Featured Exhibit

This exhibit changes several times a year.

President Lincoln's Rockingham Roots

Opening on the birthday of the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, this exhibit tells the story of Lincolnís ancestors in the Shenandoah Valley.

The Presidentís great-grandfather, ďVirginia JohnĒ Lincoln, of English ancestry, moved his family from Pennsylvania to Rockingham County in 1768. Virginia John, his wife Rebecca, and their nine children, including the Presidentís grandfather, Abraham Lincoln, age 24, settled into a log house on Linville Creek. Those Lincolns and their descendants became prosperous and prominent families in the fertile land, among them farmers, cattlemen, a surveyor, and an innkeeper.

Abraham Lincoln married a local girl, Bathsheba Herring, and had five children; his son, Thomas, was to become the father of the President. Abraham moved his family west to the frontier of Virginia (later to become Kentucky) in 1780 when Thomas was age four. In 1809, the future president was born.

The exhibit highlights the Presidentís connection to his Rockingham roots through his own handwritten letters to his cousin, David Lincoln, at Lacey Spring and through the Presidentís meeting with Representative J.T. Harris, of Rockingham County, on the eve of the Civil War. It contrasts the dirt floor log cabin of the Presidentís birth with the stately Lincoln Homestead, built by the Presidentís great uncle, Jacob Lincoln, still standing on Linville Creek. It underscores the ďbrother against brotherĒ tension of the Civil War as the Confederate Lincolns fought the Union army led by their cousin Abe.

Photographs, drawings, documents, and artifacts from the Linville and Lacey Spring homes, including a Confederate sword, bring more than 200 years of Shenandoah Valley Lincoln family history to life.

See the Programs webpage for programs about this exhibit.

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