J. T. Hobson.

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[Illustration: THE RAIL-SPLITTER]





Many Interesting Facts, Reminiscences
and Illustrations Never Before

J. T. HOBSON, D.D., LL.B.,
_Author of "The Lincoln Year Book."_

Nineteen Hundred and Nine


[Illustration: THE AUTHOR.]


_To all my Kindred, Friends, and Acquaintances among
whom are Fellow Ministers, Teachers, Students,
Pupils, Parishioners, though Widely
Scattered, and to All Who Cherish
the Memory of_
=Abraham Lincoln=

_The Apostle of Human Liberty, Who Bound the Nation
and Unbound the Slave, This Little Volume
is Respectfully Dedicated by_


Everything pertaining to the life of Abraham Lincoln is of undying
interest to the public.

It may at first appear unnecessary, if not presumptuous, to add another
volume to the already large number of books in Lincoln literature.
Hitherto efforts have been made by the biographer, the historian, and
the relic-hunter to gather everything possible connected with the life
of Lincoln.

If an apology is needed in presenting this volume to the public, it
may be said that it has fallen as a rare opportunity to the author,
during the passing years, to gather some well-authenticated facts,
reminiscences, and illustrations which have never before appeared in
connection with the history of this great man.

Like many others, I have always taken great interest in the life and
work of Abraham Lincoln. There are some special reasons for this, upon
my part, aside from my interest in the lives of great men, and the
magnetic charm which surrounds the name and fame of the most eminent
American and emancipator of a race.

The name, "Abraham Lincoln," is connected with my family history,
and with one of my first achievements with pen and ink. Because of
an affliction in early life, I was, for two or three years, unable
to attend the public schools. At home I learned to make figures and
letters with slate and pencil, as other writing material was not so
common then as now. The first line I ever wrote with pen and ink was at
home, at the age of ten, under a copy on foolscap paper, written by my
sainted mother, "Abraham Lincoln, President, 1861."

After the birth of John the Baptist, there was considerable controversy
among the kinsfolk as to what name he should bear. The father, old
Zacharias, was appealed to, and when writing material was brought him,
he settled the matter by writing, "John." On the 7th of May, 1863, when
a boy baby was horn in our old home, the other children and I were
very anxious to know what name would be given the little stranger.
We appealed to father. He did not say, but called for the old family
Bible, pen and ink. He turned to the "Family Record," between the Old
and the New Testaments. I stood by and saw him write, with pen and blue
ink, the name, "Abraham Lincoln Hobson."

I was born in due time to have the good fortune to become acquainted
with a number of persons who personally knew Mr. Lincoln in his early
life in Indiana, and heard them tell of their associations with him,
and their words were written down at the time. I am also familiar with
many places of historic interest where the feet of Abraham Lincoln
pressed the earth. I resided for a time near the old Lincoln farm in
Spencer County, Indiana, on which the town of Lincoln City now stands.
I have often visited the near-by grave of Nancy Hanks Lincoln, the
"angel mother" of the martyred President; have stood by the grave of
Sally Grigsby, his only sister, at the Little Pigeon Cemetery, one
mile and a half south of the Lincoln farm; have been in the Lincoln
home at Springfield, Illinois; have seen Ford's Theater building, in
Washington, where he was shot; have stood in the little rear room, in
the first story of the house across the street, where he died; have
been in the East Room of the White House, where his body lay in state;
and have reverently stood at his tomb where his precious dust rests in
peace in Oak Ridge Cemetery, at Springfield, Illinois.

This volume can hardly claim the dignity of a biography, for many
important facts in the life of Mr. Lincoln are omitted, the object
being to set forth some unpublished facts, reminiscences, and
illustrations to supplement larger histories written by others.
However, it was necessary to refer to some well-known facts in order
to properly connect the new material never before in print. It was
necessary, in some instances, to correct some matters of Lincoln
history which later and more authentic information has revealed.

The illustrations were secured mainly for this publication, and none,
so far as I know, except the frontispiece, has ever appeared in any
other book on Lincoln. I am indebted to a number of persons who have
assisted me in securing information and photographs, most of whom are
mentioned in the body of the book.

