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GENEALOGY 


QLLECTiON 




ALLEN COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY 


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GENEALOGY 

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THE KENTUCKY LINCOLNS 
ON MILL CREEK 


This Book Is Limited to 


250 Copies of Which This Is 
Number ?i p . & 

























































The 

KENTUCKY LINCOLNS 

on Mill Creek 


By 

R. GERALD McMURTRY 

DEPARTMENT OF LINCOLNIANA 
LINCOLN MEMORIAL UNIVERSITY 
HARROGATE, TENNESSEE 




Published, October 1 , 1939 , by 

DEPARTMENT OF LINCOLNIANA 
LINCOLN MEMORIAL UNIVERSITY 
Harrogate , Tennessee 




COPYRIGHT, 1939 BY R. GERALD MCMURTRY 

DEPARTMENT OF LINCOLNIANA 
LINCOLN MEMORIAL UNIVERSITY 
HARROGATE, TENNESSEE 


First Edition 

Two Hundred and Fifty Copies 


PRINTED IN THE U. S. A. 


Typography, Printing, and Binding by 
KINGSPORT PRESS, Inc., Kingsport, Tennessee 


LESTER O. SCHRIVER 


Lincoln Student and Friend of 
Lincoln Memorial University 



PREFACE 



S TUDENTS and historians know only too well 
that there are many gaps in the story of the 
Lincoln family in Kentucky. The pioneer period 
of Kentucky, during the Lincolns’ residence in 
that state, was obscure and uneventful, and the 
Lincolns were humble folk who would have lived 
and died in oblivion had not one inspired member 
of the clan broken the barrier of obscurity and 
emerged a leader of men. 

Biographers in writing of the Sixteenth Presi¬ 
dent have differed in treatment and subject mate¬ 
rial in regard to Abraham Lincoln’s life and career, 
but their basic facts concerning the Lincoln fam¬ 
ily in Kentucky have been stereotyped and es¬ 
sentially the same. Certain scholarly works have 
been published concerning the life and parentage 
of Lincoln in Kentucky, but these have dealt 
sparingly with one remote section of Hardin 
County where Lincoln pioneers lived, worked, 
and now lie buried. 

Lincoln has today loomed so large upon the 
horizon of American ideals and thought that any¬ 
thing newly discovered or related concerning his 

• • 

Vll 


PREFACE 


ancestry, life, family or environment is considered 
of interest. This work of fragmentary threads 
concerning the Kentucky Lincolns on Mill Creek, 
woven together into a study of a new locale—a 
new setting is believed to be a contribution to 
Lincoln literature. It is hoped that this work 
will bridge one gap of obscurity; namely, the 
Lincoln-Mill Creek country of Kentucky. 

In preparing this work the author wishes to 
acknowledge the helpful suggestions and informa¬ 
tion supplied by Dr. Louis A. Warren; also espe¬ 
cial mention should be made of Mr. G. E. 
McMurtry of Vine Grove, Kentucky, who has con¬ 
tributed valuable documentary and traditional 
data, and who more than any other person has 
worked untiringly to preserve the historic Lincoln 
sites of Mill Creek in Northern Hardin County. 

Department of Lincolniana 
Lincoln Memorial University 
Harrogate, Tennessee. 
October 1, 1939. 



vm 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 


1. The Lincoln-Mill Creek Country 3 

2. Thomas Lincoln’s Farm on Mill Creek 9 

3. The Lincoln-Mill Creek Trail and the 

Douglas Spring 44 

4. The William Brumfield Home 53 

5. The Lincoln-Mill Creek Cemetery 60 






ILLUSTRATIONS 


FACING PAGE 

Map of the Lincoln Mill Creek Country . 
. Frontispiece 

Plat of Thomas Lincoln’s Mill Creek Farm . 19 

Lincoln Cabin Site on Mill Creek .... 26 

Lincoln-Mill Creek Farm Surveys ... 35 

Route of the Lincoln Migration from Ken¬ 
tucky to Indiana in 1816.45 

Brumfield Kitchen Chimney . . • . . .56 

Plat of the Lincoln Cemetery Memorial— 
Kentucky State Park No. 17 .... 61 

Lincoln Lot in the First Mill Creek Baptist 
Church Cemetery Showing the Graves of 
the Lincolns. Grave of Bathsheba Lin¬ 
coln. Grave of Nancy Lincoln Brumfield . 66 

Map Showing Location of Lincoln National 
and State Parks in Kentucky .... 74 






THREADS OF THE LINCOLN 

FABRIC 


* 


THE LINCOLN-MILL CREEK COUNTRY 


S INCE Abraham Lincoln’s presidential cam¬ 
paign, in the year 1860, Hardin County, 
Kentucky, has been associated with the name of 
the Sixteenth President. 1 The birthplace farm, on 
the South Fork of Nolin River, and the Knob 
Creek farm, which was the site of the second cabin 
home of the president, have been widely pub¬ 
licized. 2 These two frontier homes were located 

1 “I was not born at Elizabethtown, but my mother’s first 
child, a daughter, two years older than myself, and now long 
since deceased, was. I was born February 12, 1809, near 
where Hodgensville now is, then in Hardin County.” Abra¬ 
ham Lincoln to Samuel Haycraft, Jr., May 28, 1860. John 
G. Nicolay and John Hay: Complete Works of Abraham 
Lincoln, Volume VI, pages 21-22. 

2 “The log cabin in which Abraham Lincoln was born has 
become the best known home in all the universe. No structure 
where a man of any nation has dwelt is more quickly recog¬ 
nized by people the world around than the house of logs in 
which Abraham Lincoln first saw the light of day.” Lincoln 
Lore, No. 381, “A Cabin of Universal Fame,” July 27, 1936. 
Lincoln Lore is published by the Lincoln National Life Foun¬ 
dation of Fort Wayne, Indiana, and edited by Dr. Louis A. 
Warren. 

The Knob Creek Farm was the Kentucky home which 
President Lincoln remembered when he was interviewed 
concerning his childhood days. In a letter addressed to 
Samuel Haycraft, Jr., Lincoln made the following statement: 

3 



THE KENTUCKY LINCOLNS ON MILL CREEK 


in the section of old Hardin County, which is to¬ 
day a part of LaRue County. * * 3 Remotely situated 
in the northern portion of original Hardin County, 
an area now embraced within its present terri¬ 
torial limits, is to be found a community which 
might be called the Lincoln-Mill Creek country. 4 
In this community there are several neglected sites 
associated with the father of the president and the 
pioneer Lincoln family. 

Here is a country isolated from the outside 
world, and here people live with the soil. No 
Lincoln community in America appears so primi¬ 
tive as does the Mill Creek country. While it is 


“The place on Knob Creek, . . ., I remember very well; but I 
was not born there. As my parents have told me, I was born 
on Nolin, very much nearer Hodgen’s Mill than the Knob 
Creek place is. My earliest recollection, however, is of the 
Knob Creek place.” Abraham Lincoln to Samuel Hay craft, 
Jr., June 4, 1860. Nicolay and Hay: Complete Works of 
Abraham Lincoln , Volume VI, page 39. 

The Lincoln farm on Knob Creek is the only tract of land 
on which Abraham Lincoln lived for a considerable time, 
that has not been converted into a state or national shrine. 
Undoubtedly the Knob Creek farm will one day be a 
state or national reservation. 

3 “LaRue County, the 98th of formation, was formed in 
1843, out of the southeastern part of Hardin County, and 
named in honor of John LaRue.” Lewis Collins and Richard 
H. Collins: History of Kentucky, Volume II, “LaRue County,” 
page 456. 

4 Mill Creek is a tributary of Salt River. Salt River empties 
into the Ohio River at West Point, Kentucky. 

4 



THE LINCOLN-MILL CREEK COUNTRY 


true that considerable timber in this area has been 
cut and many homes and buildings have been 
erected, the people still travel pioneer trails and 
live much the same as did their forefathers. The 
landscape may be dotted here and there with 
telephone poles and wire fences, but the country 
remains quaint and picturesque, appearing much 
the same as it did in 1803, when the Lincoln fam¬ 
ily settled there six years before the president was 
born. Yet, hard by, this forgotten community, is 
located a great artery of travel, an army fort which 
barracks one of the most highly developed mech¬ 
anized cavalry units in the world and an impreg¬ 
nable vault containing billions in United States 
gold. 5 

Mill Creek has escaped the notice of most Lin¬ 
coln historians and biographers. Possibly one 
reason for their failure to mention this historic 
area in their published works was due to its remote 
location. Then too, many students engaged in 
historical research have been content with a few 

5 Fort Henry Knox (highway U. S. 31W) is located in 
northern Hardin County, fourteen miles north of Elizabeth¬ 
town. This is one of the most important army posts in the 
nation. The new steel and concrete vault, constructed to 
protect $6,000,000,000 of the nation’s gold, is located at this 
army post. The nation’s wealth is guarded by several com¬ 
panies of mechanized cavalry—likely the most efficient fight¬ 
ing force in the world. Elizabethtown Rotary Club: Eliza- 
bethtown-Hardin County , Kentucky , 1937 (folder). 

5 



THE KENTUCKY LINCOLNS ON MILL CREEK 


findings gleaned from the Hardin County Court 
records. Others were prone to dismiss the sub¬ 
ject altogether because Thomas Lincolns activi¬ 
ties and transactions on Mill Creek have a tend¬ 
ency to build up one’s respect for the president’s 
father. Early biographers were attempting to 
place Lincoln’s father in a different light. They 
hoped to contrast abjection with achievement, 
dullness with intelligence and failure with fame. 
Some authors have confused the Lincoln Mill 
Creek land with one of the three residences which 
were later acquired by Thomas Lincoln in Ken¬ 
tucky. 6 As the Lincolns’ residence on Mill Creek 

6 “Lamon assumed that this (Mill Creek farm) was the 
Knob Creek farm, and so did Herndon. Other authors as¬ 
sumed that this was the Nolin farm, and that Thomas Lincoln 
had been improving it for three years before his marriage, and 
that during his residence, with Nancy, in Elizabethtown, he 
was building the house where Abraham was to be born.” 
Barton, William E.: The Life of Abraham Lincoln. The 
Bobbs-Merrill Co., Copyright 1925. Volume I, note, page 
75. Used by special permission of the publishers. 

Evidently Ida M. Tarbell was confused in regard to the 
Mill Creek farm when she wrote her biography The Life of 
Abraham Lincoln. She made the following statement: “It 
was at Elizabethtown that the first child of the Lincolns, a 
daughter, was born. Soon after this event Thomas Lincoln 
decided to combine farming with his trade, and moved to 
the farm he had bought in 1803 (year of purchase of Mill 
Creek farm) on the Big South Fork of Nolin Creek in Hardin 
County, now LaRue County three miles from Hodgenville, 
and about fourteen miles from Elizabethtown.” Tarbell, Ida 
M.: The Life of Abraham Lincoln. McClure, Phillips & Co., 

6 



THE LINCOLN-MILL CREEK COUNTRY 


played no significant part in the biographers’ 
meager discussions of Abraham Lincoln’s Ken¬ 
tucky years, few have given to the public any 
information concerning this historically important 
territory in northern Hardin County. If the early 
Lincoln biographers had visited the Mill Creek 
country at an early date, and reported accurately 
the result of their research, they would have been 
able to clear up, for the present day historian, 
many complexing problems. * * * * * * 7 

This area abounds in Lincoln lore and the ac¬ 
counts of the pioneer family on Mill Creek are 
both factual and legendary. 8 Such a voluminous 

Copyright 1895. Vol. I, pages 13-14. 

Thomas Lincoln purchased the South Fork of Nolin River 
farm (Lincoln’s birthplace) on December 12, 1808. Equity 

Bundle 24, Hardin Circuit Court, Elizabethtown, Kentucky. 
Warren, Louis A.: Lincolns Parentage and Childhood. D. 
Appleton-Century Co. Copyright 1926. Page 54. 

Dr. William E. Barton was undoubtedly the first Lincoln 
biographer who discovered that there was no connection be¬ 

tween the Mill Creek farm and the later residences of Lincoln’s 
father. Barton, William E.: The Life of Abraham Lincoln , 

Vol. I, note, page 75. 

7 Undoubtedly, accurate information concerning the pio¬ 
neer Lincolns could have been obtained in detail from resi¬ 
dents on Mill Creek as late as 1875 or 1880. 

8 “The Sixth Magisterial District of Hardin County (Mill 

Creek Community) ., now contains more 

living descendants of Abraham Lincoln, the first (Captain 
Abraham Lincoln), than likely any state.” Affidavit of G. 
E. McMurtry (Grandson of Samuel Haycraft, Jr., Author of 
The History of Elizabethtown , Kentucky —[1869]) February 

7 




THE KENTUCKY LINCOLNS ON MILL CREEK 


amount of data has been gathered, concerning the 
Mill Creek Lincolns, one must carefully weigh 
and sift all evidence to harmonize the subject with 
accepted Lincolniana. 9 Nevertheless, these leg¬ 
endary recitals can not be wholly discarded and 
rejected. At this late date such traditions must 
be accepted, in part, if the Lincoln Mill Creek 
country is to take its rightful place in a discussion 
of the Kentucky homes of the Lincolns. The out¬ 
standing points of interest, in this section of north¬ 
ern Hardin County, are the following: 

Thomas Lincoln’s Farm on Mill Creek 
The Lincoln Mill Creek Trail and 
the Douglas Spring 
The William Brumfield Home 
The Lincoln Mill Creek Cemetery 

8, 1930. Files of the Lincoln Memorial Highway Commission 
of Kentucky. 

“When ten years of age, I saw inside of my first schoolhouse, 
in the north end of the 6th Magistrate’s District in Hardin 
County. Fully one-half of the pupils attending that school 
were either grandchildren or great-grandchildren of Nancy 
Lincoln Brumfield and our former neighbors on the south; 
one southeast, and one on the east side, had married grand¬ 
daughters of Nancy Brumfield.” McMurtry, G. E.: “More 
Lincoln facts are told,” The Elizabethtown News , February 18, 
1931. 

9 In this community it is erroneously alleged by many resi¬ 
dents that Thomas Lincoln and family lived in a commodious 
two-story log house, and that Abraham Lincoln was bom on 
the Mill Creek farm. Mill Creek is considered as one of a 
dozen or more mythical birthplaces of the Sixteenth President. 

8 



THOMAS LINCOLN’S FARM ON 
MILL CREEK 


T HE urge of a pioneer farmer caused Thomas 
Lincoln to purchase land, and his first home¬ 
stead was located on the waters of Mill Creek. 10 
This tract is located between the Shepherdsville 
road and the Dixie Highway, some seven miles 
from Elizabethtown. Why he selected this por¬ 
tion of Hardin County for the homestead of the 


10 The Mill Creek farm is referred to as the first farm of 
Thomas Lincoln because the land was well improved, and 
here, for the first time, he could call his home his own. 
Thomas Lincoln was a land owner before he purchased the 
Mill Creek farm in 1803. On September 5, 1798 (it is be¬ 
lieved he was in Tennessee with his Uncle Isaac a part of this 
year), Thomas Lincoln entered a land grant of 100 acres 
in the records of the Green County court as follows: 
“Warrant No. 1044—We do hereby certify that Thomas Lin¬ 
coln is entitled to 100 acres of second rate land by virtue of 
his having improved the same agreeably to an act of the 
Assembly entitled ‘An act for encouraging & granting 
relief to settlers', & located as follows: On the waters of 
Mathis Creek & on Wm. McCorgans east line & 24 poles from 
said McCorgans east corner at an elm, hickory & loopwood 
tree, running thence N. 30 W. 126 poles, N. 60 E. 126/2 poles, 
thence at right angles for quantity the improvements is in 
the beginning.” Land Grant No. 1044—Files Green County 
Court, Greensburg, Kentucky. 

