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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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-- 386 --

Mr Lincoln agreed to fight provided he would "chalk out his size on Mr Lincoln's person, and every blow struck outside of that mark should be counted foul". After this sally there was the best possible humor and all parties were as orderly as if they had been engaged in the most harmless amusement.

In all matters of dispute about horse-racing or any of the popular pastimes of the day, Mr Lincoln's Judgement was final to all that region of country. People relied implicitly upon his honesty, integrity, and impartiality.

Very soon after Mr Lincolns coming to New Salem and while clerking for Offatt, Offatt made a bet with William Clary that Abe could throw down in a wrestle any man in the county. This bet was taken, and Jack Armstrong, a rough, and the best fighter in Sangamon, was pitted against him. The match took place in front of Offatt's store. All the men of the village and quite a number from the surrounding country were assembled Armstrong was a man in the prime of life, square built, muscular and strong as an ox. The contest began and Jack soon found so worthy an antagonist that he "broke his holt," caught Abe by the leg, and would have brought him to the ground, had not Mr Lincoln seized him by the throat and thrust him at arms length from him. Jack having played foul, there was every prospect of a general fight. At this time James Rutledge having heard of the dificulty, ran into the crowd and through the influence which he exerted over all parties, succeeded in quieting the disturbance and preventing a fight.

His physical strength proved of vast utility to him in his many arduous labors, up to the time he became President, and a man of less iron frame, would have sunk under the enormous burdens laid upon him during four years, marked by Executive cares that have no parallel in history.

After this wrestling match Jack Armstrong and his crowd became the warmest friends and staunchest supporters of Mr Lincoln.

This Jack Armstrong was father of the boy, who was some years afterwards arrested and tried for the murder of young Metzger, [5] and who was voluntarily defended and cleared by Mr Lincoln. The account of this remarkable trial is already before the public and it is not necessary that I should repeat it here —

Mr Lincoln never forgot the friends with whom he was associated in early life. Soon after his nomination for the Presidency, some grand-children of James Rutledge circulated the report that Mr Lincoln had left their grandfathers house without paying his board bill. These boys were reared under copperhead influences and continued in the faith during the war. This slanderous report reached the ears of Mrs Rutledge widow of James Rutledge and whom he always called "Aunt Polly". She took immediate steps to correct the infamous libel and caused a letter to be written Mr Lincoln. Mr Lincoln at once wrote Mrs Rutledge expressing his thanks for her Kindness and the interest manifested in his behalf, recurring with warm expressions of remembrance to the many happy days spent under her roof.

While Mr Lincoln was engaged in surveying he wore jeans pantaloons "foxed" or covered on the forepart and below the Knees behind with buckskin. This added
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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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