Lincoln's Care for His Family

Lincoln's Care for His Family (HMKMG)

Location: Lerna, IL 62440 Coles County
Country: United States of America

N 39° 22.794', W 88° 12.204'

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— Looking for Lincoln —

Left Section

Abraham Lincoln was a frequent visitor to Cole County in the 1840's, traveling on the judicial circuit. In Charleston, according to Amanda Hanks Poorman (the daughter of Dennis Hanks), Lincoln would use the Hanks's horse and wagon, and, with some of the Hanks children, visit his father's farm. Amanda recalled: "He was very generous with us, and was also to his father and stepmother, giving them $10 or $15 every time we went down there with him." In the book Abraham Lincoln and Coles County, Illinois, Charles Coleman imagined a scene with Lincoln on a visit home, showering his stepmother with flour, sugar, coffee beans, a bolt of cloth, and even a warm comforter. "Land sakes, Abe," she would say with pretended dismay, "why did you bring me such fol-er-ols? Does that high-toned lady in Springfield know how you throw your money away on your old mother?" "Don't you fret Mama," he would reply, "the comforter was Mary's idea." Dennis Hanks's son-in-law, Augustus Chapman, also reported that in 1858, he gave Sarah Lincoln $50.

Middle Section
Lincoln's care and concern for his family's welfare is shown by one particular gift:the purchase of forty acres of his father's farm. On October 25, 1841. Lincoln purchased forty acres from his parents for $200 then deeded the property back to them for their exclusive use during their lifetimes. Thus, Lincoln secured a cash gift for his parents and property that could not be lost to creditors. It could also provide an income in their old age.

Right Section
Lincoln's concern for his parents was justified. Thomas Lincoln's financial woes stemmed from co-signing debts for his stepson John D. Johnston. Thomas had purchased both of Johnston's farms when he needed cash in 1834 and 1840. However, these purchases, and money from his stepbrother Abraham, never improved Johnston's finances and further indebted Thomas. In December 1848, Johnston complained about his numerous debts and explained in a letter to his step-brother Abraham how he avoided paying them: ". . . I have kept from paying them by not having any property. . . " He implied that he had tried to raise money by leveraging Thomas Lincoln's land, stating, ". . . have maid no new contracts but tried altogether on Fathers property. . . ." Lincoln, unmoved by his stepbrother's plea, refused to lend him the money.
Series This marker is part of the Illinois: Looking for Lincoln series
Year Placed2009
Placed ByThe Lincoln / Sargent Farm Foundation
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Sunday, September 28th, 2014 at 1:29pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)16S E 396353 N 4359626
Decimal Degrees39.37990000, -88.20340000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 22.794', W 88° 12.204'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 22' 47.64" N, 88° 12' 12.24" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)217
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 79301-79399 E Co Rd 040 N, Lerna IL 62440, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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