Abraham Lincoln’s father berated him for reading books and took the money neighbors paid him for doing chores on their farms. The ambitious, hard-working son left home as soon as he legally could.

When Thomas Lincoln was dying in 1851, he wanted to see his prosperous and politically-connected 41-year-old son. A relative asked Abraham Lincoln to visit his father one last time, but the future president refused.

In a letter he said, “You already know I desire that neither Father or Mother shall be in any want of any comfort either in health or sickness while they live; and I feel sure you have not failed to use my name, if necessary, to procure a doctor, or any thing else for Father in his present sickness. My business is such that I could hardly leave home now, if it were not, as it is, that my own wife is sick-abed. (It is a case of baby-sickness, and I suppose it is not dangerous.) I sincerely hope Father may yet recover his health, but at all events tell him to remember to call upon, and confide in, our great, and good, and merciful Maker; who will not turn away from him in any extremity.”

Source: Abraham Lincoln, The Writer, edited by Harold Holzer