NIU Libraries Digitization Projects
Lincoln/Net Prairie Fire Illinois During the Civil War Illinois During the Gilded Age Mark Twain's Mississippi Back to Digitization Projects Contact Us
BACK

Wilson, Douglas L., ed.; Davis, Rodney O., ed.; Haycraft, Samuel. 'Samuel Haycraft to John B. Helm' 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=herndon084.html


Previous section

Next section

65. Samuel Haycraft to John B. Helm

[Enclosure A]

Elizabeth Town July 5 1865

Dear Sir

I received yours of 22d June some time since, and being half sick & run to death with office & Court business, has delayed my answer In reference to my recollections of Abraham Lincolns father & Mother &c you have been laboring under a mistake, My own recollection of the Matter assures me that you were Mistaken & a letter I have from Abraham Lincoln himself Confirms all, The old man Lincoln — "Thomas Lincoln" but when here he was always called Linkhorn The old Gentleman was a young unmarried man when I first knew him in 1805 or 1806, he was a very illiterate man a tolerable Country house Carpenter worked some on my fathers house — in 1805 and afterward done all the Carpenter work on Hardin Thomas' house, the work is yet to be seen tolerably sound, He married Nancy Hanks whose Mother was a wife of old Sammy Youngs, [1] the same old man that married Sousana Sawyer — Thomas Lincoln as the name was always spelld but pronounced Linkhorn was a low heavy built clumsy honest man, his wife was rather a heavy built Squatty woman, (the Lord only knows except Abe Enlow did where Abraham Lincoln got his length & his sense) [2]

Abraham Lincoln was born Feby 12 1809. near Hodgens Mill then in Hardin County now Larue & the Hodgen Mill is now Hodgenville, the County seat of Larue County.

How old Abraham Lincoln was when the old man left Hardin County I can not tell, However Abraham before he left went to school to Caleb Hazle who lived beyond Hodgens Mill After old man Lincoln moved to Grayson & then to

-- 85 --

Indiana he lost his Hanks wife and then he came to Kentucky to get another wife — Do you remember Sally Bush who married Danl Johnson the Jailor who lived on the alley below me. Johnson died of the cold plague [3] about the 4th or 5 day of April 1814 — and if I mistake not you & Rhodes Vanmetre, Wal. Whitaker & myself laid Johnson out he left one or two children one named John Johnson. She lived an honest poor widow until 2d December 1819 & she lived in a round log Cabin just below me about that time old Mr Thomas Lincoln came to Kentucky for the express purpose of Marrying the widow — When he called to see her about the following Conversation took place


T. Lincoln — Well Miss Johnson, I have no wife & you have no husband I came a purpose to mary you I knowed you from a gal & you knowed me from a boy — I have no time to loose and if you are willing, let it be done Straight off


Mrs Johnson. Tommy I know you well & have no objection to marrying you, but I cannot do it straight off as I owe some debts that must first be paid"


He asked her for a list of them which was given, he went & paid them off that same day next Morning I issued his license & they were Married Straight off on that day & left & I never saw her nor Tom Lincoln since

Abraham Lincoln just before the Presidential election in answer to a letter from me, informed that his father was long since dead that his step Mother was living with her son John Johnson and was comfortably off — Lincoln had no half brother or step brother named Bush, but if any they were named Johnson — or if any children followed — and after Abrahams election & before left for Washington he called on his step Mother It is to me matter of Astonishment about Lincolns rise from such obscurity to the first office of the Nation — He was certainly a favorite of providence and I am thoroughly Convinced that he was not only a good man, but one of Natures great men.

A yarn is told of him that on one occasion he was splitting rails with only shirt & breeches on — Collar open & in that plight was not very likely to look at, a man happened to be passing with a gun, Called to Lincoln to look up — which he did, the man raised his gun in an attitude to shoot.

Says Lincoln What do you mean, the man replied that he had promised to shoot the first man he met who was uglier than himself — Lincoln asked to see the mans face & after taking a look remarked — If I am uglier then you, then blaze away — opening his shirt bosom.

I have received a letter from Mr Herndon himself & have not yet replied, You may send this letter —

Some body in Iowa, has been beseeching me for one of Lincolns original letters. I have five, the only one I felt willing to spare was marked, private & Confidential.

-- 86 --

Absolute press of business and illness has made this delay. but it has enabled me to speak more accurately — By searching the old Marriage Register — I find that Sally Bush was married to Daniel Johnson 13 March 1806 by Ben Ogden ME. preacher — I know from personal knowledge that Johnson died early in April 1814 The Marriage Register was badly kept indeed was not kept at all, previous to my being clerk. I made out the Register from Ministers returns on licenses in the office up to 1813 — and in doing so I overlooked or did not find the record of the Mariage of Thomas Lincoln & Nancy Hanks —

Thomas Lincoln died near 10 years before the date of A. Lincolns letter to me May 1860 [4] so the old gentleman died about 1850. on a farm bought by Abraham Lincoln & presented to his father & Step Mother — She the Step Mother is still living & near about 80 years old — lives with her son in law John Hall in Effingham Co Illinois 8 Miles from Charleston & 18 miles from Mattoon — these last facts I have from our Townsman Isaac Radly who saw the widow about 16 days ago — She had no child by Tho Lincoln.

Yours truly
Saml Haycraft

-- nts --

Previous section

Next section


Wilson, Douglas L., ed.; Davis, Rodney O., ed.; Haycraft, Samuel. 'Samuel Haycraft to John B. Helm' 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=herndon084.html
Powered by PhiloLogic