Thomas Lincoln (1778-1851)
Lincoln was the son of Revolutionary War veteran Abraham Lincoln and Bersheba Herring, both of Virginia. While still a youth in the 1780s,
Thomas moved with his family to Kentucky,
where he lived a typical settler’s life. Receiving no formal education, he
could nonetheless read a little and became a skilled carpenter and aspiring
landowner. By all accounts, Thomas Lincoln was an active citizen of middling
twenty-four-year-old Thomas moved to Hardin
County, Kentucky, and
in 1806 married Nancy Hanks. The couple produced three children: Sarah,
Abraham, and Thomas, the last dying in infancy. In 1816, Thomas and Nancy
joined the growing stream of Kentuckians then moving north of the Ohio and
settled in the area of Pidgeon Creek, in Perry (later
Spencer) County, Indiana.
contracted milk sickness and died. Soon thereafter, Thomas married Sarah Bush
Johnston of Elizabethtown, Kentucky. In 1830, the Lincolns
moved to Macon County, then in 1831 to Coles County,
Illinois, where Thomas remained the rest of his life.
and his son Abraham were never close. In his few autobiographical writings,
Abraham had little good to say about his father and did not attend his funeral.
Despite their strained relationship, father and son appear to have shared
important characteristics – not least of which were
their natural sociability, good storytelling, and Whig politics.
cabinet-sized photograph was originally owned by Lieutenant O. V. Flora, who had
served in the Tenth Ohio Battery from Springfield,
Ohio. While in Charleston,
Illinois, he bought the photograph from
someone close to the Lincoln
family who claimed it to be an authentic image of Thomas Lincoln.
of the Abraham Lincoln
Museum of Lincoln