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Sunday, March 19, 2017

The "Did You Know Abraham Lincoln Was A Farmer In Lancaster County?" Story

Tombstone of Abraham Lincoln who was
buried in Bangor Episcopal Churchyard. 
It was an ordinary day.  Standing in front of the historic Bangor Episcopal Church in Churchtown, Pennsylvania.  Bangor was founded in 1722, being the first Episcopal congregation established in the central Pennsylvania region.  Some time ago I wrote a story about the very interesting church and also made a visit to the church to take photographs.  One thing I did not do on my first visit was to take a photo of the grave of one Abraham Lincoln.  Even though this Lincoln wasn't President of the United States, he lived at the same time and was the third cousin of President Lincoln.  Cousin Abe Lincoln caused quite a stir when he sent a letter to President Elect Abraham Lincoln on January 31, 1861. The letter was sent from Churchtown, PA and read:

Dear Sir:

     I have been spoken to frequently why I did not apply for an office under your Administration because I was a distant relation of yours, and bear your name.  Now I have my business and a good living, but I ask of you as a particular favor to confer an office on a young man in our neighborhood.  I recommend him as a good Moral Character, bright scholar, able to converse in German, English and tolerable good in french.  A splendid mathematician.  He requested me to write this letter to you, stating that it might be more desirable than a petition.  Now I would say give him an office he prefers as Collector at a port, and says he does not care if it is a southern port so it is not so far among the seceder.  He was our leading man in the campaign.  He is at present teaching our select school.  He can get as many signers to a petition as he wants; He can get the Hon. Thadeus Stevens name in fact all our respectable men in our neighborhood.  If you have no port to give him, enter his name for some other office and cause your clerk to write to him soon.  He deserves an office.  I claim to be an offspring from the old family of Lincolns, a second cousin of yours and if you have doubts write and I will explain the whole matter to you.  Direct your answer to Martin B. Lichty, Churchtown, Lancaster Co. Pa.  
                 Yours truly,
                 Abraham Lincoln
To Abraham Lincoln, Pres.
P. S. My Post Office is the same as his.

This is the actual letter that was written by Abraham Lincoln
and sent to President elect Abraham Lincoln, his second cousin.
This letter was found in the National Archives addressed to Abraham Lincoln, and signed by none other that Abraham Lincoln.  The letter was one of many thousand letters seeking federal jobs when it was known that Lincoln was going to be the next President of the United States.  
Closer look at he inscription on
the tombstone.  Click to enlarge.
Chances are that Pres. Lincoln never saw the letter since it wasn't marked as such and Martin never received a response or an appointment.  President Lincoln really was related to Abraham Lincoln from Churchtown, PA.  Their common ancestor was Mordecai Lincoln, who emigrated from New Jersey to Pennsylvania.  Mordecai's oldest son John was the future President's great-
grandfather.  John's half-brother, Abraham, was the grandfather of the president's Pennsylvania namesake.  And to top that off, President Lincoln's great-great uncle Abraham (John's brother) was very involved in Pennsylvania politics.  He served in the state General Assembly and attended the state's federal constitution ratification convention in 1787.  That Abraham married Anne Boone, a cousin of Daniel Boone.  Their son James Boone Lincoln became the father of Abraham Lincoln of Churchtown.  
The Abraham Lincoln from Lancaster County.
Understand all of that?  I'm not sure I do, but ..... the Abraham Lincoln from around here married Sarah Anderson Jenkins, never held office and was a proud Lancaster County farmer.  I finished my trip to Bangor Church by locating farmer Lincoln's tombstone and taking a few photos of it to share.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.  

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