In May 1801, it is believed, Thomas Lincoln entered 200 

9 





THE KENTUCKY LINCOLNS ON MILL CREEK 


Lincolns will likely always remain a matter of 
speculation. * 11 Before making this purchase his 
home was in Washington County, although he had 
been living in Elizabethtown for spasmodic pe¬ 
riods, since the year of 1796. 12 Sometime between 
September 6, 1802, and April 3,1803, the Lincoln 
family migrated to Hardin County. 13 After the 

acres of land in Cumberland County, Kentucky. Additional 
discoveries have revealed that Thomas Lincoln was granted 
ninety-eight acres of land in Cumberland County, at the 
August term of court in 1804. Historians are, not positive 
whether or not this Thomas Lincoln was the father of the 
President. Lincoln Lore, “Thomas Lincoln Chronology” No. 
44. February 10, 1930. Barton, William E.: The Lineage 
of Lincoln. The Bobbs-Merrill Co., Copyright 1929. Pages 
283-284. The Register of the Kentucky State Historical 
Society, May 1925, Vol. 23, No. 68, pages 205-206. 

11 The Mill Creek Lincoln farm was located on a pioneer 
trail leading to the Bullit Salt Licks, where the first salt 
works in Kentucky was established. This pioneer salt works 
was located about three miles from Shepherdsville and the 
traffic over the Salt Lick trail, from Shepherdsville to Eliza¬ 
bethtown caused this portion of northern Hardin County to 
become an active enterprising community in that early day. 
Undoubtedly, this area was one of the most attractive farm¬ 
ing communities in Hardin County during Thomas Lincoln’s 
residence in Kentucky. 

12 On July 13, 1796, Thomas Lincoln received $9.56 from 
Samuel Hay craft, Senior, at Elizabethtown, Kentucky. This 
money was received for work done on a mill and mill race in 
the village. Lincoln Lore “Thomas Lincoln Chronology” No. 
44, February 10, 1930. Warren, Louis A.: Lincolns 
Parentage and Childhood, page 40. 

13 Warren, Louis A.: “Mill Creek Home.” Unpublished 
manuscript. Files of the Lincoln National Life Foundation, 

10 



THOMAS LINCOLN’S FARM ON MILL CREEK 


massacre of Captain Abraham Lincoln, the grand¬ 
father of the president, in Jefferson County in the 
year 1786, the family settled in Washington 
County. 14 Hardin County was to be the third and 
last Kentucky County in which the Lincolns were 
to find a home. 

The Lincoln migration, from Washington 
County to the Mill Creek farm, included the 
widow Bathsheba Lincoln, the wife of the pioneer 
Abraham Lincoln, her youngest son, Thomas and 
her youngest daughter, Nancy Ann. 15 Nancy had 
married William Brumfield, on February 3, 1801, 
while residing in Washington County, and her 
husband also accompanied the Lincolns on their 


Fort Wayne, Indiana. Also Kentucky State Historical Society, 
Washington County Section Tax Books 1802, 1803. 

14 The Lincoln family settled on Beech Fork, then in Nelson 
County, now Washington County. Washington County was 
formed in 1792 out of a part of the county of Nelson. Collins: 
History of Kentucky , Vol. II, “Washington County,” page 784. 

The Filson Club History Quarterly , Louisville, Kentucky, 
Vol. 11 (Eleven), No. 3, July, 1937, “The Filson Club in the 
1937 Lincoln Pilgrimage,” a reprint of the Club’s sixteen page 
illustrated brochure: “Pilgrimage Conducted June 20-23, 
1937, by Louis A. Warren, Including the Meeting at Long 
Run Baptist Church, Jefferson County, Kentucky, Near the 
Site of the Home of Pioneer Abraham Lincoln, Sponsored by 
The Filson Club June 25, 1937,” by R. C. Ballard Thruston, 
with a one-page history of The Long Run Baptist Church, by 
Thomas C. Fisher. (See notes 108 and 111.) 

15 “In the few legal documents and tax lists that we have 
bearing her (grandmother of the President) name, the forms 

11 



THE KENTUCKY LINCOLNS ON MILL CREEK 


move to Hardin County. 16 The other Lincoln 
children had been widely scattered by marriages. 17 
The cabin home on the Mill Creek Lincoln land 
was likely of ample proportions to accommodate 
this kindred group. 18 

include Barbara, Bersheba and other less obvious variants. 
We have two of her own signatures, and they are no more 
consistent than those of William Shakespeare.” Barton, Wil¬ 
liam E.: The Women Lincoln Loved. The Bobbs-Merrill Co., 
Copyright 1927. Page 52. Used by special permission of the 
publishers. 

The residents of the Mill Creek country all refer to 
Lincoln’s grandmother as “Bersheba,” while it is admitted that 
the spelling of her name varies, it is the author’s opinion 
that the correct name is “Bathsheba.” The Kentucky Mar¬ 
riage Document (note 16) bears the name “Bersheba.” Un¬ 
doubtedly she was generally known to Kentuckians as 
“Bersheba.” 

There is a possibility that Mary Lincoln Crume and her 
husband, Ralph Crume, whom she married August 5, 1801, 
accompanied the Lincolns to Mill Creek. The Crumes 
eventually settled in Breckinridge County, Kentucky. 

“The eldest sister, Mary, married Ralph Crume, and some 
of her descendants are now known to be in Breckenridge 
County, Kentucky. The second sister, Nancy, married Wil¬ 
liam Brumfield, and her family are not known to have left 
Kentucky.” Short Autobiography Written At The Request 
Of A Friend To Use In Preparing A Popular Campaign 
Biography In The Election Of 1860—June (1 ? ) 1860. 
Nicolay and Hay: Complete Works of Abraham Lincoln, 
Volume VI, 25. 

16 In the marriage bonds and permits for the year 1801, of 
the Washington County Court, the following permit has been 
discovered, regarding the Brumfield marriage: “Sir, you will 
please to give a license for William Brumfield to marry 
(Nancy) Ann Lincoln, my daughter, given under my hand 

12 



THOMAS LINCOLN’S FARM ON MILL CREEK 


Thomas Lincoln's Hardin County farm was situ¬ 
ated near a pioneer church and graveyard. This 
house of worship was located in close proximity 
to the Lincoln land at the extreme northern corner 
of his boundary line. Undoubtedly, the church 
served this community and was attended by the 
Lincoln family. 19 A portion of the abandoned 

this 3rd day of February 1801, Bersheba Lincoln.” Warren, 
Louis A.: Lincolns Parentage and Childhood. D. Appleton- 
Century Co., Copyright 1926. Page 15. Used by special 
permission of the publishers. 

17 “The year 1801 marked the breaking up of the Lincoln 
(Washington County) home. A series of three weddings was 
responsible for the scattering of the children that Bersheba 
had kept together all these years.” Ibid. Page 14. 

18 A study of the Lincoln Mill Creek cabin site indicates that 
this early pioneer home was a double cabin, all under one 
roof, with a “dog walk” through the center. The foundation 
stones of both original chimneys are still in existence and the 
measurements taken on the site indicate that the original 
dimensions of the Lincoln cabin were about twenty-five feet 
wide and forty-five feet long. The cabin was so situated that 
one chimney faced north and the other south. The front of 
the double cabin faced east. There is no indication that the 
cabin was of two story proportions, however, there is every 
reason to believe that there was a small loft over the structure. 
This evidence would lead one to believe that this cabin was 
larger than those usually associated with the Lincoln family 
in Kentucky. 

19 Mrs. Elizabeth Melton Nall stated that the old church 
building was about ready to fall when she first remembered 
the place. She recalled that a few services were held in the 
home of Mrs. ( — ) Melton after the church was too far gone 
to use, and that they sang “Approach My Soul to the Mercy 
Seat.” She was able to remember the names of the following 

13 



THE KENTUCKY LINCOLNS ON MILL CREEK 


pioneer graveyard yet remains, but not a vestige 
of the church can be discerned. 20 The location of 
this church, near the Lincoln home, likely added 
to the attractiveness of the Mill Creek farm. Per¬ 
haps the pioneer church and the Lincoln home 
were the very center of community life in this 
vicinity. 

Many are of the opinion that Bathsheba Lin¬ 
coln was the second wife of Captain Abraham 
Lincoln (1744-1786) . 21 Those of his descendants 
have insisted that the first wife of the Revolu¬ 
tionary War captain was named Mary. 22 Docu¬ 
mentary records reveal that Bathsheba was mar¬ 
ried to Abraham Lincoln as early as 1780. 23 Some 

Mill Creek residents who were interred in this cemetery over 
sixty years ago: Walter Mudd and Linnie, his wife, Priscilla 
Gilmore, Thomas Williams and Rebecca, his wife, William 
Scott and wife, Sidney Williams and wife, and William Maples 
and wife. Interview of Dr. Louis A. Warren with Mrs. 
Elizabeth Melton Nall at her home on Mill Creek, Summer 
1922. 

20 It has been suggested that Bathsheba Lincoln may be 
interred in this ancient graveyard. Such conclusions are not 
correct and ample evidence is available to prove her burial 
plot to be in the cemetery of the First Baptist Church of Mill 
Creek. 

21 Lincoln Lore, “Grandfather Lincoln Chronology,” No. 
171, July 1 18, 1932. 

22 Lincoln Lore, “Lincoln Genealogy,” No. 37, December 
23, 1929. 

23 “1780—February 18 (Captain Abraham Lincoln) Sells 
250 acres of land in Rockingham County for which he re- 

14 




THOMAS LINCOLN'S FARM ON MILL CREEK 


say that she was a daughter of Leonard Herring. 24 
Washington County Court records have revealed 
that Bathsheba Lincoln was a widow as late as the 
year 1801, and that she was the maternal parent 
of Nancy Ann Lincoln. 25 It has been suggested 
that the four older Lincoln children, namely, 
Mordecai, Josiah, Thomas and Mary were the 
progeny of Captain Abraham Lincoln’s supposed 
first wife, Mary. Marriage records in Augusta 


ceived 5,000 pounds current money of Virginia. His wife, 
Bersheba, signed deed with him.” Lincoln Lore “Grand¬ 
father Lincoln Chronology.” No. 171, July 18, 1932. In 
this relinquishment she signed her name “Batsab Lincoln.” 

24 “We are positive that the first name of Abraham Lincoln’s 
wife in 1780 and the widow he left in 1786 was Bersheba but 
there is no record which gives her family name. Whether or 
not she is the woman whom Abraham Lincoln married in 
1770 and the mother of all his children is problematical. 
The earliest family traditions claim Bersheba was the daughter 
of Leonard Herring but as Leonard Herring was not married 
until August 1761, Bersheba could not have been more than 
eight years old when Abraham Lincoln was married in 1770. 
She may have become Lincoln’s second wife some time be¬ 
fore 1780. A recent publication of Herring Chrisman shifts 
the parentage of Bersheba to Alexander Herring, father of 
Leonard, but she is not named in his will nor in the proceed¬ 
ings which followed in the settlement of the estate. We do 
not have positive evidence that Thomas Lincoln’s own 
mother’s name was Bersheba and only traditional evidence 
that Bersheba’s maiden name was Herring.” Lincoln Lore , 
“Grandparents of Abraham Lincoln,” No. 168, June 27, 1932. 

25 Marriage Bonds and Permits for 1801. Washington 
County Court, Springfield, Kentucky. Warren, Louis A.: 
Lincolns Parentage and Childhood, page 15. 


15 



THE KENTUCKY LINCOLNS ON MILL CREEK 


County, Virginia, disclose that Captain Lincoln 
was married June 9, 1770, but the bride’s name is 
not mentioned in the documents. Influential his¬ 
torians have suggested, as a result of historical 
research, that between January, 1776, the date of 
Thomas Lincoln’s birth, and the year 1779, there 
is a likelihood that the pioneer Lincoln’s first wife 
died and that he married again. His second mar¬ 
riage, it has been asserted, was to Bathsheba 
Herring. 26 If this assertion is true, then Bathsheba 
Lincoln will undoubtedly rank along with Sarah 
Bush Johnston, Abraham Lincoln’s step-mother, 
as one of the faithful foster mothers of history. 

Legendary tradition and factual research, in the 
Lincoln Mill Creek country, aver that a blood re¬ 
lationship must have existed between Bathsheba 
and all of the Lincoln children. She was a faithful 
wife and mother. She kept her orphan children 
together under one roof until they reached ma¬ 
turity. As a result of her motherly care and be¬ 
cause of the devotion of the Lincoln children for 
her welfare, it has appeared to the average lay- 


26 William E. Barton was convinced that Captain Lincoln 
was married only once. He made the following statement: 
“From all these facts we now know that Abraham Lincoln, 
the pioneer, had but one wife, Bathsheba. She was probably 
the daughter of Leonard Herring, of Bridgewater, Virginia.” 
Barton, William E.: The Lineage of Lincoln. The Bobbs-Mer- 
rill Co., page 74. Used by special permission of the publishers. 



THOMAS LINCOLN’S FARM ON MILL CREEK 


man, not acquainted with historical research, that 
Bathsheba was the maternal parent of Thomas 
Lincoln. Regardless of future historical discov¬ 
eries, the fact remains that Bathsheba was the wife 
of Captain Lincoln, and that Thomas Lincoln con¬ 
sidered her a devoted mother. 27 

Washington County records verify those of 
Hardin County in regard to this family migration. 
Thomas Lincoln’s name does not appear on the 
Washington County commissioner’s tax book for 
the year 1803, but there is a note inserted under 
his name, on a delinquent list, which states that 
he has “gone to Hardin.” 28 The Hardin County 
tax list of 1803 contains his name. During this 

27 “Bathsheba Lincoln lived through strange adventures. 
She spent her youth and early married life in Virginia, and 
we know that in the latter part of her residence there she was 
not in good health. She endured the hard journey over the 
Wilderness Road and the perils and privations of life in a 
new country. She wept above the body of her murdered 
husband, and was destined thereafter to waken in the night 
and shudder lest some unwonted noise should indicate the 
approach of savages. She brought up her five children amid 
serious difficulties. She lived to see them all married and 
scattered and herself to be a great-grandmother.” Barton, 
William E.: The Lineage of Lincoln. The Bobbs-Merrill Co., 
Copyright 1929. Page 74. Used by special permission of the 
publishers. 

Barton in his book The Women Lincoln Loved , devoted a 
chapter to the discussion of Bathsheba Lincoln. Pages 51-59. 

28 Insolvent List, Baalom Jones District 1803, Washington 
County Court, Springfield, Kentucky. Warren, Louis A.: 
Lincolns Parentage and Childhood , page 47. 


17 



THE KENTUCKY LINCOLNS ON MILL CREEK 


year, he is for the first time taxed for a tract of 
land, consisting of 200 (238) acres on Mill 
Creek. 29 Thomas Lincoln purchased his Mill 
Creek farm on September 2, 1803. 30 The pur¬ 
chase price amounted to one hundred and eight¬ 
een English pounds, or a sum now equivalent to 
$574.07. 31 The consideration was in “hand paid.” 
Due to some unaccountable reason, Thomas Lin¬ 
coln did not receive the deed of possession from 
Dr. John F. Stater, the owner of the property, 
until November 26, 1803. 32 It is believed, how¬ 
ever, that he occupied the land previous to the 
actual transfer. 33 The Mill Creek deed from 
Stater to Lincoln is recorded as follows: 

STATER TO LINCOLN 

This indenture made this 2nd day of September one 
thousand eight hundred and three, between Dr. John F. 

29 Tax Book, 1803, Hardin County Section, Kentucky His¬ 
torical Society, Frankfort, Kentucky. McMurtry, R. Gerald: 
A Series of Monographs Concerning the Lincolns and Hardin 
County , Kentucky. The Enterprise Press. Page 11. 

30 Deed Book B. 253 (Stater to Lincoln) Hardin County 
Court, Elizabethtown, Kentucky. 

31 Lincoln Lore , “Thomas Lincoln Chronology,” No. 44, 
February 10, 1930. 

32 Deed Book B. 253 (Stater to Lincoln-Marginal Note) 
Hardin County Court, Elizabethtown, Kentucky. 

33 Warren, Louis A.: “Mill Creek Home.” Unpublished 
manuscript. Files of Lincoln National Life Foundation, Fort 
Wayne, Indiana. 

18 





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WiHidm's Original Line 


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WKife Oak 
5 kep herd’s 

Corner-Original 
Curved. \ 


Nsy 


&&//; 

. X 4 


X 


^o/g e 
\ C >T 








■>% 
O 3 

*o 

O- 


X 


**\ 238 Acre^ 


Black OaK Comer 
Original Survey. 


