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Wilson, Douglas L., ed.; Davis, Rodney O., ed.; Greene, Lynn McNulty. 'Lynn McNulty Greene 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=herndon080.html


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63. Lynn McNulty Greene to William H. Herndon.

Avon Fulton Co Ills July 30th/65

Dear sir

Your letters in relation to Mr Lincoln's mode of Life at old Salem are both before me. I regret very much that I am unable to give you the information you desire But when you reflect that I was only 16 years old when Mr Lincoln came to New Salem & that for 4 years of the 6 he lived there I was away from home at school Excepting vacations you will not be surprised at the paucity of the information I can give you however tenacious my memory may be. The first I knew of Mr Lincoln was the Spring after the deep Snow. He was then selling goods for Denton Offutt the man for whom he had built the flat Boat. He used to say to the boys & young men that they "might always know when he came to New Salem by the high water the Spring after the deep Snow that he came down with it as a kind "drift wood." It was while selling goods for Offutt & soon after he had come there that Lincoln and Jack Armstrong had a wrestle for $1000 Offutt & Bill Clary bet the money Armstrong after Struggling a while with but a prospect of throwing Mr Lincoln broke his holts & caught Mr Lincoln by the legs & they came to the ground. Clary claimed the money & said he would hav it or whip Offutt & Lincoln both Offutt was inclined to yield as there was a score or more of the Clarys Grove Boys against him & Mr Lincoln & my brother W. G. Greene But Lincoln said they had not won the money & they should not have it & although he was opposed to fighting if nothing else would do them he would fight Armstrong, Clary or any of the set So the money was drawn and from that day forward the Clary Grove Boys Were always his firm friends

In the summer after he came home from the Black Hawk War he got possession of one of Kirkham's Grammars & began studying it on the hill sides of old Salem I spent several days giving him instruction in this manner. In fact all the instruction he ever had in Grammar he rec'd from me as above indicated. In the summer of 1833 he engaged to be married to Miss Ann Rutledge of New Salem a beautiful and very amiable young woman But before the match was consumated she took fever & died. Lincoln took it very hard indeed. At this time & perhaps a year before he was quite fond of Reading Burns & Campbell's Poetry

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Some two years after the death of Miss Rutledge he paid considerable attention to Miss Mary S. Owens of Ky who was on a visit to her sister residing near Salem They talked the matter of Marriage over quite freely but as I understand it never made a contract or agreement to marry I think I have the right understanding of this matter I have talked with Miss Owens after her marriage on the subject & she showed some of Lincolns letters to her on the subject. She was a very superior woman but like some other pretty women (God bless them) she loved Power & conquest —

The first Law Book Lincoln read was a Copy of Blackstone belonging to Vincent A. Bogue (who once packed Pork at Beardstown & died soon after.

While at Salem Lincoln never drank or played cards for money though he frequently played euchre and seven up & played them well.

But friend Herndon I will close & refer you to W. G. Greene who sold Lincoln and Berry the Grocery & who can give you more details of Lincoln's New Salem life than any one I know.

I am with much respect

Yours &
L M Greene

Library of Congress: Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 2260 — 65; Huntington Library: LN2408, 1:493 — 96

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Wilson, Douglas L., ed.; Davis, Rodney O., ed.; Greene, Lynn McNulty. 'Lynn McNulty Greene 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=herndon080.html
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