Abraham Lincoln most likely encountered slavery while living here as a young child in 1811, when Lincoln was two years old, this portion of Kentucky was part of Hardin County. At the time, there were 1,007 slaves in Hardin County, compared to 1,627 white males who were sixteen years of age or older. Five years later, when the Lincoln family moved from Kentucky, the owner of nearby Atherton's Ferry owned eight slaves.
Historians are just beginning to learn about the history of slavery in this area. In addition to the likely presence of slaves on some neighboring farms, the Old Cumberland Trail (today U. S. Hwy. 31E) ran directly beside the Lincoln family farm. It was a main route between Louisville, Kentucky, and Nashville, Tennessee. Some historians believe it was one of the overland routes slave dealers used to transport enslaved African Americans from Kentucky to slave markets farther south.
Lincoln's parents, Thomas and Nancy, attended the Little mount Baptist Church. This church is believed to have been formed by anti-slavery advocates in 1810. It may have been part of a much larger anti-slavery movement within the Baptist churches of Kentucky, beginning in the 1790s. Lincoln later recalled that his father's decision to move the family from Kentucky to Indiana was partly due to slavery.
[ Insert - A. Lincoln Quote ]
I am naturally anti-slavery. If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong. I cannot remember when I did not so think and feel.
— Abraham Lincoln to Albert Hodges, editor of the Frankfort Commonwealth, April 4, 1864
[ Insert - With News Clipping ]
Andrew Barnett, a Greensburg, Kentucky resident, notes in this runaway slave advertisement that he sold his slave, Frank, in New Orleans. Other individuals in this section of Kentucky also sold enslaved African Americans south to Natchez and New Orleans.
Louisville Public Advertiser, November 3, 1829
[ Insert - Photo & Chart ]
( Photo ) - - The Old Cumberland Trail was a main travel artery through this section of Kentucky.
Courtesy of the Lincoln Museum, Fort Wayne, In.
( Chart ) - - An image of slave shackles and restraints, from Thomas Branagan, The Penitential Tyrant, 1807.
Courtesy of the Library of Congress, Prints and photographs Division.
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* Heritage Trail *
1809 — Abraham Lincoln born at Sinking Spring Farm, in present-day Larue County, Kentucky.
1816 — Lincoln family moved from Kentucky.
1841 — Abraham Lincoln visited his friend Joshua speed at Farmington, the Speed family plantation, in Louisville, Kentucky.
1842 — Abraham Lincoln married Mary Todd of Lexington, Kentucky.
1847 — The Lincoln family visited Lexington, Kentucky, en route to Abraham's only term in Congress.
1860 — Abraham Lincoln elected President of the United States in November.
1865 — Abraham Lincoln assassinated at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C.