Original Entrance to Village
Date Unknown

Designed by George Honig, artist and sculptor, under direction of the Spencer County Historical Society and Rockport Park Board, the Lincoln Pioneer Village was constructed during the period from 1935 to 1937.

This memorial to Abraham Lincoln's 14 formative years (1816 - 1830) spent in Spencer County consists primarily of structures and other artifacts which represent the life and times of Lincoln, his pioneer neighbors and friends.

Rockport, largest city and county seat of Spencer County since 1818, is bounded on the east by the Ohio River. The city is situated approximately 25 miles east of Evansville, Indiana, and 11 miles north of Owensboro, Kentucky, at the junction of Indiana State Highways 45 and 66 (The Lincoln Heritage Trail).

The Village which is adjacent to the Rockport City Park takes unique advantage of some of the most beautiful wooded area in this region.

Placards on all buildings offer historical notes. A summary of the structures is as follows:

1 and 2. Administration building and souvenir room. Many articles, not all of the Lincoln period, are displayed here.

3. John Pitcher's law office. Pitcher was the first resident lawyer in Spencer County and became Rockport's first City Attorney in 1818. He became interested in young Abe Lincoln, and lent him books to read. The Lincoln home was 17 miles north of Rockport and Abe often walked that distance to borrow or return a book. In this office notice the desk, law books, and bellows for fanning the fire.

4. Aaron and Sarah Grisby home. To this home as a bride came Sarah Lincoln Grisby, Abe Lincoln's only sister. The bed in this cabin is made from boughs. The figure in this structure represents Sarah Lincoln. (Sponsored by Silverdale Home Economics Club.)

5. Jones store. "The History of Warrick, Spencer, and Perry Counties" published in 1885 records that this store, one of two operated by William Jones, was located at Jonesboro (now called Gentryville). For a time, Lincoln was a clerk in this store at a wage of $.25 per day. Among the articles for sale, notice especially the courting tubes which were used by boys and girls who had to do their courting in the one room cabin in the presence of the old folks. Seated on opposite sides of the fireplace, they could whisper to each other through a tube and do their courting with some privacy. (Sponsored by Rockport Women's Club.)

6. Gentry mansion. James Gentry, a neighbor of the Lincolns, was a rich land owner who employed Abe on his farm. In 1828, James Gentry hired Lincoln to go with his son, Allen, on a flatboat to New Orleans. The landing from which young Lincoln and Gentry departed Rockport, is preserved as a memorial at the foot of Clark Street. This log house is furnished with articles from the Gentry family, many of which are over 150 years old. (Sponsored by the Gentry family.)

7. Old Pigeon Baptist Church. This is a replica of the structure which Thomas Lincoln and his son Abraham helped build. The Lincoln family attended Old Pigeon while living in Spencer County. All members of the family, except Abe, belonged to this church. The stairway in this building leads to a loft. The loft was used as sleeping quarters by the men who brought their families from such distant points that they were compelled to stay overnight. The women and children stayed among the neighbors. An old fashioned flower garden lies near the church.

8. Azel Dorsey home. Dorsey was one of Abe's school teachers. The first court of law in Spencer County was held in his home. The floor is made of puncheons, heavy pieces of roughly dressed timber, hewed out with a broad ax, and put down with pegs. The desk and chairs are from the first Spencer County Court House. (Sponsored by Rockport Garden Club.)

Daniel Grass Home

9. Daniel Grass home. Judge Daniel Grass was the second man to take a land grant in Spencer County, and was the first to own land in the present city of Rockport. He was a member of the Constitutional Convention of Indiana, held in 1818. This double cabin home exhibits a breezeway or "dog trot" as it was called in the early days. Among the furnishings of this home is a genuine trundle bed. (Sponsored by descendants of Grass family.)

10. Pioneer schoolhouse. In a building quite similar to this, with dirt floor and puncheon benches, young Lincoln attended school in Spencer County. A bucket and gourd dipper are located by a window.

11. Aunt Lepha McKay (or Mackey) home. Aunt Lepha was a beloved Rockport lady who took colored children into her home and taught them to read and write long before there were schools for colored people. She once owned the land on which the Lincoln Pioneer Village is located.

12. Museum of early transportation. This structure was erected by the production crew of the movie "The Kentuckian" and depicts an early tobacca warehouse. Several buggies, a hearse, and other horsedrawn vehicles may be seen here.

Replica of Lincoln Homestead

13. Replica of the Lincoln homestead in Spencer County. A stairway of pegs driven in the wall leads to a loft. At night Lincoln climbed to his bed in a loft such as this. Articles of interest are a spinning wheel, a bed of boughs, a roughly-made table, and a cupboard formerly owned by neighbors of the Lincolns. A lean-to joins the back of the cabin. (Sponsored by Rockport Home Ec Club.)

14. Replica of Brown's Inn. In this building, Rockport's first tavern, many distinguished guests were entertained during the early 1800's. (Sponsored by Business and Professional Women's Club.)

15. Grandview Block House. This fortified log house is located at the palisade on the north side of the Village and represents a building which was located near Grandview, Indiana.

16. Museum. This large, fireproof building was built in 1950 by the Rockport Park Improvement Association, Incorporated. This association which now manages the operation of the Village has displayed here several valuable exhibits of artifacts from different periods of Indiana history.

17. Market and Barter House. Pioneers brought furs, farm produce, and homemade goods to such a place to barter for things they needed. A display of wooden shoes and the tools used to make them brings to mind the German settlers of pioneer Spencer County, many of whom wore wooden shoes.

18. Josiah Crawford home. Occasionally Abe and his sister Sarah both worked for the Crawfords who were their neighbors. Abe read books belonging to them, one of which was "Life of Washington". (Sponsored by Rockport American Legion Auxiliary.)

19. The wishing well, covered wagon, oxcart, sweep and windlass wells, mill burrs, shaving horse, ash hopper, soap kettles, hitch racks, grind stones, wood mould board plow, and other pioneer items are located throughout the Village grounds.

The Rockport City Park affords excellent free facilities for picnicking: good water, tables and benches, and open air furnaces. Shelter house facilities may be obtained for a nominal fee by contacting the park custodian for reservations.

The admission charge for a leisurely visit to Lincoln Pioneer Village is $.25 for children and $.50 for adults. Open daily from 8 AM to 5 PM. Bring your friends and come again.