His father, Thomas Lincoln, was the descendant of a weaver’s apprentice who had migrated from England to Massachusetts in 1637.
Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809, in a one-room, dirt-floor log cabin by Nolin Creek, near present-day Hodgenville, Kentucky, United States. His father, Thomas, was a skilled carpenter who was able to provide basic necessities for his family. Lincoln ancestors first arrived in Massachusetts from England in 1637, spreading to Pennsylvania and then to Virginia. Thomas Lincoln’s father, Abraham, took his family to Kentucky, where he was killed by an Indian while he was clearing his farmland. Lincoln’s mother, Nancy who never learned to read, had given birth to a daughter, Sarah, two years before Abraham was born. One more child, Thomas, died in infancy.
The family moved to a nearby farm on Knob Creek when the boy was two, and he began hunting, fishing, and doing farm chores as soon as he was old enough. The family crossed the Ohio River in 1816 and moved into a heavily forested area in southern Indiana. Another crude log cabin was built, and young Abe and his father began clearing land and establishing a farm near what is now Gentryville, Indiana.
Lincoln’s mother died of tremetol (milk sickness) when Abraham was nine years old. The event was devastating to him, and young Abe grew more alienated from his father and quietly resented the hard work placed on him at an early age. The following year, his father married Sarah Bush Johnston, a widow with three children. The two families mixed well, although Tom Lincoln had to build an extension on the cabin, and with his stepmother’s encouragement, young Abe learned to read and write and do arithmetic. He worked mostly on his own and had only about one year’s worth of formal schooling during his entire life.
Lincoln read the Bible, Aesop’s Fables, histories, and biographies. He was especially impressed by a biography of George Washington, and he went on to enjoy reading the plays of William Shakespeare. However, most of his time was spent chopping down trees, ploughing, planting, and harvesting, just like every other youngster growing up on the frontier, even though he disliked the hard labour associated with farm life and was called lazy for all his reading, scribbling, writing, ciphering, writing Poetry, etc. He also found a job: he piloted a ferryboat carrying passengers and their baggage to riverboats docked along the Ohio River.