\ White Oak i 

> arvci £ 

Hickorg = 

iS 3 (° W 22 poles: 

''3/ Hickoru Corner ; 

* to Robert = 

Huston's .Survey = 


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X 

♦X 


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>$> 


^0 


^ PlmiL©^ 

T8^®bbiois L/niia©®lMj5 
LMliBU C'^axcM. IFciipm- - 
HARDIN COUNTY, KENTUCKY 



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(Stake 

Huston's Corner 


Dr a wn bj - S/ialburnaSbampar — '39 - 


















































































THOMAS LINCOLN’S FARM ON MILL CREEK 


Stater of Green County and State of Kentucky, of the 
one part and Thomas Lincoln of Hardin County, state 
aforesaid of the other part Witnesseth: That for and in 
consideration of the sum of one hundred and eighteen 
pounds in hand paid, the receipt of which before signing 
and sealing of these presents, he the said Dr. John F. 
Stater doth hereby acknowledge having bargained and 
sold and by these presents doth grant, bargain and sell 
unto the said Thomas Lincoln a certain tract or parcel 
of land containing two hundred and thirty-eight acres, 
part of the 1600 acre survey patented to William May, 
bought by said Stater of Joseph Fenwick and bounded 
as follows: to wit; Beginning at a hickory corner to 
Robert Huston survey, part of said 1600 acre survey, 
thence South thirty degrees west one hundred and 
eighty-three poles to a stake corner to Huston, thence 
North forty five degrees West one hundred and fifty-five 
poles to a black oak corner to the original survey North 
twenty four degrees West one hundred and forty poles 
to a white oak in Shepherds line corner to the original, 
thence North thirty one degrees West fifty poles to a dog¬ 
wood white oak and gum corner to Thomas Williams in 
the original line, thence with Williams line South sixty 
seven East two hundred and fifty poles to a white oak 
and hickory South 31 degrees West twenty poles to the 
beginning. . . . 

To have and to hold the above mentioned two hun¬ 
dred and thirty eight acres of land with all its appur¬ 
tenances barns, stable, ways, houses, water and con¬ 
veniences, to the above mentioned Thomas Lincoln his 
heirs executors and administrators forever against him, 
the said Dr. John F. Stater, his heirs executors or ad- 

19 



THE KENTUCKY LINCOLNS ON MILL CREEK 


ministrators forever, and he the said Dr. John F. Stater 
as well for his heirs as for himself doth further covenant 
and agree to and with the said Thomas Lincoln and his 
heirs that he will warrant and forever defend the above 
mentioned two hundred and thirty eight acres of land 
with all of its appurtenances to the said Thomas Lincoln 
his heirs, executors and administrators forever to their 
proper use and behalf, against him the said Dr. John F. 
Stater and his heirs, executors, etc., forever, but not 
against the claim or claims of any person or persons 
whatever, but-be it plainly understood should said land 
be taken by any prior or legal claim, then the above 
bound Dr. John F. Stater his heirs executors are to pay 
to the said Thomas Lincoln his heirs, executors, etc., the 
above mentioned sum of one hundred and eighteen 
pounds. In witness of the above bound Dr. John F. 
Stater doth hereunto set his hand and affix his seal the 
day and date above written. 

John F. Stater (Seal) 

Marginal note: 

Delivered to Thomas Lincoln April 23, 1814. 

Hardin County; 

Set. s.s. 

I hereby certify that on the second day of September 
last this indenture . . . from John F. Stater to Thomas 
Lincoln was acknowledged by the said Stater to be his 
act and deed and the same was admitted to record on 
this 26th day of November 1803. 

Benjamin Helm, H.C.C. 


20 


THOMAS LINCOLN’S FARM ON MILL CREEK 


The deed from Stater to Lincoln is of interest 
because of the numerous improvements listed in 
the conveyance. Mention is made of “barns, 
stable, ways, houses, water and conveniences.” 
Evidently, the Mill Creek home was not just an¬ 
other hut in the wilderness. On this land there 
were buildings, other than the dwelling for the 
convenience of the owner or tenant who might 
reside there. Undoubtedly, the Lincoln family 
found their Mill Creek home comfortable and 
suitable for pioneer needs. Surely, an orchard 
was planted on this farm, which would amply 
supply the Lincolns with fruit, and the soil is 
believed to have been productive. This farm was 
not an unsettled, wild tract of poor land. This 
property, before Lincoln purchased it, had be¬ 
longed to an apparently influential citizen, Dr. 
John F. Stater of Green County, who probably 
was responsible for the many improvements re¬ 
corded in the Stater-Lincoln deed. 34 

34 Little information is available concerning Dr. John F. 
Stater of Green County, Kentucky. A thorough search 
through the files of the Green County court has produced no 
documentary evidence concerning this pioneer resident. 
Court records of Hardin County reveal the fact that he 
(John Stater) served on a jury with Thomas Lincoln in the 
case of the commonwealth (p) vs. John Walters (d), on 
Monday, April 25, 1808, Order Book C, 119, Hardin Circuit 
Court, Elizabethtown, Kentucky. 

The name, Stater, has often been spelled Slater; however, 

21 



THE KENTUCKY LINCOLNS ON MILL CREEK 


The contemptuous attitude of early Lincoln bi¬ 
ographers made it impossible for them to admit 
that Thomas Lincoln ever had enough money to 
purchase a farm for cash. Upon their discovery, 
in the files of the Hardin County Court, of an 
official court document affirming the sale, they 
averred that Thomas Lincoln merely pretended to 
make the purchase. Some biographers have 
claimed that he bought the place on credit, others 
said that he never met the payments for the farm 
and one author has stated that he probably per¬ 
mitted a portion of the farm to be sold for taxes. 85 

it is believed that Stater is correct. On the other hand, Dr. 
John F. Stater has been referred to as John Tom Stater. 
There is a remote possibility that Dr. John F. Stater was the 
father of John Tom Stater, however, it is likely that both 
names refer to the same individual. 

Dr. William E. Barton, in his Paternity of Abraham Lincoln 
was of the opinion that the name, Slater, was correct. Barton, 
William E.: The Paternity of Abraham Lincoln. The Bobbs- 
Merrill Co., Copyright by George H. Doran Co. 1920. Page 
353. 

35 Evidently Lamon, depending upon Herndon’s manu¬ 
scripts, confused the Mill Creek farm with the Knob Creek 
farm. Lamon made the following statement: “The land he 
now lived upon (two hundred and thirty eight acres) he had 
pretended to buy from a Mr. Slater. The deed mentions a 
consideration of one hundred and eighteen pounds. The pur¬ 
chase must have been a mere speculation, with all payments 
deferred, for the title remained in Lincoln but a single year. 
The deed was made to him, September 2, 1813; and October 
27, 1814, he conveyed two hundred acres to Charles Milton 
for two hundred pounds, leaving thirty eight acres of the 

22 



THOMAS LINCOLN’S FARM ON MILL CREEK 


However, the original deed from Stater to Lincoln 
states that the sum was “in hand paid, and the 
receipt.acknowledge (d).” 36 

The early school of biographers were skeptical 
of Thomas Lincoln’s ability to acquire money. 
Where, they asked, could he have secured the pur¬ 
chase price? How could he have obtained one 
hundred and eighteen pounds with which to buy 
a farm of 238 acres? 37 It is, of course, a matter of 
speculation to determine the immediate source of 
Lincolns purchase money. Undoubtedly, he must 
have been able to accumulate a considerable sum 
of money as a result of his labors, prior to the year 
1803. By 1803, he was twenty-seven years old, 
able-bodied, unmarried and of normal ability. 


tract unsold. No public record discloses what he did with 
the remainder. If he retained any interest in it for the time, 
it was probably permitted to be sold for taxes. The last of 
his voluntary transactions, in regard to this land, took place 
two years before his removal to Indiana; after which, he 
seems to have continued in possession as the tenant of Milton.” 
Lamon, Ward H.: Life of Lincoln, page 15. 

36 It is possible that the equivalent of one hundred and 
eighteen English pound sterling was paid by Thomas Lincoln 
in the form of chattel property for his Mill Creek farm. 
However, recorded evidence indicates a cash payment. 

37 “He (Thomas Lincoln) was placed in possession of sev¬ 
eral tracts of land at different times in his life, but was never 
able to pay for a single one of them.” Herndon, William H.: 
Herndons Lincoln, The True Story of A Great Life, Volume I, 
page 12. 


23 




THE KENTUCKY LINCOLNS ON MILL CREEK 


He is known to have worked for Samuel Haycraft, 
Senior, as early as the year 1796, and during the 
year 1797 his labors, according to Hay craft’s ac¬ 
count book, proved remunerative enough to net 
him a sum of approximately $150.00. 38 He was a 
carpenter and cabinet maker, and the fruits of 
his labor, undoubtedly, accrued in the form of 
money. A portion of the purchase price may have 
been obtained from the estate of Captain Abra¬ 
ham Lincoln. It is now believed that Mordecai 
Lincoln, who inherited the bulk of the estate by 
the law of primogeniture, divided his inheritance 
with his mother, brothers and sisters. 39 Suppos- 


38 “When Thomas Lincoln was twenty-one years of age, he 
went to work for Samuel Haycraft, at Elizabethtown, who was 
constructing a mill. This was in 1797 and his wages entered 
on the Haycraft account book to Thomas Lincoln’s credit 
amounted to $140.80.” Documentary files, Lincoln Na¬ 
tional Life Foundation, Fort Wayne, Indiana. Warren, Louis 
A.: “Three generations of Kentucky Lincolns.” The Filson 
Club History Quarterly. April 1938, No. 2, Vol. 12, page 76. 

39 “It cannot be found that he ever received anything from 
his father’s estate, although it is possible Mordecai may have 
given him something from the sale of one of his father’s 
farms.” Lockridge, Ross F.: A. Lincoln. World Book Com¬ 
pany. Copyright 1930. Page 12. Used by special permis¬ 
sion of the publishers. 

“On September 2, 1803, with money given him by Mordecai 
as Thomas’s share of the proceeds of a sale of land inherited 
from the father, he bought of John T. Slater for £118 two 
hundred and thirty-eight acres of land in Hardin County, 
about eight miles north of the prosperous and thriving village 

24 



THOMAS LINCOLN’S FARM ON MILL CREEK 


ing, however, that Thomas Lincoln did not pay 
for the farm, cash in hand, or that he did not live 
upon the land and till the soil, as some have 
charged, is that a serious charge to be trumped 
up against the father of the president? 40 Lincoln 
historians who labor under the impression that 
Thomas Lincoln never had any money in his pos¬ 
session suffer a sad delusion. 

Thomas Lincoln resided permanently on this 
Mill Creek farm with his family for about three 
years, or until his marriage to Nancy Hanks. 
Proof of this residence is shown by the fact that 
his name appears on many Hardin County Court 
documents, during this interval of three years. 
While residing on his Mill Creek farm, Thomas 
worked occasionally in Elizabethtown, being em¬ 
ployed principally by the County Court of 
Hardin. 41 The Lincoln Mill Creek home was lo¬ 
ot Elizabethtown.” Beveridge, Albert J.: Abraham Lincoln 
1809-1858. Houghton Mifflin Co., Copyright 1928. Vol. I., 
page 12. Used by special permission of the publishers. 
Barton, William E.: The Paternity of Abraham Lincoln, 
page 266. 

40 “It does not appear that Thomas ever tilled his soil, or, 
indeed that he even lived upon his farm.” Beveridge, Albert 
J.: Abraham Lincoln 1809-1858. Houghton Mifflin Co., 
Copyright 1928. Vol. I, pages 12-13. Used by special 
permission of the publishers. 

41 “He remained in Hardin County, however, probably in 
Elizabethtown, for he served on juries four times, and guarded 
prisoners three times in 1803-04.” Hardin County Order 

25 



THE KENTUCKY LINCOLNS ON MILL CREEK 


cated some seven miles distant from Elizabeth¬ 
town, the county seat, and it is reasonable to sup¬ 
pose that he visited the community on numerous 
occasions. 42 

When Thomas Lincoln married Nancy Hanks, 
June 12, 1806, in Washington County, he imme¬ 
diately returned to Hardin County with his bride. 
The young married couple intended to make Eliza¬ 
bethtown their home, but there is some question 
whether or not Thomas Lincoln had built an 
Elizabethtown cabin home at this time. Very 
likely, he took his bride to Mill Creek to reside 
until he could complete a cabin. 43 After a cabin 
had been erected in the village, the young couple 
started housekeeping at the county seat. Eliza- 

Book. 1803-04. Beveridge, Albert J.: Abraham Lincoln 
1809-1858. Houghton Mifflin Co., Copyright 1928. Page 
13. Used by special permission of the publishers. 

42 By the old pioneer road, the Lincoln Mill Creek farm 
was located about seven miles from Elizabethtown. A new 
grade and drain road that is being constructed through this 
area will shorten the distance one mile. Questionnaire: G. 
E. McMurtry of Vine Grove, Kentucky, to author—March 23, 
1938. 

43 “It is probable that soon after the wedding Thomas 
Lincoln brought his bride to the Mill Creek farm where his 
mother lived. But they did not stay there long, for within 
the year he built a cabin on a lot which he owned in Elizabeth¬ 
town, or E-town as it was generally called, when they began 
keeping house.” Lockridge, Ross F.: A. Lincoln. World 
Book Company, Copyright 1930. Page 13. Used by special 
permission of the publishers. 

26 




Photograph courtesy of Lincoln National Life Foundation of Fort Wayne, Indiana 


Lincoln Cabin Site on Mill Creek 

This house was erected upon a part of the foundation of the 
Thomas Lincoln Mill Creek cabin. Some of the yellow poplar 
lumber salvaged from the Lincoln cabin, including the stairway, 
washboards, sills and wooden pegs, as well as the chimney 
foundation stones, were used in the construction of this resi¬ 
dence. In November 1927, this home burned, and a third 
dwelling has been erected upon the original cabin site. 





































THOMAS LINCOLN'S FARM ON MILL CREEK 


bethtown, in the year 1806, was a small frontier 
community; attractive because of its cordial, dem¬ 
ocratic, diversified society, with its smatterings of 
colonial culture. Here were to be found skilled 
circuit-riding lawyers, pioneer preachers, doctors, 
and the village even boasted of a dancing master, 
who wore knee breeches. Here, in the court 
house, were held great forensic duels. Pioneer 
preachers harangued Hardin County citizens in 
their camp meetings. Balls, dances and traveling 
circuses entertained the inhabitants from time to 
time. This lively village was the only center of 
population in which Thomas Lincoln ever lived, 
and, until the Lincolns moved to Indiana, it was 
the only town of metropolitan proportion that 
Abraham Lincoln had ever seen. 44 

44 The third census credited the village, in the year 1810, 
with only one hundred and eighty inhabitants. Little, Lucius 
P.: Ben Hardin, His Times and Contemporaries, page 31. 

Stephenson in his work entitled “Lincoln” made the fol¬ 
lowing statement in regard to Elizabethtown: “In central 
Kentucky, a poor new village was Elizabethtown, unkempt, 
chokingly dusty in the dry weather, with muddy streams in¬ 
stead of streets during the rains, a stench of pig-sties at the 
back of its cabins, but everywhere looking outward glimpses 
of a lovely meadow land.” Stephenson, Nathaniel Wright: 
Lincoln. The Bobbs-Merrill Co., Copyright 1922. Page 3. 
Used by special permission of the publishers. 

Ida M. Tarbell is of the opinion that Elizabethtown was 
not an unattractive village in Lincoln’s day. She made the 
following statement in a letter to the author in the year 1932: 
“I am tired of hearing the place (Elizabethtown) described 

27 



THE KENTUCKY LINCOLNS ON MILL CREEK 


Upon the removal of Thomas Lincoln to Eliza¬ 
bethtown, he appears to have lost interest in his 
Mill Creek property. Likely, he had purchased 
the property as an investment and to provide a 
home for his widowed mother. 45 Also while living 
in Elizabethtown he did not have to be concerned 
with his Mill Creek property because it is believed 
that he had leased this land to his brother-in-law, 
William Brumfield. Records reveal that he paid 
taxes on this farm, in 1803, the year of the pur¬ 
chase. However, he did not list it again, until the 
year 1809. 46 From then on, the farm is listed for 
taxes every year until 1815. Evidently, during 
the period of five years, from 1803 to 1809, Wil¬ 
liam Brumfield, the leaseholder, took care of this 
obligation. 47 


as a mud-hole and nothing more!” Ida M. Tarbell in letter to 
author. December 10, 1932. 

