Lincoln Homestead State Park
Can you begin to imagine how Bathsheba felt at the loss of her husband, Abraham?
(We learned in “The Lincoln Family Chronicles, Part 1, Long Run Cemetery,” Bathsheba was left with 5 children to raise after burying her husband on their land in Jefferson County, KY, in 1786. )
I mean really?? There she is in her mid-thirties, a widow in the middle of nowhere, potentially surrounded by Native Americans who had just killed your husband. She had no way of making money for herself, and she had 5 children to care for. I really struggle to fathom how scared, yet brave, she must have been. Remember, it’s 1786. Our country just declared its independence 10 years earlier, and Kentucky is not even a state yet. How on Earth she buried her husband, loaded a wagon with her household goods and 5 children, and traveled across the vast wilderness from today’s Jefferson County to Washington County, I’ll never know. One would have to believe that her eldest son, Mordecai being 15 years old, likely stepped up into the “man of the house” roll and did everything he could to help and protect his mother in her time of despair, but it still had to have been beyond difficult and terrifying for her. Her other children; Josiah (13), Mary (11), Thomas (8), and Nancy (6) had to have struggled greatly with the loss of their father. Especially Josiah and Thomas who witnessed his murder.
Regardless of how she felt, she packed up her family and moved them to Washington County (near today’s Springfield, KY) sometime between September 1786 and 1788.
A New Home
In Springfield, Bathsheba moved her family into a log cabin near Captain Abraham’s cousin, Hannaniah. The area was a little more developed at the time, and risk of attacks were far less. It is believed, that even though Bathsheba was only in her mid-thirties when her husband died, she never remarried.
In 1803, Bathsheba’s youngest son, Thomas purchased land near Mill Creek in Hardin County. His mother, his sister Nancy and her new husband William Brumfield, all came to live with him in Mill Creek.
The Lincoln Homestead State Park
Today, Bathsheba’s replica cabin stands at the Lincoln Homestead State Park in Springfield, KY.
The cabin standing next to Bathsheba’s cabin, called the Francis Berry House, was later moved to the site. Nancy Hanks (President Lincoln’s mother) lived in this home with her Aunt Rachel (her mother’s sister) and Uncle Richard Berry from the age of 9, after being orphaned. It is the home in which Thomas Lincoln courted Nancy and it is said he proposed to her in front of the fireplace.
Thomas and Nancy
Thomas and Nancy were married on June 12, 1806 at the Berry Home. In 1807, Thomas and Nancy moved to nearby Elizabethtown for Thomas’s new job as a carpenter and cabinetmaker. It was there that their 1st child, Sarah was born in February.
In 1808, the small family moved to Sinking Spring Farm in Hodgenville, KY, the location of Abraham Lincoln’s Birthplace National Historical Park.
Before your Visit
Before visiting Lincoln Homestead State Park, make sure to call to confirm that it is open. On the day we visited, we arrived within the operating hours stated on the website, but found the cabins locked and the gift shop/ticket sales closed. We found the visit to be a disappointment since we were unable to go in the cabins. So, make sure to call!
Also on the grounds is Mordecai Lincoln’s home (President Lincoln’s uncle). The home is original and is on the original site. It is the only original Lincoln family home remaining in Kentucky.
Because the park was not open on the day of our visit, we were not aware of Mordecai’s home being on the grounds. It was not until doing additional research for this post that I learned of the home. On another day we might revisit to see his home, but I will absolutely make sure to call before going!
If you happen to visit both Lincoln family sites (Long Run Cemetery and Lincoln Homestead State Park), make sure to take a moment to think about Bathsheba traveling via wagon from one location to the other with her 5 children in the early days of our state. My only thought is our pioneer women deserve some serious respect. They were truly brave, strong women that deserve to be remembered.
Please share my site so that together, we can educate others and preserve these priceless treasures for the generations to come. I want to make sure future generations know of the dedication and sacrifices these pioneer men AND women made for the new and developing country.
Up next, The Lincoln Family Chronicles, Part 3.
Until then, Happy Travels!