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Newspaper Archive of
The Saguache Crescent
Saguache , Colorado
Lyft
February 14, 1901     The Saguache Crescent
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February 14, 1901
 

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.7~ g @ '- .OF HIS - STUDYING BEFORE EARLYLIFE. FIIl~l//l I 0 EN FIREPLACE, (F=m Portrait Taken In 1855.) R/I~I LS . _ ~ i " II Having been defeated in his canvass, I! Lincoln embarked i~ a disastrous mer- ! I ~;lr~ dr~ir~tllr~'~ ~.~1J1~[7 [;fd~l I cantile enterprise at New Salem wttb | ~ J.~t=11tJmA JL ~ ~==~~.~ JidJaA1t=~ | one Thomas Berry. His partner fled | ' -- | and Lincoln assumed lhe debts, o~ the " firm, the last of whicl~ he paid: off in Abraham Lincoln wa~ born in Her- motherly interest in them She was 1849. In 1833 he was a$1~ointeff post- din county, Ky., on Feb. 12, 1809. He was the son of Thomas and Nancy Hanks Lincoln and descended from Samuel Lincoln of Norwich, England, who emigrated to Hingham. Mass., in 1638. Some of the descendants, moved to what is now Berks county, Pa., and subsequently to Virginia. Abraham L. Lincoln, father of Thomas, followed Daniel Boone to Kentucky, where he was killed by the Indians while clear- ing his farm in Jefferson county. Thomas Lincoln was shiftless. He sub- sisted in a precarious way by doing cdd jobs of carpentry; but he married Nancy Hanks and took her to a wretched cabin in Hardin county and rtried to make a living at farming. In this hovel the future president was .born, and came up at haphazard until he was seven years old. By walking four miles to school he contrived to get a very little of such rudimentary education as the backwoods afforded; but his schooling did not include more than a year of desultory instruction. and he had no home encourageinent. At this formative period, Lincoln owed nothing to home training or home at- mosphere. His father was a shiftle~ creature with very ordinary intellect- ual gifts, and his mother, a frail wo- man. was~broken by the ceaseless and hopeless struggle to keep body and soul together. In 1816 .Thomas Lincoln pulled up Jstakes and started wlth his family and LINCOLN'S RESIDENCE AT SPRINGFIELD. meager household effects for Ohio. He brought up in Posey county. Ind., sold his boat and took up land in the wild- erness of Perry county. Here the wife gave up the unequal struggle and died. Abraham was nine years old and was left without any care what- ever. He was neglected, ill-clad and cuffed about when he got in his fath- er's way. The' elder Lincoln was not consciously brutal, but he was impa- tient and unregardful of the boy'S In- terest~ A more forlorn childhood, or one le~ likely to develop the qualities wblch Lincoln displayed in after life, it would be hard to imagine. But in the midst of this depressing Ills, the lad was givinghlmself the moral train- ing for which he became so conspicu- ous. Withip himself he was building a strong and solid foundation of moral character. He became what was call- ed a "serious boy." This seriousne,~ gave him~ ap,air of maturity and was quite as much the cause as the effect of hiS pondering upon such grave prob- lems of life as his undeveloped mind could grasp. His education ws4 limit ed, but he was of a studious turn, and pored over the few books which fell in his way. When Abraham was about twelve years old a new element entered into his life. His father took for a second wife a woman with whom it is said he was lxl love before he married Nanoy Hanks. Thi~ woman had energy and soon wrought a revolution in the (lo- meatic economy of the Lincoln,. She cleaned and clothed Abraham and his sister, and, better still, took a real especially fond of the boy, and seem- ed to discern in him qualities above the average. Probably she pitied the forlornness of the silent, awkward lad. At all events she was kind to him and won the heart unused to kindness. She encouraged him in his studies and gave him the warmth of ~ympathy which expanded his nature ane for the first time made him feel that h~ was a human