This being the centennial year of Abraham Lincoln's birth, it is
with feelings of genuine pleasure and profound reverence that the
opportunity is here given me to exhibit some "footprints" from the
path of one whose life is imprinted in imperishable characters in the
history of the great American republic. The excellent principles and
noble conduct that characterized his life should be an inspiration to
all. As Longfellow says:

"Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints in the sands of time."


_Lake City, Iowa, February 19, 1909._


Abraham Lincoln.

The Author.

Jacob S. Brother, who when a boy lived in the Kentucky Lincoln

United Brethren Church on Indiana Lincoln farm.

Rev. Allen Brooner, an associate of Lincoln in Indiana.

Mr. and Mrs. Captain Lamar, who knew Lincoln in Indiana.

Honorable James Gentry, of Indiana.

Elizabeth Grigsby, one of the double wedding brides in Indiana.

Ruth Jennings Huff, daughter of Josiah Crawford.

Rifle Gun owned jointly by Lincoln and Brooner in Indiana.

David Turnham, the Indiana Constable, and wife.

George W. Turnham, son of David Turnham.

William D. Armstrong, defended by Lincoln in 1858.

Hannah Armstrong, who boarded Lincoln; he later defended her son.

Walker and Lacey, associated with Lincoln in the Armstrong case.

Moses Martin, still living, signed Lincoln's temperance pledge in

Major J. B. Merwin, still living, campaigned Illinois with Lincoln
for prohibition in 1854-55.

Rev. R. L. McCord, who named Lincoln as his choice for President,
in 1854.

Site of the old still-house in Indiana, where Lincoln worked.

Triplets, yet living, named by Abraham Lincoln.

Lincoln's mill.


Born in Hardin (now Larue) County, Kentucky, February 12, 1809.

Moved to Spencer County, Indiana, in 1816.

His mother, Nancy, died October 5, 1818, aged 35 years.

His father married Sarah Bush Johnson, 1819.

Moved to Illinois, March, 1830.

Captain in Black Hawk War, in 1832.

Appointed postmaster at New Salem, Illinois, in 1833.

Elected to Illinois Legislature in 1834, 1836, 1838, 1840.

Admitted to the bar in 1837.

Presidential elector on Whig ticket, 1840, 1844.

Married to Miss Mary Todd, November 4, 1842.

Elected to Congress in 1846, 1848.

His father, Thomas, died January 17, 1851, aged 73 years.

Canvassed Illinois for State prohibition in 1855.

Debated with Stephen A. Douglas in 1858.

Nominated for President at Chicago, May 16, 1860.

Elected President, November 6, 1860.

Inaugurated President, March 4, 1861.

Issued call for 75,000 volunteers, April 15, 1861.

Issued Emancipation Proclamation, January 1, 1863.

His address at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, November 19, 1863.

Renominated for President at Baltimore, June, 1864.

Reëlected President, November 8, 1864.

Reinaugurated President, March 4, 1865.

Shot by John Wilkes Booth, April 14, 1865.

Died April 15, 1865.

Buried at Springfield, Illinois, May 3, 1865.


Dedication 3

Introduction 4

Illustrations 7

Chronology of Abraham Lincoln 8



Unpromising Cradles—Site of the Log Cabin—Tangled History
Untangled—Jacob S. Brother's Statement—Speaking with
Authority-The Lincolns Move to Knob Creek—"The Lincoln Farm
Association" 13



Early Hardships—"Milk Sickness"—Death of Lincoln's Mother—Henry
and Allen Brooner's Recollections—Second Marriage of Thomas
Lincoln—Marriage of Sarah Lincoln—Redmond D. Grigsby's
Recollections—Death of Sarah Grigsby—Mrs. Lamar's
Recollections—Captain Lamar's Interesting
Reminiscences—Honorable James Gentry Interviewed 17



The Double Wedding—One of the Brides Interviewed—"The Chronicles
of Reuben"—Josiah Crawford's Daughter—The Lincoln-Brooner Rifle
Gun—David Turnham, the Indiana Constable—The "Revised Statutes
of Indiana" 26