45 “This was probably the reason why Thomas Lincoln 
invested his patrimony in a farm on Mill Creek.” Barton, 
William E.: The Life of Abraham Lincoln. The Bobbs- 
Merrill Co., Copyright 1925. Vol. I, page 12. Used by special 
permission of the publishers. 

46 Hardin County Commissioner’s Tax Books. Hardin 
County Section 1803-1809. Kentucky Historical Society, 
Frankfort, Kentucky. 

McMurtry, R. Gerald: A Series of Monographs Concerning 
The Lincolns and Hardin County , Kentucky , page 11. 

47 “It is likely that during these five years during which it 
(Mill Creek Farm) was not listed it had been leased to Wil¬ 
liam Brumfield, Lincoln’s brother-in-law, who took care of 

28 



THOMAS LINCOLN’S FARM ON MILL CREEK 


We can reasonably assume that Thomas Lin¬ 
coln, while residing in Elizabethtown, visited his 
widowed mother at her home on Mill Creek, ac¬ 
companied by his wife, Nancy, and their infant 
daughter, Sarah. After moving to their South 
Fork of Nolin River farm, then to the Knob Creek 
farm, it would seem most probable that Thomas 
Lincoln with his wife and daughter and small son, 
Abraham, would pay frequent visits to Elizabeth¬ 
town, their former home. At times, no doubt, 
they traveled as far as Mill Creek to visit the 
children’s grandmother, Bathsheba Lincoln. 48 Pi¬ 
oneer Kentuckians were fond of visiting and it 
would have been an extraordinary condition, in¬ 
deed, if Thomas Lincoln and his family had not 

the taxes.” Warren, Louis A.: Lincolns Parentage and Child¬ 
hood. D. Appleton-Century Co., Copyright 1926. Page 115. 
Used by special permission of the publishers. 

48 “Did Abraham Lincoln ever see her (Bathsheba)? He 
spent the first seven years of his life in the same county where 
she was living with his father’s youngest sister; it is scarcely 
possible that he did not see her. It was something of a ride, 
to be sure; for her home was in another part of the county 
than that in which Thomas and Nancy lived. But Thomas 
knew the way very well; there was where he had purchased 
his first Hardin County farm, the first farm he has hitherto 
been known to own, . . . Thomas knew the way, and there 
was every reason why he and Nancy should ride over now 
and then and visit his sister Nancy Brumfield and his aged 
mother.” Barton, William E.: The Women Lincoln Loved. 
The Bobbs-Merrill Co., Copyright 1927. Page 56. Used by 
special permission of the publishers. 


29 



THE KENTUCKY LINCOLNS ON MILL CREEK 


visited their relatives who were residing in the 
same county. Here too, in the Mill Creek country 
were to be found Thomas Lincoln’s close asso¬ 
ciates. In the Cedar Creek community located 
near the Brumfields and in the Vine Grove com¬ 
munity were to be found friends and relatives of 
the Lincolns. 49 

On April 23, 1814, Thomas Lincoln contem¬ 
plated the selling of his Mill Creek property, be¬ 
cause on that day he called at the Hardin County 
Courthouse for the deed to his land, which had 
not been removed from the court files since his 
purchase of the farm, in 1803. 50 On October 27, 
1814, he sold his property to Charles Melton. In 

49 “It is important to note that nearly all of Lincoln’s rela¬ 
tives and many of his friends at that time lived in and around 
Mill Creek. The Crutcher, Rogers, Haycraft, Maffitt, Cowley 
and Viers families lived in this community, while nearby, in 
the Vine Grove section which was adjacent to the Mill Creek 
community, there were to be found numerous Nall and Van 
Meter families; and also Lewis, Moorman, Daviess, Ray, 
Woolf oik, Ditto, Hynes, Corbett, Nevitt, Brown and Howell 
families, all of whom were, presumably, acquaintances of the 
Lincolns.” McMurtry, R. Gerald: “The Lincoln Migration 
from Kentucky to Indiana—1816.” Reprinted from the Indi¬ 
ana Magazine of History. Vol. XXXIII, No. 4, December, 
1937, page 19. 

50 Deed Book, B. 253 (Stater to Lincoln) Marginal Note: 
“Delivered to Thomas Lincoln April 23, 1814.” Hardin 
County Court, Elizabethtown, Kentucky. 

“The deed was signed and sealed, and left with the clerk 
of the court to be delivered, and it remained with him for 

30 



THOMAS LINCOLN’S FARM ON MILL CREEK 


closing this transaction, he signed the deed of con¬ 
veyance by inscribing his signature, but his wife, 
Nancy Hanks Lincoln, made her mark, as she,- 
apparently, was unable to write. 51 The deed of 
conveyance is as follows: 

THOMAS AND NANCY LINCOLN TO 
CHARLES MELTON 

This indenture made this twenty seventh day of Octo¬ 
ber in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred 
and fourteen between Thomas Lincoln and Nancy his 
wife of the County of Hardin and the State of Kentucky, 
of the one part and Charles Melton of the county and 
state aforesaid of the other part, witnesseth; 

That the said Thomas Lincoln and Nancy his wife, has 
this day granted, bargained and sold, and by these 
presents doth grant bargain and sell, alien and confirm 
unto the said Charles Melton a certain parcel or tract of 
land containing 200 acres of land for and in considera¬ 
tion of one hundred pounds to the said Lincoln and 
Nancy his wife and in hand paid by the said Melton the 
receipt whereof is acknowledged, which land was pat- 

nearly eleven years.” Barton, William E.: The Paternity of 
Abraham Lincoln. The Bobbs-Merrill Co., Copyright by 
George H. Doran Co. 1920. Page 351. Used by special 
permission of the publishers. 

51 Deed Book E. 193. Hardin County Court. 

This was the only signature (mark) of Lincoln's mother 
known to exist, until the discovery in Spencer County, Indiana, 
of a copy of The Thomas Sparrow Will, bearing the name 
(mark) of Nancy Hanks Lincoln. Lincoln Lore: “The 
Thomas Sparrow Will.” No. 383, August 10, 1936. 

31 



THE KENTUCKY LINCOLNS ON MILL CREEK 


ented in the name of William May and is conveyed from 
John Tom Stater to Thomas Lincoln of deed bearing the 
date the 2nd of September 1803, lying and being in Har¬ 
din County on the waters of Mill Creek and bounded as 
follows: 

Beginning at a hickory corner to Robert Houston’s 
survey, part of a sixteen hundred acre survey, thence 
south 30 degrees west 183 poles to a stake corner to 
Houston, thence north 45 degrees west 155 poles to a 
black oak, comer of the original survey, north 24 de¬ 
grees west 140 poles to a white oak in Shepherd’s line, 
corner to the original, thence 31 degrees west 60 poles to 

a dogwood white oak and gum corner to Thomas Wil¬ 
liams in the original line, thence with Williams line 
south 67 east 250 poles to a white oak and hickory, south 
31 degrees west 22 poles to the beginning, which courses 
contain 238 acres, and the said Melton is at liberty to 
take 200 acres out of the said 238 acres where he thinks 
proper and the said Lincoln and Nancy his wife does 
forever warrant and defend the said 200 acres of land 
from themselves and their heirs executors, administrators 
and assigns forever, to the said Melton, but not from the 
claim or claims of any other person. But if the said land 
should be lost by any better or prior claim then the said 
Lincoln is to pay the said Melton the sum of 100 pounds. 
In witness whereof the said Thomas Lincoln and Nancy 
his wife hath hereunto set their hands and affixed their 
seals the day and date before written. Interlined before 

signing. Thomas Lincoln (Seal) 

her 

Nancy X Hanks 
mark 


32 



THOMAS LINCOLN’S FARM ON MILL CREEK 


Hardin County Set. 

I Samuel Haycraft, Jr., Deputy Clerk of the county 
court for the county aforesaid, do hereby certify that on 
the day of the date hereof, Thomas Lincoln and Nancy 
his wife, personally appeared before me and acknowl¬ 
edged the within indenture or deed of bargain and sale 
to Charles Melton as and for their voluntary act and 
deed, she the said Nancy being at the same time ex¬ 
amined by me separate and voluntarily relinquished her 
right of dower which she has or may have in and to the 
land hereby conveyed and that she was willing that the 
same should be recorded and that I have truly recorded 
the same this 27th day of October 1814. 

SAMUEL HAYCRAFT, jr. D.C., H.C.C. 

If Thomas Lincoln purchased the Mill Creek 
farm hoping to realize a profit on his investment, 
he was doomed to disappointment. He had re¬ 
tained his interest in the farm for a period of 
eleven years, from 1803 to 1814. Under normal 
conditions he might have been able to realize a 
handsome profit on his investment, but he, like 
many others, was always plagued with faulty land 
titles. 62 He had originally purchased from Dr. 
John F. Stater 238 acres. When he desired to sell 
his Mill Creek property and make investments in 

52 Thomas Lincoln’s removal to Indiana was partly on ac¬ 
count of the disastrous experiences he had encountered in re¬ 
gard to land titles in Kentucky. Nicolay and Hay: Complete 
Works of Abraham Lincoln , Vol. VI, page 26. 


33 



THE KENTUCKY LINCOLNS ON MILL CREEK 


other sections of Hardin County, he found a flaw 
in his deed. This, likely, accounts for the long 
period that he retained ownership of the Mill 
Creek farm. He, undoubtedly, realized that when 
the property was sold he would lose a portion of 
his land amounting to approximately thirty-eight 
acres. In making the deed, in 1814, Thomas and 
his wife guaranteed only 200 acres to be contained 
in the survey which actually did contain 238 acres. 
Under these conditions he sold his farm to Charles 
Melton, and his loss amounted to eighteen 

53 

Lincoln’s loss of thirty-eight acres of Mill Creek 
land, which amounted to one-seventh of his entire 
farm, was due to a mistake made either by the 
first surveyor or by Benjamin Helm, the Hardin 
County Court Clerk, who in 1803 copied the deed, 
Fenwick to Stater, while rewriting the deed, Stater 
to Lincoln. 54 The mistake in the Lincoln land 

53 The purchase price amounted to a sum now equivalent to 
$574.07. The selling price was a sum now equivalent to 
$486.00. This would result in a loss of $88.07, not includ¬ 
ing the profit that likely would have accrued during Thomas 
Lincoln’s period of ownership. Lincoln Lore: “Thomas 
Lincoln Chronology” (See entries 1803 and 1814) No. 44, 
February 10, 1930. 

54 This land was originally patented to William May, and 
Stater purchased the tract of 238 acres from Joseph Fenwick. 
Deed Book B. 253, Hardin County Court, Elizabethtown, 
Kentucky. 

34 







Plats drawn by Dr. Louis A. Warren, Director of the Lincoln National Life 

Foundation, Fort Wayne, Indiana. 

Lincoln-Mill Creek Farm Surveys 


Figure I. Original Lincoln boundary. Figure II. Heavy line 
shows calls of survey as copied in deed. (X) should have been 
east instead of west. Figure III. Melton 108 acre tract sold to 
Thomas W. Parrish. Figure IV. 1. Present Owner J. D. Nall. 
2 and 3. Burr Eggen. 4. Harry Hobbs (1922). 











THOMAS LINCOLN’S FARM ON MILL CREEK 


calls was first discovered by Dr. Louis A. Warren, 
who made a plat of the farm. In his comments 
regarding these calls, he said: .1 LJL34:3 G5 

‘When I attempted to make a plat of the farm I 
found that the next to the last line fell short by 
several poles, and would not close the survey. In 
reviewing the calls I discovered that if the call just 
before the one in question was made to read, north 
thirty-one degrees east sixty poles, instead of North 
thirty-one degree west sixty poles, the lines would 
meet and give approximately the correct acreage. 

In the first actual survey of a portion of the farm 
in 1823 this line which caused the shortage was 
changed to read as I have suggested, but it is very 
doubtful if Thomas Lincoln who had moved to 
Indiana long before this, ever knew what became 
of one-seventh of his first purchase.” 55 

It is to be noted that the calls of the Lincoln-Melton deed 
are identical with the calls of the Stater-Lincoln deed, except 
in two instances. The call, in question in the Stater-Lincoln 
deed, reads, Thence north thirty-one degrees west fifty poles , 
while the call in the Lincoln-Melton deed reads, Thence 
(north) SI degrees west 60 poles. This change in the number 
of poles is difficult to explain. Perhaps a mistake was made 
in copying the deed, or the poles were increased from “fifty” 
to “60” by an inexperienced court clerk, in an unsuccessful 
attempt to close the survey and to relieve Thomas Lincoln of 
this technical predicament. The other difference is the last 
call of the Stater-Lincoln deed which reads south 31 degrees 
west twenty poles, while the Lincoln-Melton deed reads 
south 31 degrees west 22 poles. 

55 Warren, Louis A.: “Mill Creek Home.” Unpublished 
manuscript. Files of Lincoln National Life Foundation, Fort 
Wayne, Indiana. 


35 



THE KENTUCKY LINCOLNS ON MILL CREEK 


When Charles Melton purchased Thomas Lin¬ 
coln’s farm, in 1814, he was able to secure 38 acres 
of land in addition to the amount specified in his 
deed. 56 This was a most unfortunate transaction 
for Lincoln. Likely, all parties concerned realized 
that the transaction was in favor of Melton; how¬ 
ever, Lincoln was willing to take the loss as he 

56 The name, Melton, is often incorrectly referred to as 
Milton. The name, Melton, is well known in Hardin County, 
whereas Milton is little known. 

Dr. Barton made the following statement in regard to 
Thomas Lincoln’s thirty-eight acres on Mill Creek: “It will be 
noted in the above deed (Lincoln to Melton) that the thirty- 
eight acres was apparently abandoned. Probably Milton had 
another deed with the same boundaries calling for two hun¬ 
dred acres, and Thomas Lincoln’s was virtually a quit claim. 
No attempt was made to draw any boundary line between the 
two hundred acres conveyed and the thirty-eight acres sup¬ 
posed to have been left over.” Barton, William E.: The 
Paternity of Abraham Lincoln. The Bobbs-Merrill Co., Copy¬ 
right by George H. Doran Co. 1920. Page 351. Used by 
special permission of the publishers. 

According to documentary evidence, Charles Melton was a 
soldier in the Revolutionary War. The following record has 
been discovered: 

“Charles Melton Schedule. District of Kentucky, Hardin 
County—June Term 1820. On the 21st day of June 
1820 personally appeared in open court of record for the 
said district, Charles Melton age 62 years, who first 
being sworn according to law doth on his oath declare 
that he served in the Revolutionary War as follows: 
inlisted in the year 1777 in London County, Va. . . . my 
family consists of myself and wife (Sibla) Sibba 54 years 
old.” Ordinary Bundle #105, Hardin Circuit Court, 
Elizabethtown, Kentucky. 

36 



THOMAS LINCOLN’S FARM ON MILL CREEK 


wished to purchase property in another section 
of the county. The farm remained intact during 
the period of Charles Melton’s ownership. 57 In 
1820 the Charles Melton property passed into the 
hands of Michael Melton, and it was under his 
ownership that Lincoln’s Mill Creek farm was di¬ 
vided. 58 

The first division of the property took place in 
1823, when Michael, Charles, and Jane Melton 
sold 108 acres to Thomas W. Parrish. 59 This tract 
remained in the possession of Parrish until 1829, 
when he sold it to Washington Smith. 60 In 1838, 
Washington Smith sold the 108 acres to David 
Smith. 61 In 1853, Elijah Maffet purchased the 
tract from David Smith. 62 When Elijah Maffet 

67 Deed Book E. 193 (Lincoln to Melton) Hardin County 
Court, Elizabethtown, Kentucky. 

58 Deed Book G. 429 (Charles Melton to Michael Melton) 
Hardin County Court, Elizabethtown, Kentucky. 

59 The boundary lines of a portion of the Lincoln Mill 
Creek farm were resurveyed in the year 1823. Warren, 
Louis A.: “Mill Creek Home.” Unpublished manuscript. 
Files of the Lincoln National Life Foundation of Fort Wayne, 
Indiana. Deed Book H. 476 (Michael, Charles and Jane 
Melton to Parrish) Hardin County Court, Elizabethtown, 
Kentucky. 

