Abraham Lincoln’s Frontier Childhood Was Filled With Hardship

Abraham Lincoln summed up his early years on the Kentucky-Indiana frontier as “the short and simple annals of the poor”. But the hardships he endured there in his youth were not unique. Life was tough for most frontier families in the early 1800s.

“Life on the frontier was little better than the life of an ox,” says Lincoln historian Michael Burlingame. But the Lincolns, he said, were particularly poor.

Lincoln’s earliest memories were of the Kentucky farm he moved to in 1811 with his parents, Thomas and Nancy, and his sister, Sarah. She was 4 years old. Abraham was 2. His parents had been married for five years.

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