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Wilson, Douglas L., ed.; Davis, Rodney O., ed.; Grigsby, Nathaniel; Richardson, Silas; Richardson, Nancy; Romine, John. 'Nathaniel Grigsby, Silas Richardson, Nancy Richardson, John Romine (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=herndon116.html


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78. Nathaniel Grigsby, Silas Richardson, Nancy Richardson, John Romine (William H. Herndon Interview).

Lincoln Farm Septr 14th 1865

I started from Nat Grigsby's house, with him as my guide & friend throughout the trip, Except at Rockport on the Ohio R. Grigsby lives in Gentryville — population about 300 — laid off in 1824 — runs North & South Mostly — Mainly — Started at 8 o'c M. Went to the Lincoln farm about 1½ m East of Gentryville and a little North. The house is a one Story hewed log one — porch in front: it is not the house that L lived in — though he built it. The old houses — the 1st & 2d are gone — fronts South — chimney at East End — has 2 rooms, the East one & west one — Stands on a Knowl or Knob about 50 feet above the road & about 150 yards north of the road. On the Gentryville road leading to the Hoffman Mills. The Country is a heavy timbered one — farms are cleared and cut out of the forests. The woods — the timber is hickory — white oak, called buck-eye and buck lands. The old farm now belongs to Jas Gentry — Son of JasGentry for whom, the old man the brother of Allen — Lincoln went to N. Orleans in 1828 or 29. John Heaven or Heavener now lives as tenant on the land: it an orchard on it part of Which Abm Lincoln planted with his own hands — Allen Gentry got drunk and fell off the boat going to Louisville and was drowned — Abe Lincoln hewed the logs of this new house for his father — one door north & one South — 2 rooms — plank partition — one window — 2 rooms: it has been moved from its original position — placed further south than the old ones: it is not as Lincoln left it: it was not completed by Thomas Lincoln. The farm was sold to ___________ by Thomas Lincoln in 1829 — went to the place of the old Spring N.W of the house — about 300 yards — : it was dry — Saw the place — Saw various old well all Caved in — it is Said water Could not be had on that hill — pity — Saw 5 or 6 old — old apple trees: the old house and Shelter are gone I say again and again — Started to find Mrs Lincoln's grave — it is on a Knob — hill or Knowl about ½ m S.E of the Lincoln house — passed out of the lane going East — landed at the grave — tied my horse: the grave was — is on the very top or crown of the hill. The Know or Knowl is a heavy timbered one. A Space is cut out of the forest by felling the trees Somewhat circularly. In the centre of this Small cleared place about 15 feet from a large white oak tree — rather Somewhat between 2 of them, lies buried Mrs Lincoln. God bless her if I could breathe life into her again I would do it. Could I only whisper in her Ear — "Your Son was Presdt — of the U.S from 1861 to 1866," I would be satisfied. I have heard much of this blessed, good woman. I stood bare headed in reverence at her grave. I can't Say why — yet I felt in the presence of the living woman translated to another world. "God bless her,"said her Son to me once and I repeat that which Echoes audibly in my Soul — "God bless her". The grave is almost undistinguishable: it has Sunk down, leaving a Kind of hollow. There is no fence around the grave yard and no tomb — no head board to mark where She lies. At her head — close to it I peeled a dog wood bush and cut or marked my name on it. Mrs

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Lincoln is buried between two or more persons — Said to be Hall & his wife [1] on the one hand and Some Children on her left hand — There are two hollows or sinks. Nat Grigsby & Richardson were with me at the time — they said this was the grave. Mrs Richardson Saw Mrs. Lincoln buried and says it is not the grave — one of these sinks — graves crumbled in lies a few feet — 10 feet — South of the other: Mrs is the southern one as I think from Dennis Hanks & A. Lincoln told me. Mrs Lincolns body — her ashes lie just 15 feet west of a hollow hickory Stump & just 18 feet from — NE — from a large white oak tree. After looking at the grave and Contemplating in Silence the mutations of things — death — immortality — God, I left, I hope, the grave, a better man — at least if but for one moment

