389. John McNamar to William H. Herndon.
Menard Co Ill Dec 1st 1866
My Der Sir
I do not wonder, at the Reproachfull Surprise, you manifest at my Neglect of Duty with regard to my mother's Grave after devoting the whole of my Early manhood in acquiring means and expending all was available of the same for the Benifeit of my Fathers family it certainly is very Strange that I Should lose all traces of my Mothers grave But "tis true tis pitty and pitty tis, tis true" if I may use the quibble of old Poloneas on such an occasion
You are mistaken however in the time of My Mothers Death Death the absence I alluded to was in holding some of the petty county offices and knocking about Petersburg some Eight or Ten years, never Dreaming of losing the Grave of my relatives by the rapid filling up of the grave yard and the rank growth of vegatation Perhaps it was merely a Lawyers tact in alludeing to the Subject in order to get a speedy answer to other questions if so you have succeeded admirably.
With regard to the crazy Spell of Mr Lincoln, I had never heard of it Before, on application to My Brother in Law James Short who was quite intimate with Mr Lincoln in his younger Days and I think in Later years he frequently expressed a friendship for him He informs me that there was such a report though not very publick and at a later period than you Supposed and from a different source Namely a lovers disappointment with regard to the Lady whom he afterwards Married, he was in the Legislature at the time and resided in Spingfield I am unabl to give dates or particulars he thinks John T Stuart told him the circumstance I thererefore refer you to him he can also Most probably inform concerning the Dockument you refer to I communicated with Mr Lincoln in the winter of 36 & 37 while in the Legislature at vandalia concerning a tract of Land which could not be found on the assessors Books. he with a good deal of Trouble ascertained that the assessor had Located it another Township some 7 miles off and located old Salem upon it, the same man having Entered both tracts, Mr Lincoln paid the tax however with his own funds and forwarded me the recept of the secretary of state the Hon James Shields I think,
Mr Lincoln wrote a first rate Notice of the Revd Peter Cartwright, before he left here Mr. Cartwright being a candidate for some office also a political Squib against Mr. Carpenter of Springfield the article alluding to Mr Cartwright obtained a good deal of notoriety from the fact that Mr Hill rather inocently I should think, signed the article with his own name and published it and consequently Received the Skinning that old Peter administered in a public speech at Salem shortly after, I think Lincoln must have enjoyed the joke rather Hugely, I think you can find the article in the Journal somwhere from 33 to 36 I have never heard of any thing from the pen of Mr Lincoln of a sentimental Charactar, while here
Mr Short also informs me that Mr Lincoln and Berry formed a partnership as you suggested when you were here and that at the Death of Berry the Firm was not in a very Solvent Condition as Mr Lincoln's horse and Surveying outfit was sold to pay the Debts Mr Short Buying them in for the use of Mr Lincon, I am dotting down the Material for the other communication you refer to and will Shortly forward the Same
I have the Honor to be with the Greatest respect
Note if you have any oil prospectors, in Springfield send them down I can show them oil floating on a small spring Branch for a quarter of a mile
Library of Congress: Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 2828 — 29
1. Marginal note: While on the Subject of graves I will mention that I cut the initials of Miss Ann Rutlege on a bord at the head of her Grave 30 years ago.
2. Marginal note by McNamar: take out the K. This refers to the "k" in "dockument."
3. For the text of this letter, see Wilson, 63 — 66.
4. Samuel Hill.
5. William F. Berry (ca. 1811 — 35).