The Rockport Journal, June 6, 1953

Article was typed as it was worded in the newspaper.

Washington, D.C. Writer Lauds Rockport Shrine's Contribution to Lincoln History

Mt. Rainier, Md.
May 19, 1953

Editor -- Mr. Joe Hargis,
Rockport Journal.
Dear Sir:

For Hoosiers away from home and especially those from in and around Spencer county, the enclosed writings in the Sunday Times-Herald newspaper, May 10 issue, must have given them a deep sense of appreciation for recognition of their birthplace. More particularly though, the notable subject, Abraham Lincoln, and the under-emphasis placed on the formative period of his life in this vicinity undoubtedly resolved many to "do something about it". Hence the undying spirit of this great man remains ever present and comes to life in this small community and its city park. As the reporter, Miss Jo Stephens, so aptly put it, too little is known or has been written concerning Lincoln's early boyhood in this section of the country.

Perhaps I am a little prejudiced, having also been born there in Spencer county near Richland, which is a neighbor to Rockport, so I have a special spot in my heart for its people, their interests, though no knowing too much about either, having been away from there for several years.

I sincerely hope that in the near future authors and historians would realize that an interested public would no doubt appreciate these little known facts concerning Lincoln "brought to life".

Yours truly,
Minnie Fodder White,
(Mrs. Thomas W. White)
4508 32 Street
Mt. Rainier, Md.
Phone WArfield 7-4367

ED. -- The article written by Jo Stephens, appeared in the Sunday, May 10, 1953, issue of the Washington (D. C.) Times Herald. It follows:


A little town in southern Indiana has arrived at something different and appropriate to honor Abraham Lincoln. Instead of a towering monument his wilderness community has come to life in the city park at Rockport, Spencer county, adjoining the Ohio river.

So much emphasis has been placed on Abraham Lincoln's birthplace at Hodgenville, Ky., his clerking at New Salem, Ill., and his law practice at Springfield, the formative period of his life is often overlooked and under-emphasized. That character-molding period between the ages of 7 and 21 was spent in Spencer county; and today Hoosiers have staked their claim as having substantially contributed to the greatness of the world's most outstanding man. This claim is reflected in the Lincoln pioneer village. Even the hardship was ever present in this formative period, yet Lincoln profited much by having lived in this section of the country during this period in our stirring history.

Realistic in Detail

The Lincoln Pioneer Village is so realistic, Lincoln's spirit seemed to be my host during my visit to his community. The assemblage of all the old log houses, built as they originally were when they were so much a part of his youth, now surrounded by a log stockade, re-tell the story of Lincoln's youth. Back in 1816 to 1830 all these cabins were miles apart.

John Pitcher's old law office contains some of the books Lincoln walked 17 miles to borrow. He was then so absorbed in books, the cornbread he ate was tasteless and the days of shucking corn were long.

Squire Pate's office is a reminder of how Lincoln became interested in the practice of law.

The next cabin is Jones' store which used to be at Jonesboro, just west of Gentryville. Lincoln used to clerk in this store.

Church is Reproduced

The old Pigeon Baptist church which Abe and his dad helped build brings back tales of youthful activity. A record in the minute books kept by William Baker shows that on July 7, 1823, the church "received Brother Thomas Lincoln by letter". All members of his family belonged to this church except Abe.

The market and barter house brings back pictures of coon-skin capped farmers and traders who brought their furs and farm produce to barter for the things they needed.

The pioneer school house will not bring back too many memories connected with Lincoln. He went to three different schools in Indiana, besides two in Kentucky -- altogether about four months in school.

A replica of the Gentry mansion reminds one of the long hours Abe as a boy worked on the Gentry farm, and of the year in 1828 when he and Allen Gentry had gone to New Orleans on a flatboat. It was on this trip to New Orleans that Lincoln saw a man of the common people, Andrew Jackson, being swept into the Presidency.

Saw Evils of Slavery

It made him feel that was the thing that the founders of the Constitution had in mind when they said; "All men are created equal". It was also in New Orleans he got his first glimpse of the evils of slavery.

A glance at the Lincoln's last cabin in Indiana brings back memories of joy and sorrow for Abe Lincoln. The pegs driven into the walls re-tell the story of the nights he climbed to the loft to sleep, often with rain or snow coming thru the chinks of the cabin -- one time soaking thru the book Josiah Crawford had loaned him. Pulling fodder for two days paid for the book.

A replica of Nancy Hanks Lincoln's bed has been made out of boughs from trees and cleated into the walls.

Many other items of interest are on display in this pioneer village: the old covered wagon, the ox-cart, the sweep and windlass wells.