Abraham Lincoln: Biography, Facts & Things You Didn't Know

By Karen Harris
President Abraham Lincoln. (Alexander Gardner/Library of Congress/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)

If you went to elementary school in the United States, you probably already know the basic facts about Abraham Lincoln, but there was a lot more to Honest Abe than what we learned from our social studies textbooks. History teachers often fail to mention, for example, that Lincoln likely suffered from depression as well as a disorder that made him so tall and lanky, considered sending freed slaves back to Africa, and had a terrific sense of humor.

Lincoln's Early Years

Illinois calls itself the "Land of Lincoln," but Abraham Lincoln was born in a tiny log cabin in Kentucky near Hodgenville. When the young Abe was seven, his father lost much of his land in a title dispute, and the family moved to Perry County, Indiana. Shortly thereafter, when Lincoln was nine, his mother fell victim to "milk sickness," a mysterious illness that swept through the Ohio River Valley in the early 1800s. It was later determined that many cows in the region had eaten white snakeroot, poisoning their milk, but at the time, nobody could explain how Nancy Lincoln died.