20th August 2018
I met someone today who thought that Abe Lincoln’s father was a cobbler. I had never heard about this so I’ve spent a few minutes to check. ALWAYS CHECK!!
I examined the following books:
- GREAT AMERICAN PRESIDENTS: ABRAHAM LINCOLN by Louise Chipley Slavicek, 2004
- ABRAHAM LINCOLN: The Man Behind the Myths by STEPHEN B. OATES
- ABRAHAM LINCOLN: GREAT AMERICAN HISTORIANS ON OUR SIXTEENTH PRESIDENT by BRIAN LAMB AND SUSAN SWAIN (editors)
- A. Lincoln: a Biography by Ronald C. White, Jr.
Also the Wikipedia entry on Lincoln’s father.
Lincoln’s father was a carpenter and farmer – and reasonably well-to-do.
There is NO EVIDENCE WHATSOEVER that he made shoes for a living.
So how did this myth arise? Our very own mythmaker, Osho – created this myth in his book From Bondage to Freedom (probably in the 60s or 70s). Thereafter, perhaps through repetition within India this myth probably spread far enough that I’ve now come to know of it.
==THIS IS FROM OSHO’S MYTH-MAKING BOOK==
I am reminded of Abraham Lincoln. When he became the president of America, his father was a shoemaker. And, naturally, egoistic people were very much offended that a shoemaker’s son should become the president. They were aristocrats, super-rich: who thought that it was their birthright to be in the highest post. A shoemaker’s son?
On the first day, as Abraham Lincoln entered to give his presidential inaugural address, just in the middle one man stood up. He was a very rich aristocrat. He said Ar. Lincoln, you should not forget that your father used to make shoes for my family And the whole senate laughed; they thought that they had made a fool of Abraham Lincoln.
But Lincoln – and that type of person – is made of a totally different mettle. Lincoln looked at the man and said, “Sir, I know that my father used to make shoes in your house for your family, and there will be many others here.because the way he made shoes, nobody else can. He was a creator. His shoes were not just shoes, he poured his whole soul in it. I want to ask you, have you any complaint?- because 1 know how to make shoes myself; if you have any complaint I can make another pair of shoes. But I know that nobody has ever complained about my father’s shoes. He was a genius, a great creator, and I am proud of my father!”
The whole senate was struck dumb. They could not understand what kind of man Abraham Lincoln was He had made shoemaking an art, a creativity_ And he was proud because his father did the job so well that not even a single complaint had ever been heard_ And even though he was the president of America, he was ready to make another pair if there was any com plaint.
The man looked silly. Lincoln insisted. “You have to speak! Why have you become dumb? You wanted to make me a fool, and now look all around: you have made a fool of yourself.”
A pretty creative man was Osho.
WHAT WAS THE REALITY OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN’S FATHER?
Extract from A. Lincoln: a Biography by Ronald C. White, Jr.
Within a few years of his father’s death, young Thomas Lincoln was sent out to work. He labored on neighboring farms, earned three shillings a day at a mill, and worked one year for his uncle Isaac on his farm in the Watauga River Valley in Tennessee. Returning to Kentucky, Thomas apprenticed as a carpenter and cabinetmaker in a shop in Elizabethtown.
He served in the local militia, on juries, and became an active member of the Baptist church. Dennis Hanks, a cousin of Abraham Lincoln’s mother, said of Thomas, “He was a man who took the world Easy—did not possess much Envy,” observing that Thomas “never thought that gold was God.” One neighbor remembered him as a “plain unpretending plodding man.” Another called him a “good quiet citizen,” and a third said he told stories with a wry sense of humor, a trait his son would inherit.
One neighbor recalled that Thomas “accumulated considerable property which he always managed to make way with about as fast as he made it.” Like the Lincolns before him, Thomas Lincoln had a hunger for land. At the age of twenty-five, in 1803, he purchased a 238-acre farm on Mill Creek, a tributary of the Salt River, for 118 pounds in cash. At about the same time, he bought two lots in Elizabethtown. Thomas Lincoln’s accumulation of property was such that within a decade he would rank fifteenth of ninety-eight property owners listed in Hardin County in 1814.