Preparations for Removal—Recollections of Old Acquaintances—The
Old Indiana Home—Blocks from the Old House—The Cedar Tree—More
Tangled History Untangled—Mr. Jones' Store—Various Experiences
in Illinois—Recollections of an Old Friend 32



Lincoln an Admirer of Henry Clay—A Whig Elector—Goes to
Indiana—Makes Speeches—Old Friends and Old-Time Scenes—Writes
a Poem 36



Famous Law Cases—The Clary Grove Boys—The Wrestling Contest—Jack
and Hannah Armstrong—Trial of Their Son for Murder—Lincoln's
Tact, and the Acquittal—Letters from the Surviving Attorney in
the Case—More Tangled History Untangled—Unpublished Facts
Connected with Parties in the Case 39



Promise Made to His Mother—Writes a Temperance Article Before
Leaving Indiana—Mr. Wood and Mr. Farmer—Did Lincoln Sell
Whisky—His Great Temperance Address—Testimony of
Associates—Moses Martin's Letter—The Internal Revenue Bill 51



Major J. B. Merwin and Abraham Lincoln—They Together Canvass
Illinois for State Prohibition in 1854-55—Lincoln's Arguments
Against the Saloon—Facts Omitted by Lincoln
Biographers—President Lincoln, Generals Scott and Butler
Recommend Merwin's Temperance Work in the Army—The President
Sends Merwin on a Mission to New York the Day of the
Assassination—Proposition for Freedmen to Dig the Panama
Canal—Lincoln's Last Words to Merwin—Merwin's Characteristic
Address at Lincoln's Tomb—"Lincoln the Christian
Statesman"—Merwin Living at Middlefield, Connecticut 57



An Ancient Institution—The Evils of Slavery—Lincoln Always
Opposed to Slavery—Relic of "Cruel Slavery Days"—Discussions,
Laws, and Compromises—The Missouri Compromise—The Fugitive
Slave Law—The Kansas-Nebraska Bill—Lincoln Aroused—He Answers
Douglas—R. L. McCord Names Lincoln as His Candidate for
President—A New Political Party—"Bleeding Kansas"—The Dred
Scott Decision—"The Underground Railroad"—The John Brown
Raid—The Approaching Crisis 68



Candidates for the United States Senate—Seven Joint Debates—The
Paramount Issue—The "Divided House"—"Acts of a Drama"—Douglas
Charged Lincoln with Selling Whisky—Lincoln's Denial—A
Discovery—Site of the Old Still House in Indiana—Douglas
Elected—Lincoln the Champion of Human Liberty 77



Rival Candidates—Great Enthusiasm—Lincoln's Temperance Principles
Exemplified—Other Nominations—A Great Campaign—Lincoln's Letter
to David Turnham—Lincoln's Election—Secession—Lincoln
Inaugurated—Douglas 83



The Beginning—Personal Recollections—The War Spirit—Progress of
the War—The Emancipation Proclamation—A Fight to
Finish—Lincoln's Kindness—He Relieves a Young Soldier—He Names
Triplets Who Are Yet Living—His Reëlection—The Fall of
Richmond—Appomattox—Close of the Rebellion 87



Personal Recollections—The Tragic Event—Mr. Stanton—A Nation in
Sorrow—The Funeral—The Interment at Springfield, Illinois—The
House in Which President Lincoln Died—Changed Conditions—The
South Honors Lincoln—A United People—A Rich Inheritance 93



A Discovery—Documents of Historic Value—Lincoln Owned Land in
Iowa—Copy of Letters Patent from United States, under James
Buchanan, to Abraham Lincoln, in 1860—Copy of Deed Executed by
Honorable Robert T. Lincoln and Wife, in 1892—Other
Transfers—The Present Owner 100



Preparations—General Observance—President Roosevelt Lays
Corner-stone of Lincoln Museum at Lincoln's Birthplace—Extracts
from Addresses at Various Places—Closing Tribute 105

Footprints of Abraham Lincoln


Lincoln's Birth and Early Life in Kentucky

Unpromising Cradles—Site of the Log Cabin—Tangled History
Untangled—Jacob S. Brother's Statement—Speaking with
Authority—The Lincolns Move to Knob Creek—The Lincoln Farm

It has been said truly that God selects unpromising cradles for his
greatest and best servants. On a cold winter night, a hundred years
ago, in a floorless log cabin, the emancipator of a race was born. Like
the Redeemer of mankind, there was "no room" in the mansions of the
rich and the great for such a child to be born.

