At supper, my fourth grader gave her younger siblings a history lesson featuring Abraham Lincoln. Here are four main ideas she presented to her sisters.
Abraham Lincoln was one of those “Log Cabin Presidents.” He didn’t have much as a kid.
Imagine! His family had to walk in the forests, fending off bears, wolves, coyotes, just to get water. Imagine having to walk far just to get a sip of delicious water?
If he were in our house, he’d stand right here. (She stood on a chair and pointed at the top of the threshold, indicating that Lincoln would most likely hit his head.)
Abraham Lincoln even came to our town. Imagine. We live where Lincoln walked.
Her last comment seems to reflect what she knows about geography. Presidents and celebrities don’t often visit the boondocks. I don’t know who told her Lincoln walked our streets. I had never heard that bit of our history. I liked the idea though. I liked the idea of living in a place where significant events happened–even the not-so-shiny, happy ones my daughter referenced.
Here’s a little background: Last year, my daughter’s class took a tour of our town via bus as a field trip, and it made quite an impression on her. “We live where there was a war,” she tells her sisters. She’s speaking of the U.S.-Dakota War that resulted in 2000 Sioux Indians being captured and 303 being sentenced to death. Lincoln stepped in and saved many of those men, yet authorized the hanging of 38 Sioux Indians in the town center about a mile from our house. It was the largest mass hanging in United States history. And like many other volatile historical events, there came regret and a need to make peace. Memorials now stand in the spot where the hangings took place.
I looked around the Web, though, and did not find confirmation that Lincoln ever visited here. He most likely authorized all orders from the Oval Office. It’s a long way on horseback from Washington D.C. to the Midwest.
I did find a fun means to study the history of Lincoln’s involvement with the U.S. Dakota War on this website. If you’re interested, take a look.