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Wilson, Douglas L., ed.; Davis, Rodney O., ed.; Vineyard, Benjamin R. 'Benjamin R. Vineyard to Jesse W. Weik' 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=herndon609.html


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-- 609 --

of whom only two survive. Jesse Vineyard died December 27th, 1862, and Mary, his widow, on July 4th, 1877.

Mary received a good education, her father being a leading and wealthy citizen of his time and locality. A part of her schooling was obtained in a Catholic Convent, though in religious faith she was a Baptist — , and in after years united with that denomination, and continued a Member thereof until the time of her death. She was good looking when a girl, by many esteemed handsome, but growing fleshier as she grew older. She was polished in her Manners, pleasing in her address and attractive in society. She had a little dash of coquetry in her intercourse with that class of young men, who arrogated to themselves claims of superiority. But she never yielded to this disposition to an extent that would willingly lend encouragement to an honest suitor, sincerely desirous of securing her hand, where she felt she could not in the end yield to a proposal of marriage if he should make the offer. She was a good conversationalist and a splendid reader, but very few persons being found to equal her in this accomplishment. She was light-hearted and cheery in her disposition. She was kind and considerate for those, with whom she was thrown in contact.

She first became acquainted with Mr. Lincoln while visiting a sister of hers who had married Bennett Able, and who was an early settler of the Country about New Salem. Young Lincoln was a frequent visitor at the house of Able and a warm friend of the family, and during the first visit of Mary Owens, which did not continue a great while, he learned to admire her very much. Later she made a second visit to her sister, Mrs Able, returning with her from Kentucky. Lincoln had boasted, so it has been said, that he would marry Miss Owens if she came a second time to Illinois, a report of which had come to her hearing. She left her Kentucky home with a predetermination to show him, if she met him, that she was not to be caught simply by the asking. On this second visit Lincoln paid her more marked attention than ever before, and his affections became more and more enlisted in her behalf. During the early part of their acquaintance following the natural bent of her temperament, she was pleasing and entertaining to him. Later on he discovered himself seriously interested in the blue-eyed Kentuckian, whom he had really underestimated in his preconceived opinions of her. In the mean time, Mary, too, had discovered the sterling qualities of the young man who was paying her such devoted attention. But while she admired, she did not love him. He was ungainly and angular in his physical make-up, and to her seemed deficient in the nicer and more delicate attentions, which she felt to be due from the man whom she had pictured as an ideal husband. He had given her to understand that she had greatly charmed him. But he was not himself certain that he Could make her the husband he thought she would be most happy with. Later on, by word and in letter he told her so. [2] His honesty of purpose showed itself in all his efforts to win her hand. He told her of his poverty and while advising her that life with him meant
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Wilson, Douglas L., ed.; Davis, Rodney O., ed.; Vineyard, Benjamin R. 'Benjamin R. Vineyard to Jesse W. Weik' 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=herndon609.html
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