The “Abe Lincoln Rock”

Ohh who doesn’t just love Abraham Lincoln? He was such an amazing man (can you tell he’s my favorite president of all time). It also helps that he was from Kentucky. All Kentuckians love when someone famous or someone of importance is from Kentucky too (don’t lie you know you do).

Well did you know that little ole Owsley County has a life-sized statue of Abraham Lincoln?

Guess what? Until about a year ago I didn’t either. This is a gem for our county and hardly anyone knows about it!

Amazingly the Abraham Lincoln Relief Sculpture (or what we here in Owsley call ‘Abe Lincoln Rock’ or ‘Abraham Lincoln Rock’) is listed in the inventory of folk art in the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C. Wait what?! Yes believe it! This statue stands 6 feet 4 inches tall (which is the actual height of Abraham Lincoln).

The "Abe Lincoln Rock"

This is amazing! (Photo by Bobby Earl Whitaker III)

According to an article in Kentucky Living Magazine, “As the story goes, the sculpture dates to the Great Depression years of the early 1930’s, when an itinerant “pack peddler”-selling items, house-to-house, from a pack on his back-fell ill while passing through Owsley County and was befriended by the John Williams Sr. family, who lived near the base of the surrounding hill.” (This can be found on page 50 of the magazine.)

Years later it was found that “pack peddler” was named Granville Johnson.

The article goes on to say that the family took the man in and helped him recover after he fell ill. As a gift to the family for their generosity, the man carved them a statue. I’m not sure why he chose the statue to be of Abraham Lincoln but like I said earlier….who doesn’t love ole Abe?

You can read the whole article in Kentucky Living Magazine on the statue at here.

The statue is carved into a sandstone boulder!

The "Abe Lincoln Rock"

Look at that boulder…it’s huge! (Photo by Bobby Earl Whitaker III)

The "Abe Lincoln Rock"

Look at the detail!  (Photo by Bobby Earl Whitaker III)

I’ve not had the pleasure of seeing the Abraham Lincoln Relief Sculpture but as soon as it is accessible (it was forgotten about and is grown up at the moment) I plan to take the kids! I think this is something that everyone needs to see. However, even though it is hard to find due to weeds I do know of people who have been up to it in the past few months.

If you want to venture out and try to find this amazing sculpture I found the following directions that will get you there:

“Located 8 miles south of Booneville via HWY 11. From HWY 11 turn right (west) onto HWY 846 and drive just past Hwy 1350, turning left on Abe Lincoln Dr.”

If you venture out to find it be careful but be sure to take lots of pictures! I love seeing people take interested in this amazing Owsley County gem!


2 thoughts on “The “Abe Lincoln Rock”

  1. Pingback: 21 Free Things To Do In Owsley County | The Southern Pearl

  2. My mother’s family also lived at the base of this hill. My mother and aunt used to take water up to the man who carved this statue. She told me stories about it many times. She thought the man was Of American Indian dissent. My grandfather’s name was Liberty Peters. My mom’s name was Verna Peters, one of seven children of Lib and Ellen. My great great grandfather is buried in a cemetery in that area. His name was Elijah Thomas and he fought in the Civil War and he didn’t die until 1933 at the age of 93. It is possible he talked to this man and could have said something about Lincoln. Just a thought.


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