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.; Whitney, Henry C. 'Henry C. Whitney 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=herndon616.html


Next page

-- 616 --

512. Henry C. Whitney to William H. Herndon.

June 23d 1887

Friend Herndon:

I much regret that while you was here for so long last winter I did not see more of you: [1] but a great city is the most unsocial place in the world. As I have heretofore informed you I have written a considerable about Lincoln to take the form either of a Lecture or of a series of Essays: and on some matters about which I am not certain I [want?] your kind assistance to help me out. You may take as little trouble as you can but I will esteem anything that emenates from you as a favor. The fact is that some of Lincoln's pranks were so bizarre that they would not be beleived and a lecture or essayist should be very sure of his facts. I will state my points methodically.

Lincoln used to tell me of driving up his cow: he once said, "I went out to the commons (or outskirts) to drive up my cow: she was a new cow and I didn't know her thoroughly but I did know her calf. I could not pick out my cow from other cows who resembled each other but I knew my calf & so I waited a little while & my calf went to a cow & sucked her & in that way I knew it was my cow." — Up to how late a day did he habitually drive up his cow? Did he milk her? did he clean out his own stable? & how late did he do this. I thought this "cow" story, flimsy reasoning for Lincoln but I have known him to go off "half cocked" at other times. For instance in case of "Dean v. Kelley" [2] an important land case in Champaign I once met him at Champaign en route to Chicago (because his hat was chalked [3] that way & not the other) and I said to him "our case is ruined: Kelley has taken the deposition of old Henry Dickenson who swore" — so & so. Lincoln said promptly: "we'll beat that easy enough for Henry Dickenson has served a term in the Penitentiary". Now, Dickenson was one of our highest citizens: never heard of the Penitientiary. Again when Tom Johnston [4] stole the watch in our town & it was a clear case & I got it rolled for Lincoln: we were speaking of the case & Lincoln said: "it all amounts to this: the watch was where he could have stolen it; and it was found where he might have left it." But that was a very superficial view to take of it: because he surely stole it & admitted it.


I can't recollect exactly how Lincoln used to travel when I first knew him in

Next page


Wilson, Douglas L., ed.; Davis, Rodney O., ed.; Whitney, Henry C. 'Henry C. Whitney 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=herndon616.html
Powered by PhiloLogic