Thomas Lincoln and Nancy Hanks, natives of Virginia, were married
by Rev. Jesse Head, a minister of the Methodist Church, June 12,
1806, near Beechland, Washington County, Kentucky. They settled at
Elizabethtown, Hardin County, where their first child, Sarah, was born,
February 10, 1807. In 1808 they moved to a farm containing one hundred
and ten acres, on the south fork of Nolin Creek, two miles south of
Hodgenville, Hardin County, and fifty miles south of Louisville.
Hodgenville afterward became, and is now the county-seat of Larue
County, as that part of the territory now embraced in Larue County was
set off from Hardin County in 1843. Here, on the twelfth of February,
1809, Abraham Lincoln was born.

The Hodgenville and Magnolia public highway runs through the farm.
The site of the old log cabin in which Lincoln was born is about
five hundred yards west of the road, and a short distance from the
well-known "Rock Spring." The old Kirkpatrick mill, on Nolin Creek,
is but a short distance away. The cabin, of course, is no longer in
existence, although various publications have printed pictures of it,
as though it were still standing on the original spot. Misleading
statements have also been published that the original cabin has been
placed on exhibition in various cities. Other publications, with more
caution, have pictured it as the _alleged_ log cabin in which Lincoln
was born.

Evidence is here introduced to untangle tangled history. Jacob
S. Brother, now in his ninetieth year, resides at Rockport, the
county-seat of Spencer County, Indiana, on the Ohio River, fifteen
miles south of Lincoln City, the site of the Lincoln farm in Indiana.
Mr. Brother is a highly-respected Christian gentleman. I have known him
for many years. On the thirtieth of March, 1899, when visiting him,
he incidentally told me that his father purchased the Lincoln farm
in Kentucky, and that the family lived in the cabin in which Abraham
Lincoln was born. On the eighth of September, 1903, I again visited
him, and, at my request, he gave a fuller statement, which I wrote out,
and then read it to him, all of which he said was correct, and is here

"My name is Jacob S. Brother. My father's name was Henry, but he
was generally known as 'Harry.' I was born in Montgomery County,
Kentucky, March 8, 1819. In the year 1827, when I was eight years
old, my father purchased the old farm on which Abraham Lincoln
was born, in Kentucky. He purchased it of Henry Thomas. We
lived in the house in which Lincoln was born. After some years,
my father built another house almost like the first house. The
old house was torn down, and, to my knowledge, the logs were
burned for fire-wood. Later he built a hewed log house, and the
second old house was used as a hatter-shop. My father followed
the trade of making hats all his life. The pictures we often see
of the house in which Lincoln was born are pictures of the first
house built by my father. He died in the hewed log house, and my
youngest brother, Joseph, was born in the same house three weeks
after father's death. Some time after father's death, mother,
I, and the other children moved to near St. Joe, Missouri. The
brother born on the Lincoln farm enlisted in the Southern army,
and was captured at Lookout Mountain, and taken to Camp Morton,
Indianapolis, as a prisoner. My oldest brother, George, who was
a surgeon in the Union army, went to Washington City to see
President Lincoln, in order to get a reprieve for his brother.
Among other things, he told the President that his brother and he
(the President) were born on the same farm. I do not know how much
weight this had with the President, but my brother was reprieved.
I left Missouri to avoid going into the Confederate army, and came
to Rockport, Indiana, in 1863, where I have ever since resided."

At the time of this interview, I had with me some newspaper and
magazine articles, with illustrations, descriptive of the old Lincoln
farm in Kentucky, including the "Rock Spring," Nolin Creek, the old
watermill, Hodgenville, and other places, which were read and shown the
old gentleman. He was perfectly familiar with all the points named, and
mentioned a number of other items. When the name of the creek, near
the farm, was pronounced with the accent on the first syllable, he
said, "We always pronounced it No-lin´" (with the accent on the second
syllable). All these statements are entitled to credit, as there could
have been no object in making any false representations.

