Sarah Bush Lincoln Biography

Sarah Bush Lincoln

stepmother of Abraham Lincoln
Born: 12/13/1788
Birthplace: Hardin County, Ky.

Sarah Bush grew up in Elizabethtown, Ky., one of nine children of Christopher and Hanna Bush. In 1806 she married Daniel Johnston, who was later appointed jailer of Hardin County. Together they had three children, Elizabeth, Matilda, and John. Following her husband's death in 1816, Sarah Johnston moved her children into a cabin she had purchased. It was there that Thomas Lincoln sought her out a year after the death of his first wife, Nancy Hanks, in 1818. The two had known each other in Elizabethtown before their respective marriages, and after Thomas paid a few of her debts, the two were married on Dec. 2, 1819.

Sarah and her children traveled back to Indiana with Thomas Lincoln, and she became a warm and devoted mother to his two children Sarah, 12, and Abraham, 10. Although illiterate herself, she encouraged young Abe in his studies. The Lincoln family remained in Indiana until 1830, when they moved on to Illinois, eventually settling in present-day Coles County. Although Abraham Lincoln went off on his own in 1831, he returned to visit his stepmother periodically.

Sarah Bush Lincoln remained energetic throughout her long life. She outlived her second husband by nearly 20 years and was buried next to him at Shiloh Church near Farmington, Ill., after her death.

Died: 4/12/1869