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Wilson, Douglas L., ed.; Davis, Rodney O., ed.; Ellis, Abner Y. 'Abner Y. Ellis 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=herndon500.html


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395. Abner Y. Ellis to William H. Herndon.

Moro, Illinois Decr 6th 1866

Yours of the 5th is recived and I Shall endeavour to answer as best I Can

When I first Knew Mr Lincoln he was Sad at times — but It did Not grow on him. The More I became acquainted with him the More humorous I found him to be. I do not think he was Very Witty befor he Came to Springfield to reside. [1] Witt & humor bothe appeard to grow on him up to 1861

Soberness of thought Commenced Growing on Mr Lincoln I think When he was Elected to Congress in 1848 though He came home with a great Many New Storys some Was Very dirty. he used to give a Mr. Haskell [2] the credit of telling them. Mr H. was also a member of Congress at the same time — from La. I think

4th qustin That Star gazing thinking Look, as if Looking at vacancy, he also Contracted them in Washington or Soon after he Came home

5th I do not think he liked Solitude; he would Not be long without Company

Mr Lincoln in 1832, 33, 34, Was Not Very Jovial Though at times Some one could remind him of a Story that he once herd & he would tell it

I think he cheerfulness commenced growing on him a few years after he came to reside in Springfield and it Must have remained with him up to the time of his Nomination for President. He said in My presents a few day after that he Should

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have to shape his Course or Was [3] differently in future This I remember Very distinctly

6th qustin those fancy Storys he bord of me was I think While I was in the PO Except One and that Was I think in 1837 I remember it Was the Mob Cap by Mrs Hentz [4] and at another time I loned him one of Bullyer novels Now a Play Calld the Lady of Lyons [5]

Those that I loned him When I was PM. Was Plays, he returned them and I think he had read some of them He Said he has Seen the Illustrious Stranger [6] Played in Washington

I Never New him to Write Poetry I have herd him repeat some Short Sentances and they Was of a funny Charactor

I Never Knew him to Write for any News Paper: or Write anything that Was intended for Publication

I allways thought that Mr Lincoln improved rapidly in Mind & Manners after his return from Vandalia his first Session in the Legislature but then he Commenced his Great Cariear, as Story Teller and he had a great Many Who liked to listen to them and See and hear him, Laugh and those Storys at that time first Made his Company desireable by a great Many Young Members of the Legislator as Well as the rising Young Lawyers and he became a favorite with them and as he improvd in His Law Studdies he used to apply Some of them in Some of his arguments, and his good Sencee told him Never to over act in telling or applying them these are only My opinions as to how he first brought him self in to Notice (Not intentionally by any means

But I think He him Self finally Made that discovery in a few years refined Ladies Could Never See Much of his humor

Wm You ask Me to review Mr Lincoln life & habits from My first recollection of him up to the time of his leaving Springfield for Washington, in 1861

When I first Saw him I thought Verry little about him. But I soon found he Was a Young Man that was relyable, He Never to My Knowledge told a Wilful falshoood. I Never herd him swear an oath or take goods Name in Vain Hee did Not go to Church, and I think gave but little thought of religeuous Matters Mr Lincoln, liked to have any person ask his opinion about Matters and things, and he was allways Very Candid in giving them

Mr. offutt [7] his first employer at New Salem Saw this. he Mr O was a good Judge of Men and human Nature & so was Boling Green his allmost Second Farther Mr Green Used to Say that Lincoln Was a Man after his own heart and I think Myself he was Mr Lincoln Used to say that he owed more to Mr Green for his advancement than any other Man and I think Well he May Say Mr. James Short was

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another admir[?] [8] Though at time, he would be as little Witty & humorous With his Personal aqquaintances, I have Said More prehaps, than desired if I have Not I Will try again — When Ever You wish. You Must Excuse My hurry as it is late and I am going to St Louis tomorrow Morning & after My return I May think of Something that I wanted to Say

Your Freind
A. Y. Ellis

I hope you will have time to Muddle out My bad Composition & Spelling

Yours Truly
A. Y. Ellis

Library of Congress: Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 2853 — 58

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Wilson, Douglas L., ed.; Davis, Rodney O., ed.; Ellis, Abner Y. 'Abner Y. Ellis 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=herndon500.html
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