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Wilson, Douglas L., ed.; Davis, Rodney O., ed.; Burba, E. R. 'E. R. Burba 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=herndon240.html


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181. E. R. Burba to William H. Herndon.

Hodgenville Ky March 31st 1866

Dear Sir

After some delay I will give you what information I can concerning the late A. Lincoln — All the in formation I have is from some of the old settlers and it appears that they are at a considerable loss on that subject — As to Thomas Lincoln it is conceded that he married Nancy Hanks and they lived within about three miles (south) of this Village at the time Abram was born. they were quite poor. the old man was a Kind of rough Carpenter & quite use full in that way in those days the Country was Sparsely Settled. there is a roof on a barn in sight of this place now standing that he helped put on It is a settled belief here that Abrams true name is not Lincoln — Some have thought it to be Enlows this I doubt for I have conversed with the old man Enlows in a Manner that satisfied me to Contrary [1] — Others give it to Cessa; [2] the old man is still living and had some reputation in Earlier days of living rather inclined to the company of Women — In fact I have heard him say that he Knew Nancy as well as he ever Knew any woman. And he further says that Thomas Lincoln was not considered all right in Consequence of having the Mumps or something else, that he has been with him often in baithing together in the water — Mr Cessna is Considered a very reliable man. I Know him well Still another comes in by the name of Brownfield [3] and after Sifting the matter the best I can my opinion is inclined to the latter name provided it is Not Lincoln My reasons in part is from the Resemblance, true I never had the pleasure of Seeing the late Abram L — yet I never Saw more striking resemblance than his picture & some of the Brownfield family — I doubt whether this matter will ever be better understood than it now is —

2d — Thomas Lincoln was conceeded to be a Strictly honest hard working Man — He bought the tract of land that A — was born on but unable to pay for it gave it up, it is rather poor and at that day suppose not worth over (1$ per acre — I have never heard that Slavery was any Cause of his leaving Ky — and think quite likely it was Not — for there were very few Slaves in the whole Country round here then perhaps not 50 in what is now this County My own opinion is that if it was true that the Hanks family were a little unfortunate that he had no desire to remain where it was so well known and being of a Stout hearty robust Constitution broke out to try some unknown parts, this is only My own Conjectures. So far as I can learn aught cannot be Said against any of the family save what I have noticed — I am told they were Baptist by profession

A Citizen of our County by the name of Creal Says he went to school with Abram a short time to a man by the name of Reno [4] — and that Abrm went to another by the name of Calip Hazle the latter I think was Some eight miles from here where his father mooved to Near the Rolling fork of Salt River Near what is

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Known as Athertons ferry [5] I cannot learn of any particular trait that was noticeable more than he alwas appeard to be very quiet during play time Never Seemed to be rude Seemed to have a liking for Solitude. was the one to adjust difficulties between boys of his size when appealed to his decision was the end of the trouble — was rather noted for Keeping his clothes cleaner longer than any others — was considered brave but had few if any difficulties although quite young, had a fondness for fishing and hunting with his dog & Axe when his dog would run a Rabbit in a hollow tree he would chop it out — In Regard to the Second Marriage of Thos. Lincoln I Know but little about & would refer you to Samuel Haycraft of Elizabeth Town Hardin County Ky — I presume that had not the Boy turned out to be what he did that his family Record would Scarce ever been thought here any More — Although Ky — was a Slave State yet I can assure you that many of us here are proud of the name of Lincolnites Many differ with his political policy but few can refute it and I verily believe all things considered he was the greates Man Since the Days of Washington I have his life written by Jos H Barrett [6] which is Mainly Correct so far as I Know. save the very nice points of character of some of his ancestors —

There is a man by the name of Dennis Hanks who lives in your State who ought to be able to give more in formation on these points than any one here — It May be rather a delicate Matter with him However — as his real name should be or is Frind — I regret that I cannot be more positive or certain in regard to information yet this is about the whole gist of the information that can be obtained here — I Hope you will be able to Collect sufficient facts to enable you to give a true history. I think it would be one of best things published for the rising generation. so clearly establishing the fact that the most humble can rise to the highest positions in life — If I can be of any further Service to you at any time it would afford me great pleasure to be notified by you — The matters I have spoken of here I Mearly wrote for your own satisfaction that you might know what was the best settled opinion about his parents &c Consequently you can use them as you see fit — Wishing you success in your undertaking

I am Very Respectfully yours
E R Burba

Library of Congress: Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 2534 — 35; Huntington Library: LN2408, 1:38 — 43

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Wilson, Douglas L., ed.; Davis, Rodney O., ed.; Burba, E. R. 'E. R. Burba 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=herndon240.html
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