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Wilson, Douglas L., ed.; Davis, Rodney O., ed.; Richardson, Joseph C.. 'Joseph C. Richardson (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=herndon119.html


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79. Joseph C. Richardson (William H. Herndon Interview). [1]

[Sept. 14?, 1865]

My father Came to Spencer Co Indiana in 1828. Lincoln was tall and raw boned at 18. When 16 years of age he was 6 feet high — he was somewhat bony & raw — dark Skinned: he was quick and moved with Energy: he never idled away his time. When out of regular work, he would help & assist the neighbors: he was Exceedingly Studious. I Knew him well — he wrote me a copy in my writing Copy book which runs thus

Good boys who to their books apply
Will make great men by & by.

This Copy was written in 1829. The Weems Washington — the book Story took place in 1829. — one year before Abe went to Ills. Crawford [2] was a close penurious man — probably did not treat Lincoln generously, but Lincoln did not object to what Crawford required. The book Story is correct.

Onc Lincoln & Squire Hall raised some water melons — Some of us boys lit into the melon patch accidentally. We got the melons — went through the Corn to the fence — got over — All at onc to our Surprise and mortification Lincoln Came among us — on us — good naturedly said boys "now I've got you — sat down with us — cracked jokes, told stories & helped to eat the melons.

One day Abe's grand Mother wanted him to read some chapters in the Bible for her. L. did-not want to do it. At last he took up the Bible and read & rattled away so fast that his poor old grand Mother Could not understand it. She good naturedly ran him out of the house with the broom Stick — who being out, the thing he wanted he Kept shy that day — all done in sport & fun.

Lincoln did Keep ferry for Jas Taylor for about 9 mo — at the mouth of Anderson River on the ohio, between Troy & Maxville. The Lincoln & Grigsby family had a Kind of quarrel and hence for some time did not like Each other. Aaron Grigsby had some years before this married Miss Sarah Lincoln — the good & Kind Sister of Abe — Two other Grigsby boys — men rather — got married on the same night at the Same house — though they did-not marry Sisters — they had an infair at old man Grigsbys [3] and all the neighbors, Excepting the Lincoln family were invited — Josiah Crawford the book man helped to get up the infair: he had a long huge blue nose. Abe Lincoln undoubtedly felt miffed — insulted, pride wounded. &c. Lincoln I Know felt wronged about the book transaction. After the infair was Ended the two women were put to bed. The Candles were blown out — up Stairs — The gentlemen — the 2 husbands were invited & shown to bed. Chas Grigsby got into bed with, by accident as it were, with Reuben Grigsbys wife

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& Reuben got into bed with Charles' wife, by accident as it were. Lincoln, I say was mortified & he declared that he would have revenge. Lincoln was by nature witty & here was his Chance. So he got up a witty poem — called the Book of Chronicles, in which the Infair — the mistake in partners — Crawford & his blue nose Came in Each for its Share — and this poem is remembered here in Indiana in scraps better than the Bible — better than Watts hymns. [4] This was in 1829, and the first production that I know of that made us feel that Abe was truly & realy some. This called the attention of the People to Abe intellectually. Abe dropt the Poem in the road Carelessly — lost it as it were: it was found by one of the Grigsby boys Satirised who had the good manly Sense to read it — Keep it — preserve it for years — if it is not in Existence now.

Grigsby challenged Lincoln to fight. Abe refused. Said he was too big — Johnson — Abe's step brother took Abes part — Shoes — met at the old School house — Johnson got whipt — worsted rather — Richardson Says that Lincoln was a powerful man in 1830 — Could Carry what 3. ordinary men would grunt & sweat at — Saw him Carry a chicken house made of poles pinned together & Covered that weighed at least 600 if not much more. Abe was notoriously good natured — Kind and honest. Men would Swear on his Simple word — had a high & manly sense of honor — was tender — gentle — &c — &c — never seemed to care for the girls — was witty & Sad and thoughtful by turns — as it Seemed to me.

God bless Abe's Memory forever

Library of Congress: Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 2330 — 31, Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 2333 — 34; Huntington Library: LN2408, 1:125 — 28

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Wilson, Douglas L., ed.; Davis, Rodney O., ed.; Richardson, Joseph C.. 'Joseph C. Richardson (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=herndon119.html
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