TIL – Thomas Lincoln

Today is July 26, 2014, and I am in a minivan driving north on State Route 11 near Harrisonburg, Virginia.

Today is the day that my lovely wife and I pick up our trio of children from the summer camp where they have been spending the last two weeks. In that fortnight (ding! – twenty points for me for using a British word), our kids did all sorts of camp-y things such as horseback riding, breathing in smoke from campfires, swimming in lakes, shooting arrows from bows, and broadcasting music from their ten-watt radio station.

Before our car hit the main highway (Interstate 86 for those of you reading this and stalking us) and we peppered our children with all sorts of questions such as “Was camp fun?”, “Did you make many friends?”, and “I thought you put your sleeping bag in the boot?” (ding! – another twenty points), we are on State Route 11 when I see a white sign with black letters.

This type of sign, known as a historical marker, is a common sight here in Virginia. With its rich history of Native American cultures, European colonists, American Revolution locations, and Civil War battles, one cannot swing a Hoover (ding!) around this state without hitting a historical marker. This one intrigued me because I had seen it every time I had taken our kids to and from camp, but I had never slowed down long enough to read what it said.

Today was no different as I sped our vehicle past this marker, but I made a mental note to record its location and look it up on the Internet. Because anything can be found on the Internet. Except for my old high school locker combination. No one will ever discover that.

Once I was back in a place that had a decent wi-fi connection, I found MarkerHistory.com, a website devoted to…well, I guess the name really tells you what it does. Okay, that’s not entirely helpful. I suppose one could surmise that this website tells the rich history of Sharpie or Crayola color markers (which, respectively, can be found here and here…see everything can be found online). MarkerHistory.com is a website devoted to documenting historical makers. Once I put in the right coordinates, I found that Marker A 18 contained the following text about the father of our sixteenth President…

TILFour miles west, Thomas Lincoln, father of the President, was born about 1778. He was taken to Kentucky by his father about 1781. Beside the road here was Lincoln Inn, long kept by a member of the family.

Twenty-eight years after moving to western Virginia in the area now known as Kentucky, Thomas Lincoln and his wife Nancy Lincoln gave birth to their second son, who they named Abraham after Thomas’s father.

Another thing I learned on this online search was that Thomas’s mother (and the President’s grandmother) was named Bathsheba Herring, which would also be an excellent name for a Fishbone cover band.

Also, because again, you can find everything-minus-one on the Internet, here is a picture of the tombstone of Bathsheba Herring.

It’s a good day when you learn something new.

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