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Wilson, Douglas L., ed.; Davis, Rodney O., ed.; Clary, Royal. 'Royal Clary (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=herndon370c.html


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269. Royal Clary (William H. Herndon Interview).

[October 1866?]

Roil. A. Clary.

Aged 53 — Knew Abe Lincoln in June 1831.: he was clerking in the store for Offutt in New Salem — He was humorous — witty & good natured & that geniality drew him into our notice So quick — He liked to see sport going on — would wrestle — pitch iron bars — throw malls — sell goods —

it is about 2 ½ or 3 miles from Salem to the South East corner of Clary's Grove: it was settled up by good Moral men from south as Early as 1819 — the Eastern people came in 1830. Little grove was the place where all the devilment Came from. However all the grove was called Clary's grove. I Knew Jason Duncan: he was a doctor. He left in N. Salem in 1835 or 6 — : he married in Salem: he married Nancy Burner. I Knew Jack Kelso: he could could cach fish when no man could get a bite.

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Lincoln boarded with Kelso: Knew Rowan Herndon & Jas. Herndon — were merchandising in N. Salem — They sold to Trent and Trent [1] to Lincoln — Jim Herndon sold to Trent & Row Herndon to Lincoln — sold out in 1832 & 1833. Lincoln & Berry sold goods — Green Kept grocery in the other end of the house — There were about 15 houses in N. Salem. Jack Armstrong and others did roll down a man or men down the hill at N.S. Old man Jourdon agreed to be rolled down the hill for a gallon of whiskey — Lincoln stopt it.

I went to the Black Hawk War: Lincoln was my Captain — : I joined at Beardstown — was drafted twice — escaped & still Volunteered — was 18 years old — They rendesvoused at Beardstown — Bill Kirkpatrick — he was our Quarter master. We were all mounted men — passed near Rushville — Encamped there 2 nights — Elected our officers — Col & Maj. Sam Thompson was our Col & Achilles Morris Major — passed near Macomb — thence in the north western direction to the Yellow Banks — Oquawgy is now near that place. Heare we drew provisions — it was on the Misssippi River — staid there 2 or 3 days. Whitesides was General. Buckmaster & Semple were his aids — We volunteered for 30 — I think: it may be 60 — The discharges, called for 48 days — We left the Yellow Banks — and went to Rock Island — Rock River & Island was all called one thing — Atchinson [2] took Command at Rock River. The Governor — Reynolds was with us & discharged when the time Expired. Atchchinson took Command at Rock Island. Rock Island — Fort Armstrong was 5 from Rock river. Atchinson belonged to the U.S. Army. We went from Rock Island for Dixon on the south side of Rock River — south side — on the Indian trail. This was about the 1st of May — I volunteered about 15 April. We stopt at Dixon about 5 days — waited for provisions to come up Rock River in boats — two boats — Here we met Stillman [3] with his squad a battalion. We had Captured 2 Indians, & it was Said we were within about 20 miles of Black Hawk: He — Stillman — went out reconnoitering — got scared — got badly whipt — for his rashness — Stillmans defeat took place about the 14th day of May in what the Indians Called "old mans creek" — The Indians were Encamped at Sycamore about 6 M north west of the old man creek — Stillmans men had Encamped on old mans creek — the advanced guard — spies or what not discovered Stillmans men — appeared on a hill — Stillman's men rushed on them — got frightened — Scared — and got badly whipt — Whites lost 12 Killed — found 11 — 25 were wounded — . They were horribly mangled — heads cut off — heart taken out — & disfigured in Every way. We went up to the battle ground the next day after the defeat of Stillman. We then left the battle ground and went back to Dixon — had no provisions — had had no provisions for 4 days — occasionally a Ear of Corn. Gen Henry was Maj. of the Spy battalion — an advanced guard — a look out as it were a spy — a good brave & noble man. We laid by after getting (3 or 4 day) provisions and proceeded on up to the

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Stillman battle ground — the boats Came up to within 3 or 4 miles of the old man creek: the boats were discharged & went down to Rock River. We got provisions — packed our horse & having heard that the Indians had Committed depredations on Fox river — had killed some men women & Children we started for them — generally in a southerly direction — say south East — The Indians had gone — the Indians: they had Killed Davis & Pettigrews family — halls [4] 2 girls with them: they were young women. We Saw the Scalps they had taken — scalps of old women & children. This was near Pottowatomy village — farming place. The Indians Scalped an old Grand Mother — Scalped her — hung her scalp on a ram rod — that it might be seen & aggravate the whites — They cut one woman open — hung a child that they had murdered in the womans belly that they had gutted — strong men wept at this — hard hearted men Cried [5] — We staid here one night and proceed on for Ottowa on the Ills — went food & provisions — no roads — no bridges — no Conveniences — Bill Clary had 2 ox 2 yoke each teams — The ox teams did more good than a thousand horses: they could go through mud & mire — slosh & rain and do well — not so with horses. We couldn't follow the Indians for more than 3 or 4 days: it was impossible for our horses to carry man — gun — & his food — the horse — himself & his food through the muck & mire — swamp & brush. The horses gave out — wore litterally out — no grass — no nothing — too early for grass — in May — cold up there. The horses were jaded. The clothes of the men gave out — torn to pieces by briar & brush. We carried our tents on our horse — the poor horse carried everything: the baggage waggons Couldnt keep up — no roads — no bridges & no ways to travel — and hence the horses suffered all — and bore all. We were mustered out of Service at Ottowa about 28 or 29. The Govr Said "The mens times are up — horses jaded & worn out — men naked &c and they must be discharged & so wer were. He said he would send the Lieut Govr [6] for new men — He called on the men — all who could stay by possibility to stay 20 days more as a Kind of Guard — Abe re-enlisted for the 20 days — staid it out — Lincoln never got out of Ills — never got into the Wisconsin line — was in no battle — Demint [7] scoured the N. western part of Ills. Lincoln was with him —

In the Camps of the Evening we played Cards — sometimes — We were generally to tired & hungry to have sport & fun. An Indian came into Camp or was Caught by Doct Early's [8] Company and our boys thought he was a spy — sprang to our feet — was going to shoot the man — he had a line or Certificate from Cass. Lincoln jumped between our men & Indian and said we must not shed his blood — that it must not be on our Skirts — some one thought Lincoln was a coward because he was not savage: he said if any one doubts my Courage Let him try it.

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I saw the great wrestle between Lincoln & Dow Thompson from Sinclair Co. Ills. He threw Lincoln — Wrestled at Beardstown — wrestled thigh holds — first man that Ever [9]

Library of Congress: Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 3850, Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 3851, Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 3854, Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 3852, Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 3853, Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 3855; Huntington Library: LN2408, 1:370 — 75

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Wilson, Douglas L., ed.; Davis, Rodney O., ed.; Clary, Royal. 'Royal Clary (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=herndon370c.html
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