"Posterity will owe everlasting thanks to John Brown for lifting up once more to the gaze of a nation grown fat and flabby on the garbage of lust and oppression, a true standard of heroic philanthropy, and each coming generation will pay its installment of the debt. . . . John Brown saw slavery through no mist or cloud, but in a light of infinite brightness, which left no one of its ten thousand horrors concealed." Frederick Douglass

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Monday, February 06, 2017

Young Mr. Brown, Young Mr. Lincoln: A Chronology of 1800-1835


I have taken the liberty of utilizing an original chronology prepared by James T. Hickey, the Curator of the Lincoln Collection, of the Illinois State Historical Library.  It was published in 1990 by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency in Springfield, Ill.  You may read the Hickey chronology on the Internet Archive on this link.  I have simply combined it with my own chronological notes on John Brown's first thirty-five years.  I have made no modifications or changes to Hickey's Lincoln material. --LD


JOHN BROWN                                     ABRAHAM LINCOLN


1800

May 9.   John was born May 9th 1800, at Torrington.
Litchfield Co, Connecticut. . . .” John Brown’s autobiographical
sketch, July-Aug. 1857

1805
 
July 7.  Brown arrives in Hudson, Ohio, on
Connecticut’s Western Reserve lands, having
departed Connecticut on June 9.

1808

Dec. 9. John’s mother, Ruth Mills Brown, dies
in childbirth.  “At Eight years old John was
left a Motherless boy.”  There are five
children in the family, including an adopted
son named Levi Blakeslee.


Feb. 12.   "I was born Feb. 12, 1809 in then Hardin
County Kentucky." The birthplace farm is
about three miles south of Hodgenville, Kentucky.

Nov. 8.  Owen Brown, John’s widowed father,
marries Sally Root.


No census data available for the Browns in Ohio.

The census for Hardin County lists the family of
Thomas Lincoln as a male between 25 and 45
years of age with wife between 26 and 45,
boy (Abraham) under ten, and girl (Sarah) under ten.

1811

Spring.   Thomas Lincoln and family move from the
birthplace farm to a 230-acre farm on Knob Creek,
ten miles north and six miles east of Hodgenville.

1812

July.   War of 1812 begins.  Owen, John’s father,
provides beef and horses to U.S. soldiers on the
frontier.  Sometime between 1812-14, John has
traumatic experience, observing the abuse of
an enslaved/ indentured “negro boy” by a brutal
master. Owen Brown’s autobiography, ca. 1850, and
 John Brown’s autobiographical sketch, July-Aug. 1857


_____. A younger brother of Abraham, named
Thomas, is born this year and dies in infancy.

1815

_____. One academic year of instruction at
the Tallmadge Academy, Tallmadge, Ohio, under
the Rev. Simeon Woodruff.

Autumn.   For a few weeks in the fall of 1815 Abraham
and his sister Sarah attend a school taught
by Zachariah Riney. The following year the
school is taught by Caleb Hazel.

1816

Mar. 6.   John examined and admitted to
membership in the First Congregational Church
of Hudson, Ohio.

Summer.  John, his brother Salmon, and Orson
Oviatt travel to Canton, Conn., to study under
the Rev. Jeremiah Hallock.  They later transfer to
an academy at Plainfield, Conn., led by the
Rev. Moses Hallock. John and Salmon remain
until 1817.  John quits school due to chronic
eye inflammation and economic hardship. 
Fire from the Midst of You”: A Religious Life of John
Brown, pp. 61-64

December.   During the first of this month
Thomas Lincoln moves his family from
Kentucky to what is now Spencer
County, Ind. (then Perry County).

1817

Oct. 15.   Thomas Lincoln goes to the
government land office at Vincennes
and enters the farm he has settled on.

1818

Oct. 5.   Nancy Hanks Lincoln, mother
of Abraham, dies of milk sickness.



Dec. 2.  Thomas Lincoln, father of
Abraham, marries Mrs. Sarah Bush
Johnston in Elizabethtown, Ky.

1820

Jun. 21.  John marries Dianthe Lusk (b. 1801)
in Hudson, Ohio.  Builds a cabin and operates
a tannery on Hind’s Hill Road in Hudson.

1821

Jul. 25.  John Brown Jr. is born in Hudson,
Ohio. (d. May 2, 1895) 

1823

Jan. 19.  Jason Brown is born in Hudson,
Ohio. (d. Dec. 24, 1912)

June 7.   Thomas Lincoln becomes member
of the Pigeon Creek Baptist Church.

1824

Nov. 4.  Owen Brown is born in Hudson,
Ohio. (d. Jan. 10, 1889)


1826

Spring?   John Brown relocates his family to
Randolph Township, Crawford County, in the
area of Meadville, Penn.  Establishes tannery
and partnership with Seth Thompson of
Hartford, Ohio.

1827

Jan. 9.  Frederick Brown (1) is born in Randolph
Township, Crawford County, Pa.  (d. Mar. 31, 1831)

1828

Jan. 20.   Lincoln's sister Sarah, who married
Aaron Grigsby on Aug. 2, 1826, dies in childbirth. 
During this year Abraham and Allen Gentry take
a flatboat loaded with cargo to New Orleans
for Allen's father James Gentry.