Went to Dennis Hanks old place — N.E from the grave yard about ¾ of a mile — just East of the old Lincoln farm about the Same distance. Got Silas Richardson — an old friend of Abes: he came to Indiana in 1816 — so did Lincoln. His mother Saw Mrs Lincoln buried; he went to the grave yard with us — Nat & myself and made certain what was before doubtful: he agrees with Dennis Hanks & A Lincoln. Richardson Says old man & Mrs Sparrow — Abes Grand Father & Mother lie on one Side of Mrs Lincoln. 2 Bruners [2] — probably children lie on the other side — or an old Lady and a child. Mrs Lincoln lies in the middle The grave is 6 feet from Said Shaved dogwood bush. Mrs Richardson is 83 years of age. Says that Mrs Lincolns grave lies 4 ½ feet South of the one I say is the Correct one. Dennis Hanks — A Lincoln — Silas Richardson — the old lady's Son and myself agree to the place. I only go by recollection & what others say — Mrs Richardson & her son go by what they saw — and Know. One Jno Richardson was the husband of old Mrs Richardson — & father of Silas Richardson. — There is no fence around the grave — no palings — Enclosures of any Kind — no headboard — no footboard to mark the Spot where Abm Lincoln's Mother lies — Curious — and unaccountable is it not? All is a dense forest — wild and grand.

I then proceeded to old Saml Howells House — South of the grave yard about ½ m — drank out of a good Spring near the little pigeon meeting house out of which Abe had Kneeled and drank a thousand times. Spring close to the Corner of the old Howell farm — part of which is turned out wild again. I passed the Spring — a little East — S.E — up a small rise or swell in the ground and landed at the famous Meeting house, called the little Pigeon Meeting House. It is a Babtist Church now and probably was then, but was free to all Comers of all & Every distinction. The House is a two is a two Storie one entrance, but one inside: it was intended to let the Choir and people set up there when crowded, but remains unfinished. This House is about 1½ m from Lincolns house — South & East. Went

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through the church, stealing in at the windows — The pulpit was made by Thomas Lincoln. I cut a small piece therefrom as memento. Passed East about 50 yds into the large grave yard — Saw the grave of Sarah Lincoln — Mrs Grigsby — Abe's Sister — God bless her ashes — Mrs Grigsby & her husband Aaron lie side by side — God bless 'Em. They lie 10 ft South of Nat Grigsby's wife — 1st & mother. Grave yard Slopes East & North — is in the forest — fenced in — quite a pretty place. Crawfords School House lies East of the church — East of the grave yard about 200 yds.: it is about 2 M from the Lincoln farm S.E: is now — the place Enclosed in a field — School house long since rotted away & gone.

I then Started for John Romines — SW — met Romine in the road meeting us. his age is 60 ys. Says — I Saw Mr Lincoln hundreds of times — have been in Spencer Co since 1815. Lincoln went to N.O. about '28 or '29 — halled some of the bacon to the River — not for Lincoln but for Gentry — Thomas Lincoln was a carpenter by trade — relied on it for a living — not on farming. Abe didn't like to work it — didn't raise more than was Enough for family & stock. Boat Started out of the Ohio in the Spring — Abe about 20 years of age — Started from Rockport — a Short distance below rather — at the Gentry landing — Give about 2 m. Lincoln was attacked by the Negroes — no doubt of this — Abe told me so — Saw the scar myself. — Suppose at the Wade Hampton farm or near by — probably below at a widows farm. Abe was awful lazy: he worked for me — was always reading & thinking — used to get mad at him — He worked for me in 1829 pulling fodder. I Say Abe was awful lazy: he would laugh & talk and crack jokes & tell stories all the time, didn't love work but did dearly love his pay. He worked for me frequently — a few days only at a time. His breeches didn't & socks didn't meet by 12 inches — Shin bones Sharp — blue & narrow Lincoln said to me one day that his father taught him to work but never learned him to love it.

Saw old Man Gordons [3] Mill — rather the near ruins of it. This is the Mill where Abe got Kicked by a horse — hunted for Lincolns name written in tar & black lead & grease on a shaft of the mill — couldn't find it — got a cog or two of the mill — Romine tells me one verse of the Book of Chronicles — it runs thus —

Reuben & Charley have married 2 girls —
But Billy has married a boy
Billy & Natty agree very well
Mamma is pleased with the match.
The Egg is laid but won't hatch.

Library of Congress: Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 2345, Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 2344, Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 2349, Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 2347 — 48, Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 2350 — 52; Huntington Library: LN2408, 1:140 — 46

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Wilson, Douglas L., ed.; Davis, Rodney O., ed.; Grigsby, Nathaniel; Richardson, Silas; Richardson, Nancy; Romine, John. 'Nathaniel Grigsby, Silas Richardson, Nancy Richardson, John Romine (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=herndon116.html
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