Monday, February 16, 2009

February 16, 2009 - Lincoln Street, Hingham, Massachusetts

I had my choice today. Had it been a Friday, and I was going to get my mail, I would have walked Hull Village. Had it been a regular workday, I would have walked North Scituate on my way home. But it was President's Day and I had it off from work, so I walked the closest spot I could find with relevance.

The Lincoln family - yes, that Lincoln family - began its American saga in Hingham. A metal marker on his former property states that Samuel Lincoln settled there in 1649. Two hundred and sixty years later, and two hundred years ago last week, Sam's descendant Abraham was born, the man who would become the sixteenth President of the United States, at a time when they were not so united. Local legend says that there is a gap in the Lincoln diaries that correlate with a visit to Boston, and that the great emancipator may have trekked to Hingham at that time to poke around the roots of his family tree. No definite proof, though, has yet been found.

But there can be no denying the Lincoln presence in Hingham. The statue at Fountain Square, at the intersection of Lincoln and North Streets, could have been built anywhere. Patriotic communities need no local ties to memorialize national heroes. I'm quite sure George Washington never visited Mt. Rushmore, nor did he step foot in Hingham's George Washington Forest or on Hull's George Washington Boulevard. He did know of Hingham and its role in the American Revolution, through the persona of an underling, General Benjamin Lincoln, who accepted the sword of surrender at Yorktown from Lord Cornwallis.

Today, while not walking in the footsteps of Abraham Lincoln - whose ancestors moved from Hingham to Hull to Scituate and onward - I was trodding on land once walked by Sam, and Levi and David Lincoln. Plaques on local houses show that this was the Land of the Lincolns, long before the name had true national value to the country. That is, and should always be, a source of pride for the people of Hingham.

Time: 38 minutes.

New species: None (there were pine siskins calling in the trees, though, an occasional winter visitor to our part of the state).

Stranger hellos: 1 (117).

The rest of my President's Day: Manuscript work; posted 15 reviews to; magazine work; some family time with Michelle and my little buddy.


  1. I love the concept of your blog. NPR changed your life...Maybe you've just changed mine.

  2. At least you got a stranger hello!!

  3. Finally! Sometmes they take a while, but then comes in bunches. Patry - wonderful! I hope to see you on the trails.