Author Ellen Jackson

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Abraham Lincoln

How do you choose a president? Do you pick someone who’s rich and handsome, such as John F. Kennedy? Do you pick someone who’s a movie star, such as Ronald Reagan? Do you pick a leader whose father was president, such as George W. Bush?

Our greatest president was none of these things. He was born to a father who was dirt poor, and he grew up in the backwoods of Kentucky and Indiana. Young Abe was plain looking, but he was a clever lad who was skilled with an axe. Even though Abraham Lincoln had less than one year of formal education, he loved to read and eventually became a lawyer. Abe was known for his honesty and he persuaded people by thoughtful arguments. Most important, he was the president who began the process that freed the slaves.

But that’s not all. Abe Lincoln was also known for his kindness. He loved animals and children, and he suffered deeply for the soldiers who were wounded or killed during the Civil War. You might not think that a president would have time for pets and the pleasures that animals bring, but Abraham Lincoln made time. He liked nothing better than to stroke a cat or kitten, and he sometimes ate his lunch in the White House with a little dog named Jip.

Abraham Lincoln had a wonderful sense of humor and he liked to tell stories to make a point. Here are a few quotes from our 16th president.


“Abraham Lincoln
his hand and pen
he will be good but
god knows when...”

--Written when he was a boy


“Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.”


“No matter how much cats fight, there always seem to be plenty of kittens.”


An author called at the White House and asked Lincoln to say something nice about his book. Lincoln didn't like the book, so this is what he wrote:

"Well, for those who like that sort of thing, I should think it is just about the sort of thing they would like."


When someone called him “common looking,” he said:

“Common looking people are the best in the world. That is the reason the Lord makes so many of them.”



How much do you know?

1. Which president was a four-star general in the army?

2. Which president almost drowned in a creek when he was a child?

3. Which president liked to tell jokes?

4. Which president had his horses’ teeth brushed every day?

5. Which president liked to hunt?

6. Which president hated to hunt?

7. Which president was the first to appear on a postage stamp?

8. Which president liked to take things apart to see how they worked?

9. Who was the tallest president?

10.Which president was a lawyer?


1. Washington
2. Lincoln
3. Lincoln
4. Washington
5. Washington
6. Lincoln
7. Washington
8. Lincoln
9. Lincoln
10. Lincoln



“Honest Abe” knew how hard people worked for their money. As a store clerk, he walked three miles to return six pennies he had accidentally overcharged a customer.

Since 1909, the 100th anniversary of his birth, Abraham Lincoln's picture has appeared on the United States penny. Many people think Abe Lincoln’s picture belongs on a more valuable coin, such as a quarter, or fifty cent piece. What do you think?

If you look at a penny issued before 2009, you'll see a picture of the Lincoln Memorial on the other side. If you take a magnifying glass and look carefully at the picture of the Memorial, you'll see Lincoln sitting in the middle of the building.

Four new versions of the Lincoln penny were issued in 2009 in honor of the 200th anniversary of his birth. On the other side of these pennies are scenes from Abraham Lincoln's life.

Here's how to shine a penny. Put some white vinegar mixed with table salt in a clear container. Drop your penny in and watch it become new-looking again.


What did ordinary people eat in Lincoln’s day? Here are some recipes that Abraham Lincoln himself may have eaten:

Sausage and Apples

You will need:

1 pound sausage meat (get at the butchers or use Jimmy Dean)
3 apples cut into 1/​4 inch slices
½ c. brown sugar (Abe’s family probably used maple syrup)
2 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. cinnamon

Form the sausage into patties and fry lightly in a pan until just brown. Remove. Pour out the fat and add the butter. Place apples in pan and cook at a low heat. When apples have softened slightly, add the brown sugar and cinnamon. As soon as the sugar and cinnamon have mixed with the butter and formed a thick syrup, add the sausage back in and cook for another ten minutes or so. Enjoy.

Cabbage Stew

You will need:

one head green cabbage
salt pork
1 or 2 onions
1 large can stewed tomatoes
salt, pepper, or ground red pepper

Slice the cabbage and onions. The mixture should have about half of each. Cut the pork into cubes. Open the can of tomatoes and chop (if they’re whole tomatoes). Fry the salt pork in a large cast iron pot until well browned. Turn the heat down Add the cabbage and onion mixture and cook until tender. Add tomatoes and cover. Cook for approximately ½ hour.