National Geographic : 1952 Feb
r F rtK Jrvington a MiCrenvimeery Flaert Abraham con - BigSpring H rove iPk +910 X51 (KY.] Custer . izabethtow 950 KentuckyLi nT .-- ,Roan Stephensburgn ekFam 5 Hod envil TAU Abraham L coin 1Ot National Hist ical Park " 146 The Tramp of Abe's Boots Echoes Down Drawn by Harry S. Oliver and Irvin E. Alleman the 425-mile Pioneer Trail Thomas Lincoln moved from Kentucky to Indiana when his son was 7 years old; he trekked to Illinois 14 years later. From Hodgenville to New Salem the author traced the Lincoln family's migration route. I resolved to try it. At Athertonville we left the paved highway and climbed Mul draugh's Hill on a narrow, winding, natural earth road. On top the road straightened and followed a broad ridge. No streams crossed the well-drained right of way. But the ruts were deep. Many a time the oil pan and frame of the car scraped bottom. Back Road Has "Lincoln Feeling" "You get a real 'Lincoln feeling' on this road," said Judith. "Look, there's a log cabin with someone living in it." From the rank woods on one side of the road emerged a brown-spotted hound with a limp in the right front paw. He trotted amiably behind us on three cylinders. Near the deserted crossroads of Roanoke a family bent to the task of setting young tobacco plants in the black earth. Day lilies and Queen Anne's lace lined the road. We came back to the present in Elizabeth town, a bustling hub of half a dozen busy highways. Army men on passes from near-by Fort Knox sprinkled the sidewalk throngs with khaki. "E-town" swarms with life to- day, as it did in comparative degree in the fall of 1816 when the Lincolns went through on the way to Indiana. Six years before, it had reached 180 inhabitants. It was the biggest town for miles around, by far the largest 7-year-old Abraham had ever seen. To the elder Lincolns, Elizabethtown was homecoming. Ten years before, just mar ried, they had settled there. Sarah, the first child, was born there. Thomas Lincoln was well known in the courthouse for his land suits. Some were pending at the time. But, having lost or been dispossessed of three farms in Kentucky, the self-reliant Tom had decided to leave the State entirely and take up accurately sur veyed "Congress lands" in Indiana, where clear titles could be obtained. The Lincolns, along with nine neighboring families, were dispossessed of their Knob Creek lands by other claimants to the property. Years later, the Great Emancipator wrote that his father moved from Knob Creek to Indiana "partly on account of slavery, but chiefly on account of the difficulty in land titles in Kentucky."