Abraham Lincoln’s letter to David Lincoln

Dear Sir:

Last evening I was much gratified by receiving and reading your letter of the 30th of March. There is no longer any doubt that your uncle Abraham and my grandfather was the same man. His family did reside in Washington County, Kentucky, just as you say you found them in 1801 or 1802. The oldest son, Uncle Mordecai, near twenty years ago removed from Kentucky to Hancock County, Illinois, where within a year or two afterward he died, and where his surviving children now live. His two sons there now are Abraham and Mordecai; and their post-office is “La Harpe.”

Uncle Josiah, farther back than my recollection, went from Kentucky to Blue River in Indiana. I have not heard from him in a great many years, and whether he is still living I cannot say. My recollection of what I have heard is that he has several daughters and only one son, Thomas—their post-office is “Coryden, Harrison County, Indiana.” My father, Thomas, is still living, in Coles County, Illinois, being in the seventy-first year of his age—his post-office is “Charleston, Coles County, Illinois”—I am his only child. I am now in my fortieth year; and I live in Springfield, Sangamon County, Illinois. This is the outline of my grandfather’s family in the West.

Mordecai Lincoln's Berks County, Pennsylvania home from 1733

Mordecai Lincoln's Berks County, Pennsylvania Home

I think my father has told me that grandfather had four brothers—Isaac, Jacob, John, and Thomas. Is that correct? And which of them was your father? Are any of them alive? I am quite sure that Isaac resided on Watauga, near a point where Virginia and Tennessee join; and that he has been dead more than twenty, perhaps thirty, years; also that Thomas removed to Kentucky, near Lexington, where he died a good while ago.

What was your grandfather’s Christian name? Was he not a Quaker? About what time did he emigrate from Berks County, Pennsylvania, to Virginia? Do you know anything of your family (or rather I may now say our family), farther back than your grandfather?

If it be not too much trouble to you, I shall be much pleased to hear from you again. Be assured I will call on you, should anything ever bring me near you. I shall give your respects to Governor McDowell as you desire.

Very truly yours,

A. Lincoln
Washington, April 2, 1848.


Title: Abraham Lincoln Complete Works Comprising His Speeches, Letters, State Papers, And Miscellaneous Writings Volume One — Addresses And Letters Of Abraham Lincoln
Collection: The General’s Perspective
Notes: Edited By John G. Nicolay And John Hay, New York, The Century Co. 1894

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