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Wilson, Douglas L., ed.; Davis, Rodney O., ed.; Wartmann, J. W. 'J. W. Wartmann to Jesse W. Weik' 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=herndon660.html


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547. J. W. Wartmann to Jesse W. Weik.

July 20 [1888]

My Dear Mr Weik

I send herewith an installment of Mss which I hope you can use. I have prepared it under peculiar circumstances of especial mental trouble, but am now about well again and hope to send more soon.

I will see Mrs Stapleton soon & write with especial reference to the "Chronicles".

Please, be candid, & let me Know just how this matter suits you. Is it in the style you wish?

Your friend
J. W. Wartmann.

The town of Lincoln is located on what is called the "Rock Port branch" of the Louisville, Evansville and St Louis Railway, and is distant from Rockport, — the County Seat of Spencer County, Indiana, about nineteen miles. Gentryville is only about two miles away, and, by the "old road," — as the Early settlers call it — , is hardly as far as that.

The town of Lincoln is situated on the old Lincoln farm and the depot is within a stones throw of the old homestead.

The mother of Abraham Lincoln lies buried on a hill in sight of the town and the monument marking the grave is visible from the cars when the foliage is off the trees.

Mrs Lincoln died of what is commonly called "milk sickness," a disease communicated by the eating of the flesh or using the milk of cows poisoned by eating some herb or shrub which grows in certain localities in the West.

Some two miles south of the town of Lincoln is located the old "Si" Crawford" farm.

Josiah Crawford was born in Nelson County Kentucky, September 23d 1802, and moved to Spencer County in 1825 and settled on the farm on which he died May 12. 1865. The former widow of Mr Crawford is still living. Her present name is Elizabeth Stapleton, she having married a man by that name after Mr Crawford's death. Mrs Stapleton is again a widow

Mrs Stapleton makes her home with her daughters Mrs Adams and Mrs Huff, dividing her time at their respective homes.

Mrs Adams resides on part of the "old home place" and her house is within sight of the late dwelling (now burned down), the lumber for the floors of which Thomas Lincoln and his son Abraham "whip-sawed" out of timber grown on the place. Abraham Lincoln worked for Mr Crawford a great deal and the Customary compensation for his labor was twenty five cents per day and board!

On one occasion Mr Lincoln borrowed of Mr Crawford a book called "Weems' Life of Washington" This book Abraham Lincoln read by "spells" as he could snatch from his daily toil. During the time Abraham had the book, by accident it

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got wet and the back came off. Great was Mr Lincoln's sorrow at the dilemma in which he was placed by having to return the book in its damaged condition.

True to the promptings of his inborn honesty he took the book back to Mr Crawford and said to the owner "here Uncle Si is this book I borrowed of you, it got wet by accident and the back came off; "I can't repair it and there are no bookbinders in this section All I can do is to pay for it."

"Well Abe, said Mr Crawford, "You pull blades for two days and you may keep the book."

Abe did pull corn blades for two days for Mr Crawford and thus became the possessor of the first book perhaps he ever owned.

Mr Crawford was a wheelwright and Shoemaker by trade and it was under Mr Crawford's instructions that Abe made the rude wagon with wooden tires in which the Lincoln family moved from Spencer County, Indiana, to Illinois.

Abraham Lincoln liked to be at the Crawford home. For both Mr and Mrs Crawford he entertained the sincerest respect, and the affection he had for Mrs Crawford was manifested in countless ways

Mrs Crawford is a woman of strong intellectual parts and, in her youth was quick of apprehension, witty and fond of jokes.

She was a congenial companion for Abe and readily and quickly appreciated the dry humor of the "farm hand." As she talks of the days when Abraham Lincoln was a common laborer on her husbands farm her eyes will fill with tears often, and the love she bore the future president is expressed in her homely but honest way of saying, "Abraham Lincoln, Sir, was a good and true young man": he was honest and upright always and we were always glad to have him at our house."

Mr Crawford was delighted to hear of Mr Lincoln's success in Illinois, and when he was nominated for the presidency in 1860, he was overjoyed, and voted for him at the election of that year.

It is a singular fact that among those who knew Abraham Lincoln while he was a resident of Spencer County Indiana, not a single person ever says a harmful word of him, on the contrary, everyone speaks in terms of praise of the boy and man who once lived among them.

About twelve miles from the Lincoln farm is situated the town of Maxville, on the Ohio river at the mouth of Anderson Creek, or river as it is sometimes called.

Near this town lived a man named Taylor for whom Abraham Lincoln worked as a "hand" for some time. It was while Abraham was working for Mr Taylor that he did the ferrying that is so often spoken of. After Mr Lincoln was nominated for the presidency the second time, and while the war was still going on, he expressed his opinion of the wisdom of the Convention in renominating him by saying "it is a bad time to swap horses while crossing a stream"

His experience as a ferryman impressed him with the force of the adage.

Library of Congress: Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 4645 — 60

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Wilson, Douglas L., ed.; Davis, Rodney O., ed.; Wartmann, J. W. 'J. W. Wartmann to Jesse W. Weik' 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=herndon660.html
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