My family and I took a quick trip to Spencer County, Indiana to visit several Abraham Lincoln historic sites and Santa Claus. This is one of our stops.
Any American president’s boyhood is always fuel for a historian’s fire. There’s the presidential home, the library, the boyhood home, and on and on. A president of Abraham Lincoln’s magnitude is honored for every place he visits. Even places where Abraham Lincoln slept (like the cabin at Buffalo Run Farm) are cared for and shared with citizens. The Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial in Spencer County is no different.
The memorial is run by the National Parks Service and gives visitors an in-depth look at the 13 years Lincoln spent in Spencer County, on the Ohio River. A 15-minute video explored Lincoln’s boyhood, how his mother died, how his father remarried, and how his cousin Dennis Hanks came to live with the family. The video (and the associated paraphernalia) cover the time and the way Lincoln became the man who freed the slaves and led the country through its bloodiest war.
As I watched the video, I became a little annoyed with Illinois for claiming their state to be the “Land of Lincoln.” Yes, Abraham Lincoln spent his adulthood there, and used it as his launching point to eventually become an Illinois State senator, a US Representative, and the greatest president. However, it’s Indiana where Abe got the knowledge, learned the lessons, and formed the morals that would see our country through its greatest moral and civil crises. Illinois may claim him, but Indiana made him.
While most of Spencer County is filled with Lincoln memorabilia and historic artifacts, the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial is a must for anyone who cares anything for the history of our country. It’s built on the site of the Lincoln boyhood farm, and is within walking distance of the grave of Abe’s mother, Nancy, who died from milk poisoning when Abe was 10.
If you find yourself in SW Indiana, near Evansville, take an hour or two to visit the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial and learn about how Lincoln grew into a man here in the Hoosier heartland.