being and that somebody shar- ed his hopes and aspirations. Lt:~eoln always retained a loving rememb~ce of this woman, and in after life hw ferred to her as "saintly." Abraham grew with amazing rapldU lty, and before his seventeenth birth- day was a strapping lad six feet fouz inches tall He was strong and sin~ ewy, with enormous hands and feet. He was described as having "dispro- portionate length of legs and arms, and over all a rather small head; his skin was yellow and shriveled, and his complexion swarthy. He wore coarse, home made clothes, and a coonskin cap; his trousers, owing to his rapid growth were nearly a foot too short." He attended school irregularly until he was 17 years old. At that age he quit school for good and all. but his studi- ous habits remained with him and to them he owed an education self- acquired. After leaving school Lincoln earne~l money by working at odd jobs, and at the same time acquired a more or less deserved name for laziness. But what boy that had spindled up to six feet four inches in seventeen years would not be lazy at times? Even at that time he was noted for his propensities for story telling. He did not love work perhaps, but he loved reading and study. "He would Ite under a tree or in the loft of the house, and at night sit in the firelight to read, cipher and scribble on the wooden fire shovel." He read everything he could get hold of. He had a retentive memory and a taste for speaking in public. He fa- miliarized himself with grammar by the study of a borrowed book. and his first dip into the law was through reading the statutes of Indiana bor- rowed from a constable. The year he was 16 years old he worked on a ferry boat on the Ohio river for $6 a month. A eouple of years later he went down the Ohio and Mississippi as first mate of a fiat boat. This trip gave hlm some knowledge of the outside world, and awakened in him a desire to do something for himself. But the Lincolns had remained in Indiana as long as the restless Thoma~ could stand it, so in 1830 the family migrated to Illlnols, settling at a point near Decatur. Shortly after arriving at the destination, young Lincoln came of age and launched out for hin~ self. In 1832 he went into the Black Hawk war In a company enlisted at ~angamon. He served wRh Credit, bnt without particular distinction, and ever afterward was disposed to speak Jesflngly of his military experlenoe. Young Lincoln established consider-i able popularity soon after reaching his I majority. His physical strength,I quaint humor and inimitable Stories I appealed to the Westerners, and in 1332 he was a candidate for the stat~ assembly. But he was not elected. HiS platform was straight Whig doctrine. To quote his own words in declaring himself a candidate: "I presume yo~ all know who I am; Uam humble Abraham Lincoln. I have been solic- ited by many friends to become a ca~a-~ didate for the legislature. My politics are short and sweet, like the old wo- man's dance. I am in favor of a na- tional bank; I am in favor of Internal improvement and a high protective tar. if[. These are my sentiments and po: littcal principles. If elected I shall be thankful; if not, it will be all the same.'* master at Salem, and served three y~rs, The salary was ~lmost n~oth- ins. The mails came buff once ~ week and as Lincoln could not ",~orff tc~ l~ire a ro~m he carried the letters around in h~s hat and delivereu them.. In :~834 Lincoln was an acknowledged Wli'ig leader and was elected to t~e legisla- ture, where he first met Stephen ~L Douglass, the "Little Giant,'" who to become his competitor for' the se~ ate an~ for the presidency. Wre~hr~g l~In~c/~. A story is related of Lincoln wld~. he, was a clerk In the store of Denton Or- futt, at New Salem. 