Off to Illinois

The Families to Remove—How they Went—Abe of Age—Will not Leave his Father and Mother—Scripps—His Description of Moving—Two Hundred Miles—Bad Roads and Swollen Streams—The Kaskaskia—Uncle John's House—The Spot to Settle—Building a Log-house—The Fifteen Acres—Ploughing, Railsplitting, and Fencing—Mrs. Brown's Story, and Abe's Bedfellow—George Chase's Story—Splitting Rails, and Reading—Attacked by Fever and Ague—Useful—A Hard Winter

Before the Ist of January, 1830, Mr. Lincoln decided to remove to Illinois. Dennis Hanks and Levi Hall, who had married Mrs. Lincoln’s daughters, concluded to remove also, with their families. Dennis had made a flying visit thither, after he had recovered from a severe attack of the milk-disease, and returned with marvellous stories about the country. He went to visit “Uncle John Hanks,” who was settled four miles from Decatur, in Macon County. On this account Mr. Lincoln decided to go directly to “Uncle John’s.”

He sold his farm to the senior Gentry, and his corn and hogs to David Turnham. He received ten cents a bushel for his corn, and sold the hogs for a “song.” He took with him to Illinois “some stock-cattle, one horse, one bureau, one table, one clothes-chest, one set of chairs, working utensils, clothing, etc.” The goods belonging to the three families were loaded upon Mr. Lincoln’s wagon, an “ironed” wagon, which was the first one he ever owned. It was drawn by four yoke of oxen, two of them Lincoln’s and the other two Hanks’s; and Abraham drove the team. There were thirteen persons in all who went—men, women, and children.

Abraham was twenty-one years of age on the twelfth day of February, two or three days before they started upon their journey.

“You are your own man now,” said his father.

“What of that?” was Abraham’s reply, suspecting what thoughts were in his mind.

“Why, you can go or stay, though I don’t see how I can get along without you.”

“Nor I; and I want to go to Illinois more than you do, and I shall see you safely there, and settled down, before I leave you.”

“I’m glad of that,” continued his father. “I won’t ask you to stay at home one minute after we get settled down. You ought to be lookin’ out for yourself, now that you are of age.”

“We’ll talk about that when we get there. Perhaps I shall find enough to do for a while to get you fixed up, and I can attend to that better than you can.”

“Well, it’s a long ways there, and I’m almost sorry that I undertook it at my time of life. It looks like a great job to get there, and begin new.”

“It don’t to me. We’ll be there, and have a roof over our heads, in less than four weeks.”

“If nothin’ happens, you mean.”

“There will something happen, I’m thinking,” answered Abraham, dryly, “or we shall never get there.”


“I expect that it will happen that we shall go there in about two weeks, by hard travelling. If that don’t happen, I shall be sorry.”

“We shall see,” added Mr. Lincoln.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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