60 Deed Book L. 108 (Parrish to Washington Smith) 
Hardin County Court, Elizabethtown, Kentucky. 

61 Deed Book R. 165 (Washington Smith to David Smith) 
Hardin County Court, Elizabethtown, Kentucky. 

62 Deed Book I. 62 (David Smith to Maffet) Hardin County 
Court, Elizabethtown, Kentucky. 


37 



Mill Creek Farm—Hardin County, Kentucky 



38 



































































































THOMAS LINCOLN’S FARM ON MILL CREEK 


died, his tract was divided to satisfy his heirs and 
three divisions were made of the property. The 
Mahala L. Bohlen heirs received 35 acres, Elijah 
Maffet received 31/2 acres, while W. H. Maffet 
received 42 acres . 63 In this division the heirs of 
Elijah Maffet gained one-half an acre. The total 
acreage of the three divisions amounted to 108/2 
acres. The first of the above mentioned tracts is 
now owned by Harry Hobbs, while the remaining 
two tracts are in the possession of Burr Eggen . 64 
Both of these property owners married into the 
Maffet family. 

The remaining tract, not included in the 1823 
land sale, embraced the missing 38 acres. In 
1828, this tract of 100 acres, “more or less,” was 

63 Deed Book C. 2, 102 (Maffet Commissioner to Bohlen 
heirs) Hardin County Court, Commissioner’s Deed Book, 
Elizabethtown, Kentucky. 

Ibid. 246. 

Ibid. 149. 

The surveyor who divided the tract for the three heirs was 
the late J. T. McNary of Elizabethtown, Kentucky, an ac¬ 
quaintance of the author. McNary was the brother-in-law 
of William Morgan mentioned by Dr. Barton in his Paternity 
of Abraham Lincoln. Evidence on file leads one to believe 
that Morgan was mistaken in his statement concerning the 
Mill Creek farm made to J. L. Irwin, the county court clerk 
of Hardin County. Barton, William E.: The Paternity of 
Abraham Lincoln. Page 349. 

64 Recent changes in ownership have not been determined 
as such data is not of significant interest in this historical 
study. 


39 



THE KENTUCKY LINCOLNS ON MILL CREEK 


sold by Michael Melton to John S. Peck. 65 The 
ownership of this tract, along with an adjacent 
farm of 157 acres previously purchased by Melton, 
was included in the above transaction. The com¬ 
bined acreage of the two tracts, according to the 
deed “Melton to Peck,” amounted to 257 acres. 
While the above parties were figuring the Lincoln 
tract at 100 acres, they evidently knew, as did 
Thomas Lincoln, that the acreage was more than 
the 100 acres, as specified in the deed. 

In 1841 John Peck divided the two farms he had 
purchased from Michael Melton. In making this 
division he used the original surveyed boundaries 
and released the 100 acres “more or less” to John 
D. Melton. 66 In 1873, an administrator gave a 
deed for the property to Ben F. Irwin, who in 
turn sold the land to John S. Irwin in 1889. 67 John 
D. Nall, the present owner, secured possession 
of the property from John S. Irwin, on February 
10,1908. 68 

65 Deed Book L. 33 (Melton to Peck) Hardin County 
Court, Elizabethtown, Kentucky. 

69 Deed Book T. 354 (Peck to Melton) Hardin County 
Court, Elizabethtown, Kentucky. 

67 Deed Book 29, 308 (Melton Administrator to Ben F. 
Irwin) Hardin County Court, Elizabethtown, Kentucky. 

Deed Book 34, 486 (Ben F. Irwin to John S. Irwin) 
Hardin County Court, Elizabethtown, Kentucky. 

98 Deed Book 54, 593 (Irwin to Nall) Hardin County 
Court, Elizabethtown, Kentucky. 

40 



THOMAS LINCOLN’S FARM ON MILL CREEK 


The John D. Nall tract is of interest to historians 
because this portion of the original Lincoln farm 
contains the old cabin site. 69 A new residence, the 
third consecutive home to be erected on the farm, 
today stands on a part of the ancient foundation 
of the Lincoln cabin. 70 The base stones of the 
cabin chimney are also to be seen at one side of 
the present structure. 71 The two-story residence, 
the second home erected on the Lincoln cabin 
site, was burned in November 1927. 72 The win¬ 
dow sills of the second home contained the old 
wooden pegs of the original cabin. 73 Traditions 
relate that the stairway in the second dwelling 
was the same stairway that was constructed for 
the Lincoln cabin. 74 The washboards of the resi- 

69 In all of the above recorded sales, the acreage of the 
tract is designated as one hundred acres “more or less.” 

“This tract containing the old Lincoln cabin site now 
owned by Mr. Nall has never passed out of the family since 
Thomas Lincoln sold it to Charles Melton one hundred 
years ago.” Warren, Louis A.: “Mill Creek Home.” Un¬ 
published manuscript. Files of Lincoln National Life Foun¬ 
dation of Fort Wayne, Indiana. 

70 Questionnaire: John D. Nall to Author. August 1, 1938. 

71 “The old chimney foundation is still at the side of the 
house that is supposed to be the Lincoln chimney.” John D. 
Nall to Author. August 1, 1938. 

72 Questionnaire: John D. Nall to Author. August 1, 1938. 

73 Questionnaire: G. E. McMurtry to Author. March 23, 
1938. 

74 Undoubtedly, this stairway, of approximately fifteen 
steps is responsible for the myth of a commodious two-story 

41 



THE KENTUCKY LINCOLNS ON MILL CREEK 


dence that burned were made of the upper loft 
floor of the pioneer home, while some of the 
wooden sills were used as window sills. The ma¬ 
terial salvaged from the old Lincoln cabin was of 
yellow poplar. 75 Undoubtedly, the Mill Creek 
cabin was the best Kentucky home Thomas Lin¬ 
coln ever owned. 76 

log house on Thomas Lincoln’s Mill Creek land. Perhaps 
this cabin did have a loft, but conservative historians are of 
the opinion that the structure was not of two-story proportion. 

75 “Thomas Lincoln sold this farm in 1813 (1814) to 
Michael (Charles) Melton and it has been deeded down from 
relation to relation unto me. My mother moved here when 
she was two years old dying at the age of 97 years. There 
is no Lincoln timber in present house but I have two strips 
of Lincoln lumber, one in my meat house on which meat 
has always been hung and one in (my) cellar house. The 
strip in (the) meat house has two wooden peg holes and a 
number of old square nails. Dimensions 9% ft. long and 5/2 
inches wide (and) 1 inch thick. 

When my home burned (November 1927) a rock also 
burned which my mother said was here since she could 
remember that was used to beat coffee before coffee mills 
came into use. It had the initials of T. L. and part of I 
suppose a date of 18—. The initials were plain, also the 
18—, but remainder of date was not plain enough to read. 
It was a triangular shaped rock, reddish in color and very 
hard.” John D. Nall in letter to Author. August 1, 1938. 

76 This cabin was a permanent home. Undoubtedly, the 
other Kentucky Lincoln cabins were temporary structures 
which were hastily erected. If Thomas Lincoln had not 
encountered numerous land title difficulties, his South Fork 
and Knob Creek cabins might have been of larger proportions. 
As it was, the Lincoln cabin homes were of the same size 
as ninety percent of the other cabins in Hardin County. 

42 



THOMAS LINCOLN’S FARM ON MILL CREEK 


The Lincoln Mill Creek Farm today presents a 
picturesque scene. Likely, comparatively little 
change in the physical appearance of the farm has 
taken place since Thomas Lincoln and his family 
resided there in 1803. 77 The home of the present 
owner of the farm is approached through a 
wooded area, and the land presents evidence of 
being well cared for from an early date. Near 
the homestead an orchard, of uncertain age, 
bountifully supplies the occupant with abundant 
varieties of fruit. This ancient orchard brings to 
mind the supposition that it might have been 
planted by the Lincolns. It is, indeed, difficult to 
understand why the Mill Creek farm remains un¬ 
noticed by an ever-increasing number of Lincoln 
students and admirers, who are making an ex¬ 
haustive study of every phase of Lincolniana. 78 

McMurtry, R. Gerald: “The Financial Standing of Lincolns 
Father.” The Hardin County Enterprise. May 14, 1936. 

77 Life long residents of Mill Creek are cognizant of the 
fact that the Nall farm was once the property of the Meltons 
and that they acquired the land from the Lincolns. 

78 The Author is particularly indebted to Dr. Louis A. 
Warren, Director of the Lincoln National Life Foundation 
of Fort Wayne, Indiana for the use of his maps, charts and 
unpublished manuscripts pertaining to Thomas Lincolns farm 
on Mill Creek. 


43 



THE LINCOLN-MILL CREEK TRAIL AND 
THE DOUGLAS SPRING 


T WO interesting features of the Mill Creek 
country are the Lincoln migration trail and 
the Douglas spring. The historic trail is the route 
through northern Hardin County followed by the 
Lincolns in the year 1816 when they migrated 
from Kentucky to Indiana. 79 While enroute to 
Indiana the migrating family stopped at the Doug¬ 
las spring to refresh themselves before continuing 
on to the Brumfield home which was to be an 
important stop on their itinerary. 80 The Brum¬ 
fields had moved to a different farm after Thomas 
Lincoln sold his Mill Creek land to Charles 
Melton. 81 The migrating Lincoln family con¬ 
sisted of Thomas Lincoln, Nancy Hanks Lincoln, 
their daughter, Sarah, and son, Abraham, a lad 


79 McMurtry, R. Gerald: “The Lincoln Migration from 
Kentucky to Indiana—1816.” Reprinted from the Indiana 
Magazine of History, Vol. XXXIII, No. 4, December 1937, 
page 17-20. 

80 Ibid., page 17, note 47. 

81 Ibid., page 18. 

44 






























THE LINCOLN-MILL CREEK TRAIL 


almost eight years of age. 82 It is believed the 
family traveled over this trail by horse and wagon. 
After leaving their Knob Creek home the Lincolns 
journeyed by way of Elizabethtown, and from 
there they deviated from their westward course, 
moving in a northward direction over a county 
trail called Bullitt’s Salt Lick road. 83 A portion of 
this ancient trail is now called the Shepherdsville 
road. Historical evidence concerning the Lincoln 
migration of 1816 definitely places Abraham Lin¬ 
coln in the Mill Creek country at least once during 
the period of his Kentucky years. 84 

As they journeyed northward, their first place 

82 In the year 1860 Abraham Lincoln made the following 
statement in regard to his age when he moved to Indiana: 
“In passing let me say that at Rockport you will be in the 
county within which I was brought up from my eigth 
(eighth) year—having left Kentucky at that point of my 
life.” Letter from Abraham Lincoln to Cassius M. Clay, 
July 20, 1860. Original letter in files of Department of 
Lincolniana, Lincoln Memorial University, Harrogate, Ten¬ 
nessee. 

83 Complete Report of The Lincoln Highway Memorial 
Commission. The Elizabethtown News , Tuesday, January 7, 
1936. 

84 “During these ten years (while living on Mill Creek) I 
did hear Mrs. Cretia (Lucretia) Austin (daughter of Nancy 
Lincoln Brumfield) talk to my father and mother at various 
times and did hear her say that her Uncle Tom and his 
family stopped several days with her father and mother 
(Brumfields) when he moved his family to Indiana.” Affi¬ 
davit of G. E. McMurtry, February 8, 1930. Files of the 
Lincoln Memorial Highway Commission of Kentucky. Many 

45 



THE KENTUCKY LINCOLNS ON MILL CREEK 


of interest was the Lincoln Mill Creek farm. 85 As 
the family traveled by their former property, one 
is inclined to wonder if there was not a moment 
of sadness and bitterness in the mind of Thomas 
Lincoln. Here, in 1803, he had invested the bulk 
of his estate, and here, he had been deprived, 
presumably by accident, of thirty-eight acres of 
land amounting to a loss of eighteen pounds. 
Likely, a clear title to his land would have netted 
him a handsome profit. This misfortune was one 
of a series of financial disappointments which had 


residents of the Mill Creek country are of the opinion that 
Abraham Lincoln returned to that community for short visits 
after the family moved to Indiana. Some traditions relate 
that Thomas Lincoln and his son, Abraham, traveled to Mill 
Creek in the late fall of 1818, after the death of Nancy 
Hanks Lincoln in Indiana. Here it is believed they visited 
with the Brumfields for a week. From there it is said that 
they traveled into the Howe Valley section of Hardin County 
to visit Mary Lincoln Crume, the sister of Thomas. Mc- 
Murtry, G. E.: “More Lincoln Facts Are Told.” The Eliza¬ 
bethtown News, February 18, 1931. 

According to Lucretia Austin (a first cousin of Abraham 
Lincoln) Thomas and Abraham visited Mill Creek the winter 
after the fall of Nancy’s death. Lucretia claimed that 
Thomas helped build a fence on the Brumfield farm and be¬ 
cause Abraham was too small to split rails, he cut wedges and 
splinters to use in the rail fence. Interview with G. E. 
McMurtry, Vine Grove, Kentucky, August 10, 1937. 

85 There are no historical markers pointing the direction to 
this farm. Older residents of the Mill Creek community 
know of its location. Few residents of Hardin County con¬ 
sider the Lincoln farm an historical asset. 

46 



THE LINCOLN-MILL CREEK TRAIL 


befallen the father of the president in Kentucky. 
Now he hoped to avert further losses by the pur¬ 
chase of land in Indiana. Surely, they must have 
stopped and inquired of Charles Melton and his 
wife, Sibba, of the condition of their crops, of old 
friends, and talked of the weather and Indiana . 86 

Upon resuming their journey the Lincoln fam¬ 
ily continued their travel northward. Their next 
stop was made at the Douglas spring on the 
Douglas farm located less than a mile from the 
Lincoln land . 87 Here, by the side of the pioneer 
trail, was a watering place which was a favorite 
stopping point of all the people of the Mill Creek 
country . 88 At this spring the family ate their 
lunch and watered their horses. Surely, they must 
have rested a while at this inviting spot before 
continuing on their journey. This interesting 


86 “My family consists of myself (age 62) and wife (Sibla) 
Sibba 54 years old.” June 21, 1820. Ordinary Bundle 
# 105, Hardin Circuit Court, Elizabethtown, Kentucky. 

87 The Douglas spring is now owned by Amos N. Gamer, 
a grandson of Margaret Douglas, who owned the property in 
the year 1816. This spring is in its natural state except for 
a rock retaining wall that has been erected upon the site. 
There are no historical markers locating the Douglas spring. 

88 In the year 1816 the spring was located in a wooded 
area, but the land is now cleared. This watering place was 
situated on the right side of the old road leading from 
Elizabethtown. The spring is now situated about one hun¬ 
dred yards to the left of a newly surveyed road. 


47 



THE KENTUCKY LINCOLNS ON MILL CREEK 


spring, running from under a rock fissure, is still 
to be found in its natural state, just as it was in 
the fall of 1816 when the Lincolns passed through 
northern Hardin County. While the Lincolns 
were at the spring, they conversed with the Doug¬ 
las family. They told them that they were leaving 
Kentucky for Indiana and that they were traveling 
this way in order that they might visit with Bath- 
sheba Lincoln and the Brumfields. 89 

89 “Margaret Douglas (died in 1876) lived on the Shep- 
herdsville road about eight miles north of Elizabethtown, 
just a little south of where the old Dowdell (road) started 
west from the old Shepherdsville Road. She was a very old 
woman when she died, must have been up in her eighties, 
and to the best of my memory has been dead forty years or 
more. She told me that Thomas Lincoln, Nancy Lincoln, 
his wife, and the little boy, Abe, stopped at their spring and 
ate their lunch and informed them that they were leaving 
Kentucky for Indiana, and were on their way by the way of 
their sister Nancy Brumfield. At that time many people on 
the Shepherdsville and Dowdell Roads knew Thomas Lincoln 
as he made frequent trips to and from Wm. Brumfields, and 
prior to this time, for twelve years, had owned a farm . . . 
south of the Douglas farm.” Affidavit of F. O. Viers, June 23, 
1930. Files of Lincoln Memorial Highway Commission of 
Kentucky. 

