Abraham Lincoln

Item

Title

Abraham Lincoln

Position

Laborer

Date

ca. January 1834 to February 20, 1903

Description

Had Stickley simply given Abraham Lincoln whatever he purchased for $1.00 in December 1898, there would have been no need to record the transaction in the General Ledger and Lincoln's employment for Stickley would have gone unnoticed. Few traces of his presence remain, but the 1900 Federal Census paints a picture of a difficult life. His birth was recorded as January 1834, in Maryland; his wife Mary's was listed as 1829 in North Carolina. Mary had borne eleven children by this time, though only one survived to 1900. Lincoln is the first person of color documented working in Stickley's factory.

Significantly, no trace of Lincoln or his wife have been located prior to the 1870 Federal Census. His name, race, illiteracy, and birth within a slave state strongly suggests he was a former slave. The date of their marriage–just one year after the end of the Civil War–seems only to strengthen this possibility. Like many former slaves, Lincoln may not have known the precise year of his birth (nor would it have been documented in the public record) and this may explain some of the various dates and places associated with his birth. In 1870, census takers recorded him as 45 years old and born in Pennsylvania. In 1880, he was presumed to have been 60 years and born in New York, though in the 1892 New York State Census he was listed as 75 years old. He died on February 20, 1903 in Syracuse and is buried at Oakwood Cemetery.