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.; Greene, William G. 'William G. Greene to 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=herndon017.html


Previous page

Next page

-- 18 --

on the same cott & when one turned over the other had to do likewise. He was an attentive — Kind — generous & accommodating Clerk and was then as much a Centre of attraction as he was when President of the U.S. though not quite so grand a one. Whilst Mr Lincoln & I were clerk together he often Stated to me that his mothers name was — Hanks. Lincoln told me he was born in Hardin County in Kentuck — moved to Indiana in about 1817 & to Illinois in 1830. & then came down the Sangamon River as stated before. Soon after he landed and Commenced clerking he took a notion to study grammar & surveying. I told him I had a grammar & surveying books at home. This remark was in the summer & fall of 1830. He went down with me and got them and instantly Commenced his studies. Mr. Lincoln studied the grammar & surveying privately in his store — worked it out by himself alone as I recollect it, though others may have explained special problems — rules & such like things which he could not Easily Master. Mr Lincoln soon mastered his grammar & the general practical rules of surveying. He mastered them rapidly — like reading — so quick and Comprehensive was his mind. He generally mastered a book quickly — as one who was simply reading — so comprehensive was his mind. This studying & reading was whilst he was clerk for Offutt. Offutt was a wild — recless — careless man, — a kind of wandering horse tamer. He was somewhat Enthusiastic — intuitive and prophetic. He said — By God — Lincoln will yet be President of these U.S." Mr Lincoln after he had mastered the grammar & the practical rules of surveying Commenced the studying the fall & winter & Spring of 1832 & 33. He borrowed his books — his books — Blackstone — Kent and other law books of Jno. T. Stuart of Springfield, who was somewhat older than Lincoln. Mr Lincoln first commenced surveying in 1833 & 4 and Continued to do so till about the close of 1836. I hold in my hands his field notes made on the 16 & 17th 1836: he was then deputy of Thomas. M. Neal surveyor of Sangamon County.

Let me go back a little. The Black Hawk war broke out in the year 1832. Lincoln volunteered as a private and was soon Elected Captain of the Company over Wm Kirkpatrick. He went through the Black Hawk war & was idolized by his men & generally by all the Regiment & Core to which he belonged. I want to tell you a fact about Mr Lincoln discretion true valor & mercy. An old Indian Came to Camp [4] & delivered himself up, showing us an old paper written by Lewis Cass, Stating that the Indian was a good & true man Many of the men of the Army said "we have come out to fight the Indians and by God we intend to do so". Mr Lincoln in the goodness & kindness and humanity & justice of his nature stood — got between the Indian and the outraged men — saying — "Men this must not be done — he must not be shot and killed by us". Some of the men remarked — "The Indian is a damned Spy" Still Lincoln stood between the Indian & the vengeance of the outraged soldiers — brave, good & true. Some of the men said to Mr Lincoln — "This is cowardly on your part Lincoln". Lincoln remarked if
Previous page

Next page


Wilson, Douglas L., ed.; Davis, Rodney O., ed.; Greene, William G. 'William G. Greene to 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=herndon017.html
Powered by PhiloLogic