Column: Lincoln shaped by his years in Indiana




Three states claim Abraham Lincoln as a favorite son, but only Indiana can take credit for his formative years. As he moved through adolescence to adulthood, Lincoln worked, studied and dealt with adversity on the Indiana frontier.

During this period, Lincoln handled an ax “almost constantly,” as he himself recalled. He read voraciously. He practiced carpentry, even helping his father build a coffin for his mother. He took a ferry to New Orleans on business and witnessed a slave auction that troubled his soul. He listened and learned from political debates at the local general store.

“Many of the character traits and moral values that made Abraham one of the world’s most respected leaders were formed and nurtured here,” according to National Park Service historians at the Lincoln Boyhood Home Memorial.

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