How Abraham Lincoln’s Siblings Shaped His Life and Legacy

How Abraham Lincoln’s Siblings Shaped His Life and Legacy

You probably know Abraham Lincoln as the 16th president of the United States, the leader who preserved the Union and abolished slavery.

But did you know that he had two siblings, both of whom died young?

Or that he had three step-siblings who became his close friends and allies?

In this article, we will explore the lives and relationships of Abraham Lincoln’s siblings and how they influenced his character and career.

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Discover the fascinating lives and relationships of Abraham Lincoln’s siblings and how they influenced his character and legacy. (Source: Getty Images) 

Sarah Lincoln Grigsby: The Sister Who Raised Him

Abraham Lincoln’s only full sister, Sarah, was born in 1807, two years before him.

They grew up together in a small log cabin in Kentucky and later in Indiana.

Sarah was intelligent, kind, and humorous, just like her brother.

She encouraged him to read and learn and protected him from their stern father, Thomas.

She also took on the role of a mother to Abraham after their biological mother, Nancy, died from milk sickness when they were 11 and 9 years old, respectively.

Sarah married Aaron Grigsby in 1826 and became pregnant the following year.

However, she died during childbirth, at the age of 21.

Abraham was devastated by her loss and blamed the Grigsbys for not calling a doctor in time.

He never spoke to them again. Sarah’s death left a deep scar on Abraham’s heart but also inspired him to pursue his ambitions and honor her memory.

Thomas Lincoln Jr.: The Brother Who Never Was

Abraham Lincoln’s only full brother, Thomas, was born in 1812 when Abraham was 3 years old.

However, Thomas died in infancy, possibly from a congenital defect or an infection.

Abraham never got to know his brother, but he later named his fourth son after him.

Thomas’s death was another tragedy for the Lincoln family and a reminder of the fragility of life on the frontier.

Elizabeth, Matilda, and John Johnston: The Step-Siblings Who Became His Family

In 1819, a year after Nancy’s death, Thomas Lincoln remarried Sarah Bush Johnston, a widow with three children: Elizabeth, Matilda, and John.

Sarah was a warm and supportive stepmother to Abraham and Sarah and brought them new clothes, books, and furniture.

Her children also welcomed their new step-siblings and formed a close bond with them.

Elizabeth, the eldest, was especially fond of Abraham and she helped him with his studies.

Matilda, the middle child, was lively and cheerful and often played with Abraham.

John, the youngest, was adventurous and brave and looked up to Abraham as a role model.

The Johnston children stayed with the Lincolns until they grew up and married.

They remained in touch with Abraham and supported his political career.

They also suffered from the Civil War, as some of their relatives fought for the Confederacy.

John even enlisted in the Union army and was wounded at the Battle of Shiloh.

Abraham visited him at the hospital and praised his courage.

The Johnston siblings were loyal and loving to Abraham, and he considered them as his own family.

The Role of Siblings in Abraham Lincoln’s Life and Legacy

Abraham Lincoln’s siblings played a significant role in shaping his life and legacy.

From them, he learned to love, be loyal, and seek knowledge.

He gained courage, resilience, and ambition through their support.

They shared his joys and sorrows, his secrets, and his dreams.

They formed his family.

Abraham Lincoln once said, “I am a success today because I had a friend who believed in me and I didn’t have the heart to let him down.”

He could have easily said the same thing about his siblings, who believed in him and never let him down.

They were the unsung heroes of his story and deserve to be remembered and honored.

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