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Wilson, Douglas L., ed.; Davis, Rodney O., ed.; Branson, N. W. 'N. W. Branson to William H. Herndon' in 'Herndon's Informants: Letters, Interviews, and Statements About Abraham Lincoln' . Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1998. [format: book], [genre: letter]. Permission: University of Illinois Press
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=herndon090.html


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68. N. W. Branson to William H. Herndon.

Petersburg Ill Aug 3. 1865.

Dear Sir

On conversing with Mr Short I have elicited the following additional facts in reference to Mr Lincoln

Mr L. used to tell Mr S. the following anecdote of himself. Once, when Mr L was surveying, he was put to bed in the same room with two girls, the head of his bed being next to the foot of the girls' bed. In the night he commenced tickling the feet of one of the girls with his fingers. As she seemed to enjoy it as much as he did he then tickled a little higher up; and as he would tickle higher the girl would shove down lower and the higher he tickled the lower she moved. Mr L would tell the story with evident enjoyment. He never told how the thing ended.

You can have the benefit of the above, even if your readers cannot.

Mr S. says Mr L was, in Salem times, an habitual reader of the St Louis Republican & the Sangamo Journal. He used to read a great deal, improving every opportunity, by day and by night. S. never knew of his reading a novel. History and poetry & the newspapers constituted the most of his reading. Burns seemed to be his favorite. S. had a copy of "The American Military Biography" [1] which he read a great deal. He read aloud very often; and frequently assumed a lounging position when reading. He read very thoroughly, and had a most wonderful memory. Would distinctly remember almost every thing he read. Used to sit up late of nights reading, & would recommence in the morning when he got up. He was not an unusually early riser — at least it was not considered early for country habits, though for the City it would be very early.

Mr L was very fond of honey. Whenever he went to S's house he invariably asked his wife for some bread & honey. And he liked a great deal of bee bead in it. He never touched liquor of any kind.

There was nothing of the poke about him. Whenever he went at any thing he went at it to do it. Whenever he walked with me, he would keep me in a trot all the time. Always put things through in a hurry. Was a fast eater, though not a very hearty one. Didnt sleep very much as he always sat up late.

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He didn't go to see the girls much. He didn't appear bashful, but it seemed as if he cared but little for them. Wasn't apt to take liberties with them, but would sometimes. He always liked lively, jovial company, where there was plenty of fun & no drunkenness, and would just as lieve the company were all men as to have it a mixture of the sexes. He was very agreeable in company and every body liked him. Was always full of life & of fun — always cheerful — always had a story to tell. Was very sociable & fond of visiting. Knew every man, woman & child for miles around. Was very fond of children. Was fond of cats — would take one & turn it on its back & talk to it for half an hour at a time. I never in my life saw him out of humor. He never got angry. Once when major Hill [2] was wrongly informed that Mr L had said something against his — H's — wife, the Major abused him a great deal for it — talking to Mr L very roughly & insultingly. Mr L kept his temper, — denied having said any thing against her. — told the Major that he had a very high opinion of her, and that if he knew any thing in the world against her it was the fact of her being his wife.

Mr L. was fond of wrestling, in which he excelled.

Renewing the offer of my poor services

Yours Truly
N W Branson

Library of Congress: Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 2272 — 73; Huntington Library: LN2408, 1:540 — 43

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Wilson, Douglas L., ed.; Davis, Rodney O., ed.; Branson, N. W. 'N. W. Branson to William H. Herndon' in 'Herndon's Informants: Letters, Interviews, and Statements About Abraham Lincoln' . Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1998. [format: book], [genre: letter]. Permission: University of Illinois Press
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=herndon090.html
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