Page images

we have no friends we have no pleasure;and if we have them, we are sure to lose them, and be doubly pained by the loss.

"I did hope she and you would make your home here, yet I own I have no right to insist. You owe obligations to her ten thousand times more sacred than any you can owe to others, and in that light let them be respected and observed. It is natural that she should desire to remain with her relations and friends. As to friends, she should not need them anywhere she would have them in abundance here. Give my kind regards to Mr.

and his family, particularly to Miss E. Also to your mother, brothers and sisters. Ask little E. D if she will ride to town with me if I come there again. And, finally, give - a double reciprocation of all the love she sent me. Write me often, and believe me, yours

forever, LINCOLN.


Lincoln's Mother-How He Loved Her.

"A great man," says J. G. Holland, "never drew his infant life from a purer or more womanly bosom than her own; and Mr. Lincoln always looked back to her with unspeakable affection. Long after her sensitive heart and weary hands had crumbled into dust, and had climbed to life again in forest flowers, he said to a friend, with tears in his eyes: All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother-blessings on her memory!'" She was five feet, five inches high, a slender, pale, sad and sensitive woman, with much in her nature that was truly heroic, and much that shrank from the rude life around her.

[ocr errors]

Her death occurred in 1818, scarely two years after her removal from Kentucky to Indiana, and when Abraham was in his tenth year. They laid her to rest under the trees near their cabin home, and, sitting on her grave, the little boy wept his irreparable loss.


Gen. Linder's Early Recollections-Amusing


I did not travel, says Gen. Linder, on the circuit in 1835, on account of my health and the health of my wife, but attended court at Charleston that fall, held by Judge Grant, who had exchanged circuits with our judge, Justin Harlan.

It was here I first met Abraham Lincoln, of Springfield, at that time a very retiring and modest young man, dressed in a plain suit of mixed jeans. He did not make any marked impression upon me, or any other member of the bar. He was on a visit to his relations in Coles, where his father and stepmother lived, and some of her children.

Lincoln put up at the hotel, and here was where I saw him. Whether he was reading law at this time I cannot say. Certain it is, he had been admitted to the bar, although he had some celebrity, having been a captain in the Blackhawk campaign, and served a term in the Illinois Legislature; but if he won any fame at that season I have never heard of it. He had been one of the representatives from Sangamon.

If Lincoln at this time felt the divine afflatus of greatness stir within him I have never heard of it. It was rather common with us then in the West to suppose that

there was no Presidential timber growing in the Northwest, yet, he doubtless had at that time the stuff out of which to make half a dozen Presidents.

I had known his relatives in Kentucky, and he asked me about them. His uncle, Mordecai Lincoln, I had known from my boyhood, and he was naturally a man of considerable genius; he was a man of great drollery, and it would almost make you laugh to look at him. I never saw but one other man whose quiet, droll look excited in me the same disposition to laugh, and that was Artemus Ward.

He was quite a story-teller, and in this Abe resembled his Uncle Mord, as we called him. He was an honest man, as tender-hearted as a woman, and to the last degree charitable and benevolent.

No one ever took offense at Uncle Mord's stories-not

even the ladies. I heard him once tell a bevy of fashionable girls that he knew a very large woman who had a husband so small that in the night she often mistook him for the baby, and that upon one occasion she took him up and was singing to him a soothing lullaby, when he awoke and told her that she was mistaken, that the baby was on the other side of the bed.

Lincoln had a very high opinion of his uncle, and on one occasion he said to me: "Linder, I have often said that Uncle Mord run off with the talents of the family."

Old Mord, as we sometimes called him, had been in his younger days a very stout man, and was quite fond of playing a game of fisticuffs with any one who was noted as a champion.

He told a parcel of us once of a pitched battle that he

had fought on the side of a hill or ridge; that at the bottom there was a rut or canal, which had been cut out by the freshets. He said they soon clinched, and he threw his man and fell on top of him.

So he let

He said he always thought he had the best eyes in the world for measuring distances, and having measured the distance to the bottom of the hill, he concluded that by rolling over and over till they came to the bottom his antagonist's body would fill it, and he would be wedged in so tight that he could whip him at his leisure. the fellow turn him, and over and over they went, when about the twentieth revolution brought Uncle Mord's back in contact with the rut, "and," said he, "before fire could scorch a feather, I cried out in stentorian voice: Take him off!""



Clary's Grove Boys"-A Wrestling Match. There lived at the time young Lincoln resided at New Salem, Illinois, in and around the village, a band of rollicking fellows, or more properly, roystering rowdies, known as the "Clary's Grove Boys." The special tie that united them was physical courage and prowess. These fellows, although they embraced in their number many men who have since become respectable and influential, were wild and rough beyond toleration in any community not made up like that which produced them. They pretended to be "regulators," and were the terror of all who did not acknowledge their rule; and their mode of securing allegiance was by flogging every man who failed to acknowledge it.

They took it upon themselves to try the mettle of ev

ery new comer, and to learn the sort of stuff he was made of.

Some of their number was appointed to fight, wrestle, or run a foot-race with each incoming stranger. Of course Abraham Lincoln was obliged to pass the ordeal.

Perceiving that he was a man who would not easily be floored; they selected their champion, Jack Armstrong, and imposed upon him the task of laying Lincoln upon his back.

There is no evidence that Lincoln was an unwilling party to the sport, for it was what he had always been accustomed to. The bout was entered upon, but Armstrong soon discovered that he had met more than his match.

The boys were looking on, and seeing that their champion was likely to get the worst of it, did after the manner of such irresponsible bands. They gathered around Lincoln, struck and disabled him, and then Armstrong, by legging" him, got him down.


Most men would have been indignant, not to say furiously angry, under such foul treatment as this; but if Lincoin was either, he did not show it. Getting up in perfect good humor, he fell to laughing over his discomfiture, and joking about it. They had all calculated upon making him angry, and they intended, with the amiable spirit which characterized the "Clary's Grove Boys," to give him a terrible drubbing.. They were disappointed, and, in their admiration of him, immediately invited him to become one of the company.

« PreviousContinue »