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Flatboat trip will follow Lincoln's journey

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By The Staff

A pioneer-era flatboat set sail Tuesday from Rockport, Ind., en route to New Orleans in honor of Abraham Lincoln's upcoming 200th birthday.

A send-off ceremony for Lincoln’s Journey of Remembrance is planned at Ohio Riverfront below the bluff in Rockport, Ind. The program included a keynote address by Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock and musical performances.

Lincoln lived in Indiana from age 7 to 21 and the journey will cover parts of eight states and more than 20 towns along the way to New Orleans. The journey replicates one the young Lincoln took from Rockport to New Orleans.

It actually is the second re-enactment of Lincoln's voyage from Rockport to New Orleans. In 1958, for the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth, the Rockport Jaycees constructed a similar flatboat and made the same journey to New Orleans. The send-off ceremony will include a special tribute to the members of the '58 crew.

The flatboat, which measures 60 feet long and weighs in at 50,000 pounds, will make its first stop Tuesday afternoon at English Park in Owensboro. Other stops include Henderson, Evansville and Mount Vernon, Ill.

Lincoln's Journey of Remembrance is a joint effort by members of the Spencer County Visitors Bureau, Spencer County Regional Chamber of Commerce, Think Lincoln Inc. and the Indiana Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission. The flatboat is owned by Ron Drake, an attorney and former Indiana state legislator who represents disabled children in Washington, D.C.

Both Lincoln's mother and sister are buried in Spencer County, where there are a number of sites people can visit to learn more about the life of the 16th president including Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial, Lincoln State Park, Lincoln Amphitheater, Col. Jones Home, Lincoln Pioneer Village and Buffalo Run Farm.

Those interested in keeping up with the journey as it happens can visit an online blog at www. LincolnsJourney.org, where photos, video and other updates will be posted daily.

For more information, call (888) 444-9252 or e-mail thinklincoln@psci.net.