Abraham Lincoln’s Grandfather, Abraham Lincoln Sr.



“The story of Abraham Lincoln and his immediate family begins and ends with a tragedy.”

Louis A. Warren


In referring to his grandfather in a letter to Jesse Lincoln in 1854, Lincoln wrote that “the story of his death by the Indians, and of Uncle Mordecai, then fourteen years old, killing one of the Indians, is the legend more strongly than all others imprinted upon my mind and memory.”


Abraham Lincoln’s forty-two-year-old grandfather, Abraham Lincoln Sr., purchased a four-hundred-acre tract near Hughes Station in eastern Jefferson County in 1780. He migrated to Kentucky from Virginia in 1782. His land on “the Fork of Floyd’s Fork now called Long Run” was surveyed by William May, surveyor of Jefferson County, in 1785.


In May 1786, Abraham Lincoln was putting in a crop of corn with his sons, Josiah, Mordecai, and Thomas, when they were attacked by a small war party. He was killed in the initial volley. Josiah ran to Hughes Station for help. Mordecai and Thomas ran to the cabin, and Mordecai emerged with a rifle in time to kill the Indian who was preparing to scalp his father. Men from Hughes Station pursued the retreating Indians.


After this attack, the Lincoln family moved to a part of Nelson County which later became part of Washington County. The estate of Abraham Lincoln Sr. was administered in Nelson County in 1789.




Postcard showing a cabin where President Lincoln’s grandfather built his cabin in 1782, Lincoln Homestead State Park, Springfield, Kentucky

Kentucky Historical Society Collections