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Wilson, Douglas L., ed.; Davis, Rodney O., ed.; Chapman, A. H.. 'A. H. Chapman (Written Statement)' 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=herndon095.html


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71. A. H. Chapman (Written Statement) [1].

[Ante Sept 8. 1865]

Mordica [2] Lincoln the Grand Father of the Late President was born in Halifax Co — Va on the Head Waters of the Roanoke River about the year 1744, his parents emigrated to this country from Lincolnshire Eng, settled in Halifax Co — Va & there thy died. His Father was a farmer & in afluent circumstances at the time of his death. Mordica Lincoln was married to a Miss Crume. Nothing is known of her parentage only that her Father was a Farmer & a poor man. after there marriage but before thy Had any heirs thy moved from Va to Ky coming through with several other families on pack Horses camping out of nights during their entire trip. They had several Fights with the Indians during their journey by which thy lost several of their party. Thy Settled on a peice of land near Boones Lick & Here three Children were all Born. The 1st Named Mordica, the 2n Josiah, the 3d Sarah & the 4th named Thomas, who was the Father of the late President & the 5th a Daughter named _____. [3] Lincoln commenced openning a farm when he was settled on a peice of Gov't land & was Killed while at work on this farm during the spring 1784. he was at work putting up a fence to a new field, his son Thos then only a little over 6 years old was with him. his other 2 sons Mordica & Josiah were at Work in some Fields. Mordica Lincoln Succeeded in escaping to the House, barricades the door, seizes His Rifle & repairs to the loft of the house, on taking a Survey through a port Hole he discovered His Father lying Dead where he had been at work, his Bro Josiah he could not see at all but he discovered his Bro Thos in the Hands of a very large Indian who had him by the nap of the neck and seat of the breeches & was a runing Down a lane with him Just at this time the Indian stoped & faced towards the House. Young Thos Lincoln had Just remarked to the Indian dont kill me take me prisoner. the Indian looked down at him & smiled Just at this time the crack of a Rifle was heard the Indian bounded high into the air and fell dead. Young Thos Lincoln sprang to his feet & escaped to the House his Mother unbared the Door admitted him into the house & he was saved. The Indian had been shot from the loft of the House by Mordica Lincolns a distance of 160 steps. This Indian had on his Breast a Silver ornament or medal in the shape of a Half Moon & this was the mark at which young Lincoln aimed when he shot him.

Young Josiah on being attacked & seeing all chance of getting to the house cut of made his way to a Stockad Fort Some 2 to 4 miles Distant procured Help & returned to the assistance of the Family, but upon his arrivall the Indians had left & although thy were pursed could not be overtaken except one that was wounded & found in a top of a fallen tree near Lincolns place just outside of the

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[farm] young Mord Lincoln Swore eternal vengance on all Indians an oath which he faithfully kept as he afterwards during times of profound peace with the Indians killed several of them in fact he invariably done so when he could without it being known that he was the person that done the deed. Some time after the death of Abram Lincoln his widdo[w] removed to Washington Co Ky & settled near the town of Springfield. Here Thos Lincoln the father of the President arrived at the age of maturity & here his mother died. After the death of his mother he Thos Lincoln went to Hardin Co now Larue Co Ky & setled on No Lin Creek on a piece of Gov't land near the Town of Hoginsville Here he was married to Nancy Sparrow [4] a Daughter of Henry and Lucy Sparrow. Lucy Sparrows Maiden Name was Hanks. Henry Sparrow was born & raised in Rockingham Co. Va. from there he imigrated to Mercer Co. Ky & Setled near a Baptist church called Liberty Meeting House here he was married to Lucy Sparrow or Hanks, about the year 1787, Henry Sparrows Father was named Thos Sparrow & with his Family imigrated to Va from England. Lucy Hanks the wife of Henry Sparrow & Grand Mother of a Lincoln was also born & raised in Rockingham Co Va. Her Father Joshua Hanks also emigrated to this Co from England with his family, [5] The Hanks & Sparrow Families Emigrated to this country from the same part of England about the same time, Setled in the same part of Va then emigrated to Ky at the Same time and Setled in the same neighborhood in Ky Thy came from Va to Ky on Pack Horses camping out of nights during there Trip. Henry Sparrow & his wife Lucy died in Mercer Co Ky after there death there Daughter Nancy went to Hardin Co Ky to reside with her Fathers Brother Thos Sparrow & Here She & Thos Lincoln wer[e] married June 12th 1804 [6] & at once commenced life together on there settle place on No-Linn Creek. Thos Lincoln was at this time in poor circumstances. Having but very little to commence keeping House with. Thos Lincoln the Father of a Lincoln was a Stout athletic man. 5 feet 10 inches High & weighed when in the prime of his life 196 lbs. he had the Reputation of being one of the Stoutest men in Ky. At one time while on a visit to some friends at Hardinsburgh Ky he had a Desperate fight with a man named Hardin, said Hardin was a Noted Bully & Desperado & Said to be the Stoutest man in Breckenridge County. [7] Thos. Lincoln whiped Hardin easily without he Lincoln receang a Scratch or Bruse. This is the only fight he ever had, after his encounter with Hardin no one else ever tried his manhood in a personal combat. he was a remarkable peacable man. He was rather Dark complected, Dark Hair, Dark Grey Eyes, Careless in his personal appearance, very industrious, remarkable good Natured, very fond of a Joke or story & of telling them, fond of Hunting & a fine Hunter, always Kept a fine Rifle but never neglected his labors on his farm to Hunt, Never cared for

