The question of Abraham Lincoln’s religion has proved a knotty one for biographers and students of his life and work. This is due in part to the nature of the evidence in the case, and also to the fact that the evidence, in many instances, has not been thoroughly or impartially examined. The result has been unfortunate, for atheists and believers, Christians and non-Christians alike have found grounds for claiming him as their own.
The logical place to begin the study of a person’s religion is his heritage, background and early training. In an examination of this particular phase of the subject Dr. Louis A. Warren has brought to light many interesting facts. Lincoln’s great-great-great-great grandfather, Samuel Lincoln, who came to America in 1637, helped erect Old Ship Church in Hingham, Mass., the oldest church building in America in continual use. His great-great grandfather, Mordecai Lincoln II, married a granddaughter of Obadiah Holmes, noted Baptist minister of Newport, Rhode Island, who was savagely whipped on Boston Common in 1651 for preaching in forbidden services of worship (Benedict, History of Baptists). John and Rebecca Lincoln, who migrated from Freehold, New Jersey, to Virginia, were Baptists. They assisted in building the Linville Creek Baptist Church on their own farm. Lincoln’s grandfather, Abraham Lincoln, was a member of this congregation. When he located in Kentucky in 1782 he also gave land upon which to build a church, which was called Long Run Baptist Church.
Lincoln’s father, Thomas, and his mother, Nancy Hanks, both devout people, built their Kentucky home near Severn’s Valley Baptist Church near Elizabethtown, the oldest Baptist organization west of the Alleghenies. Some five miles from the Lincoln ...1
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