217 North Senate Avenue

Indianapolis, Indiana

Immediate Release


No. 619

Indianapolis, Indiana, June – More than a hundred years ago, in a church building of rough hewn logs, a slim young boy sat Sunday after Sunday, listening to the fiery oratory of a Baptist minister. When the last hymn had been sung and the congregation had returned to their own firesides, the boy, back in his log cabin home, imitated the minister’s elocution to the last gesture, much to the consternation of his father and mother, pious members of the church.

The church was the Pigeon Creek Baptist Church, in southern Indiana, and the boy was young Abraham Lincoln. He helped his carpenter father, Thomas, build the church. He went to the services, which began on Saturday and lasted until Sunday afternoon. He listened to their controversies about supporting the missionary movements to the New England Baptist churches – but he never became a member of the church.

Now a reproduction of the original Pigeon Creek Baptist Church, where some historians say Lincoln served as janitor, has been constructed in the Lincoln Pioneer Village at Rockport. Works Progress Administration laborers built it, along with three other new buildings in the shrine started under Federal Emergency Relief Administration. The new buildings will be dedicated on July 4 as a culmination of the Lincoln county summer festival, June 26 to July 4.

The church is a long narrow building, one and one-half stories high, built of logs, with a stick and mud chimney. There is a large fireplace on one side of the building, and a high pulpit made of roughly hewn boards. A ladder leads to the upper story, where members of the congregation who came long distances to attended the services might spend the night. The seats are split logs with wooden pegs for legs. The floors also are made of split logs.

Lincoln’s father and stepmother and his brother and Sister Sarah were members of the church, which was situated about one mile west of what is now Lincoln City, and his sister was buried in the church graveyard. His father served as trustee of the church, as a delegate to the council for organizing a new church and as chairman of a committee to investigate differences between local members.

On the last day of the summer festival at Rockport, July 4, services will be held in the church every half hour - a somewhat modernized version of the old services at which various elders of the congregation took turns in exhorting their fellow parishioners.

Other buildings recently completed by WPA laborers and to be dedicated on July 4 are reproductions of the last home of the Lincolns in Indiana, the home of Daniel Grass, founder of Rockport, and a barter and market house.

Cut Lines—No. 619

Reproduction of Pigeon Creek Baptist Church, one of four log buildings constructed by Works Progress Administration workers in the Lincoln Pioneer Village, in Rockport, Spencer County. The buildings are to be dedicated July 4.

(This paper has been copied from the original.)