Forkland Abraham Lincoln Museum

Skip Navigation Links

Forkland is located on the southwestern section of Boyle County, Kentucky and the northern part of Casey County.  This part of Kentucky was once known as the Hunters' Trace and Forkland lies in the extreme northern area of land claimed by the Cherokee Indian Nation.  The first white men started moving into this area about 1780.  Fork Gray, built about 1793 near the Boyle and Marion County line along the North Rolling Fork River, was probably the first permanent structure built in the community.  It is believed to be the first house built between Harrodsburg and Bardstown.  Today, many houses partly constructed of hand-hewn logs stille stand, but have been covered over and hidden.

As more people moved into the Forkland area, they established churches, schools, post offices and stores.  One-room schools began cropping up all over the area and remained until 1928 when the Forkland School was built.  Because it was impossible to travel across the knobs in winter months Forkland School was built by the families of the community.  The people of the community donated about $4,000 in funds to start the school and voluntarily taxed themselves in order to get the money necessary to finish construction.  Local people helped with the building of the structure.  In 1938 a WPA project helped in the construction of a gymnasium for the school.  Even before the gym was built the boys attending the Forkland School were playing conference basketball and doing well.  Games were played outside. 

The Forkland Community Center in rural Southwest Boyle County, Kentucky, was formed in 1971 after the Forkland School was closed. The people of the Forkland community pooled their money to buy the school buildings and incorporated the Community Center. Its dual purpose is to preserve and promote the rural heritage of this unique and scenic knobs area and to provide a facility for a variety of community uses.  Several events are held here each year, as well as art classes and other educational events.  There is still a school library in the building containing some of the books that were in the school when it was in operation.

The Forkland Abraham Lincoln Museum was opened on March 1, 2008 after receiving a grant from the Kentucky Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission and the Kentucky Historical Society.  Lucey Shipley Hanks, mother to Nancy Hanks Lincoln and grandmother to Abraham Lincoln, moved to Kentucky after the death of her husband James Hanks.  She had been living with a sister Rachel Shipley Berry and her husband Richard in the Forkland area of Mercer County (now Boyle) but in 1790 she married Henry Sparrow, Sr. in Mercer County, Kentucky.  Lucey's daughter Nancy apparently moved to Washington County, Kentucky with her aunt and uncle and their children.  There she met and married Thomas Lincoln.  Nancy and Thomas were the parents of President Abraham Lincoln.  Lucey and Henry Sparrow lived on Scrubgrass Road in the Forkland area of Boyle County for over 34 years and had eight children whose descendants are scattered throughout Boyle, Mercer, Anderson, Washington and other counties of central Kentucky.  They are buried on Scrubgrass Road but the graves have been destroyed and the exact location is lost.  Because so little seems to be known about the maternal side of President Lincoln's family, the Abraham Lincoln Museum at Forkland was built.  In the museum you will find photographs of family members, Lincoln artifacts, and authentic newspapers about the death of Abraham Lincoln.  Other artifacts in the museum show the life that people like Lucey and Henry Sparrow lived on the "Fork".  We welcome you to come and experience what life was like in the 1800s-early 1900s in the Forkland area.  You may also do genealogy research in the history room or purchase items in the gift shop.  We welcome any information about the families connected to this beautiful area of Kentucky.

There is a much more extensive history of the Forkland Community, its people and heritage in the book Forkland Heritage: Its People Past and Present 1793-1996, Vol. I and II.  A copy may be purchased from the merchandise section on this site.