Saturday, September 20, 2008
If all goes well and river levels permit, there will be good history lesson docked at towns along the Mississippi River in the next few days. It a replica of the pioneer-era flatboat used by 19-year-old Abraham Lincoln to deliver produce for a Rockport, Ind., merchant to New Orleans in 1828.
It was on this trip that the young Lincoln first saw slaves being auctioned, leaving a lasting impression.
The flatboat replica is expected to dock today in Caruthersville, Mo. Although visitors won't be able go on the boat because of safety considerations, they will be able to see it up close. And there will be an information tent with an exhibit about Lincoln's life in Indiana.
The boat will continue downstream, stopping Sunday in Osceola, Ark., and Monday in Memphis, Tenn. -- again, depending on weather and river conditions.
Most of us, adults and schoolchildren alike, have this idea of Lincoln the president with his stovepipe hat and beard. The flatboat journey is an effort to show us another side of Lincoln in his younger years.