(Lincoln, IL) A fascinating new book sheds light on the early adult years of Abraham Lincoln. Historian and professor emeritus of Lincoln College, Paul J. Beaver, has published an important new addition to the Lincoln canon, called, "Abraham Lincoln in Logan County, Illinois 1834-1860." Beaver's wonderfully illustrated, 200-page book tells the lessor-known stories of the ambitious young man with high hopes and a restless heart. On his own, and struggling to find a path in the new territory, Lincoln famously tried his hand at many occupations, in and around Logan County (northeast of Springfield).
From nearby New Salem, the future president was a farm laborer, wrestler, store owner, postmaster, flatboat hand and captain in the Blackhawk War. And that doesn't even include his later life as a lawyer, part-time judge, inventor and legislator. But did you know the "Railsplitter" was also a land surveyor? And he enlisted the help of local Indians to help him map out Logan County?
Beaver takes us back to this hardscrabble, mulit-ethnic world. To illuminate the reality of the frontier, Beaver includes passages from other works of history, such as "Memories of Middletown, Illinois" by Robert E. Church.
You'll come to understand the intensity and resourcefulness of this intelligent young man in a hurry. "It was Lincoln's tradition to hire a couple of Kickapoo Indians to make stakes to mark the way," the passage reads. "Lincoln could speak a few Kickapoo words, which he learned from his boyhood friend Konkapod, who he met while living in Indiana.
The illustration below from Beaver's book shows Lincoln
with his Kikapoo mate, surveying the strategic trade route between two of Illinois most established communites - Peoria and Springfield.
Later on, as an up-and-coming lawyer, long before he was a public figure, Lincoln used a watermelon to Christian the town of Lincoln, Illinois.
If you can't get enough of Lincoln, you'll love Beaver's new book, brimming with pictures, maps and illustrations. To pick up a copy of Abraham Lincoln in Logan County, Illinois 1834-1860, visit the Lincoln, Illinois bookstore that distributes the book (www.prairieyears.com). Or in Chicago, visit the Abraham Lincoln Book Shop on 357 W. Chicago.