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Fishing, was temperate in his Habits, never was intoxicated in his life, was vy careless about his business, a poor Manager, at time[s] accumulated considerable property which he always managed to make way with about as fast as he made it, had but Little Education, Learning to read & write a Little after his Marriage, tooke the world easy & was what is generally called an unlucky Man in business. Was very unfortunate in most of his attempts to accumulate property or money, was a very Hearty eater but cared but Little what kind of food he had, was satisfied if he had plenty corn Brod & Milk, Was strictly a moral man, never used profane or vulgar language. Joined the Free will Baptist Church in Hardin Co Ky in 1816 was imersed by a preacher named Wm Downs, in Knob creek H Co Ky on his removal to Ind united with the Old Predestinarian Baptist & on his removall to Coles Co Ills united with same church but afterwards left them & joined the Christian Church in Charleston Ills & lived a Member of that Church in good Standing untill his death, was Strictly Honest in all of his dealings with his fellow men. He died 8 miles south of Charleston Coles Co Ills Jany 9th 1851 — his features were coarse & he had a remarkable large roman Nose. His first wife the Mother of the Late President was a Medium Sized Woman, rather spar[e] in her person, fair complexion, Light Hair, Blue Eyes, neat in her person & Habits, industrious, of a Kind disposition Vy affectionate in her family never opposed her Husband in any thing, was satisfied with what suited him, was a Member of the Same Church as her Husband, & died in good Standing in her Church. She died in Spencer Co Ind Oct 5th 1818 — her Funeral was preached by the Rev David Elkins an old Ky friend who was then on a visit at the time of her death. She was buried about l/2 a mile north of Little Pidgeon Baptist Church in a grove of Persimon Trees on a high eminence. The Rev Young Lamar was pastar of the Church at that time The Disease of Which She died was Milk Sick. her & her uncle & aunt Thos & Elizabeth Sparrow Levi Hall & his wife all died about the same time & were all buried side by side. after the Marriage of Thos Lincoln to Nancy Sparrow thy resided on there little place on NoLinn, for a short time when thy moved to a place on Knob Creek ½ a mile above its Mouth which Lincoln bought for 2 Dollars per acre on this piece of land there 2 Children Sarah & Abraham Lincoln Late President were Born. The first Born Feb 20th 1807 the Last Feb 12th 1809, Thy also had another chi[ld] while thy resided here a son which died when only 3 days old. These ar[e] all the children thy ever had. Thos Lincoln continued to reside on Knob Creek untill the fall of 1816 accumulating quite a Little Stock of Hogs, Horses & Cattle, During the Sumer of 1816 he traded his Little place, for 400 Gallons of Whisky. he then built him self a Little Flat or Fery Boat Loaded on it his Whisky Farming utensils, a Chest of Cabinet & Carpenters Tools, Most of there House hold goods, in fact nearly there all except — clothing Bed Clothes & Stock. he then embarked & started down Rooling Fork & when near the Mouth of Brock Fork his Boat as capsized & all he had in it was thrown into the river. he succeeded in Saving Most of his Whisky a few Tools & a few other goods. he then got his Boat righted & Loading what he had saved from the wreck. he again started

