Friday, July 11, 2008
In 1828, when Abraham Lincoln was only 19 years old, he journeyed down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to New Orleans on a flatboat, then popular with pioneers for transportation of various kinds of cargo. Legend has it that Lincoln was deeply affected by the scenes of slavery all around him in New Orleans and that he then resolved to try to eradicate the "peculiar institution." No writings have been discovered that actually proves what Lincoln felt for sure while in New Orleans, but the large and decadent city must have made quite an impression on the young man.
An organization based in Spencer County, Indiana is undertaking a project to re-create Lincoln's journey down the rivers. Titled "Lincoln's Journey of Remembrance," the project includes a replica of the type of flatboat used by Lincoln on his trip. A departure date of September 9, 2008 from Rockport, Indiana is scheduled, with the final destination being New Orleans.
About 8 or 10 residents of Spencer County will be aboard the 60-foot replica. They're planning on stopping at various towns along the way, telling visitors about Lincoln's life in Spencer County, which includes the location of the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial. Not only will the journey serve to educate people about Lincoln's youth spent in Indiana, it hopefully will attract more tourism to the county as well.
Some concessions to modern times will have to be made. As this article explains, the replica flatboat will be equipped with two 150-h.p. Mercury outboard motors due to the much-greater river traffic of our time.
This is one of the more interesting projects being undertaken for the celebration of the Lincoln Bicentennial. Stops along the way planned for now include Mt. Vernon, Indiana and Metropolis, Illinois. More information about the journey is provided in the first link in this post.
Posted by Geoff Elliott at 9:44 AM