small beginnings

My good friend Tim Wallingford talked Sunday about the verse below.  I was reminded of some people of influence throughout history who’s legacy began with small beginnings.  The next days will profile some of those I remember with high regard.

Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin.  Zechariah 4:10

Abraham Lincoln was born February 12, 1804 at the Sinking Spring farm in Hardin County, Kentucky. He joined his father Thomas, mother Nancy and a sister who would later die in Childbirth in a small one room cabin where he would spend the first years of his life.  Abraham Lincoln had no middle name.  As a child and during his growing up years Lincoln would avoid hunting and fishing whenever possible because he had an aversion to killing animals. He was often referred to as lazy because of this and no doubt his aversion seemed unmanly to frontier families who depended on fish and game to survive.  Lincoln hated the manual labor that frontier living demanded but accepted that responsibility even going so far as to turn over the wages he made away from the family farm to his father until he was 21.

Lincoln only had 18 months of formal education. He loved reading and educated himself becoming first a lawyer and later president of the United States.  Lincoln’s first love interest was a woman named Ann Rutledge who would later die of what is believed to be typhoid fever. He then became engaged and disengaged to a woman named Mary Owens before finally marring Mary Todd.  Lincoln and his wife would have 4 sons only one of whom would survive past the age of 18.  Robert Lincoln, the only son of Abraham Lincoln who would live to raise a family of his own was almost killed at a train station in New Jersey near the start of the Civil War. He slipped from a platform and would have fallen in front of the carriage had he not been grabbed by the collar and pulled to safety by Edwin Booth. Later Edwin’s brother would shoot and kill Abraham Lincoln.

Lincoln bought a store at the age of 23 but, was so unsuccessful at store clerking that he later ended up owing $1000 for loans he and his partner took out.  An example of Lincoln’s honesty lies in the fact that he paid back every last penny of the $1000 loan. It took him 17 years to do so.  Lincoln was once challenged to a duel over a letter his wife wrote. The duel never took place due to Abe’s choice of weapon, the broadsword. Due to Lincoln’s long arms and his much smaller opponent the opponent decided it best to settle the issue without a fight.   Although Lincoln was a successful lawyer he was disorganized. He carried important papers in his stovepipe hat so he wouldn’t misplace them.

Lincoln served one term in the House of Representatives from 1846 to 1848.  He failed twice to gain a seat in the Senate.  When Lincoln was elected president he was not even on the ballot of 10 Southern states and only won 2 of the 996 counties in the entire South.

So distraught was Lincoln over the division of the country and the civil war that he was often seen pacing the floors of the white house well after midnight.

Stay tuned for more.