0rfutt had a great opinion o Lincoln's mental al~lity, h~ a p~i~ve admiration for his feats of strengt2t, and never tired of dilating upon the l~'*te~, It seems that a some- what notoriou~ gang of terrors liied: in a nelgh'l~ri, ng settlement, They prided themselves on their ability" to wrestle and ~ and put every new- comer to t2~ te~. They soon heard~ o~ Lincoln a~& were anxious to try hi~ mettle. LiU~ol~ was not a brawle~' and did' nn~ eou~t contests of tlla~ character except a~ a means to an end~, but O rfut~ e~tere~ readily into the spirit o~ t~e, ~ and bragged sc~ mucli abou~ what Lincoln could dm with tits, terror~ that affairs reached a crisis and he ha~ to yield to public clamor~ ~ match was arranged with, a chosen champio~ of the gang by the FH~ ~,I~T' HOUSE AT PE~F,]~- BURG. (~tn~ Lincoln and Douglas l~et Debate.) n am~ot Armstrong. The latte~ is cribed a~ a perfect specimen a~ phys,- cad:. manhood, powerful and agil~ and verse~ in all the ,tricks of the wAwatler. the match c~tme off, ~ll: btm~n~i w~s a~pended, and the pa~ wag- e~ed their small possess~on~ freely. The contest was a draw,, as; t~m men were so evenly matchedl tl~t neither em~|d throw the other. But w]~en 2m- bt~rong found that he ~oul~ ~ throw Abe he resorted to fonl ~ This angered Abe, who abkorred~ dishonesty in sports as in everything ease, and he seized Armstrong by the neck and shook him until the breath almost left his bOdy. Abe was not so expert a wrestler as Armstrong, but in strength the latter was an infant in the former'a hands. ~eOind the C~mnter. An incident which occurred while he was in trade for himself gives addi- tional insight to his character and shows that he was prompt to rectify errors for which he was responsible. Once he walked three miles after the store closed to return to a customer an over charge of six cents, and at anoth- er time when he discovered that he had given short weight of four ounces on a pound of tea he hurried to PUt up the shortege and deliver it to his mm- tomer. It ll / easier to form an inlprm- alert than it is to destroy it. W~I:dgeuv~llleeaKYin,?G:~172enr?rn::~ w~ttid :affs arny~i:dout.I dTr~:I nk::= ed his last up in the hills of LaRus know. The boys often made fun of county a year ago, it was said that the last and only living childhood ~ptay- mate of ex-President Lincoln had died and that the stories stiIl to be told of the boyish pranks of the great emanci- pator would be only an echo of the dead. But still another survives. Aged, infirm, and bent with the weight of 93 years, Miss Sallie Castleman lives ~all alone in a little log house back in a secluded portion of this county, al- most within a stone's throw of the lit- tle log schoolhouse where Abe Lln- ccln, Austin Gollaher and she attended " SALLIE CATTLEMAN. chooI together four score years ago; $.H the old structures that clustered~ around the hills of iliad: section have c~'e bT one rotted and disappeared, m]~il' ~ow the little 10g" hut stauds aIone, and she, the last" of little Abe's e~mp~nf~ns, its sole occupant, is quiet- ly winding up the last y~trs of her el]erred time. Retiring anff unassum- Ing, 1Kis~ Castleman is: beIoved by thorny of her acquaintance~, and her memory, which is remarkable, has gained her considerable, n~oriety. It is semen, though, that she ~ssumes a retrospective mood when" she con- verse~, "Year, she said, "I kne~A~b~ Lincoln Abe's ragged clothes, and of his gawky movements. Abe was awkward They teased him, too, because he minded his mother. He would often cry because they pulled at his clothes and tore them, but he wouldn't tell his mother, for he knew it would make her feel .bad. I sometimes men4ed his clothes to keep her from knowing they were tore. I made Abe a pair of pants o~ee for a Christmas present. They struck him middTe always between the knees and ankles, not like they wear them now, and he was proud of them, to@. They were the first long pants he ever wore. "Abe mad'e speeches tn school,. and they were" good ones, too, I thought. He always was a talker. My father owned ~ sl~ve at that time, and Abe thought a heap of him. He was a mean nego a~ad my father had a great deal of trou'bre' with him, and of- ten whipped hi~r.. This made Abe feel sorry for the negro, and I have al- ways believed that then was the first time the idea of ~Cil~tion entered his head. "Abe used to mR1~e, i~k out of polk berries and sell it in, sc~ho