TimeLine 1831 to 1835

Lincoln Chronology

Stephen Douglas

Abraham Lincoln is now 22, and begins living independently of his family. He travels to New Orleans as a crewman on a river flat boat and upon his return, in July, begins working as a clerk in a store.


In March, at the age of 23, Lincoln announces himself a candidate for the Illinois legislature. Just think how different America was back then, a 23 year old clerk in a grocery store could have a realistic chance of winning.

In April 1832, Chief Black Hawk led his tribe into Illinois from across the Mississippi in an attempt to reclaim the land that had been stolen by the white settlers. The Black Hawk War ensued, in which Abraham Lincoln served as a volunteer. He was elected captain of a company of militiamen, but was later mustered out. He was later reactivated for active duty and served as a private. Abraham Lincoln never saw combat but his military service made a lasting impression on Lincoln. As a reward for his service, Lincoln was given a land grant by the government.

In August, 1832, Lincoln was defeated in his first election.


Abraham Lincoln went into business with William F. Berry. They ran a general store from a small log building. The front room served as the storefront, and the back room served as the warehouse and Lincoln's bedroom. In his spare time, Lincoln began studying law from text books.

Early that year, the firm of Lincoln & Berry failed. Lincoln was left with large debts, which he eventually paid off.

In May, Lincoln was appointed the postmaster of New Salem and the deputy surveyor of Sangamon County.


Abraham Lincoln is elected to the Illinois legislature. It is the beginning of his successful political career.


While in Vandalia, as a member of the legislature, Lincoln meets Stephen A. Douglas, who will become his bitter political rival. Abraham Lincoln also meets and falls in love with Anne Rutledge, who died suddenly during a typhoid fever epidemic at the age of 22. Lincoln was plunged into a depression.

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