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Was Thomas Lincoln actually poor?
08-06-2012, 08:29 AM
Post: #1
Was Thomas Lincoln actually poor?
We all know the story of Abraham Lincoln being born and growing up in poverty. Is that actually the case? Certainly compared to others back East the Lincoln's were poor. But was Thomas Lincoln poor? I read he owned land, had farms, etc. By the standards of the West in his day-was he considered poor? Or have writers imposed their standards on the story? I wonder if Thomas would have considered himself poor?

Bill Nash
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08-06-2012, 05:57 PM
Post: #2
RE: Was Thomas Lincoln actually poor?
I really think poor is a relative term. If he had enough to eat and a warm place to sleep, I doubt he believed himself to be poor. I think the whole idea of poverty and Lincoln was more of an object lesson from early Lincoln biographers such as Herndon, etc., to show what Lincoln had to face before emerging into greatness.

Best
Rob

Abraham Lincoln in the only man, dead or alive, with whom I could have spent five years without one hour of boredom.
--Ida M. Tarbell
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08-06-2012, 06:07 PM
Post: #3
RE: Was Thomas Lincoln actually poor?
Yes, I don't think Thomas Lincoln would have considered himself poor. We say now that Abraham was born in a log cabin-as if to demonstrate the poverty he came into this world with. Not so sure the "painting" of the poverty of the Lincoln beginnings is accurate. Just food for thought.

Bill Nash
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08-06-2012, 06:41 PM
Post: #4
RE: Was Thomas Lincoln actually poor?
I have known many people that didn't know they were poor,until they were told they were poor!
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08-06-2012, 06:48 PM
Post: #5
RE: Was Thomas Lincoln actually poor?
From what I've read long time ago, Thomas Linclon would purchase land, clear it and improve it for farming, only to find out he did not have clear title. He would have to leave, and start all over. Not sure if this happened more than once?

So when is this "Old Enough To Know Better" supposed to kick in?
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08-07-2012, 06:30 AM
Post: #6
RE: Was Thomas Lincoln actually poor?
Gene: sounds very much like what happened with Daniel Boone. Among other things, there were often problems with boundaries as established by the settlers and surveyors.

Bill Nash
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08-07-2012, 06:53 AM
Post: #7
RE: Was Thomas Lincoln actually poor?
Bill, I once read that Daniel Boone was related to the Lincolns. As I recall the evidence was not conclusive, however. Ever heard anything like that?
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08-07-2012, 08:28 AM
Post: #8
RE: Was Thomas Lincoln actually poor?
Yes. The Lincoln's and the Boones intermarried more than once. This occurred before Abraham's birth. I am personally very distantly related to the Lincoln family because I have Boones in my genealogy.

Bill Nash
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08-07-2012, 08:55 AM
Post: #9
RE: Was Thomas Lincoln actually poor?
Bill,Are you related to Daniel's sister-Bab?-"Just Busting"
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08-07-2012, 09:07 AM
Post: #10
RE: Was Thomas Lincoln actually poor?
Good morning Herb. I'm from the line of Daniel's sister Sarah Cassandra Boone.

Bill Nash
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08-08-2012, 05:55 AM
Post: #11
RE: Was Thomas Lincoln actually poor?
I read a biography of Daniel Boone a few yearS back and if I recall Land surveying in Kentucky was a big problem. I believe Thomas Lincoln ran into this issue a few times. I agree with Rob. Poor is a relative term. It is hard to judge a persons status using 21st century norms for what is considered rich or poor.

Craig
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08-08-2012, 06:30 AM
Post: #12
RE: Was Thomas Lincoln actually poor?
Craig: it was a big problem, you're correct. Boone lost most of his land claims. He was frequently in court regarding land issues. When he finally left the "dark and bloody ground," he moved on further West looking for new land opportunities. He also basically complained that Kentucky was becoming overcrowded-as his nearest neighbor was only twenty miles away! Thomas Lincoln probably had the same kind of land claim problems.

Bill Nash
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09-18-2012, 12:42 AM (This post was last modified: 09-18-2012 12:45 AM by PioneerLady.)
Post: #13
RE: Was Thomas Lincoln actually poor?
Thomas Lincoln was quite prosperous in Indiana.

