to him and to themselves. Three times he fell into their hands and they did not harm him. Twice they adopted him into their tribes while they were still on the war-path. Once they took him to Detroit,1 to show the Long-Knife chieftains of King Greorge that they also could ex­hibit trophies of memorable prowess, but they refused to give him up even to their British allies. In no quality of wise woodcraft was he wanting. He could outrun a dog or a deer; he could thread the woods without food day and night; he could find his way as easily as the panther could. Al­though a great athlete and a tireless warrior, he hated fighting and only fought for peace. In coun­cil and in war he was equally valuable. His advice was never rejected without disaster, nor followed but with advantage; and when the fighting once began there was not a rifle in Kentucky which could rival his. At the nine days' siege of Boonesboro' he took deliberate aim and killed a negro renegade who was harassing the garrison from a tree five hundred and twenty-five feet away, and whose head only was visible from the fort. The mildest and the quietest of men, he had killed dozens of enemies

i Silas Farmer, historiographer on the 10th of March, 1778, of Detroit, informs us that Dan- and that he remained there a iel Boone was brought there month.

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with his own hand, and all this without malice and, chap. i. strangest of all, without incurring the hatred of his adversaries. He had self-respect enough, but not a spark of vanity. After the fatal battle of the Blue Licks,— where the only point of light in the day's terrible work was the wisdom and valor with which he had partly retrieved a disaster he foresaw but was powerless to prevent,— when it became his duty, as senior surviving officer of the forces, to report the affair to Governor Harrison, his dry and naked narrative gives not a single hint of what he had done himself, nor mentions the gallant son lying dead on the field, nor the wounded brother whose gallantry might justly have claimed some notice. He was thinking solely of the public good, saying, "I have encouraged the people in this country all that I could, but I can no longer justify them or myself to risk our lives here under such extraordinary hazards." He therefore begged his Excellency to take immediate measures for relief. During the short existence of Henderson's legis­lature he was a member of it, and not the least useful one. Among his measures was one for the protection of game.

Everything we know of the emigrant Abraham Lincoln goes to show that it was under the auspices of this most famous of our pioneers that he set out from Rockingham County to make a home for him­self and his young family in that wild region which Boone was wresting from its savage holders. He was not without means of his own. He took with him funds enough to enter an amount of. land which would have made his family rich if they had retained it. The county records show him to have



LAND WARRANT ISSUED TO ABRAHAM LINKHOEN (LINCOLN).

The original, of which this is a reduced f ac-simile, is in the possession of Colonel R. T. Durrett, Louisville, Ky.

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been the possessor of a domain of some seventeen hundred acres. There is still in existence1 the original warrant, dated March 4, 1780, for four hundred acres of land, for which the pioneer had paid " into the publick Treasury one hundred and sixty pounds current money," and a copy of the surveyor's certificate, giving the metes and bounds of the property on Floyd's Fork, which remained for many years in the hands of Mordecai Lincoln, the pioneer's eldest son and heir. The name was misspelled " Linkhorn " by a blunder of the clerk in the land-office, and the error was perpetuated in the subsequent record.

Kentucky had been for many years the country of romance and fable for Virginians. Twenty years before Governor Spotswood had crossed the Alle-ghanies and returned to establish in a Williams-burg tavern that fantastic order of nobility

chap. I,

Jefferson County Records.


i In the possession of Colonel Reuben T. Burrett, of Louisville, a gentleman who has made the early history of his State a sub­ject of careful study, and to whom we are greatly indebted for information in regard to the settlement of the Lincolns in Kentucky. He gives the follow­ing list of lands in that State owned by Abraham Lincoln:

1. Pour hundred acres on Long Eun, a branch of Floyd's Fork, in Jefferson County, entered May 29, 1780, and surveyed May 7, 1785. We have in our posses­sion the original patent issued by Governor G-arrard, of Kentucky, to Abraham Lincoln for this prop­erty. It was found by Col. A. C. Matthews, of the 99th Illinois, in 1863, at an abandoned resi­dence near Indianola, Texas.


  1. Eight hundred acres on
    Green River, near Green River
    Lick, entered June 7, 1780,
    and surveyed October 12,
    1784.

