Friday, August 22, 2008

Abraham Lincoln and the Brethren - part 1

In his 1962 book, Sidelights on Brethren History, Freeman Ankrum writes that, "Although little has been published about it, there is a strong reason to believe that (Abraham) Lincoln espoused the Brethren faith."

Ankrum relates a story told by Mrs. Anna Wagner of Indiana that " elder in the Fairview Church in Southern Indiana, told my father that he was acquainted with the Minister that baptized Lincoln. Father had forgotten the name of the Minister, but he was a member of the German Baptist Church, sometimes nicknamed "Dunkards." Lincoln sent this Minister word to come to Springfield on a certain train, which arrived there at night. Lincoln sent him twice as much money as he needed.

"Lincoln met him and they went to the river where Lincoln was baptized, yet that night. Lincoln had brough extra clothes needed for both, and having changed clothes they went and waited for the train to arrive, and the minister left after midnight ... Linclon promised [that] after his term of office expired he would conform to the church."

Ankrum goes on to add: "It has been pointed out to the writer that when Lincoln decided to wear a beard he wore the type popular with the Brethren of his day."

Was Abraham Lincoln baptized by the Brethren. There is no written or recorded evidence to confirm the story, but still the oral tradition suggests he might have been. Tomorrow will bring another account of a Brethren leader who known to visit President Lincoln at the White House.

Source: Sidelights on Brethren History, Freeman Ankrum