“The Lincoln family while enroute to Indiana stopped at 
the Douglas spring, watered their horses and then ate their 
lunch. In their wagon they had an inlayed cherry and 
poplar comer cupboard made by Thomas Lincoln. While 
fording one of the swollen streams in this vicinity they lost 
the cupboard and did not attempt to recover it due to the 
difficulty of transporting this large piece of furniture to 
Indiana. After the Lincolns traveled on to their destination, 

48 



THE LINCOLN-MILL CREEK TRAIL 


Traveling on for a considerable distance over 
the Bullitt Salt Lick trail, they turned westward at 
the E. A. Viers’ place, following the old Dowdell 
Ferry road in the direction of William Brumfield’s 
home. 90 The Brumfields lived approximately five 
miles from the farm that Thomas Lincoln once 
owned. This juncture of the Bullitt Salt Lick trail 
(Shepherdsville road) with the Dowdell Ferry 
road at the E. A. Viers property was located ap¬ 
proximately eight miles north of Elizabethtown. 
At the E. A. Viers property (now owned by Mrs. 
Emma Cowley and Waverly Viers) they pro¬ 
ceeded to travel by James McWilliams’ place 
(now owned by Mrs. J. H. Shelton) to Isaac 
Emery’s place (now owned by Mrs. V. Shelton 
and F. O. Viers) to Capt. John Hibbs’ place (now 


the cupboard was taken from the creek and became the 
property of John T. Cowley. Later the Lincoln cupboard was 
sold at the Cowley sale to Mrs. Martha Viers for fifty cents. 
Mrs. Viers then gave this piece of furniture to Mrs. Amos 
Garner and the cupboard is now in her home located on the 
Douglas farm.” Interview with Mrs. Emma Cowley at her 
home August 22, 1938. 

This cupboard was purchased by the author from Mrs. 
Amos Garner August 23, 1938. Affidavits regarding the 
cupboard were secured from Mrs. Amos Garner and Mrs. 
Emma Cowley, August 23, 1938. 

90 McMurtry, R. Gerald: “The Lincoln Migration from 
Kentucky to Indiana—1816.” Reprinted from the Indiana 
Magazine of History. Vol. XXXIII, No. 4, December, 1937, 
page 17. 


49 



THE KENTUCKY LINCOLNS ON MILL CREEK 


owned by Mrs. Jenny Leonard) to Hezekiah 
Stovall’s place (now owned by Mrs. Leonard) to 
Rev. David Carr’s place (now owned by Grover 
Cook) to John Cowley’s place (now owned by 
Josh Bird) and to William Brumfield’s place (now 
owned by E. J. French) and there they stopped. 91 
After leaving the Bullitt Salt Lick trail, (E. A. 
Viers property) the family traveled the Dowdell 
Ferry road for two or three miles in a northwest¬ 
erly direction, then they turned to a pioneer trail 
(established 1802) that ran by the home of their 
relatives. 92 

91 Ibid. Note 48, page 17. 

Affidavit of F. O. Viers, June 23, 1930. Collection of 
G. E. McMurtry of Vine Grove, Kentucky. 

92 “My mother, who died in the year 1915 and was 82 years 
old at her death, was the youngest daughter of the large 
family of David Carr, who was a neighbor to the same Wm. 
Brumfield, who married the sister of Thomas Lincoln and 
lived less than one half mile from the same Wm. Brumfield 
and his family. I have often heard my mother repeat what 
an older sister had told her in regard to the Lincoln family, 
stopping for a short visit with Wm. Brumfield, Thomas Lin¬ 
coln’s brother-in-law, and also said some of them came riding 
and some of them came walking. She said that they were 
moving from Kentucky to Indiana.” Affidavit of W. G. 
Cowley, January 18, 1930. Files of the Lincoln Memorial 
Highway Commission of Kentucky. 

“He (Colonel John Cowley) told me, (John H. Hibbs) he 
saw Lincoln when he was a small boy, when Tom Lincoln 
moved to Indiana, and that Tom Lincoln was a mighty poor 
man as he had all his things in one wagon and room for 
his wife and family. He said he saw and remembered the 

50 



THE LINCOLN-MILL CREEK TRAIL 

After the termination of their short visit with 
the Brumfields the Lincolns continued their 
journey traveling directly west. They traveled 
down Buffalo Run to Mill Creek passing within 
the first mile the First Regular Baptist Church of 
Mill Creek and the church cemetery in which the 
mother, sister and relatives of Thomas were even¬ 
tually to find their last resting places. 93 They fol¬ 
lowed the same pioneer trail in leaving the Brum¬ 
field home that they took enroute to the farm. 
This pioneer road (established 1802) was a sec¬ 
ondary trail of the Dowdell Ferry road. After 
traveling westward a short distance the Lincolns 
made their departure from that part of northern 
Hardin County known as the Mill Creek country. 94 

Undoubtedly the Lincoln-Mill Creek trail will 


boy and girl in the wagon that passed his father’s house 
(Mill Creek community) and that the boy must have had 
lots of horse sense and studied hard or he never would have 
been President of the United States. He lived the last 25 
years of his life with no good feelings for that boy he saw 
in the wagon with Tom Lincoln on their way to Indiana 
in the year 1816.” Affidavit of John H. Hibbs, May 16, 1931. 
Collection of G. E. McMurtry of Vine Grove, Kentucky. 

93 “They then went west down Buffalo Run to Mill Creek.” 
Affidavit of F. O. Viers, June 23, 1930. Collection of G. E. 
McMurtry of Vine Grove, Kentucky. 

94 “They followed the old pioneer trail (established in 
1802) through Vine Grove (Viney Grove) and after crossing 
Otter Creek, they traveled through what is now known as the 
community of Flaherty to the town of Big Spring.” Mc¬ 
Murtry, R. Gerald: “The Lincoln Migration from Kentucky 

51 



THE KENTUCKY LINCOLNS ON MILL CREEK 


some day be a super highway. In the final report 
of the Lincoln Memorial Highway Commission of 
Kentucky this portion of the Mill Creek road was 
included as a segment of the proposed Lincoln 
Memorial Highway to extend from Lincoln’s birth¬ 
place in Kentucky to his tomb in Springfield, Illi¬ 
nois. 95 When this area is made accessible to the 
public, Kentucky will offer as an attraction to the 
tourist, an hitherto unknown territory that is 
quaint and picturesque, and of great historical 
importance. The Mill Creek country will even¬ 
tually become an outstanding link in the story of 
the Lincoln family in Kentucky. 96 

to Indiana—1816.” Reprinted from the Indiana Magazine of 
History , vol. XXXIII, No. 4, December, 1937, page 20. 

While excavating a bridge site across Otter Creek in 
March 1938, workmen discovered traces of the old pioneer 
trail which was established in the year 1802. 

95 Complete Report of The Lincoln Highway Memorial 
Commission. The Elizabethtown News. Tuesday, January 7, 
1936. 

96 If the route of travel followed by the Lincoln family 
through the Mill Creek community in the year 1816, should 
be marked with appropriate signs the historical attractiveness 
of this community would be materially increased. 


52 



THE WILLIAM BRUMFIELD HOME 


W HEN Thomas Lincoln sold his farm on 
Mill Creek, in the year 1814, it is believed 
his mother, sister, brother-in-law and their chil¬ 
dren moved to the farm purchased by Nancy's 
husband, William Brumfield. 97 This farm was lo¬ 
cated on Brumfield’s Branch in the Mill Creek 
community. 98 The Brumfield farm, where Bath- 
sheba and her daughter lived for more than thirty 


97 “When the Lincoln family visited the Brumfield’s enroute 
to Indiana, they were living on a different farm, as Thomas 
Lincoln had sold his property to Charles Melton two years 
before.” McMurtry, R. Gerald: “The Lincoln Migration 
from Kentucky to Indiana—1816.” Reprint from the Indiana 
Magazine of History , Vol. XXXIII, No. 4, December 1937, 
page 18. 

98 “William Brumfield’s buildings were all on Brumfield’s 
Branch that emptied into Mill Creek about 100 yards South 
of Hynes’ Lick—I have an old paper (map) with ‘Brumfield’s 
Branch’ marked all the way through my farm to Mill Creek. 
This branch started near the top of the ridge or East of the 
Brumfield farm and I expect it furnished the water for all 
the mash in his distillery. Their free flowing spring was 
West of the house. I think this old map was made in 1819, 
and it mentions Brumfield’s (property) line.” G. E. Mc¬ 
Murtry to Author, June 6, 1938. Hynes’ Lick is a very small 
stream named for Andrew Hynes tie founder of Elizabeth¬ 
town, Kentucky. 


53 



THE KENTUCKY LINCOLNS ON MILL CREEK 


years, was situated approximately twelve miles 
from Elizabethtown and five or six miles from the 
farm that Thomas Lincoln once owned. The ex¬ 
tent of the Brumfield farm was approximately 200 
acres or more, and evidently William Brumfield 
was a successful farmer as there is evidence that 
he leased for cultivation two additional fields of 
Mill Creek land from Samuel Haycraft, Junior." 
Some historians are of the belief that William 
Brumfield and his family had moved from the 
Lincoln farm before the year 1814, and that at the 
time of the sale of the Lincoln property Charles 
Melton, the purchaser, was residing there as a 
tenant. 

Located on the Brumfield farm was a large log 

99 Agreement—Samuel Haycraft and Ralph L. (Lincoln) 
Crume. “Articles of agreement entered into between Samuel 
Haycraft of the one part, and Ralph L. Crume of the other 
part, both of Hardin County, Kentucky. The said Samuel 
Haycraft has this day leased and rented to the said Ralph L. 
Crume from the first day of February last to the 10th day 
of March 1846, two fields or lots of inclosed ground on the 
tract of 400 acres on Mill Creek including Hynes’ Lick owned 
by the said Haycraft and wife, being the same fields on 
which William Brumfield lately held as lease which expired 
on the first day of February last.” Deed Book U. Page 469, 
Hardin County Court, Elizabethtown, Kentucky. 

The Brumfield farm today contains approximately 170 
acres. About 55 acres were sold off of this tract several 
years ago. If no other sales were made and if the above 
acreage is correct the original Brumfield farm contained 225 
acres. 


54 



THE WILLIAM BRUMFIELD HOME 


house constructed about the year 1800. 100 The 
name of the original owner of this building is not 
known. This commodious pioneer log dwelling 
had two large chimneys, built of stone and topped 
with brick. About fifty years ago (1888) the 
house burned, and all that remains today is the old 
kitchen chimney. According to traditional evi¬ 
dence, there was located in close proximity to the 
Brumfield house, a smaller log house. 101 Legend 
relates that this was the home of Bathsheba Lin¬ 
coln. It is not known which was the older of the 
two houses. Bathsheba’s log house, it is believed, 
had the same kind of chimney (stone topped with 
brick) as did the larger Brumfield home. 102 The 
“Granny” Lincoln log house did not burn at the 

100 Undoubtedly this large log house was constructed before 
the Brumfields moved from Thomas Lincoln’s Mill Creek farm. 

101 “Did you know before that 'Granny’ (Lincoln) had a 
large one room log house with stone chimney topped out 
with brick about 100 yards south of the large Brumfield 
dwelling— Have seen it many times when a boy as it was 
as well taken care of as the larger home.” Letter of G. E. 
McMurtry to Author. March 18, 1938. Files of Department 
of Lincolniana, Lincoln Memorial University, Harrogate, Ten¬ 
nessee. 

102 “The 'Granny’ Lincoln log house had the same kind of 
chimney as the Brumfield dwelling—stone topped out with 
brick and looked as old as the original Brumfield dwelling. 
It may have been older than the large house. I do not know 
when it was built but they kept it under good cover and 
used it as a storage house.” Questionnaire: G. E. McMurtry 
to Author. March 23, 1938. 


55 



THE KENTUCKY LINCOLNS ON MILL CREEK 


time of the destruction of the Brumfield home¬ 
stead. After the burning of the Brumfield house, 
the smaller log cabin was dismantled and attached 
to the Brumfield kitchen chimney. The original 
logs are today boxed with rough, inch-oak planks, 
and are well preserved. 103 

During the period of the Brumfield’s residence 
on Mill Creek the surrounding country was 
densely wooded. It is believed, however, that the 
land was cleared in the near vicinity of the Brum¬ 
field homestead. 104 On the farm was to be found 
an excellent spring and other natural resources 
so necessary for a pioneer farmer. The homestead 
was located at an important geographical point 
in this area, making the farm an attractive stop¬ 
ping place for neighboring travelers. 105 Here 


103 “When the original Brumfield house burned several years 
ago the owner moved ‘Granny’ Lincoln’s log house and put 
it up against the kitchen chimney and have heard that 
‘Granny’s’ home was built for her before Tom moved to 
Indiana. James French then traded for an old log room 
and put it up against the ‘Granny’ room in which Tom and 
Abe had both evidently been.” Ibid. 

104 Hubert Shelton, address—Vine Grove, Kentucky, R.F.D. 
# 4, is the present owner of the Brumfield farm. 

105 “In 1829, a number of the descendants of Mordecai 
Lincoln, eldest brother of Abraham Lincoln’s father, Thomas, 
were removing from Grayson County, Kentucky, to a point 
in Illinois within the present county of Hancock, and then 
designated as ‘the head of the rapids,’ they made what we 
have learned to call a detour, and spent a night with their 

56 




Brumfield Kitchen Chimney 

The original kitchen chimney of the William Brumfield home on 
Mill Creek, in Hardin County, Kentucky. This chimney was 
standing when Bathsheba Lincoln lived on Mill Creek, and was 
there in the year 1816 when Thomas Lincoln and family visited 
the Brumfields while on their way to Indiana. 








THE WILLIAM BRUMFIELD HOME 


sprang up a small backwood settlement. To ac¬ 
commodate friends and neighbors, the Brumfields 
had a stillhouse, a storehouse and a blacksmith 
shop. This stopping place was a voting precinct 
for three-day elections, and here was a public 
speaking point for pioneer politicians. 

Many have wondered why the Lincolns tarried 
several days, in the late fall of 1816, at the Brum¬ 
fields while they were enroute to Indiana. Pos¬ 
sibly one explanation for the several days visit 
was that Thomas Lincoln hoped to collect a sum 
of money due him before taking up residence in 
Indiana. Traditions relate that while the Lin¬ 
colns were visiting the Brumfields, Thomas went 
over into the Crandal Shed neighborhood, into 
what is now Jefferson County, to collect a debt 
that was due him from a man who ran a distill¬ 
ery. 106 Undoubtedly, Sarah and Abraham in the 

Aunt Nancy Brumfield, their father’s youngest sister. She 
was living on Mill Creek, close to where Thomas Lincoln 
owned his first Hardin County farm in 1803. Nancy and 
her husband, William Brumfield, were even then living there; 
for they had been married in 1801, and had established their 
home in that locality.” Barton, William E.: The Women 
Lincoln Loved. The Bobbs-Merrill Co., Copyright 1927. 
Page 51. Used by special permission of the publishers. 

106 “Colonel Jim Hayes said that when Thomas Lincoln 
went to Indiana to live, he was at Wm. Brumfield’s for several 
days and while there went over by the Crandal Shed neighbor¬ 
hood into what was then Jefferson County to collect some 
money that was owing him by a man that ran a still to make 

57 



THE KENTUCKY LINCOLNS ON MILL CREEK 


meantime enjoyed playing with their cousins 
Mary, Elizabeth, Lucretia and Susan, the four 
daughters of the Brumfields. 107 Here for the last 
time Bathsheba, the grandmother of the future 
president, was to see young Abraham who was 
named for her husband who had been massacred 
by the Indians thirty years before. Abraham Lin¬ 
coln was her youngest son’s youngest child. 108 

Today, perhaps, the only man-made things 
now visible in this community, upon which young 
Abraham Lincoln and his family might have 
gazed, is the old brick and stone kitchen chimney 
and the boxed logs of the “Granny” Lincoln cabin 
home. Today a dilapidated house stands on the 
historical site of the Brumfield home. The still- 
house, storehouse, and blacksmith shop are gone. 


whiskey.” Affidavit of F. O. Viers, June 23, 1930, Collection 
of G. E. McMurtry of Vine Grove, Kentucky. 

