Rash's Surname Index

Notes for Sarah LINCOLN

Birth: Feb. 10, 1807 in Elizabethtown, Hardin Co, KentuckyDeath: Jan. 20, 1928 in Lincoln City, Spencer Co, Indiana

When Sarah died, Abraham Lincoln sat down and cried, tears rolled down from between his fingers as he tried to cover his grief stricken face at the terrible news that brought back painful memories of his mother's untimely passing.

Sarah Lincoln Grigsby, sister of Abraham Lincoln, never saw her younger brother's rise to fame. As a result of her brother's fame, her own life has become part of our American heritage.

Born in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, on February 10, 1807, little Sarah and young Abraham attended a basic ABC school. From her mother she learned the arts of spinning, soap making, and cooking over an open fire. Most significant of all, she and Abaraham used to listened to stories told by travelers on the Louisville - Nashville road that ran directly in front of the Lincoln cabin. Sarah had some education when many frontier children learned only the tasks for farming or housekeeping.

When Sarah and Abe's father, Thomas Lincoln, moved his family to Indiana in 1816, little Sarah had even more household responsibilities. Her mother Nancy was stricken with milk sickness; a poisoning caused by the plant white snakeroot, which if consumed by cows poisoned their milk. On October 5, 1818, Nancy Hanks Lincoln died, leaving little Sarah and Abraham motherless. The children never got over the shock and trauma of losing the more sympathetic of the two parents. Young Sarah helped the local women prepare, dress, and place her mother's body into the casket.

Times got very hard for little Sarah and she had to become the mother, so to speak, of the household. The demise of her loving mother made her the only person who would have to take care of their home, her father Thomas, her brother Abraham, and an orphaned 18-year old cousin, Dennis Hanks, whose family had also died from the dreaded milk sickness. Nancy's shoes were hard to fill. Tom Lincoln then left the children in a relative's care and went off to find a wife. He said he would return in 3 months but came back almost a year later, leaving the kids to think that wild animals had devoured their father somewhere in the wild.

When Thomas Lincoln brought home a new wife and mom, Sarah had to adjust to having a stepmother and stepbrother and stepsisters. Fortunately, her new mother, also named Sarah, was an angel in disguise and took over a lot of the domestic labor in the Lincoln household and her children became Sarah's and Abe's new stepsisters and stepbrother became playmates. Sarah Bush Johnston had a most agreeable impact psychologically on the children, which may have saved them emotionally.

When Sarah was 13, she attended Andrew Crawford's subscription school. Two years later she attended, although not too often, a school taught by a teacher named James Swaney. Then, at 17, she attended Azel Dorsey's school.

Sarah joined the Little Pigeon Baptist Church on April 8, 1826. On August 2, 1826, she married a man named Aaron Grigsby and the young couple moved into a cabin two miles south of the Lincolns. Approximately nine months after their marriage, Sarah was with child. But unfortunate complications during the delivery caused her untimely demise as well as her baby's.

A neighbor is recorded as saying; "I remember the night Sarah died. My mother was there at the time. She had a strong voice, and I heard her calling her father. He went after a doctor, but it was too late. They let her lay too long." Sarah died January 20, 1828 at the age of 21.

Sarah Bush Johnston Lincoln, her kindly step-mother, said that she was "short of stature and somewhat plump in build, her hair was dark brown and her eyes were gray." John Hanks, her cousin, said of Sarah, "She was kind, tender, and good natured and is said to have been a smart woman." Her brother-in-law Nathaniel Grigsby said that Sarah "was a woman of extraordinary mine. Her good-humored laugh I still can hear."

Sarah was buried with her baby in her arms at the Little Pigeon Primitive Baptist Church cemetery.

Sarah would have been proud of her little brother. Rest in peace, Sarah.

Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial Lincoln City, Spencer Co, Indiana

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