More on Lincoln from Mr. Herndon


Abraham Lincoln figure from collection of B. Nash (from childhood)

Abraham Lincoln figure from collection of B. Nash (from childhood)



Most of are aware that just prior to leaving Springfield for Washington, Abraham Lincoln made a visit to his step-mother.  He would be heading for Washington to serve as President of the United States over a nation that was falling apart. His task would be like no other had faced. He felt the weight of his burden. It’s no wonder he wanted to see his beloved step-mother again. Mr. Herndon, in his book Life of Lincoln, shares that besides seeing his step-mother again-he made another visit-to the grave of his father. Herndon tells it this way:


“One more duty-an act of filial devotion-remained to be done before Abraham Lincoln departed for the city of Washington-a place from which it was unfortunately decreed he should never return. In the first week of February he slipped quietly away from Springfield and rode to Farmington in Coles County, where his aged step=mother was still living. Here, in the little country village, he met also the surviving members of the Hanks and Johnston families. He visited the grave of his father, old Thomas Lincoln, which had been unmarked and neglected for almost a decade, and left directions that a suitable stone should be placed there to mark the spot.”

He visited the grave of his father. He had declined to attend the funeral of his father. He had not spoken or communicated with him for many years. Things were not well between them while he was alive. But then Lincoln made that last visit to him. Did he say anything at his father’s grave? Did he think back to his boyhood years? Surely there were good memories too! Did he has regrets? We will never know. Still, he did the right thing. His father’s grave had no marker. It sounds like the spot was probably overgrown with weeds and brush. He did right by his dad. He was being a “good son.” He gave respect to him. He would never return. I’d like to think that he felt good about his deed. It turned out to be the last chance he would have to do so.








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