Abraham Lincoln was born February 12, 1809 in Hodgenville on the western frontier in Kentucky, in a log cabin…….. yea, yea, we all know that. Ok, how about this?
As a teenager and young man, Lincoln did not get along with his father, and decided to strike out on his own. He went to the recently established town of New Salem, Illinois.
In 1829 a saw and gristmill was built on the Sangamon River and the town of New Salem laid out. The settlers believed that the river would provide a trading connection to St. Louis by way of the Mississippi. In 1831, at age 22, Lincoln arrived. He worked numerous jobs and eventually Lincoln and a partner bought a small general store on credit. It did not do well and he ending up leaving the venture with a large debt.
New Salem only existed about 10 years. The village declined when it was determined that the Sangamon River could not be navigated by steamboats. Lincoln lived there for 6 years from 1831 to 1837. Admitted to the Illinois bar in 1836 he moved to the Capital of Illinois, Springfield, and began to practice law. By 1840 New Salem ceased to exist.
The town was never re-established, but because Lincoln became President, it was re-created for us tourists.
Tidbits of Information:
1) In 1849, Lincoln received a patent for a flotation device for the movement of boats in shallow water. The idea was never commercialized, but Lincoln is the only President to hold a patent.
2) Grace Bedell, born November 4, 1848, at age 11, wrote Lincoln a letter when he was running for President saying his face was too thin and he should grow a beard to help him win. Not only did he do that, but later actually met with the little girl.