Abraham Lincoln

Early Career

What were Lincoln’s first jobs?

Lincoln worked as a ferryboat pilot and a rail-splitter in his youth. He would take passengers along the Ohio River for his boss James Taylor. He also earned the nickname “Rail-splitter” for his effectiveness in splitting logs. Later, Lincoln worked as a store clerk in New Salem, Illinois, for owner Dennis Offutt. He enjoyed the work at the store and was very popular among the customers. He also worked for a time as a blacksmith.

When he moved to New Salem, Illinois, as a young adult, Lincoln worked several jobs. He opened a general store with William Berry, but the store failed. He also landed a job as the postmaster of New Salem—a job he enjoyed. He was also the deputy county surveyor. These two jobs earned him enough money to start his political career.


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