Sep 6, 2019
(August 31 2019) "I love that there are still inns where Lincoln stayed," says travel writer Jane Ammeson, who has been a popular Roadtrip correspondent on Hoosier History Live for several years.
Although her radio reports, magazine articles and books cover a range of historic topics, Jane has narrowed her focus in her newest book, Lincoln Road Trip: The Back-Roads Guide to America's Favorite President (Red Lightning Books).
As most Hoosiers know, Abraham Lincoln grew up in southern Indiana. As a 7-year-old, he and his family moved from Kentucky to the wilderness area that became Spencer County; the Lincolns arrived in 1816, the same year Indiana achieved statehood.
We will reach beyond the boundaries of Indiana when Jane joins Nelson as a studio guest to explore some of the inns, homes, mills and recreated historic sites with a connection to Lincoln (1809-1865), his extended family and the historical events associated with his life.
Our itinerary for the show includes traveling to Kentucky to explore the Old Talbott Tavern in Bardstown, which opened as an inn in 1779. Abe Lincoln was about five when he stayed at the inn; according to Lincoln Road Trip, it is considered "one of the oldest taverns in continuous operation in the United States and the oldest stagecoach stop west of the Allegheny Mountains."
Guests at an inn in Corydon, Indiana's first state capital, included Josiah Lincoln, Abe's uncle. Josiah (the brother of Thomas Lincoln, father of the future president) visited the Kintner Tavern after he moved to Harrison County to establish a 160-acre farm near Corydon in the early 1800s, according to Lincoln Road Trip. Although the original tavern was destroyed by a fire, its owner, Jacob Kintner, later opened the Kintner House Inn, which still stands.
And here's another Lincoln-connected bit of trivia about Harrison County: Because there are no direct descendants remaining of Abraham Lincoln - the last, his great-grandson Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith, died in 1985 - descendants of Josiah Lincoln are considered, as Jane puts it, "among the closest living kin of the greatest American president." Many of Josiah Lincoln's descendants continue to live in Harrison County or nearby.
Thousands of visitors from across the country have seen the burial sites of Abraham Lincoln's mother, Nancy Hanks Lincoln, and his older sister, Sarah Lincoln Grigsby, at the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial in Spencer County. The site includes a recreation of the log cabin the Lincolns built when they moved to the Little Pigeon Creek settlement in the wilderness.
"It was a region with many bears and other wild animals still in the woods," Lincoln recalled later in life. "There I grew up."
Our guest Jane Ammeson notes that the Lincoln family was related through marriage to the extended family of frontier explorer Daniel Boone. So Lincoln Road Trip highlights historic sites associated with the Boones, which we also explore during our show.
These sites include Squire Boone Caverns in Harrison County, which Janes describes as a "magical and mystical" cave system with an underground waterfall. Squire Boone, Daniel's younger brother, lived near the caverns in southeastern Indiana for the final 11 years of his life. When he died in 1815 at age 71, Squire Boone asked his children to bury him in one of the passageways of the cave system. Today, Squire Boone Caverns is a popular tourist attraction, and visitors often stop in the area that includes his casket.
Also during our show, we explore the Colonel William Jones State Historic Site near the town of Gentryville in southwestern Indiana. Jones ran a general store during Abe Lincoln's teenage years, employing him as a clerk and discussing political issues with him. After the Lincoln family moved to Illinois, Abe Lincoln spent the night at Jones' house during a return visit to Indiana.
During the Civil War, Jones was killed at the Battle of Atlanta in 1864, his former clerk serving as commander-in-chief. The house in Gentryville, which Jones designed in the Federal style, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.