The Crandal Neighborhood is near Salt River. 

107 Lincoln Lore: “Abraham Lincoln’s First Cousins.” No. 
322, June 10, 1935. 

108 ma y have been the first, and it certainly was the 
last, time the old lady (Bathsheba) had seen young Abraham, 
named for the man she married in Virginia and accompanied 
over the mountains, by whose side she had worked, and over 
whose murdered body she wept.” Editorial: “Lincoln Lore”: 
The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Kentucky, June 14, 1936. 

The Filson Club History Quarterly, Louisville, Kentucky, 
Vol. 11, (Eleven), No. 3, July 1937. “The Filson Club in the 
1937 Pilgrimage, Conducted by Louis A. Warren,” by R. C. 
Ballard Thruston. (See notes 14 and 111) 

58 



THE WILLIAM BRUMFIELD HOME 


Travelers no longer stop to visit, nor buy liquor, 
shoe their horses, vote in three-day elections or 
hear Kentucky politicians. Only the boxed logs 
and the old stone chimney remain of what was 
once an active pioneer settlement. 109 

109 “Th e rea l home of the Lincolns is Mill Creek, not Eliza¬ 
bethtown, and not the old farm near Nolin in the eastern part 
of Hardin County, which was made LaRue County in 1842.” 
Editorial: “Hardin County, the Home of the Lincolns,” The 
Elizabethtown News , June 23, 1936. 


59 



THE LINCOLN-MILL CREEK CEMETERY 


HE three important Kentucky cemeteries 



A. containing the remains of the pioneer Lin¬ 
coln family are found in obscure locations, with¬ 
drawn from the main arteries of travel. 110 It is 
believed that Captain Abraham Lincoln, the pres¬ 
ident’s grandfather, lies buried in the cemetery 
of the Long Run Baptist church in Jefferson 
County. His burial plot is unmarked, and tradi¬ 
tion relates that his grave is now located under 
the church building of the Long Run Baptist con¬ 
gregation. * * 111 Another Lincoln burial ground is 
the Redmond cemetery in LaRue County. Here, 
it is believed, the infant Thomas, the president’s 
younger brother, has his resting place. 112 Five 

110 Lincoln Lore: "The Burial Places of the Lincolns,” No. 

268, May 28, 1934. 

111 The Filson Club History Quarterly , Louisville, Kentucky, 
Vol. 11 (Eleven), No. 3, July 1937. "The Filson Club in the 
1937 Pilgrimage, conducted by Louis A. Warren,” by R. C. 
Ballard Thruston. (See notes 14 and 108) 

Barton, William E.: The Lineage of Lincoln , page 65. 

112 Wylie, Francis E.: "Grave of Lincoln's Infant Brother 
Believed Found,” Herald Post , Louisville, Kentucky, October 
23, 1933. 

Wylie, Francis E.: "A Recent Discovery in Kentucky's 


60 








































THE LINCOLN-MILL CREEK CEMETERY 


members of the Lincoln family are interred in the 
First Mill Creek Baptist churchyard, located 
twelve miles north of Elizabethtown and about 
two and one-half miles from the Dixie Highway 
(31W). Of all the Lincoln cemeteries in Ken¬ 
tucky, perhaps the Baptist Mill Creek burial 
ground has one of the greatest claims for historical 
interest. 113 

The First Mill Creek Baptist Church, which 
was erected in the churchyard cemetery was 
square and was constructed of hewn oak logs, 
thirty-three feet long from center notch to center 
notch. 114 A portion of the foundation of this old 
structure is still in existence. Nearby, a pioneer 
trail (established 1802), of which traces can today 


Lincoln Country,” Kentucky Progress Magazine, Louisville, 
Kentucky, Winter Edition, pages 88-91. 

Jackson, George F.: Grave of Lincoln’s Infant Brother 
Discovered. A reprint from American Motor Traveler. 
(Folder) 

113 It is believed that Ralph Crume and his wife, Mary 
Lincoln Crume (a sister of Thomas Lincoln) are interred in 
an abandoned cemetery in Breckenridge County. Many 
distant relatives of the pioneer Abraham Lincoln lie buried 
in various country churchyard cemeteries in northern Hardin 
County. 

114 Owen Cowley, a resident of this community, purchased 
in the year 1854 the original logs of the Mill Creek Baptist 
Church for $50.00. In making this purchase he “stepped off” 
the dimensions and roughly figured the church to be 33' x 33' 
in its original state. 


61 



THE KENTUCKY LINCOLNS ON MILL CREEK 


be discerned, traversed the graveyard plat and 
served the pioneers with an artery of travel. All 
the documentary records kept by this church have 
been destroyed, however, early church histories 
record the fact of the church’s existence as early 
as 1797. 115 The churchyard cemetery today re¬ 
mains in its primitive state. Here are to be ob¬ 
served all types of burial markers, from the primi¬ 
tive, unlettered flat head and foot stones, the 
rough cut sandstones with the inscriptions weath¬ 
ered away, to the smooth marble slabs with deeply 
chiseled letters and figures which are today leg¬ 
ible. 116 The old English word “consort” is used in 
several inscriptions instead of the word “wife.” 
Chiseled indentations show where pioneer people 

115 McMurtry, G. E.: History of the First Regular Baptist 
Church of Mill Creek, Unpublished manuscript. Collection 
of G. E. McMurtry of Vine Grove, Kentucky. 

The Severn’s Valley Baptist Church of Elizabethtown, Ken¬ 
tucky, established June 18, 1781, sent out colonies to form 
the following churches: Nolin, Middle Creek, Rudes Creek, 
Youngers Creek, Mill Creek , Mt. Zion, Gilead and perhaps 
others. Spencer, J. H.: A History of Kentucky Baptists , 
Vol. 1, page 23. 

Other Mill Creek Communities in Kentucky are to be found 
in Monroe, Nelson, and Jefferson Counties. Perhaps many 
other communities in the state bear the same name. 

116 The first manufactured tombstone erected in the Mill 
Creek Cemetery was placed over the grave of Eveline Carrico, 
(died March 22, 1835). The grave of her husband Isaac 
Carrico is unmarked. 

62 



THE LINCOLN-MILL CREEK CEMETERY 


attempted to cut names and dates to mark the 
graves of their loved ones, but wind, rain, sun, 
freezes and thaws have all but obliterated these 
crude inscriptions. 117 

Just such a cemetery as is located here would 
have perhaps appealed to President Lincoln. The 
quietness of the Mill Creek “God’s Acres,” its 
pioneer atmosphere, its picturesque setting, its 
serenity and isolation would have impressed the 
martyred statesman. In fact Lincoln’s interest in 
such primitive burial places has been revealed by 
Isaac N. Arnold, a close friend of the Lincolns. 
Arnold stated that Mary Todd Lincoln related, 
in October, 1874, the following incident, during 
which time the president mentioned death and 
his last resting place: 

“A short time before his death, on the visit of the 
President and Mrs. Lincoln to City Point and Rich¬ 
mond before spoken of, as they were taking a drive 
on the banks of James River, they came to an old 
country graveyard. It was a retired place, shaded 
with trees, and early spring flowers were opening 
on nearly every grave. It was so quiet and attrac¬ 
tive that they stopped the carriage and walked 
through it. Mr. Lincoln seemed thoughtful and im¬ 
pressed. He said, ‘Mary, you are younger than I. 

117 The Mill Creek Cemetery was abandoned in the year 
1854. The present Mill Creek Baptist Church and cemetery 
are located one mile west of the original site. 


63 



THE KENTUCKY LINCOLNS ON MILL CREEK 


You will survive me. When I am gone, lay my re¬ 
mains in some quiet place like this/ ” 118 

The primitive hardships of the earthly existence 
of these departed Mill Creek pioneers, their un¬ 
doubting religion, stern morality and uncompro¬ 
mising courage transforms this old graveyard into 
hallowed ground. An historically minded Hardin 
County citizen has quaintly stated that: 

“The Mill Creek pioneers will all be scooped up 
together on Judgment Day. A selection will have 
to be made of the people buried in the more mod¬ 
ern cemeteries.” 119 

While residing on Mill Creek, Bathsheba Lin¬ 
coln, the widow of Captain Abraham Lincoln, 
passed away at the Brumfield home. 120 The date 
of the death of the aged grandmother is not defi- 

118 Arnold, Isaac N.: The Life of Abraham Lincoln. A. C. 
McClurg & Co., Copyright 1901. Page 435. Used by 
special permission of the publisher. 

119 Statement of G. E. McMurtry to Bailey P. Wootton, 
Director of Kentucky State Parks, July 10, 1936. 

120 “Lucretia Austin was the daughter of Wm. Brumfield 
and Nancy Lincoln Brumfield and I knew her very well. She 
lived on and owned the Wm. Brumfield farm, where she was 
born and raised, and took care of her father and mother in 
their old days, as they had taken care of the widow of 
Abraham Lincoln, the first, after he was killed in an Indian 
battle.” Affidavit of F. O. Viers, June 23, 1930. Collection 
of G. E. McMurtry of Vine Grove, Kentucky. 

64 


i 



THE LINCOLN-MILL CREEK CEMETERY 


nitely known, even though traditional evidence 
is not lacking regarding the time. A great- 
grandson of the pioneer woman, Mr. J. L. Nall, 
stated that she died in the year 1836, at the age 
of 110 years. 121 Other statements have revealed 
that Bathsheba made her home with the Brum¬ 
fields until her death, in the year 1832. 122 Up to 
the present no documentary evidence has been 
discovered which proves conclusively the date of 


121 Letter of J. L. Nall to W. H. Sweeney, Newspaper 
clipping, “How Lincoln Got Name of Abraham.” Date and 
paper unknown. R. T. Durrett Scrap-book, Library of Chi¬ 
cago University, Chicago, Illinois. 

122 The general concensus of opinion in Hardin County is 
that Bathsheba Lincoln died in the year 1833. 

“Frances Bennett kept the (Nall) family Bible and Ernest 
Nall’s wife and daughter took such a fancy to it while on 
a visit here (Hardin County) from Beaumont, Texas, that 
Mrs. Bennett gave them the Bible, and I am certain that 
Ernest Nall informed me that 'Granny’ Lincoln died in 1833.” 
G. E. McMurtry in letter to author May 18, 1938. 

Unfortunately, the Lincoln entries in the Nall family Bible 
do not mention the name of Bathsheba Lincoln. 

“The first Lincoln mentioned in our (Nall) family Bible 
is Nancy Linkhorn (Lincoln) born March 25, 1780, married 
February 12, 1801 to William Brumfield, and died October 7, 
1843. Nancy was one of the daughters of Bathsheba and 
both of them were buried in Hardin County, Kentucky.” 
Agnes Nall Park (daughter of Ernest Nall) in letter to author. 
May 27, 1938. 

It is of interest to note that the date of Nancy Lincoln’s 
marriage to William Brumfield is recorded in the Nall family 
Bible as February 12, 1801. 


65 



THE KENTUCKY LINCOLNS ON MILL CREEK 


her death. 123 Her remains are interred in the Mill 
Creek churchyard. 124 Here she sleeps surrounded 
by pioneers of her own and other generations, all 
of whose lives were lived in primitive simplicity. 125 
Early residents state that a hand-hewn stone, 
picked up perhaps from a field or creek bottom, 
approximately three feet in height, was placed at 
the head of her grave, with the initials “B. L.” 
carved on the smoothed surface. Vandals and 
deterioration have practically destroyed the stone, 
and today only a small portion of, the original 
stone remains to mark the site of her burial. 126 

123 Dr. Barton made the statement that: “Bathsheba lived 
to a great age, dying in 1836.” Barton, William E.: The 
Lineage of Lincoln. The Bobbs-Merrill Co., Copyright 1929. 
Page 74. Used by special permission of the publishers. 

Barton was of the opinion that Bathsheba was usually 
called “Granny Basheby.” Barton, William E.: The Women 
Lincoln Loved, page 52. 

124 “My great-grandmother, who was the grandmother of 
the president, ... is buried at the old Mill Creek church, 
and I suppose I am the only living person that knows where 
her grave is.” Letter of J. H. Nall to W. H. Sweeney. News¬ 
paper clipping, “How Lincoln Got Name of Abraham.” Date 
and paper unknown. 

It is believed that Bathsheba’s funeral was preached by the 
Rev. Jacob Rogers, an early pastor of the Mill Creek Baptist 
Church. He served as minister for that church for twenty- 
two years, and it was during his pastorate that the grand¬ 
mother passed away. 

125 Editorial: “Fifty Trains of Gold.” The Louisville 
Times, August 12, 1936. 

126 “If the road should be improved before beginning of 

66 




Photographs courtesy of Lincoln National Life Foundation of Fort Wayne, Indiana 


First Mill Creek Baptist Church Cemetery 

Top: Lincoln lot in the First Mill Creek Baptist Church cemetery 
showing the graves of the Lincolns. Lower Left: Grave of 
Bathsheba Lincoln, the paternal grandmother of Abraham Lin¬ 
coln. Lower Right: Grave of Nancy Lincoln Brumfield, a 
paternal aunt of Abraham Lincoln. 






















THE LINCOLN-MILL CREEK CEMETERY 


A small designatory marker has been set up re¬ 
cently to identify the grave, but the simple unen¬ 
graved, uncut limestone slab should remain to 
mark the grave of the woman, whose grandson 
achieved a place “amongst the princes of the 
earth.” 127 Then, too, future generations who visit 

protection of the cemetery by the state the rest of the head¬ 
stone, perhaps, would be destroyed. Of course a monument 
could be erected, but more of a story of the Lincolns and of 
pioneer conditions is told by the piece of rough limestone 
than could be told by a handsome monument.” Editorial: 
“Protection First.” The Louisville Times , July 21, 1937. 

“The hand-made sandstone headstones and footstones which 
mark some of the graves are quite as interesting as those at 
Harrodsburg, (Kentucky) and the fact that even so poor 
a marker was denied to a woman whose grandson was to 
become one of the world’s immortals is of more interest than 
a marble monument 200 feet high at her grave would be.” 
Editorial: “Lincoln Cemetery Deserves States Attention.” 
The Louisville Times , June 16, 1936. 

127 “As a shrine—not a State Park—it will be dramatically 
illustrative if it remains unmarred by expensive treatment.” 
Editorial: “Preserve Simplicity.” The Louisville Times , Au¬ 
gust 13, 1936. 

In 1933 a tourist party of sixteen from Iowa visited the 
Mill Creek cemetery. An old gentleman of the party re¬ 
marked that the cemetery should be one hundred miles north 
where it would be properly looked after. 

In September, 1934, Mr. Howard E. Coffin, of New York 
City was the leader of a party of seven who desired to visit 
the Mill Creek cemetery. They were advised by the Louis¬ 
ville Automobile Club to procure a guide at Vine Grove, 
Kentucky. Upon the arrival of the party at the Mill Creek 
cemetery, Mr. Coffin stood at the head of the grave of Bath- 
sheba Lincoln, and after removing his hat said: “Here lies 
the remains of a woman who has, no doubt, helped to give 

67 



THE KENTUCKY LINCOLNS ON MILL CREEK 


this shrine may know that for a long time after 
the grave was identified as that of Lincoln s 
grandmother the county of Hardin and the state 
of Kentucky did nothing to preserve it, and van¬ 
dals carried away pieces of the headstone for 
souvenirs. 128 

Other members of the Lincoln family, who lie 
buried in the Mill Creek graveyard, are Nancy 
Lincoln Brumfield, William Brumfield, Mary 
Brumfield Crume and Frances Harrison French. 129 
Nancy Brumfield was the youngest sister of 
Thomas Lincoln. She is definitely known to have 
been a daughter of Bathsheba. She was born 
March 25, 1780, and on February 8, 1801, as has 
been stated before, she married William Brum¬ 
field. The date of her death is October 9, 1843. 
Nancy and William, who are buried in this his¬ 
toric cemetery, had four children named Mary, 
Elizabeth, Lucretia and Susan. Only one of these 
four daughters is buried on Mill Creek. Mary, 


brains, character, and love of humanity to one of the real 
great men, yet, weeds and briars cover her grave with nothing 
but a cow path leading to it.” 

