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.; Lincoln, Sarah Bush. 'Sarah Bush Lincoln (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=herndon106.html


Previous page

Next page

-- 107 --

Knowledge — wished to Know & if pains & Labor would get it he was sure to get it. He was the best boy I ever saw. He read all the books he could lay his hands on — I can't remember dates nor names — am about 75 ys of age — Abe read the bible some, though not as much as said: he sought more congenial books — suitable for his age. I think newspapers were had in Indiana as Early as 1824 & up to 1830 when we moved to Ills — Abe was a Constant reader of them — I am sure of this for the years of 1827 — 28 — 29 — 30. The name of the Louisville Journal [3] seems to sound like one. Abe read histories, papers — & other books — cant name any one — have forgotten. Abe had no particular religion — didnt think of that question at that time, if he ever did — He never talked about it. He read diligently — studied in the day time — didnt after night much — went to bed Early — got up Early & then read — Eat his breakfast — go to work in the field with the men. Abe read all the books he could lay his hands on — and when he came across a passage that Struck him he would write it down on boards if he had no paper & keep it there till he did get paper — then he would re-write it — look at it repeat it — He had a copy book — a kind of scrap book in which he put down all things and this preserved them. He ciphered on boards when he had no paper or no slate and when the board would get too black he would shave it off with a drawing knife and go on again: When he had paper he put his sums down on it. [4] His copy book is here now or was lately (Here it was shown me by Mr Thos Johnson) Abe, when old folks were at our house, was a silent & attentive observer — never speaking or asking questions till they were gone and then he must understand Every thing — even to the smallest thing — Minutely & Exactly — : he would then repeat it over to himself again & again — sometimes in one form and then in another & when it was fixed in his mind to suit him he became Easy and he never lost that fact or his understanding of it. Sometimes he seemed pestered to give Expression to his ideas and got mad almost at one who couldn't Explain plainly what he wanted to convey. He would hear sermons preached — come home — take the children out — get on a stump or log and almost repeat it word for word — He made other Speeches — Such as interested him and the children. His father had to make him quit sometimes as he quit his own work to speak & made the other children as well as the men quit their work. As a usual thing Mr Lincoln never made Abe quit reading to do anything if he could avoid it. He would do it himself first. Mr. Lincoln could read a little & could scarcely write his name: hence he wanted, as he himself felt the uses & necessities of Education his boy Abraham to learn & he Encouraged him to do it in all ways he could — Abe was a poor boy, & I can say what scarcely one woman — a mother — can say in a thousand and it is this — Abe never gave me a cross word or look and never refused in fact, or Even in appearance, to do any thing I requested him. I never gave him a cross word in all my life. He was Kind to Every body and to Every thing and always accommodate others if he could — would do so willingly if he could.
Previous page

Next page


Wilson, Douglas L., ed.; Davis, Rodney O., ed.; Lincoln, Sarah Bush. 'Sarah Bush Lincoln (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=herndon106.html
Powered by PhiloLogic