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Wilson, Douglas L., ed.; Davis, Rodney O., ed.; Carman, Caleb. 'Caleb Carman (William H. Herndon Interview)' in 'Herndon's Informants: Letters, Interviews, and Statements About Abraham Lincoln' . Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1998. [format: book], [genre: interview]. Permission: University of Illinois Press
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=herndon373.html


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270. Caleb Carman (William H. Herndon Interview).

Petersburg Octr 12th 1866

Caleb Carman

— aged 62 — Knew Lincoln well — first knew him in Sangamon Town — 7 M North west of the city of Spgfd. Saw Abe work a flat boat — Broadwell sawed the lumber with an up right Saw — Steam Mill — There was no whip sawing of the boat plank — : it was sawed in a mill — Abe — long — tall & green — Cloathed in light blue Jeans — Coat & pants — round about Coat — Short one — trowsers short — not Strapt down. hat broad brim low wool hat. — Shoes. He was funny — joky — humorous — full of yarns — stories — rigs. &c — : he was frequently quoting poetry — reciting prose like orations — : had a Kind of Shantee — down on or near the river — Abe cooked — played seven up in the Camp after dark — Abe played a good game: he worked with the hands — Offutt — John Hanks & Jno Johnson were with Abe — they worked too — building the boat about Six weeks — Knew Abe in 1831 — . I was in the Indian war of 1828. or 9 — Abe was not out then — wasn't out in the Black Hawk war — Know no Evil — no wrong — no meanness — Am a democrat — opposed to Lincoln in politics, bitterly So — but loved the Man. Never saw him under the influence of liquor — took his dram with me when he felt like it — not often — His conduct to women & children was Kind and Condesending — I saw Abe at a show one night at Sangamon town — up stairs at my uncles — Jacob Carman: the Showman Cooked Eggs in Abes hat — Abe, when the man called for the hat Said — "Mr the reason why I didn't give you my hat before was out of respect to your Eggs — not care for my hat." Lincoln boarded with me one or two years at New Salem — Abe was boarding with me when he went to the Legislature in 1834: he was — P.M — not deputy — went from Springfield in Carriage — don't think he ever walked to Spgfd to borrow Law Book: he lived at my house when he studied law first — as I understand it: he never intended to learn the black smith trade: this story I know to be a humbug: he surveyed in 1834 — surveyed Petersburg — boarded then with me — : he merchandised in N. Salem before I got there — He Kept grocery too before I got down from Sangamon town. I lived in the house in which Berry & Lincoln Kept grocery — New Salem laid off East & west — running on the back of the hill — about 25 — or 30 houses — all gone but one — : he bottomed — Lincoln did — some chairs for me in 1834 & 1831 — One Morning I Saw Abe up Early with an axe on his shoulder — I said to him — "Abe what in the devil are you going to do" "I'll tell you directly" said Abe he went in

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the woods — cut down 2 hickory sapplings — peeled off the Course outer bark — peeled off the clean tender inner bark and with it bottomed my chairs. Abe ceased boarding with me in 1836 & 7. Abe was very good Kind & courteous to children & women — was sometimes sociable with men — Seen him Survey many times — he often to my own Knowledge attended law cases before Justices of the Peace in & near Salem from 1834 to 1837 — He loved Burns' poetry — Shakespear — and some few other books — read the News papers of the day — the Sangamon Journal & Mo Republican & Louisville Journal: He was always quoting Poetry — singing songs — "Old Suekey blue Skin" [1] — Quote Speeches — orations — Make good Speeches to — wrote deeds — contracts — agreements &c for the neighbors & Charged them nothing — He was a good reader rather than a "much reader" as the Indian would Say: what he read he read thoroughly & well & never forgot it. He frequently visited from 1833 — to 1837. young ladies — he Courted Miss Rutledge: she moved down the river a few miles before I got to Salem. He went to see & Courted Miss Owens about 1835 — or — 1836 She was frequently at my house & Abe would gallant her down to Abels [2] about 2 M down the River. It is said that she came all the way from Ky to get Lincoln. This I Know nothing about — but doubt. Miss Owen was a handsome woman — a fine looking woman — was Sharp — Shrewd and intellectual I assure you Miss Rutledge was a pretty woman — good natured — kind — wasn't as smart as Miss Owens by a heap. Mentor Graham — and the Greens helped Abe in Grammar — Graham aided him exclusing in Surveying — . I don't remember any jokes about Abe — I Know he sat up late at night and studied hard — rose tolerably Early. Abe ate mechanically — very moderately — didn't seem to Care much what was Set before him — So it was clean. I Knew John A. Kelso: he was a School Master: well educated — loved Shakespear and fishing above all other thing. Abe loved Shakespear but not fishing — still Kelso would draw Abe: they used to sit on the bank of the river and quote Shakespear — criticise one an other. Kelso lives now as I understand in Mo. Kelso, if at himself is a good Shakesperian Schollar for a western man. — think he was a Kentuckian — I say to you that from 1832. or 3 to 1838 — that Lincoln studied law — Studied, Surveying and general politics — was member of the legislature 3 times from New Salem — probably twice and part of an other term. I think Abels frame house was built down under the hill — and not on the top of it: it was a log house on the hill that Lincoln used to see Miss Owens in according to my recollection — Lincoln was Sometimes Sad — was deeply reflective — Sometimes it seemed to me a mix'd State of abstraction & Sadness. His clothing in the winter was Jeans & linnen generally in the Summer. Lincoln never hunted much: he was no hunter — loved sports — threw malls — large pieces of iron — jump — pitch quoits — dollars — never gambled — probably attended horse races — I never saw him at one — played old sledge for fun, and drank his dram occasionally when he wanted it. His friends forced

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him to drink Sometimes and possibly he never would have touched it but for his friends — He used to worry — tire himself down at Study & work at Salem — would retire to Armstrongs — Shorts — Grahams & other places to get recruited —

Library of Congress: Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 2706 — 10; Huntington Library: LN2408, 1:357 — 62

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Wilson, Douglas L., ed.; Davis, Rodney O., ed.; Carman, Caleb. 'Caleb Carman (William H. Herndon Interview)' in 'Herndon's Informants: Letters, Interviews, and Statements About Abraham Lincoln' . Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1998. [format: book], [genre: interview]. Permission: University of Illinois Press
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=herndon373.html
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