He bought 160 acres of land in 1816 on credit and put down a substantial amount when he claimed it at the federal land office in Vincennes, Indiana, in 1817. He eventually sold 80 acres back to the government in 1827 as part of a buy-back program due to the delinquencies the Panic of 1819 had caused. Thomas paid off his 80 acres in 1827 (I believe, might have been 1828; my memory is a bit sluggish tonight) and purchased 20 acres of cleared land from a neighbor around that time, too.

When Thomas sold his land in early 1830, he also sold off 100 heads of hog and 200-300 bushels of corn, among other things. We know he was paid throughout his years in Indiana for furniture and other carpentry works he created. There is a record of a $40 corner cabinet Thomas made for a neighbor, but I'm sure others paid him in goods or crops.

I'd say poor by today's standards, but in eyes of folks living around Thomas and Abraham during his Indiana years, I'd say they were doing just fine.

Thomas did lose farms in Kentucky due to title disputes, both at Sinking Springs Farm and Knob Creek Farm. He was involved in a few lawsuits due to it. Abraham said that the primary reason the family moved to Indiana was so that Thomas could obtain a free and clear title on his land holdings. Indiana was part of a federal land program where land was bought on credit through the government. Indiana gained statehood in December 1816 and Thomas and his family moved to Indiana directly on the heels of statehood.
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09-18-2012, 06:24 AM
Post: #14
RE: Was Thomas Lincoln actually poor?
PioneerLady: great information!

Bill Nash
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03-03-2013, 01:27 PM
Post: #15
RE: Was Thomas Lincoln actually poor?
(09-18-2012 12:42 AM)PioneerLady Wrote:  Thomas Lincoln was quite prosperous in Indiana.

He bought 160 acres of land in 1816 on credit and put down a substantial amount when he claimed it at the federal land office in Vincennes, Indiana, in 1817. He eventually sold 80 acres back to the government in 1827 as part of a buy-back program due to the delinquencies the Panic of 1819 had caused. Thomas paid off his 80 acres in 1827 (I believe, might have been 1828; my memory is a bit sluggish tonight) and purchased 20 acres of cleared land from a neighbor around that time, too.

When Thomas sold his land in early 1830, he also sold off 100 heads of hog and 200-300 bushels of corn, among other things. We know he was paid throughout his years in Indiana for furniture and other carpentry works he created. There is a record of a $40 corner cabinet Thomas made for a neighbor, but I'm sure others paid him in goods or crops.

I'd say poor by today's standards, but in eyes of folks living around Thomas and Abraham during his Indiana years, I'd say they were doing just fine.

Thomas did lose farms in Kentucky due to title disputes, both at Sinking Springs Farm and Knob Creek Farm. He was involved in a few lawsuits due to it. Abraham said that the primary reason the family moved to Indiana was so that Thomas could obtain a free and clear title on his land holdings. Indiana was part of a federal land program where land was bought on credit through the government. Indiana gained statehood in December 1816 and Thomas and his family moved to Indiana directly on the heels of statehood.

Hello! New guy here. I once read an article about Thomas Lincoln's Indiana land deals. It was very interesting. At the time gov't land sold for $2 an acre on credit. 1/20 down, 1/5 due in 40 days, 1/4 due in two years, then 1/4 due each of the next two years. TL claimed 160 acres, paid $16 in Oct. 1817. Paid $64 in Dec 1817 (about a month late). Then made no more payments. In 1821 he filed for an extension which required a payment of $30 a year for 8 years. Then he made none of those payments. In 1827 he made a complicated transaction which included purchasing 80 acres in Posey county which was already 1/2 paid for. Then he relinquished the east half of his Spencer county land, which left him with eighty acres on which he owed $80. Then he relinquished the 80 acres in Posey county, which then gave him an $80 credit, which he applied to his Spencer county farm - leaving him free and clear. The author's idea was that TL was smarter than he's given credit for to enter into such a complicated arrangement. My theory is that he had help. James Gentry received a patent on the same date that TL did, which leads me to believe that business magnate Gentry was involved. He would have had the connections to have found out about the availability of land 40 or 50 miles away and how it could be used to retire the debt presumably more cheaply than a straight deal with the land office.
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