Abraham Lincoln's Wilderness Years: Collected Works of J. Edward Murr
Abraham Lincoln spent a quarter of his life--from 1816 to 1830, ages 7 to 21--learning and growing in southwestern Indiana. Despite the importance of these formative years, Lincoln rarely discussed this period, and with his sudden, untimely death in 1865, mysterious gaps appear in recorded history.
In Abraham Lincoln's Wilderness Years, Joshua Claybourn collects and annotates the most significant scholarship from J. Edward Murr, one of the only writers to cover this lost period of Lincoln's life. A Hoosier minister who grew up with the 16th president's cousins, Murr interviewed locals who knew Lincoln. Part I features selected portions of Murr's book-length manuscript on Lincoln's youth, published here for the first time. Part II offers a series by Murr on Lincoln's life in Indiana, originally printed in the Indiana Magazine of History. Part III reveals letters between Murr and US Senator Albert J. Beveridge, a prominent historian, about Beveridge's early manuscript of the biography Abraham Lincoln, 1809-1858.
Of all Lincoln's biographers, none knew his boyhood associates and Indiana environment as well as Murr, whose complete Lincoln research and scholarship have never been published--until now. Abraham Lincoln's Wilderness Years preserves and celebrates this important source material, unique for studying Lincoln's boyhood years in Indiana.
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About the Author
The Rev. J. Edward Murr (1868-1960) was an early researcher and writer of Abraham Lincoln's youth. Born in Corydon, Indiana, Murr grew up with Lincoln's cousins. He spent two years studying law but ultimately entered DePauw University in 1897 to study theology. Murr served various churches in and around Lincoln's boyhood home in Spencer County, Indiana, and later served as superintendent of the Methodist Church district in that region. He became intimately acquainted with many who had been neighbors and boyhood associates of the future president.
Joshua Claybourn is an attorney and author or editor of several books, including Abe's Youth and Our American Story. He serves on the board of directors of both the Abraham Lincoln Association and Abraham Lincoln Institute and is host of the Lincoln Log podcast. Claybourn frequently serves as a featured speaker on Abraham Lincoln and the American Civil War. He lives in Evansville, Indiana.
Claybourn has made Murr's essays into a handy new primary source for Lincoln studies--indeed, for all of early Indiana life. This book places Murr on par with Ida Tarbell, Jesse Weik, Walter Stevens, and Harvey Smith of that invaluable generation who collected original testimony that Herndon and others had missed. The liveliness of the recollections of the settlers Murr found will sustain our interest on each page, and for a long time to come. Bravo to Joshua Claybourn for resurrecting this information.--James M. Cornelius, Editor, Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association