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on his journey in quest of a new home, he finally Landed at Thompson Fery on the Ind Sid of the ohio River at a Mans Named Posey, [8] Storing his property with Posey & Selling him his boat he at once Started back to Ky for his family walking the entire Distance 80 Mils packing amongs other things his clothing & Bedding & a fe[w] cooking utensils (viz 1 oven & lid, 1 Skillitt [&] Lid & some tin ware) on 2 Horses [&] then he with his wife & 2 Children starte[d] for there new home in Ind in Nov. 1816. thy camped out of Nights cooking there own victuals, Dennis F. Hanks & Ralph Croom drove Lincoln's stock of Hogs & Cattle from Ky to Ind [9] arriving at Poseys he hired teams & loading on them his whisky & other goods which he had left at Poseys he Started out to an old acquainetanes Thos Carters 17 Miles in the interior of Ind here he arrived all safe & Setled on a peace of Govt land (80 acres). this land he afterwards bought under the two Dollar act was to pay for it in installments, one Half he paid the other Half he never paid & finally lost the whole of the land. here he erected a cabin or camp of poles one side on the face of it being open & here he commenced life in Ind. he lived in this camp one year. in the Mean time he cleared some land & raised a small crop of corn & vegetables. the watter thy uised thy obtained by digging a Hole in the ground & was a miserable article had to be Stained in warm weather before uising it. as soon as he had raised a Little crop he built a Log House, into which he moved & in it he lived during the rest of the time he resided in Ind. In the fall of 1817 Mrs Lincolns Uncle [10] with his wife & a Nephew Dennis F Hanks Moved out to Ind from Ky & Moved into Lincolns old camp which he had just vacated. Here Sparrow & his Wife booth Deid in 8 Month with the Milk Sick. Mrs Lincoln also Sickened and Deid with Same Disease about the Same time, She deid Oct 5th [1818] The Milk Sick was very prevalent among the Setlers this year, nearly all that were attacked with it deid. There was no Phisician in the county at that time the nearest one was at Yellow Banks Ky [11] 30 Miles distant. Thos Lincoln made all the coffins for those that deid in that neighborhood about that time. the Lumber was green & cut with a Whip Saw. There was scarcely enough will in the neighborhood that fall to Bury those that deid. Thos Lincoln continued to reside here with his Son & Dr & Nephew Dennis F Hanks untill the fall of 1819 working on his farm & at his trade Making rough Tables & such other articles as was most Needed in that community. During the fall of 1819 He returned to his old home in Ky & while there he was Married to a Widdow, named Sarah Johnston her Maiden Name was Bush. She was the Daughter of Christopher and Hannah Bush of Elizabethtown Ky. Thy were Married Dec 2 — 1819. Lincoln had been acquainted with her & proposed marriage to her before either of them had ever Married but had been rejected by Her. on his return to Ky finding her a widdow he renewd his proposals of Marriage to her & at the urgent solicitation of her Friends who all liked Lincoln She accepted his proposals. as soon as Married Lincoln hired his

