A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Lincoln's Boyhood Home

Lincoln City, Indiana

I think I went into this with too high of expectations. 
I am often guilty of such actions.

This is the National Memorial to Abraham Lincoln's Boyhood Home.
It was nice. I watched the video. I had the auditorium all to myself too. That was nice.

I think what fascinated me most inside was about the death of Abraham's mother, Nancy, from 'milk sickness', something I had never heard of before.  She could have been given a simple mixture of baking soda and sugar water and recovered, but they didn't know that back then. I thought this very sad for Nancy seemed to be a pretty remarkable woman.
(click on any of these photos if you wish to read the writing)

So I left the Memorial to take the short walk to where Nancy was supposed to have been buried, but like most things of such nature that I come across in my travels, no one really knows for sure where she was buried.

There were some people ahead of me on the walk, talking and yaking, looking at their cell phones, doing what people normally do.  Meanwhile I fell back doing what I normally do - be quiet and observe. It was then I heard some rustling in the leaves by my feet.  There I saw a black indigo snake.  I briefly thought about saying something to the people up ahead, but only briefly.  My better judgement prevailed and I kept my discovery quiet.

Upon closer inspection I saw that there were two snakes and one, somewhat smaller was attacking the other.  Well this must stop.  So I got a stick and tried to separate the two but the smaller one was adamant about not stopping his aggression.  Then I found a third snake in the leaves.  Finally the dim light clicked on in my head - this was mating season and I was interrupting snake love.  I tossed the stick away and left the snakes to their love making.  

 I continued on with my walk. At the supposed grave site I caught up with the people.  Among them was this loud, annoying, know-it-all woman.  I didn't linger nor take any pictures.  I was told by a park volunteer that Abe in his later years returned to his boyhood home site and said "this is where my mother was buried...I think"

On to the cabin site itself.

And so here it is, marked out by a cement border showing the perimeter of the cabin and a reconstructed hearth all safely protected behind a stone wall.
Wow! I was really "feeling it" by now.

I'm sorry but I was pretty cynical about all of this. Really?
I would have been more impressed just to see a cleared open space in the woods with a sign stating 
From archaeological findings it is believed the cabin stood in this vicinity.

I ventured on further to a reconstruction as to how the Lincoln cabin and farm looked. 
In all fairness this is listed as Living Historical Farm of that time period.

Nevertheless, I couldn't help but wonder Was a log cabin and farm really all this well constructed, neat and tidy looking back then? It all appeared too picture postcard perfect. 

I took the long way back to the Memorial and parking lot, a path through the woods named The Trail of Twelve Stones. The 'twelve stones' turned out to be bits and pieces of buildings Lincoln had been in or at, securely embedded into small blocks on concrete accompanied by a bronze plaque telling you what you were looking at. 
Again, really?

Other than learning about milk sickness and seeing the black indigo snakes make little black indigo snakes, this here really left an impression on me.  I stood along the trail thinking I had just moved my family up to Indiana from Kentucky, have arrived at the small piece of land that I purchased earlier, and here I stand.  I think I will build myself a home and a farm in this.

I couldn't picture it.  Where do I start?
Our pioneering families were a tough breed to say the least.


s.c said...

Thats a lot of posting here and with much interesting facts. Of course all those things you mention here are unknown by us europeans except the name of your president. Then also the sidestep to mating snakes . Its really great and very observant. Thanks for all the info with splendid illustrations. Greatly appreciated.

EG CameraGirl said...

Yes, pioneers were a tough lot. I think they were desperate to start life anew.

Don't be too hard on places such as these as they are competing with Disney-style theme parks, which is more what the public seems to like these days. ;))

biebkriebels said...

Yes those pioneers must have had visions that we can't imagine anymore. So sad the mother died of such a simple disease. Things have improved for us now, we don't have to built our own house and we can go to a doctor. Had to laugh about your snakes storie, never intervere in a good marriage....

Pam said...

Of course as I've learned recently if wildfires had been through the area it probably wasn't so dense with trees and was probably more prairie-like which would have been perfect for farming. Wayne would have had a heart attack if he saw a pile of three snakes. I'll have to tell him it was in Indiana, maybe it will help his fear of "snakes in the south".

TexWisGirl said...

you gave us good perspective, even if some of the displays were a bit, um, non-plus-worthy. :)

MarkD60 said...

Good post. I like the photos, and the tale of Abe and his mom.
I follow a blog by a descendant of Abe Lincoln. His name is Abe Lincoln too!

GreenComotion said...

The cabins remind me of New Harmony, which I highly recommend. And, I completely agree with your concluding remark.

Have a Beautiful Day!

Peace :)

AphotoAday said...

John -- Interesting stuff, 'cept that snake! (I've a bad phobia of snakes). You keep in touch with the current day Abe Lincoln, don't you? He's an avid blogger too. Hope he sees these posts. Anyway, I typed "Springfield, Illinois" into your blog search box and got no returns, and you've been everyplace else, so have you ever been through his home in Springfield? I visited in the late '60's, but the tour guide ran us through the place in short order.

John W. Wall said...

Cool snakes. I'd heard of them, but I have never seen a "snake ball" before. Hard to say if those woods are what the pioneers saw. They were definitely a hardy breed, though.

Randy said...

Looks like a nice place to visit. I'll pass on the snake thank you.

Rose said...

And think, back then the trees were probably much, much bigger...and they probably only had an axe to cut them down. Maybe a one of those saws that take two men. But then the cleaning up the logs would all be done by axe.

And the work the women had to do...how they got it all done is more than I know.