Abraham Lincoln’s Massachusetts Roots

Abraham Lincoln was born in Kentucky and grew up in Indiana yet he had deep New England roots.

Although Lincoln was never able to confirm it during his lifetime, he descended from English colonists who settled in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in the 17th century.

Lincoln’s first ancestors to settle in New England was his 4th great-grandfather Samuel Lincoln, a weaver by trade, who sailed from Norwich, England to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1637.

Samuel Lincoln lived briefly in Salem, Ma where he was either apprenticed or indentured to a weaver named Frances Lewis, before moving to Hingham by the end of the year, where his older brother Thomas lived.

There he married Martha Lewis, with whom he had 10 children, and attended the Old Ship Church. Samuel Lincoln’s son Mordecai was born in 1657 and later grew up to be a blacksmith.

Abraham Lincoln photographed by Alexander Gardner on Aug 9 1863

Abraham Lincoln photographed by Alexander Gardner on Aug 9 1863

According to the book Abraham Lincoln: An American Migration, Mordecai was also a foot soldier in Hingham in 1679. Mordecai owned a gristmill that still stands today and is now known as the Lincoln Mill Antique Shop.

It was Mordecai’s son, also named Mordecai, who started the family’s migration out of New England by moving to Monmouth County, New Jersey and later Pennsylvania.

Each generation of Lincolns after that continued to move around the country, first to Virginia and then to Kentucky where the president was born.

Over the years, the Lincoln family history was lost and as a result, Abraham grew up knowing nothing about his New England roots.

In 1848, while Abraham was working as a Congressman, Solomon Lincoln of Hingham contacted him to inform him he may be related to the Lincolns of Hingham.

With the limited resources and records at the time, neither Solomon or Abraham could confirm this. Solomon later published an article about the Lincoln family, Notes of the Lincoln Families of Massachusetts, which discusses the possible connection.

Abraham Lincoln also had other family connections to New England. Lincoln’s father, Thomas, had two cousins in Boston, Amos and Jedidiah, who married Paul Revere’s daughters and served in the American Revolution. This connection meant that Abraham Lincoln was related to Paul Revere through marriage.

Since Amos and Jedidiah were also descendants of Samuel Lincoln of Hingham, it is possible that Solomon told Abraham of the Lincoln connection to the Revere family.

The Lincoln Family Tree:
Samuel Lincoln (born in Norwich, England and immigrated to Massachusetts in 1637)
Mordecai Lincoln (born 1657 in Hingham, Massachusetts)
Mordecai Lincoln (born 1686 in Hingham, Massachusetts and later moved to NJ & Pa)
John Lincoln (born 1711)
Abraham Lincoln (born 1744)
Thomas Lincoln (born 1778)
President Abraham Lincoln (born 1809)

It turns out, Lincoln wasn’t the only notable 19th century figure with connections to Massachusetts. Lincoln’s assassin, John Wilkes Booth, bought property in the Back Bay of Boston in 1863 and made plans to build a house there, although the house was never built. Booth was spotted in Boston, about a week before the assassination in April of 1865, practicing shooting his gun at a local firing range.

Also, the man who later killed Booth, Boston Corbett, had connections to Massachusetts too after he moved to Boston in the 1850s, and had a religious conversion which prompted him to change his name from Thomas to Boston in honor of the city.

Learned, Marion Dexter. Abraham Lincoln, an American Migration: Family English not German. W.J. Campbell, 1909
Tarbell, Ida Minerva and John McCan Davis. The Early Life of Abraham Lincoln. A.S. Barnes, 1896
Lincoln, Solomon. “Notes on the Lincoln Families of Massachusetts: With Some Account of the Family of Abraham Lincoln.” New England Historical and Genealogical Register,  Vol. XIX,1865, pp- 357-361.
Adams, William Frederick. Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of the State of Massachusetts, Vol. 4. Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1910
Butterfield, Fox. “New England’s Perfect New England Village.” New York Times,  New York Times Company, 14 May. 1989,
Warren, Lewis A. “The Lincolns of Berk County” The Historical Society of Berks County, www.berkshistory.org/multimedia/articles/the-lincolns-of-berks-county/

Abraham Lincoln’s Massachusetts Roots

About Rebecca Beatrice Brooks

Rebecca Beatrice Brooks is the author and publisher of the History of Massachusetts Blog. Rebecca is a freelance journalist and history lover who got her start in journalism working for small-town newspapers in Massachusetts and New Hampshire after she graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a B.A. in journalism. Visit this site's About page to find out more about Rebecca.

8 thoughts on “Abraham Lincoln’s Massachusetts Roots

  1. steven

    I have a copy of a hand-written geneaology of the Lincolns by the wife of Gen. Benjamin Lincoln, appears to be written while he was away in the War.

    If there are any serious researchers, I could make this available.

    1. Marlene Matthewson

      We were always told that my grandfather William Lincoln was related to Abe Lincoln. I have been working on genealogy and think he was a descendent of Josiah Lincoln. Me and two other cousins are stuck on a Leonard Lincoln. Maybe that was his middle name. Found an obit that named a John Robert which would have been in our genealogy.

      1. Corina Weigel

        I am down he line of Josiah, then his son Leonard. I’m also stuck there, all I can find on him is his marriage record, listed as Leonard. I also think he has a different first name and this is hi middle name, but again can’t find anything

    2. steve hutchens

      I would be interested to see this hand written genealogy. Which war was Gen Benjamin Lincoln in?

      Steve Hutchens gggggreat grandson of Virginia John Lincoln

  2. Kevin graham

    My 6th great grandmother Elizabeth lincoln was the daughter of John lincoln and rebecca flowers I must be related to Abe lincoln down the line

    1. John Salko

      John and Rebecca Flowers Lincoln were Abe’s great grandparents. John’s brother Mordecai was my 7th great grandfather.

  3. Alex

    There is a legend that Mordecai Lincoln, who owned the mill and was great great great grandfather of Abraham also lived less than 1/4 mile from John Wilkes Booth’s extended family on Booth Hill in Scituate, MA

  4. Rebecca Snider

    Samuel Lincoln is in my husband’s family tree. I’m attaching this weblink to our information.

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