When Abraham was about four years old the Lincolns moved from the Rock
Spring farm to a farm on Knob Creek, in the eastern part of what is now
Larue County. Here a little boy, younger than Abraham, was buried.

Of late years considerable interest has been given to Lincoln's
birthplace. "The Lincoln Farm Association" has been organized and
incorporated, and the farm purchased by a group of patriotic citizens
who believe that the people of our country should, through affiliating
with the organization, develop the farm into a national park,
embellished by an historical museum. Mrs. Russell Sage has contributed
$25,000 for this purpose, and others are contributing. It is hoped that
this most worthy enterprise may be successful, and thus further honor
the immortal emancipator, and that the place will be dedicated to peace
and good will to all, where North, South, East, and West may find a
common ground of pride and fellowship.

[Illustration: ABRAHAM LINCOLN]


The Lincolns Move to Indiana

Early Hardships—"Milk Sickness"—Death of Lincoln's
Mother—Henry and Allen Brooner's Recollections—Second Marriage
of Thomas Lincoln—Marriage of Sarah Lincoln—Redmond P.
Grigsby's Recollections—Death of Sarah Grigsby—Mrs. Lamar's
Recollections—Captain Lamar's Interesting
Reminiscences—Honorable James Gentry Interviewed.

Thomas Lincoln moved with his family to southern Indiana in the fall of
1816. There were two children, Sarah and Abraham, the former nine, and
the latter seven years old. The family located in what was then Perry
County. By a change in boundary made in 1818, that part of the county
was made a part of the new county of Spencer. The location was one mile
and a half east of where Gentryville now stands, and fifteen miles
north of the Ohio River. The town of Lincoln City is now located on the
farm, and is quite a railroad connecting point. Here the family lived
fourteen years. The county was new, and the land was not of the best
quality. The family was subject to the toils and privations incident to
pioneer life. Lincoln, long afterward, in referring to his early days
in Indiana, said they were "pretty pinching times."

Peter Brooner came with his family to the same community two years
before, and Thomas and Betsy Sparrow, who reared Mrs. Lincoln and her
cousin, Dennis Hanks, came one year later than the Lincolns.

A peculiar disease, called "the milk sickness," prevailed in the
community in 1818. Thomas and Betsy Sparrow, Mrs. Lincoln, Mrs.
Brooner, and others died of this disease near the same time. Thomas
Lincoln, having learned the carpenter and cabinet-maker's trade in
Kentucky, made all their coffins from green lumber sawed with a
whip-saw. Their bodies were laid to rest on the little hill a few
hundred yards south of the Lincoln home.

Peter Brooner had two sons, Henry and Allen. I became acquainted with
these brothers twenty-two years ago. I was pastor of a church at Dale,
three miles from Lincoln City, two years, near where Allen lived, and
of a country church near where Henry lived. I was frequently at their
homes. They both knew Abraham Lincoln quite well. The Thomas Lincoln
and Peter Brooner homes were only one-half mile apart. Henry was five
years older, and Allen was four years younger than Abraham. "Uncle
Henry," as he was always called, gave me the following items, which I
wrote at the time, and have preserved the original notes:

"I was born in Breckenridge County, Kentucky, February 7, 1804.
We came to Indiana in 1814, when Allen was one year old. No man
has lived longer in the State than I have, for I have lived in
it ever since it became a State, and before. The Lincoln family
came to Indiana two years later, and we lived one-half mile apart.
During my mother's last sickness, Mrs. Lincoln often came to see
her, and died just one week after my mother's death. I remember
very distinctly that when Mrs. Lincoln's grave was filled, my
father, Peter Brooner, extended his hand to Thomas Lincoln and
said, 'We are brothers, now,' meaning that they were brothers in
the same kind of sorrow. The bodies of my mother and Mrs. Lincoln
were conveyed to their graves on sleds. I often stayed all night

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