January.  John Brown appointed postmaster
of Randolph Township, Crawford County, Pa.
by the administration of Pres. John Quincy Adams. 
Randolph Township is later renamed Richmond

1829

Feb. 18.  Ruth Brown is born in Randolph Township,
Crawford County, Pa. (d. Jan. 18, 1904)

1830

Mar. 1.   Thomas Lincoln's family and the families
of his two stepsons-in-law start for Illinois.   
Abraham, one of the thirteen in the party,
drives one of the three wagons.

Mar 15.   The Lincoln family locates ten miles
southwest of Decatur, on the north bank
of the Sangamon River (now Lincoln
Trail Homestead State Park).

Jun. 12.  In a letter to his father, John Brown reveals
that he has had conflicts with certain Masons in
Meadville, Pa., due to his apostasy from the Lodge and
his anti-Masonic stance.  “I have discovered that my
movements are narrowly watched by some of the
worthy brotherhood.”

1831

March.   Lincoln, his cousin John Hanks, and
stepbrother John D. Johnston leave home.
At Springfield Denton Offutt hires them to
help build a flatboat at Sangamon Town,
seven miles northwest of Springfield.

April-July.   Lincoln pilots the flatboat to New
Orleans for Offutt and return to New Salem,
eighteen miles northwest of Springfield.

Aug. 1.   Lincoln casts his first vote at John
Carmon's house in New Salem,
the voting place of Clary's Grove
Precinct which includes New Salem.

September.   Lincoln begins clerking
 in Denton Offutt's new store at New Salem.

Dec. 31.  Frederick Brown (2) is born in Randolph
(Richmond) Township, Crawford County, Penn.
(d. Aug. 30, 1856, at Osawatomie, Kansas Territory)

1832

January.  John Brown establishes a
Congregational Church in Richmond Township,
Crawford County, Pa.       

Mar. 9.   Lincoln becomes a candidate for the
legislature on a platform favoring improvement of
navigation on the Sangamon River, changes in
the usury laws, and universal education.

Apr. 7.   Lincoln is elected a captain in
the 31st Regiment, Illinois Militia.

Apr. 21.   New Salem neighborhood volunteers
for the Black Hawk War form a
company and elect Lincoln captain.

May 27.   Captain Lincoln's company is
mustered out of service at Fort Johnson,
Ottawa. He then enlists in Capt. Elijah Iles'
regiment for twenty days.

June 16.   Lincoln re-enlists in Capt. Jacob M. Early's
independent spy company at Fort Wilbourn.


July 10.   The mustering-out roll of Capt. Early's
company, written by Lincoln, is certified by
Lt. Robert Anderson (who was to be
command at Fort Sumter in 1861).

Aug. 6.   Lincoln, a candidate for the first time,
is defeated in his bid for a seat in
Illinois legislature. He is eighth
in the field of thirteen candidates.

Aug. 10.  Dianthe Brown dies after bearing a son
on Aug 7.  The baby preceded her in death on
Aug. 9.  John is left with five children.

1833

January.  Brown appointed trustee for state
road maintenance, Crawford County, Pa.

Jan. 15.   Lincoln and William F. Berry purchase
from William Greene for $750 the store in
New Salem formerly owned by Reuben Radford.

May 7.   President Jackson appoints Lincoln
postmaster at New Salem. He serves
until May 30, 1836, when the office
is discontinued.

July 11.  John Brown marries Mary Ann Day (Apr. 15,
1816-Feb. 29, 1894), a local woman, in a house
wedding ceremony.

Oct. 26.  Brown informs his brother Frederick of the
death of their brother, Salmon Brown, a journalist
residing in New Orleans.

1834

Jan. 6.   Lincoln, as deputy surveyor of
Sangamon County, makes his first known
survey for Reason Shipley. He continues
surveying for three years.

Mar. 1.  In a letter to his relative and business partner,
Seth Thompson, Brown laments the scarcity of cash and
bemoans the closing of National Bank by Pres. Andrew
Jackson as “General Jackson darkness.”

May 11.  Sarah (1) Brown is born in Richmond
Township, Crawford County, Pa. (d. Sept. 23, 1843)

Aug. 4.   Lincoln, in his second try for public office,
is elected to the Illinois House of Representatives
as a representative for Sangamon County.

Sept. 30.   Lincoln surveys the town of New Boston
on the Mississippi River, now in Mercer County.

Dec. 1.   Lincoln takes his seat in the fifty-five-member
Illinois House of Representatives at Vandalia.

Nov. 21.  John Brown writes to his brother
Frederick (1807-77) about possibly establishing
a school for black youths and even purchasing a
 young black youth from slavery, “a favorite
theme of reflection for year.”

1835

May.  John Brown leaves Pennsylvania, relocating
his family to Franklin Mills [today, Kent], Ohio,
in order to pursue a tannery partnership with
Zenas Kent, as well as other entrepreneurial pursuits. 

______.  At some point in the year, perhaps
December, Brown purchases a 100-acre-plus farm
from Frederick Haymaker, in the area of Franklin
Mills, Ohio, with monies from other investors.  Sharing
the common anticipation that Franklin Mills is going to
expand rapidly, his intention is to profit from the
boom in Real Estate by parceling out and selling
the farmland at a profit.

Aug. 25.   Ann Rutledge, legendary sweetheart
of Lincoln, dies at the Rutledge farm
seven miles northwest of New Salem.

Oct. 7.  Watson Brown is born in Franklin Mills,
Ohio (d. Oct. 19, 1859 at Harper’s Ferry, Va.)

Dec. 7.   Lincoln is present for the opening of

a special session of Illinois legislature at Vandalia.

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