  2. Five hundred acres in Camp­
    bell County, date of entry not
    known, but surveyed September
    27, 1798, and' patented June
    30, 1799 — the survey and
    patent evidently following his
    entry after his death. It is pos­
    sible that this was the five-hun-
    dred-acre tract found in Boone's
    field-book, in the possession of
    Lyman C. Draper, Esq., Secre­
    tary of the Wisconsin Historical
    Society, and erroneously sup­
    posed by some to have been in
    Mercer County. Boone was a
    deputy of Colonel Thomas Mar­
    shall, Surveyor of Fayette
    County.

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ABEAHAM LINCOLN



chap. i. which he called the Knights of The Gold­en Horseshoe,1 and, with a worldly wisdom which was scarcely consistent with these medieval affecta­tions, to press upon the attention of the British Government the building of a line of frontier forts to guard the Ohio Eiver from the French. Many years after him the greatest of all Vir­ginians crossed the mountains again, and became heavily inter­ested in those schemes of emigration which filled the minds of many of the leading men in America un­til they were driven out by graver cares and more imperative duties. Washington had acquired claims and patents to the amount of thirty or forty thousand acres of land in the West;

i Their motto was Sic jurat transcendere monies.

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Benjamin Franklin and the Lees were also large chap, i, owners of these speculative titles. They formed, it is true, rather an airy and unsubstantial sort of possession, the same ground being often claimed by a dozen different persons or companies under various grants from the crown or from legislatures, or through purchase by adventurers from Indian councils. But about the time of which we are speak­ing the spirit of emigration had reached the lower strata of colonial society, and a steady stream of pioneers began pouring over the passes of the moun­tains into the green and fertile valleys of Kentucky and Tennessee. They selected their homes in the most eligible spots to which chance or the report of earlier explorers directed them, with little knowl­edge or care as to the rightful ownership of the land, and too often cleared their corner of the wil­derness for the benefit of others. Even Boone, to whose courage, forest lore, and singular intuitions of savage character the State of Kentucky owed more than to any other man, was deprived in his old age of his hard-earned homestead through his ignorance of legal forms, and removed to Missouri to repeat in that new territory his labors and his misfortunes.

The period at which Lincoln came West was one itso of note in the history of Kentucky. The labors of Henderson and the Transylvania Company had begun to bear fruit in extensive plantations and a connected system of forts. The land laws of Ken­tucky had reduced to something like order the chaos of conflicting claims arising from the various grants and the different preemption customs under which settlers occupied their property. The victory



SUKVETOB'S CERTIFICATE (SLIGHTLY REDUCED), TAKEN FROM RECORD BOOK "B," PAGE 60, IN THE OFFICE OF JEFFERSON COUNTY, KENTUCKY.

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of Boone at Boonesboro' against the Shawnees, and chap. r. the capture of Kaskaskia and Yincennes by the brill­iant audacity of G-eorge Rogers Clark, had brought the region prominently to the attention of the At­lantic States, and had turned in that direction the restless and roving spirits which are always found in communities at periods when great emigrations are a need of civilization. Up to this time few persons had crossed the mountains except hunters, trappers, and explorers — men who came merely to kill game, and possibly Indians, or to spy out the fertility of the land for the purpose of speculation. But in 1780 and 1781 a large number of families took up their line of march, and in the latter year a considerable contingent of women joined the little army of pioneers, impelled by an instinct which they themselves probably but half comprehended. The country was to be peopled, and there was no other way of peopling it but by the sacrifice of many lives and fortunes; and the history of every country shows that these are never lacking when they are wanted. The number of those who came at about the same time with the pioneer Lincoln was sufficient to lay the basis of a sort of social order. Early in the year 1780 three hundred "large family boats" arrived at the Falls of the Ohio, where the land had been surveyed by Captain Bul-litt seven years before, and in May the Legislature of Virginia passed a law for the incorporation of the town of Louisville, then containing some six hundred inhabitants. At the same session a law was passed confiscating the property of certain British subjects for the endowment of an institu­tion of learning in Kentucky, " it being the interest

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