Few things are as iconically American as the frontier log cabin. And of the United States’ 44 presidents, seven of them have been born in log homes, further imprinting the log cabin into the image of traditional Americana. The first president to be born in a cabin was the 7th president, Andrew Jackson.
In 1767, Jackson was born in a cabin on the Crawford Plantation in South Carolina. This location, west of the Appalachian Mountains, made Jackson the first president elected from that side of the range, which was then still considered the wild frontier. Though the cabin no longer stands, a historical marker can be seen. The 12th President of the United States, Zachary Taylor, was born in a secondary log cabin on the Montebello plantation in Virginia in 1784. You can visit the historical marker planted at the site near modern Gordonsville, Virginia, but the Montebello plantation is currently privately owned, and not open to the public.
In 1800, the future 13th President, Millard Fillmore, was born in a cabin in Moravia, New York. If you plan to make a visit, note that the original cabin no longer stands. It was torn down in 1852, but you can go to the Fillmore Glen State Park in New York and see a replica that was constructed in the picturesque park in 1965. James Buchanan was the 15th President. He was born in rural Pennsylvania in a cabin near the Cove Gap area and the Stony Batter complex in 1791.
Like others who were born in log cabins at the time, Buchanan’s birth was considered to be on the frontier, though the Stony Batter settlement was a thoroughfare for many travelers through the region. Today, a state park exists where the cabin once stood, and like other log cabins, it did not survive the centuries, but a memorial pyramid made of stone stands on the former location of the cabin.
Perhaps one of the most famous presidents born in log cabins was Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States.
In 1809, Thomas and Nancy Hanks Lincoln welcomed young Abraham into the world in their cabin located on the Sinking Spring farm near modern Hodgenville, Kentucky. The family lived on the farm for two years before moving to the Knob Creek farm in 1811. You can still see a model of the original cabin inside the marble monument at the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park.
Next in line of the presidents born in log cabins was the hero of the Union during the Civil War Ulysses S Grant, who became the 18th president of the United States. He was born Hiram Ulysses Grant in 1822 in Point Pleasant, Ohio. After constant teasing about his initials (HUG), Hiram Ulysses became Ulysses S Grant upon entering West Point. If you want to take a look at the modest, three room cottage where Grant was born, take a trip up to Ohio and see the restored original.
The presidency of James Garfield marked the end of frontier, log cabin-born presidents. He was born in 1831 in a log cabin near Orange Township, which is today near Moreland Hills, Ohio. While others moved from their original birthplaces during their childhood, Garfield remained at his family home until 1859, when he was elected to the state Senate. Sadly, his term as President lasted only 200 days, cut short by an assassin’s bullet. A replica of the original log cabin stands on the site today.