Lincoln's New Salem, Illinois

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In 1831, 22-year-old Abraham Lincoln went to live in New Salem.  He never owned a house there, but stayed in various homes occupied by the town's 125 residents, or slept in the places where he worked.

Second Berry-Lincoln Store

For the next six years, Lincoln worked as a store clerk, rail splitter, postmaster and deputy county surveyor in New Salem... and had some unsuccessful business ventures.

Some thought he was lazy because he arrived in town with no obvious direction or goal, and he kept to himself much of the time.  Far from lazy, Lincoln was busy filling his free hours reading, studying and learning, from basic math to Shakespeare.  



 

He participated in a local debating society, and he was developing a plan for his life.  In 1834, while living in New Salem, Lincoln was elected to the Illinois General Assembly at age 25, and he began to study law.




 

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