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Some Recollections about Lincoln's Birthplace

by Thomas Hicks

When the news of Mr. Lincoln's nomination reached the City of New York, a leading publishing house engaged me to go to Springfield to paint a portrait of him, a lithograph of which was to be used in the coming campaign. []

When the portrait was ready for transportation, I went to say good-bye, and to thank Mr. Lincoln for his kindness in giving to me so much of his time. He said, "I have been interested in the painting, and I appreciate the desire of my Eastern friends to have my portrait, and I am glad that you were selected to make the likeness, as it gives great satisfaction." Thanking him for his kind words, I then said, "Mr. Lincoln, you are to be the next president of the United States, and the people will want a picture of your birthplace If you will tell me where it is, we will not trouble you again about it," handing him, at the same time, a small memorandum-book. He took the little book, and, while holding it in his hand, an expression came on his face, for half a moment, which I had not seen there before. It was a puzzled, melancholy sort of shadow that had settled on his rugged features, and his eyes had an inexpressible sadness in them, with a far-away look, as if they were searching for something they had seen long, long years ago; then, as quickly as it came, that expression vanished, and, with a pencil he wrote afterward in the little book:

[insert image: page 607]

So, no one knows his birthplace; but countless thousands followed him toward his grave, and we all know where he lies buried.

Thomas Hicks.

source: Reminiscences of Abraham Lincoln by Distinguished Men of His Time, collected and edited by Allen Thorndike Rice, New York: North American Publishing Company, 1885, pp. 606-607.

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