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81. William Wood (William H. Herndon Interview).

Septr 15th 1865

Wm Wood

My Name is Wm Wood — Came from Ky in 1809., March, and settled in Indiana — now Spencer Co — Settled on the hill "yonder" — about 1 ˝ m north of the Lincoln farm — am now 82 ys of age. Knew Thomas and Abm Lincoln & family well. Thomas Lincoln & family Came from Ky Hardin Co, in 1816 according to my recollection. Mrs Thomas Lincoln — Abes mother was sick about 1 ˝ years after she came. I sat up with her all one night. Mrs Lincoln, her mother & father were sick with what is called the milk Sickness. Sparrow & wife — Mrs Lincoln's father & Mother as well as Mrs L all died with that sickness — the Milk Sickness. Thomas Lincoln often and at various times worked for me — made cupboards &c other household furniture for me — he built my house — made floors — run up the stairs — did all the inside work for my house. Abe would Come to my house with his father and play and romp with my children.

Abe wrote a piece Entitled the Book of Chronicles — a satire on a marriage — , Infair and putting the pairs to bed &c — : it showed the boy — this was in 1829. A wrote a piece on National politics — Saying that the American government was the best form of Government in the world for an intelligent people — that it ought to be Kept sound & preserved forever: that general Education Should fostered and Carried all over the Country: that the Constitution — should be saved — the Union perpetuated & the laws revered — respected & Enforced &c (Mr Wood Said much more which I can recollect) This was in 1827 — or 8. Abe once drank as all people did here at that time. I took news papers — some from Ohio — Cincinnatie — the names of which I have now forgotten — One of these papers was a temperance paper. Abe used to borrow it — take it home and read it & talk it over with me: he was an intelligent boy — a Sensible lad I assure you. One day Abe wrote a piece on Temperance and brought it to my house. I read it Carefully over and over and the piece Excelled for sound sense anything that my paper Contained. I gave the article to one Aaron Farmer, a Babtist Preacher:


he read it — it Struck him: he said he wanted it to send to a Temperance paper in Ohio for publication: it was sent and published I saw the printed piece — read it with pleasure over and over again. This was in 1827 — or 8. The political article I Showed to John Pitcher an attorney of Posey Co Indiana who was travelling on the circuit — on law business — and stopt at my house over night: he read it carefully and asked me where I got it. I told him that one of my neighbor boys wrote it: he couldn't believe it till I told him that Abe did write it. Pitcher lived in Mt Vernon Indiana. Pitcher in fact was struck with the article and Said to me this — "The world can't beat it."He begged for it — I gave it to him and it was published — can't say what paper it got into — Know it was published. Abe was always a man though a boy. I never knew him to swear: he would say to his play fellows and other boys — Leave off your boyish ways and be more like men. Abe got his mind and fixd morals from his good mother. Mrs Lincoln was a very smart — intelligent and intellectual woman: She was naturally Strong minded — was a gentle, Kind and tender woman — a Christian of the Babtist persuasion — She was a remarkable woman truly and indeed. I do not think she absolutely died of the Milk Sickness Entirely. Probably this helped to seal her fate.

Abe came to my house one day and stood around about timid & Shy. I Knew he wanted Something. I said to him — Abe what is your Case. Abe replied — "Uncle I want you to go to the River — (the Ohio) and give me Some recommendation to some boat." I remarked — "Abe — your age is against you — you are not 21. yet." "I Know that, but I want a start said Abe". I concluded not to go for the boys good — did not go. I saw merchants in Rock-Port and mentioned the Subject to them. In 1829 — this was

Abe read the news papers of the day — at least such as I took. I took the Telescope. Abe frequently borrowed it. I remember the paper now. I took it from about 1825. to 1830 — if not longer. Abe worked for me on this rigde — (on this road leading from Gentryville to Elizabeth — Dale P. Office place.). Abe whip sawed — Saw him cutting down a large tree one day: I asked him what he was going to do with it: he said he was going to saw it into plank for his fathers new house The year was 1828 or 9. Abe could sink an axe deeper in wood than any man I Ever Saw. Abe cut the tree down and he and one Levi Mills whip sawed it into plank. As I Said the plank was for Lincoln's new house: the house was not Completed till after Lincoln left for Ills. The house that Lincoln lived in is gone. Abe sold his plank to Crawford, the book man. The book story is substantially Correct. Josiah Crawford put the lumber in his house where it is now to be seen in the South East room (I Sat on this plank myself — ate a good dinner at Mrs. Crawford's: Mrs C is a lady — is a good woman — quite intelligent) Abe wrote Poetry. a good deal, but I can't recollect what about Except one piece which was Entitled the "Neighborhood broil" Abe always brought his pieces — prose or Poetry to me straight. I thought more of Abe than any boy I Ever Saw: he was a strong man — physically


powerful: he could strike with a mall a heavier blow than any man: he was long, tall and strong.

Mr Woods told me an axe story about Abe's bravery — which I can recollect 'Tell it.

Library of Congress: Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 2332, Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 2337, Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 2336, Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 2335, Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 2339; Huntington Library: LN2408, 1:129 — 33



1. Thomas Sparrow and his wife, Elizabeth Hanks Sparrow, who was AL's mother's sister. Nancy Hanks Lincoln was raised by these Sparrows; Woods and others regarded them as her parents.

2. The Telescope was published in New York (1824 — 30).

3. Josiah Crawford, who loaned AL a Life of Washington, as distinguished from Andrew Crawford, one of AL's schoolteachers.