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Wilson, Douglas L., ed.; Davis, Rodney O., ed.; Rutledge, Robert B. 'Robert B. Rutledge to William H. Herndon' 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=herndon381.html


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Berry. Mr Lincoln only had possession a very short time and never gave it his personal attention. He soon sold out to Berry — who gave his note to Lincoln for the amount, who paid Rutledge with Berry's note Soon after Berry failed and after awhile Lincoln came to Rutledge and Made him a tender to pay half the note. This Rutledge utterly refused to accept from Mr L, alleging that he had taken Berry's note for the debt and if he could not make it out of him, he would not accept it at all. About this time Mr Lincoln was employed in surveying, he having learned the science, and being engaged in a good business in the profession.

7th My father moved to and laid out the town of New Salem in the summer of 1829. I moved in 1836 with my mother and elder brother from Menard Co to Fulton Co Illinois, and from thence in the fall of 1837 to Van Buren Co Iowa. My father was born in South Carolina May 11th 1781, and died in Menard Co Illinois December 3rd 1835, being about 54 years of age.

8th I cannot give you a satisfactory reply to many items embraced in this inquiry for the lack of dates or circumstances corroborating them. Many things said of him and done by him are indellibly fixed in my mind but the absence of the proper surroundings impels me to withhold them.

Mr Lincoln studied Kirkham's Grammar — the valuable copy which he delighted to peruse is now in my possession. [2] He also studied Natural Philosophy, Astronomy, Chemistry &c. He had no regular teacher, but perhaps received more assistance from Minter Graham than any other person. He could be seen usually when in pursuit of his ordinary avocations with his book under his arm; at a moment of leisure he would open it, study, close it and recite to himself. When in young company he has been Known to excite the most uproarious laughter by singing the tune called "Legacy" in the "Missouri Harmony" substituting the words "Old Gray" for "Red Grape". The effect is very ludicrous as any one can see by reference to the lines quoted. [3]

His enjoyment of a joke was very intense; and all that has been said in truth of his disposition is no exaggeration.

About the year 1832 or 1833 Mr Lincoln made his first effort at public speaking. A debating club of which James Rutledge was President was organized and held regular meetings — as he arose to speak his tall form towered above the little assembly. Both hands were thrust down deep in the pockets of his pantaloons. A perceptible smile at once lit up the faces of the audience for all anticipated the relation of some humorous story. But he opened up the discussion in splendid style to the infinite astonishment of his friends. As he warmed with his subject his hands would forsake his pockets and would enforce his ideas by awkward gestures; but would very soon seek their easy resting place. He pursued the question with reason and argument so pithy and forcible that all were amazed. The President at his fireside after the meeting remarked to his wife that there was more in Abe's head
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Wilson, Douglas L., ed.; Davis, Rodney O., ed.; Rutledge, Robert B. 'Robert B. Rutledge to William H. Herndon' 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=herndon381.html
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