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Brother in Law Ralph Croom to take his Waggons & Ho[rses] there, to Ind with there House Hol[d] Goods. Mrs Johnston having a large supp[ly] of House Hold goods for [a] family in those days. Mrs Johnston Had 3 children all young a Son & 2 Daughter. [12] these thy took with them to Ind & thy constituted a part of Lincolns family untill grown & Married. Mrs Johnston now Mrs Lincoln took with her to Ind one 1 fine Bureau, 1 Table, 1 sett Chairs, 1 large Cloth Chest, cooking utensils, Dishes, Knives, Forks, Spoons, 1 Spining wheel, clothing, 2 Beds & Bedding & other articles. Mrs Lincoln is still Living with her Grand Children in Coles Co Ills & has this same Bureau still in her possession, it was made by a man named Wm Parcells, in Elizabethtown Ky & cost when new 40 Dollars & was considered in those days a very fine peace of furniture & Still bears evidence of unusual fine workmanship. on there arrival at the residence of Thos Lincoln in Ind Mrs Lincoln was astonished to find that there was no floor or Door to the House of her Husband, no furniture of any Kind, no Beds or Bedding or scarcely any. thy used rough stools for chairs. had a Table Made by putt 4 Legs in a Hewed puncheon their bed was made by Boring holes in the wall & then resing a post at one corner inserting in them poles & on these poles were Boards & on these the family made there rude Beds. thy had no Dishes except a few Pewter & Tin ones. no cooking utensils except a Dut[ch] oven & Lid & 1 skellet & Lid. The Chil[dren] were Sufring greatly for clothes, thy [had] but one Suit each & these vy poo[r] the boys being Dressed mostly in Buck Skins. The Large Supply of goods brought by Mrs Lincoln came in good time. She at once had a floor Laid in the House Doors & Windows put in the Same Dressed the children up out of the Large supply she had brought with her in fact in a few week all had changed & where evry thing was wanting now all was snug & comfortable. Lincoln insisted on his Wife selling part of her furniture especially the Bureau, saying it was too fine for them to keep but this she refused to Do. She was a woman of great energy, of remarkable good sense, very industrious, & saving & also very neat & tidy in her person & Manners & Knew exactly how to Manage children. She took a an espical liking to young Abe, her love for him was warmly returned & continued to the day of his death. But few children loved there parents as he loved this Step Mother. She soon dressed him up in entire new clothes & from that time on he appeared to lead a new life. he was encouraged by her to Study & any wish on his part was gratified when it could be don[e] The 2 Setts of Children got along finely together as if thy had al[l] have been the children of the same parents. Mrs Lincoln soon Discovered that young Abe was a Boy of uncommon natural Talents & if rightly trained that a bright future was before him & She done all in her power to Develope those Talents, Lincolns Little Farm was well Stocked with Hogs, Horses & cattle & that year he had raised a fine crop of Wheat corn & Vegetables. a Little Town named Gentryville had sprung up near them & from there thy obtained many necessaries in life that up to this time thy had Done without. Thy taned there own Leather & Young Hanks made them Shoes out of their rude Leather. There

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clothing was all made at home & the Material from which it was made was also made at home. Coff & Tea thy did not uise nor did thy dare to uise milk a great portion of the year on act of Milk Sick. Thy first traded at Gentryville with one Gid Romine & afterwards with one Wm Jones, young Abe was warmly attached to Jones also to one John Baldwin a Black Smith. Baldwin was a great hand at telling stories & Abe took a great [13] spent Many of his Leisure hours wit[h] him. Mr Lincoln continued to reside here untill 1829 livi[ng all] the time on the peace of Lan[d on] which he first Setled part of [the] time working at his trade & at other times on his farm. His wife done all the trading for the family & had the entire management of the Children. in Aug 1826 Sarah the sister of a Lincoln was Married to Aaron Grigsby & She deid Jay 20th 1828 in giving birth to her first and only child. The child was Dead when born. Thos Lincoln Made Several trips down the River while he lived in Ind taking flat Boats Loaded with Produce, principally Pork, from these trips he realized but little profit simply turning what he raised on his Farm into cash, he sold one entire load on a credit & never realized a cent for the same, he also tooke 2 trips Down the river with flat Boats while he lived in Ky walking all the way from New Orleans to his home in Ky Young Abe continued to reside with his parent as long as they lived in Ind & emigrated to Ills with them in March 1829. he helped his Father build his first cabin in Ills he also helped to Make the rails & fence his first 10 acres of ground which the old man put in cultivation in Ills. This was 8 Miles west of Decatur Macon Co — Ills on the north Bank of the Sangamon River & in the spring of 1829 — The Rails to enclo[se] this firt 10 acres of Land were principally made by the neighbors, collecting in & making a frolic of [it] & were nearly all made in 1 Day, it is not true that Abe Lincoln made all of those Rails as he worked at them but a few days, John Hanks cut the logs to build the Cabin. Abe Lincoln Hauled them out with a Dry Sled & 2 yoke of cattle & Dennis F Hanks Hewed them or Scotched them on 2 Sides the Neighbors then collected in & helped them raise the House. The family being all the time in a Camp made of Waggon Sheets. Thos Lincoln Moved from Ind to Ills with a 4 Horse Waggon Drawn by 2 yoke of oxen, The families of Dennis F Hanks & esquire Hall Came with him. Hanks & Hall had Married his Lincolns 2 Step Daughters, [14] In Aug 1822 A Lincoln D F Hanks, Squire Hall all went to Poseys Landing on the ohio River to cut cord Wood supposing that they could get the Money for the same but arriving there thy found thy would have to take the pay for any wood they might cut in Store goods, thy cut 9 cord & recd for it 9 yds White Domestic at 25 cts a cord of this Abe had a Shirt Made & this is posatively the first white shirt he ever had in his life. Lincoln was then between 13 & 14 years old & this [was] the first time he ever hired out [or] worked away from Home In the year 1827 A Lincoln & h[is] Step Brother John D Johnston went together to Louisvill Ky to try & get work & earn some money, thy obtained work on their arrivall there on the Louisvill & Portland Canall & when through working there were paid off

