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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


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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.

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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
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