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Wait!? Don’t I mean Abraham? No, I mean Mordecai.

You may have heard about the butterfly effect or theory. Seems that in 1963 Edward Lorenz came up with this theory:

A butterfly could flap its wings and molecules of air in motion, which would move other molecules of air, in turn moving more molecules of air—eventually capable of starting a hurricane on the other side of the planet. 1

Whether true or not, it is fascinating. I tend to believe in the sovereignty of God. The sovereignty of God came into play in 1786. Twenty-three years before the birth of Abraham Lincoln an event took place that could have changed the course of history.

We’ll get to that in a minute, but first, some background. There was another Abraham Lincoln—he was the grandfather of the Abraham we know, and he had three sons—Mordecai, Josiah and Thomas. The event, as described by David Herbert Donald in his book Lincoln:

…the wilderness was dangerous (they were in Kentucky). In 1786, while Abraham Lincoln (the grandfather) and his three boys, Mordecai, Josiah and Thomas were planting a cornfield on their new property, Indians attacked them. Abraham was killed instantly. Mordecai, at fifteen the oldest son, sent Josiah running to the settlement half a mile away for help while he raced to a nearby cabin. Peering out of a crack between the logs, he saw an Indian sneaking out of the forest toward his eight-year-old brother, Thomas, who was sitting in the field beside their father’s body. Mordecai picked up a rifle, aimed at a silver pendant on the Indian’s chest, and killed him before he could reach the boy. 2

Mordecai Lincoln

Mordecai Lincoln

Nice inspiring story, but how does that make Mordecai Lincoln the preserver of the Union of the United States? The boy he saved was Thomas Lincoln, future father of the Abraham Lincoln we all know. If Thomas had been killed, his son, Abraham would never have been born.

Consider what might have happened if Abraham Lincoln had not been born:

  • Who would have challenged Stephen Douglas on the debate over slavery?
  • In 1860, who would have been the Republican Party nominee and could he have beat Stephen Douglas and would there have been a Civil War?
  • Whether in 1861 or earlier or later, there would most certainly have been a Civil War. Slavery was a cancer on the nation and it had to be challenged and defeated. But, who would have lead that charge?
  • It is conceivable that we’d be two nations today. While slavery would have eventually died, it’s debatable if we’d be one nation today. It took the intestinal fortitude of Abraham Lincoln to hold the Union together. A lesser man might have negotiated a peace and created two nations.

So, you see we owe a lot to Lincoln’s Uncle Mord—the man who ensured that Abraham Lincoln would be born. That’s why I assert that Uncle Mord is the preserver of the Union.

The Butterfly Effect by Andy Andrews
Lincoln by David Herbert Donald


Lincoln by David Herbert Donald

Lincoln by David Herbert Donald

Side note: I am reading through Lincoln by David Herbert Donald, a biography that many consider to be among the best biographies on Lincoln. I plan to blog through it as I run into interesting tidbits. So, stay tuned.