In 1859 Abraham Lincoln covered his Indiana years in one paragraph and two sentences of a written autobiographical statement that included the following: “We reached our new home about the time the State came into the union. It was a wild region, with many bears and other wild animals in the woods. There I grew up.”
William E. Bartelt's new book “There I Grew Up”: Remembering Abraham Lincoln’s Indiana Youth uses annotation and primary source material to tell the history of Lincoln’s Indiana years by those who were there. Bartelt begins with Lincoln’s own words written in two short autobiographical sketches in 1859 and 1860, and in the poetry Lincoln wrote following a campaign trip to Indiana in 1844. In 1865 Lincoln’s law partner, William H. Herndon, began interviewing Lincoln’s family and those who knew Lincoln in Indiana. Bartelt examines Herndon’s interviews with Lincoln’s stepmother Sally Bush Johnston Lincoln, cousin Dennis Hanks, stepsister Matilda Johnston Moore, neighbors Nathaniel Grigsby, Elizabeth Crawford, and David Turnham, and others who knew Lincoln in Indiana. Also included in the volume are excerpts from Lincoln biographies by William Herndon, Ida Tarbell, Albert Beveridge, and Louis Warren, in which Bartelt analyzes to what extent these authors researched Lincoln’s Indiana period.
The book also reveals, through the words of those who knew him, Abraham Lincoln’s humor, compassion, oratorical skills, and thirst for knowledge, and it provides an overview of Lincoln’s Indiana experiences, his family, the community where the Lincolns settled, and southern Indiana during the years 1816 to 1830.
Bartelt is a retired educator who, for more than fifteen summers, was employed as a ranger and historian at the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial. He is a member of the Federal Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission's Advisory and Education Committees and serves as vice chair of the Indiana Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission.
“There I Grew Up”: Remembering Abraham Lincoln’s Indiana Youthcosts $27.95 and is available from the Society's Basile History Market. To order, call (800) 447-1830 or order online at the History Market.