National Geographic : 1952 Feb
145 National Geographic Photographer B. Anthony Stewart Lincoln, at Quincy, Propounded the Basic Issue: Is Slavery Right, or Is It Wrong? Lincoln lost the Senate race, but two years later won the Presidency, largely on the national reputation gained in these debates. He defeated the man who had beaten him. When the South seceded, Senator Douglas remained loyal to the Union; he died in 1861. Here, seated beside the lectern, he ponders Lincoln's words, spoken in Quincy, Illinois, "not merely in the face of audiences . . . but in the face of the Nation." a pole for his playmate to clamber ashore on." As we strolled up the hollow behind the cabin at dusk, the sun sent the long shadows of the westerly knob tops marching through the clover (page 155). The hush of evening helped us peer into the past. We imagined the boy Lincoln dropping pumpkin seeds at every other hill of corn. For this was the seven-acre field where Abe learned that labor is not always rewarded. The next morning a drenching rain washed out all his pumpkin seeds as well as the seed corn. Abe and his older sister, Sarah, walked two miles down the valley to school. Lincoln later said that his entire schooling amounted to less than a year. At Knob Creek he learned his ABC's in a "blab school," so called because the pupils repeated their les sons aloud until called forward to recite. As we were leaving Knob Creek late in the evening, a group of Boy Scouts trudged into the park beside the cabin and flopped down at a picnic table. They opened cans of beans and crushed pineapple and ate from both indiscriminately. One pulled off dusty sneakers and probed tender blisters. They had completed 20 miles of the 34-mile Ken tucky Lincoln Trail hike from Elizabethtown to the birthplace farm. "Where are you boys from?" I asked, ex pecting them to give a local name. "Explorer Posts 303 and 10, Belleville, Illinois," was the surprising answer. Scouts from all over the United States earn badges by walking marked Lincoln trails in Kentucky, southern Indiana, or central Il linois (page 156). To the ribbons of their badges they add bronze, gold, and silver foot prints when they repeat the hikes. The Kentucky Lincoln Trail follows high ways and back roads, mostly the latter. I pumped the hikers for information, for I planned to drive over the route the next day. They doubted that I could make it. "The ruts are awful deep," said one. "West of Roanoke is the worst place. I don't think it's been improved there since Lincoln went over it!"