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in silver Dollars. This is the first silver dollar Lincoln ever had or owned of his own & of it he was very proud.

The Stories that Lincoln worked at Andersons Ferry in Ind for 9 Month are all untrue. he never worked there or at any other Ferry in Ind. [15] This is true beyond a Doubt. his Step Mother Mrs Lincoln his Step Sister Mrs Moore & his cousin Dennis F Hanks all concur in this asertion. The only work he ever done on the Crawford Farm in Ind was as follows. He borrowed of Josiah Crawfo[rd] the Life of Washington. [16] while this Book [was] in his Lincolns possession it got dam[aged] by being Wet & on his returning it to [Crawford] he Crawford refused to receave it [but] insisted on Lincoln paying him for the Same which Lincoln agreed to do and as he had not the money to pay for the same he worked for Crawford a puling Corn Blades at 25 cts a Day & thus paid for the Damaged Book, & this is posatively the only work he ever done on the Crawford place. he Lincoln felt that Crawford had treated him unkindly in regard to this Book & wrote some rude verses on the subject in which he ridiculed Crawford in a Most unmerciful Manner. he Lincoln was not in the habit of Working out from home while thy resided in Ind only occasionly changing work with the Neighbors which was costomary in those days, [17] Lincoln when very young & while thy still resided in Ky went to School about 3 Months to a Man named Caleb Hazell. he was sent more as Company for his Sister than with the expectation that he would learn Much, he then & there Learned his Letters & to Spell a Little. While Living in Ind his cousin D F Hanks learned him to spell, Read & Write. he afterward went to schoo[l] in Ind about 5 Months during one f[all] and winter & Learned very fast Ma[king] rapid progress in his studies. after [this] he studied very hard during his [leisure] hours, he procured a copy of Pikes Arithmatic [18] & Mastered its entire contents with but Little help from others he also borrowed all the Books he could in the Neighborhood where thy lived & read the same. The damaged life of Washington was a great favorite with him. he also obtained a coppy of Barclays Dictionary [19] which aided him Much in his Studies, This Dictionary is still in the hands of his Step Mother in Charleston Ills as is also the old Family Bible of Thos Lincoln A Lincolns Father he also wrote Much at home writing rude verses of his own composition in his coppy Books also working out Mathematical problims in his coppy Books, one of these coppy Books is Still in existance & in the possession of Thos Johnston a son of his Step Brother Johnston & bears date 1826 & 1827, the 3 mothes that Lincoln went to school in Ky & 5 Months in Ind is all the Schooling he ever receaved. The family never had newspapers whi[le] thy resided in Ind. He Lincoln first became a reader of news papers af[ter] he came to Ills. The first News pa[per] which he took & read regular [was] the National Inteligencer published

