Abraham Lincoln to Solomon Lincoln, 24 March 18481Washington, March 24– 1848Mr Solomon LincolnDear Sir:
Yours of the 21st is received–– I shall not be able to answer your interrogatories very fully; I will, however, do the best I can–2 I have mentioned that my grandfather's name was Abraham– He had, as I think I have heard, four brothers, Isaac, Jacob, Thomas, and John– He had three sons, Mordecai, Josiah, and Thomas, the last, my father– My uncle Mordecai, had three sons, Abraham, James, and Mordecai– Uncle Josiah had several daughters, and an only son, Thomas–3 My father has an only child, myself, of course–4
This is all I know certainly on the subject of names; it is, however, my father's understanding that, Abraham Mordecai, and Thomas are old family names of ours– The reason I did not mention Thomas as a family name in my other ^letter^ was because it is so very common a name, as to prove but little, if any thing, in the way of identification–
Since I wrote you, it occurred to me to enquire of Gov–– McDowell, who represents the district inVery truly yoursA. Lincoln
<Page 2>Virginia, including Rockingham, whether he knew persons of our name there–5 He informs he does; though none very intimately except one, an old man by the christian name of David– That he is of our family I have no doubt– I now address him a letter, making such enquiries as suggest themselves; and, when I shall receive an answer, I will communicate to you, any thing that may seem pertinent to your object–6
2Solomon Lincoln first solicited Abraham Lincoln’s assistance in his genealogical research in a letter given to Lincoln by Artemas Hale, a fellow Whig and member of the Thirtieth Congress from Massachusetts. Lincoln responded to this inquiry with a letter on March 6, 1848. Solomon’s letter of March 21, which has not been located, was perhaps in response to Abraham’s letter of March 6.
3Josiah Lincoln actually had four daughters and two sons. Thomas was the oldest son, and Jacob the youngest.
Waldo Lincoln, History of the Lincoln Family: An Account of the Descendants of Samuel Lincoln of Hingham Massachusetts 1637-1920 (Worcester, MA: Commonwealth, 1923), 329-33.
4Thomas Lincoln also had a daughter, Sarah, who died in 1828.
5James McDowell represented the Eleventh Congressional District of Virginia.
Kenneth C. Martis, The Historical Atlas of United States Congressional Districts, 1789-1983 (New York: MacMillan, 1982), 78, 79.
6David Lincoln responded to Abraham Lincoln on March 30, and Lincoln responded to his letter with a letter of his own on April 2. David Lincoln’s letter of March 30 has not been located. Abraham had a short correspondence with David, but he did make reference to it in two later letters, one in 1854, and another in 1860.
Autograph Letter Signed, 2 page(s), Rosenbach Museum and Library (Philadelphia, PA),