Abraham Lincoln. Tavern Owner?

Did you know that Abraham Lincoln was a tavern owner?

Abraham Lincoln was born and raised in Kentucky. His father, Thomas, was a cooper and carpenter. In 1816, his father sold his farm for 10 barrels of whiskey and $20 and moved his family to Indiana. In 1830, when Lincoln was 21, they moved again to Decatur, Illinois.

Around 1833, Lincoln, William Berry and Joe Bowling Green opened a tavern in New Salem, Illinois. Berry said of Lincoln, ” he did work the latter part of one winter in a little still house, up at the head of a hollow.” They charged 1 bit for a whiskey (a common coin at the time was the Spanish bit worth 12 1/2 cents. 2 bits was 25 cents).

Lincoln’s exposure to liquor as a tavern keeper may have had an effect on his thoughts on whiskey and drinking. At a speech he gave to the Washington Temperance Society in Springfield, Illinois on February 22nd, 1842, he expressed his thoughts on the matter.

“The making of liquor is regarded as an honorable livelihood. If people are injured from the use of liquor, the injury arises not from the abuse of a bad thing but from the abuse of a very good thing.” (Abraham Lincoln)