128 The Louisville Times , August 13, 1936. 

129 “Just southwest of the Calvin lot is where President 
Abraham Lincoln’s forebears and kin are buried.” Mc- 
Murtry, G. E.: “History of the First Regular Baptist Church 
of Mill Creek.” Unpublished manuscript. Collection of G. E. 
McMurtry of Vine Grove, Kentucky. 

68 



THE LINCOLN-MILL CREEK CEMETERY 


the first child of the Brumfields, was born in 
Hardin County in 1803. On July 1, 1827 she 
married Ralph L. Crume, who is believed to have 
been her first cousin. She died June 15, 1851. 130 
Her remains are interred in the Mill Creek ceme¬ 
tery. 131 Elizabeth Brumfield's remains rest in the 
Howell churchyard cemetery, while Lucretia is 
buried in the Bogard graveyard. 132 The location 

130 “Mary, the eldest daughter of William and Nancy Brum¬ 
field, was bom in 1803 in Hardin County, Kentucky. She 
married Ralph L. Crume, presumably her cousin, on July 1, 
1827, and passed away October 9, 1845.” Lincoln Lore, 
“Abraham Lincoln’s First Cousins,” No. 322, June 10, 1935. 

131 The inscription on the grave stone of Mary Brumfield 
Crume is as follows: “Mary Crume departed this life June 15, 
1851. Aged 48 years, 5 months, 11 days.” The date of her 
death as recorded on her grave stone does not coincide with 
the date established by historical research. Undoubtedly the 
grave stone inscription is correct. 

According to tradition practically all of the sculptured grave 
stones in the Mill Creek Baptist churchyard cemetery were 
the work of a pioneer sculptor named Munford. When the 
wife (Rebekah) of Munford died (April 12, 1846) he placed 
a stone over her grave with the proper lettering and inscrip¬ 
tion. After a while he was confronted with a shortage of de¬ 
sirable stone and at the time of the death of Mary Brumfield 
Crume he took the grave stone from his wife’s grave, plastered 
up the inscribed side, reversed it, and relettered the opposite 
side for the grave of Lincoln’s first cousin. Munford was 
paid $2.50 for this work, and his daughter said that he would 
not have done this had he not been crazed with drink. As 
a result of this change of grave stones, the stone marking the 
grave of Mary Brumfield Crume is inscribed on both sides. 

132 The Howell Churchyard cemetery is located two miles 
west of Vine Grove, Kentucky. 


69 



THE KENTUCKY LINCOLNS ON MILL CREEK 


of the grave of Susan is unknown. Frances Har¬ 
rison French, a great-granddaughter of Bathsheba 
Lincoln, was buried on Mill Creek in August 
1881. 133 She was the last member of the Lincoln 
family to be interred in the Mill Creek church¬ 
yard. 

Undoubtedly, the location of some of the pio¬ 
neer graves of the Lincoln family (except the 
graves of Nancy Lincoln Brumfield and Mary 
Brumfield Crume) would have been lost, had not 
Mrs. Susan Harrison, the granddaughter of 
Nancy Lincoln Brumfield, relocated them in Au¬ 
gust 1881. She knew the location of each burial 
in the Lincoln lot, and she selected the plot of 
ground for the last resting place of her daughter, 
Frances Harrison French. The relocation and 
identification of each of the Lincoln graves, in the 
year 1881, has enabled historians to feel confident 
of the correct location of these early Lincoln buri¬ 
als. 134 


The Bogard Cemetery is located near New Stithton, which 
is situated near the Fort Knox Military Reservation. (Three 
miles north of Vine Grove, Ky.) 

Lucretia Brumfield married John Austin in 1835. 

133 There is no inscribed stone marking the grave of Frances 
Harrison French. 

134 T, John J. French, of Route #4, Vine Grove, Ky., being 
in the 73rd year of my life make this statement. In August 
1879 I married Elizabeth Frances Harrison the daughter of 
Abner and Susan Harrison and two weeks later we, with 

70 



THE LINCOLN-MILL CREEK CEMETERY 


While the inscription of Bathsheba Lincolns 
gravestone has been obliterated, the marker over 
the grave of Thomas Lincoln’s sister still remains 
in an excellent state of preservation. This ancient 
marker records the earthly existence of a member 
of the Lincoln clan, and it serves to connect the 
present with the remote past. This gravestone is 
the most interesting tangible evidence of the resi¬ 
dence of the Lincoln family on Mill Creek. The 
inscription of the Nancy Lincoln Brumfield 
marker is as follows: 

nineteen other persons, moved to South East Missouri. We 
remained there until the Fall of 1880 and on the account 
of so much swamp fever we came back to Kentucky; my 
wife and infant son both being ill of swamp fever, from 
which she never recovered and died in August 1881. About 
two weeks before my wife’s death her mother, Susan Harrison, 
came from South East Mo. to be with her, and at her death 
selected the place for her interrment, which was by the side 
of her Great Great Grandmother, Bersheba Lincoln, in the 
Lincoln lot in the old First Mill Creek Baptist Church Ceme¬ 
tery. My wife’s mother, Mrs. Susan Harrison, was a grand 
daughter of Nancy Lincoln Brumfield, making her a great 
grand daughter of Bersheba Lincoln and she knew where 
each member of her family was buried in the Lincoln lot 
at this old cemetery and had no trouble in locating the proper 
place for my wife’s last resting place. Before the death of 
my wife and before the arrival of her mother she requested 
me, should her mother not arrive until after her death, that 
she be buried with her own people in the Lincoln lot in the 
old First Mill Creek Baptist Church Cemetery.” Affidavit 
of John J. French, May 12, 1931. Collection of G. E. 
McMurtry of Vine Grove, Kentucky. 


71 



THE KENTUCKY LINCOLNS ON MILL CREEK 


Nancy Brumfield 
Wife of 

William Brumfield 
Departed this 
Life October 
9, 1843 at 7 o'clock eve 
Aged 63 135 

A concerted effort has been made by citizens 
of Hardin County and other interested individu¬ 
als to preserve this ancient graveyard. 136 In order 
to secure control of the abandoned property, an 
organization was formed which was called “The 
Memorial Association of Lincoln and the Lincoln 


135 “But we do not know at what o’clock or in what month 
or year her mother died.” Barton, William E.: The Women 
Lincoln Loved. The Bobbs-Merrill Co., Copyright 1927. 
Page 52. Used by special permission of the publishers. 

There is no inscribed stone marking the location of the 
grave of William Brumfield. 

136 “Hardin County has a state park, according to recent 
listing of Kentucky parks by Director Bailey P. Wootton, 
but few people in the county are cognizant of the fact, due 
to the unapproachability of the area. About the only way 
it could be reached satisfactorily would be by muleback.” 
Editorial: “Hardin’s State Park,” Hardin County Enterprise , 
July 8, 1937. 

“If the road were built The Enterprise says, hundred of 
visitors annually. . . . The Times would say thousands and 
believe the statement conservative . . . would visit the ceme¬ 
tery.” Editorial: “Protection First,” The Louisville Times, 
July 21, 1937. 

72 



THE L1NCOLN-M1LL CREEK CEMETERY 


Pioneers” of New York City. The trustees of this 
organization were Harvey H. Smith, G. E. Mc- 
Murtry and E. T. Hutchings. 137 On April 25,1931, 
the trustees of the Memorial Association acquired 
from Edwin Stovall, James H. Stader and Veach 
Jones, the trustees of the Mill Creek Baptist 
church, the historical church property. In ac¬ 
quiring this land, the Lincoln Memorial Associa¬ 
tion agreed that the property would be used solely 
for park purposes. This land had been in the 
possession of the Mill Creek Baptist church for 
more than one hundred and twenty-one years 
(1936). The amount of land conveyed was less 
than three-quarters of an acre. Early deeds 
stated that there were one and three quarters 
acres in the plat, however, later deeds give the 
amount of land to be about three-quarters of an 

138 

acre. 

On July 13, 1936, the Memorial Association of 
Lincoln and The Lincoln Pioneers deeded the 
cemetery plot, along with other property, to the 
Commonwealth of Kentucky. The total acreage 


137 Mr. Harvey Harold Smith is the author of a volume of 
482 pages, entitled “Lincoln and The Lincolns ” Pioneer Pub¬ 
lications, Inc., New York, N. Y., 1931. 

138 Edwin Stovall and Company to Memorial Association of 
Lincoln and the Lincoln Pioneers of New York, Deed Book 
96, page 302, Hardin County Court, Elizabethtown, Kentucky. 

73 



THE KENTUCKY LINCOLNS ON MILL CREEK 


of the property deeded amounted to three acres. 
This deed provided for a right of way for the pro¬ 
posed Lincoln Memorial Highway. The deed was 
accepted by Bailey P. Wootton, director of Ken¬ 
tucky State parks. 139 This cemetery is now known 
as Kentucky State park number 17, and the name 
“The Lincoln Cemetery Memorial” has been given 
to the burial plot. 140 

139 Memorial Association of Lincoln and The Lincolns to 
Commonwealth of Kentucky. Deed Book 96, page 304, 
Hardin County Court, Elizabethtown, Kentucky. 

140 “I read with interest the newspaper clipping referring to 
the cemetery in which Lincoln’s kin are buried. It was with 
much delight that I learned the people of Hardin County, 
Kentucky, are now making efforts to establish a state park at 
the pioneer Lincoln cemetery near Elizabethtown, where you 
advise me the grandmother of Lincoln ... is buried. No 
one can disagree with you that this place should be made a 
Kentucky State shrine. 

“In Illinois, where Lincoln lived from the time of his 
maturity until he left for Washington for the Presidency, we 
have many parks and memorials to Lincoln—we are estab¬ 
lishing new ones yearly as located by us. If the Lincoln 
cemetery, of which you speak were in Illinois, you may be 
assured that we would lose no time in establishing a state 
park commemorating it if it were practicable. Nothing em¬ 
phasizes the history of a state or a country so much as 
memorials of this kind, and no people should be without con¬ 
stant reminders of their own history.” Letter of Governor 
Henry Horner to author, May 14, 1936. Collection of De¬ 
partment of Lincolniana, Lincoln Memorial University, Har¬ 
rogate, Tennessee. 

“Present plans are to clear the tract with the aid of C.C.C. 
youths. Headstones in the cemetery will be raised and a 
rail fence will be put around the historic burying ground. 

74 
































































































































































































THE LINCOLN-MILL CREEK CEMETERY 


“The Lincoln Cemetery Memorial” is today al¬ 
most inaccessible. A country road, five miles 
long, leads from the Dixie highway (31W) to the 
abandoned churchyard. This road is passable in 
dry weather, but very rough. 141 The cemetery is 
situated by air line only two and one-half miles 
east from the Louisville and Nashville highway 
(31W) . 142 Running almost parallel in this section 

It is likely that a caretaker's quarters will be constructed. 
The rebuilding of the old Mill Creek Church nearby, has 
been proposed.” Hardin County Enterprise, “Mill Creek 
Cemetery Is Made Kentucky State Park Tuesday.” August 
13, 1936. 

Undoubtedly, when other state parks are established, the 
number of this park will be changed. 

141 “It is a place of great historical interest and something 
should be done toward making it a shrine and causing a 
road to be built thereto. Lying only about three miles from 
the Fort Knox Military Reservation and in a direct line only 
two miles from the Dixie Highway, still the place is almost 
inaccessible.” Boldrick, Samuel }.: “Where Lincoln's Kin 
are Buried,” The Elizabethtown News, May 1, 1936. 

142 “To the people who revere the Lincolns and their early 
ancestry this spot should be reached by a highway from the 
Dixie Highway which would only be a few miles to construct, 
and the little graveyard should be made into an attractive 
spot with distinctive markers and the history of the people 
who are buried, who are the ancestors of the Lincoln family. 
Tourists now passing through the country want to know the 
history and want to visit all historical spots. The State of 
Kentucky should unquestionably build this road to the Mill 
Creek graveyard of the Lincolns, for nearly every tourist of 
the North coming into Kentucky would want to visit it.” 
Editorial: “Hardin County The Home of The Lincolns,” The 
Elizabethtown News, June 23, 1936. 


75 



THE KENTUCKY LINCOLNS ON MILL CREEK 


with the Dixie highway is the Sheperdsville road, 
which is now under construction. This road is, 
likewise, only two and one-half miles eastward 
from the Cemetery Memorial. In order to con¬ 
nect these two highways, plans have been sub¬ 
mitted for a road to link together the two thor¬ 
oughfares. This road is to be called the “Bath- 
sheba Lincoln Parkway.” The route of this pro¬ 
posed highway will be almost identical with the 
trail followed by the Lincolns in 1816, when they 
migrated to Indiana. 

The proposed “Bathsheba Lincoln Parkway” 
will be five miles long. 143 Beginning at the Vine 
Grove junction on the Dixie highway, it will trav¬ 
erse the Mill Creek country, running by the Lin¬ 
coln Cemetery Memorial and the Brumfield 
farm. 144 The road will continue eastward, form¬ 
ing a junction with the Shepherdsville road. With 
the completion of these proposed projects, the 
the traveling public will have an opportunity to 
visit the numerous historical sites of the Lincoln 


143 This proposed road, a segment of the Lincoln Memorial 
Highway of Kentucky, was placed on the primary system of 
Kentucky roads during the year 1936. McMurtry, R. Gerald: 
“The Lincoln Migration from Kentucky to Indiana—1816 ” 
(Addenda) Page 45. 

144 This road should follow as near as possible the old 
route surveyed in July, 1802. Order Book No. 1, page 345, 
Hardin County Court Records, Elizabethtown, Kentucky. 

76 



THE LINCOLN-MILL CREEK CEMETERY 


Mill Creek country. These roads will enable the 
tourist to travel over practically the same route 
taken by Thomas Lincoln in the year 1816, through 
an area unspoiled by modern progress and indus¬ 
trial development. 145 The Mill Creek country will 
give a new insight into the events, conditions and 
environment of Lincoln’s childhood years. 

At present this entire area is undeveloped. 
There is no custodian at the Mill Creek cemetery 
to protect the Lincoln graves from vandals. No 
markers have been placed along the historic road, 
indicating the 1816 migration trail. The Brum¬ 
field farm remains as mute evidence of early his¬ 
torical associations. The Douglas spring flows on 
in obscurity, with likely less than a dozen peo¬ 
ple knowing of its historical background. The 
Thomas Lincoln Mill Creek farm remains un¬ 
noticed, for it is not considered by travelers as 
important in the study of Lincoln’s Kentucky en¬ 
vironment. Truly, here is a neglected historical 
area that has waited long years for its rightful 
place in history. Undoubtedly, this Lincoln Mill 
Creek country will some day rank in importance 
with other historic Kentucky Lincoln shrines. 146 

145 Unmistakable signs and remains of the pioneer road of 
1802 are to be seen along this route. 

146 The author is indebted to Mr. G. E. McMurtry for the 
use of his historical data concerning the Mill Creek country. 
Mr. McMurtry is a first cousin of the author’s grandfather. 

77 



KENTUCKY LINCOLNS ON MILL CREEK 


This book was set on the linotype in Caledonia—a type face 
designed in 1939 by W. A. Dwiggins. This face, while entirely 
new, has touches of both Bulmer’s Martin and Wilson’s Scotch, 
dating back to around 1790. The type size is twelve point 
with two point spacing between lines. 

Mead Corporation’s Bulking Antique text was selected as the most 
suitable text paper. 

Binding fabrics were secured from the Holliston Mills, Inc., and 
Waverly Quality was chosen. The board used for the cover 
stiffening is genuine binder’s grade. 

Typography, printing and binding, including cover designing, was 
performed by the Kingsport Press, Inc., Kingsport, Tennessee. 
The interior art work is by Shelburne Stamper. 


78 











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