April at Lincoln’s New Salem is a month of springtime as the trees and pastures “green-up” and the wild flowers burst into bloom. April is fresh and exciting. Even spring rains are welcomed as everybody knows that April showers bring May flowers. But did you know that April also brought Lincoln to New Salem?
It’s true! Lincoln’s cousin Dennis Hanks, tells us that he and Lincoln were working on Denton Offutt’s flatboat when it got hung up on the New Salem mill dam about the 19th of April, 1831! So, Lincoln first saw his future home during this magical month!
A year later, in April 1832, the Black Hawk War erupted. Following the governor’s call to arms, Lincoln was elected captain of his company of militia volunteers. For the first time in his life, he was elected by the people and, to his great wonder, by people who knew him well!
Five years after that, Lincoln left New Salem to start a career as a lawyer in Springfield. Lincoln remembered that he moved to the new Illinois capital on April 15, 1837.
Of course, April in Lincoln’s life was not all wonder and joy. In 1865, Good Friday fell on April 14 (just as it is in 2017.) And that Friday evening, Lincoln and his wife went to see Our American Cousin at Ford’s Theater. That evening, he fell victim to an assassin’s bullet and died the next morning. Exactly 28 years after the people of New Salem said farewell to their friend Lincoln, the nation said farewell to their president.