The Lincoln Family Chronicles Part 1

Long Run Cemetery

If you are a born and raised Kentuckian, you know all about Abraham Lincoln’s Birthplace in Hodgenville, KY, but what you may not know is that the history of the Lincoln family in Kentucky dates back to 1781.

KY historical marker on Shelbyville Rd. in Eastern Jefferson County
Abraham Lincoln History Road Marker – Shelbyville Rd.

The Lincoln family reminds me somewhat of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s family because they were always moving around! I suppose that is true of most families in that time period, but it always surprises me, seeing how difficult it would have been to do so.

Before President Lincoln

The story of the Lincoln family actually dates back to 1637 when Samuel Lincoln emigrated to Massachusetts Bay Colony from England. From there, the family moved through New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and finally into Kentucky in 1781.

President Lincoln’s Family Tree

Captain Abraham Lincoln

Captain Abraham Lincoln, President Lincoln’s grandfather, was a Revolutionary War Patriot who moved his family into Jefferson County, KY (then part of Virginia) onto a 400 acre tract of land near Eastwood, off of today’s Long Run Rd. There he built a cabin for his wife, Bathsheba, and his 5 children. He also began clearing the land and planting corn. Lincoln continued to purchase land in the area and eventually owned nearly 2,000 acres.

However, the land was still contested by Native Americans. Captain Abraham received many visits from Native Americans where they tried to convince him to leave their hunting grounds.

An Unfortunate Event

Unfortunately, one fateful day in May 1786, Abraham was working out in the fields with his 3 sons when he was shot and killed by a Native American hiding in the forests along his land. Mordecai, his eldest son, ran for the cabin to retrieve a gun, Josiah, his middle son, ran to Hughes’ Station for help, and Thomas, his youngest son stayed to watch over his father. Mordecai, upon returning with his rifle found the Native American coming toward Thomas. Mordecai shot and killed the Native American.

The family buried Abraham behind their homestead cabin, and shortly after Bathsheba moved her family to Springfield, KY in Washington County.

Captain Abraham Lincoln's headstone in Long Run Cemetery
Captain Abraham Lincoln’s Headstone in Long Run Cemetery

Long Run Baptist Church

Sometime around 1795, the homestead cabin on Long Run became the home of Long Run Baptist Church, who’s congregation eventually built a stone and later brick church on the site of the cabin. The burial ground of Abraham became the church cemetery grounds.

Long Run Baptist Church in 1922.
Long Run Baptist Church 1922 / Photo Credit: Flat Rock Rd. Facebook

The church was destroyed by fire in 1960, and all that remains today are foundational stones showing the footprint of the church, which also marks where Abraham’s cabin stood many years earlier.

The Cemetery Today

The cemetery, now called Long Run Cemetery marks what is believed to be the burial spot of Abraham, although his exact burial location was never found. There are many other historically notable people buried within the church cemetery. Today, those sites are marked with Revolutionary War markers or signs erected by Historic Middletown Inc.

The cemetery sits back off of Long Run Rd. in Eastern Jefferson County. It is surrounded my farm lands, and someone does live in a home directly behind the fence line. The cemetery is marked with a small sign on the road, but you will likely miss it. The street sign reads Old Stage Coach Rd. The cemetery is on the same side of the road as the creek.

Reflecting on their Lives

We enjoyed this visit in March of this year. I tried to envision the area as it might have been in the 1700’s, with Native Americans hiding in the tree line across the field. I try to do something similar with each stop we make. It helps me to better appreciate where we have been and where we are now. I can never walk in the shoes of those early pioneers, but I can take some time to think about what it might have been like; the fear they felt, the dreams of a new life they envisioned, the hard work they put into creating their homes, the heartaches they endured, and the perseverance they must have had to make their way into the wilderness of those uncharted lands.

If you visit, I hope you too take the time to appreciate what it took for our early pioneers to brave those new lands, and where we would be today if they had not been so brave.

Up next, Part 2 in The Lincoln Family Chronicles! Make sure to watch for the continuing saga of Bathsheba Lincoln, as she takes her family to Springfield, KY.

Until then, Happy Travels!

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