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at Washington City. of this paper he was a warm admirer. When about 10 years old Lincoln first showed his talent as a speaker & from that forward would gather the children together Mount a stump or Log & harang his juvenile audience. he done this so often that it interfered with their labors when at work on the farm & caused him Many reproofs from his father, He would often after returning from church repeat correctly nearly all of the sermon which he had heard mimacing the Style & tone of the old Baptist Preachers, he was also in the habit of attending Law Suits before a neighboring Justice, This both amused & interested him very much 17 to 18 years of age. he attended to several suits before this Squire for his Neighbors & in most of which he was Successfull. the Justices Name was Griffitt. [20] Lincoln was not industrious as a worker on the farm or at any other Kind of Manu[al] Labor, he only Showed industry in attainment of Knowledge. he [was] from childhood very lively & qui[ck] in his disposition. at all times [full] of fun fond of a Joke and of te[lling] one. when a Boy a great Love at playing pranks on his companions, Never cared very much for hunting or Fishing yet when a youth was very Successfull as a hunter when he followed & a fine Shot with a Rifle. did not when a youth Show Much Diseir or inclination in acquiring this worlds goods. Sarah the sister of A Lincoln was married to Aaron Grigsby in Spencer Co Ind August 1826 and died January 20th 1828 in giving Birth to her first child. the child was still Born. Thos Lincoln A Lincolns Father was a Cabinet Maker by trade. Learned the trade or what he Knew about it with Josiah Hanks in Elizabeth Town Ky, after his Marriage he always lived on a farm working on his Farm during crop time & at other times at his trade also Making Doors & Door & Window caseings for the Setlers. while he resided in Ky he made two trips down the Ohio & Miss Rivers to New Orleans with one Isaac Bush. thy wa[lked] the entire distance across t[he] country from New Orleans b[ack] to their homes in Ky. The clothin[g for] the family while thy resided in [Ind] was all Manufactured at Home by them selves from cotton & Flax of there own raising. The Cotton thy picked carded & Spun with there own hands. there winter pants for the Men & boys was Made of Buckskin for Several years after there arrivall in Ind afterward from wool taken from some sheep which thy had procured but thy had no woollen clothing in the family untill about the year 1824. Cant ascertain the name of the Teacher that Lincoln went to School to in Ind. all agree Most posatively that Lincoln Made his first Money a working at the Louisville & Portland canall. [21] Thos Lincoln Moved from Ind to Macon Co — Ills in March 1830. Moved from there to Buck grove Coles Co Ills in the fall of 1831, Resided there one year & then moved to Muddy Point in coles co Ills & built the hose now owned as a residence by C. J. Dexter, resided there but a few Months then moved to & setled near goose Nest Prairie in Coles [Co] Ills where he continued to reside un[til] his death, with exception of one y[ear] one Season he rented Slows Mil[ls on] Embarass River. while there his [son] Abe visited him & spent some [10 days] with him. he never resided in Coles Co but

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called it home from the fact that his parents resided there, Thos Lincoln Moved from Ind to Ills in a Large 4 Horse Waggon drawn by 2 yoke of oxen & this is posatively the first waggon he ever owned. he brought to Ills with him some stock cattle. one Horse, 3 Beds & Bedding, 1 Bureau, 1 Table, 1 Clothes Chest, 1 sett of Chairs, cooking utensils, Clothing & So forth, three families came together, Lincolns, Esqr Halls & Dennis F Hanks. Hall & Hanks had Married Lincoln's two Step Daughters. Abe Lincoln drove his Fathers ox team from Ind to Ills. The watters were very high at that time & thy came near Loosing their team, waggon & its contents in crossing the Okaw or Kaskaskia River. Lincoln came to his Fathers in coles co after the Black Hawk war, also after his return from New Orleans. afterward while practicing law on this circuit he visited his Father twice a year & after that he visited him while he was sick & but a short time before he T[hos] Lincoln died. Thos Lincoln di[ed] from a disease of the kidneys, [His] A Lincolns Mother from Milk Sickness & his [sister] in giving birth to her first & only child, Lincolns Father bought 40 acres of Land in Coles Co Ills but he A Lincoln had to advance the Money 200 Dollars to pay for it & prevent his Father from Loosing it.

Library of Congress: Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 2279 — 2300; Huntington Library: LN2408, 1:222 — 43

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Wilson, Douglas L., ed.; Davis, Rodney O., ed.; Chapman, A. H.. 'A. H. Chapman (Written Statement)' 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=herndon095.html
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