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70. Nathaniel Grigsby to William H. Herndon.

Gentryville this 4 of Sept 1865


i have Just seated myself to try to answer your request relating to the history of that great and good man Abraham Lincoln in so doing i take pleasure, but i regret that i am not competent to do him Justice i shall not offer any further apoligy as you wil see befor i am done my lack of ability i shall give you facts to the best of my recollection,

Thomas Lincoln the father of Abraham Lincoln emigrated to the State of Ind in yeare of 1817 from Hardin Co Kentucky crossing the ohio river at Ephraim Thompson ferry twelve miles from where he settled himself in what is Spencer Co Ind 1 and a half miles east of gentryvill this contry at that time was a perfect wilderness with out roads or bridges so that Thomas Lincoln and his little family had to cut a road throu the heavy forrests of timber which was unbroken by the hand of man also briging the small streams that ly betwn the river and the place where he maide his settlement on congress land, he afterwards purchace from government, his family then consisted of himself and wife and two children a daughter and son the daughter being the oldest her name was Sary or Sally as she was commonly called the sons name was Abraham Lincoln who is the object of our history who at that time was eight or nine years old his father and himself cut away the timber from where they built what is now called a squaters cabin the material was round logs or poles cut from the forist and clapboards foure feet long to cover the bilding with the flore consisted of what was then caled punchens the chimney being made of sticks and clay in this huble cottage the family was happy and contented but did not remain so long for in the fall of 1818 the mothe of Abraham and wife of Thomas Lincoln was taken sick with a desease called the Milk Sickness or puken a desease commin at that time in the western contry her sickness was short but fatal as she deseas this life Oct 1818 leving Abraham and the rest of the family to morne the loss of a kind mother Thomas Lincoln remaind on his litle farm doing the best he could with his two childre for a year or two he then went to Ky and married a second wife who was a widow Johnson, about this time there was a scool house built two miles south of Thomas Lincoln farm that was the the first school house that was built in this part of the state the house was built of round logs Just high enough for a man to stand erect under the ruff, the floore was split logs or what we called punchens the chimney was maid of poles and clay the window was constructed by by chopping out a part of tow logs and plasing peases of split bords at proper distence and then we would take our old coppy books and grease them and paste them over the windows this give us lite, in this shool room Abraham Lincoln and my self entered school the scool was taught bye a man by the name of Andy Crofford After that Abraham went


to a man by the name of Hazel Dansey also another bye the name of Swany these were all of the scool teachers that Abraham was taught buy in this State he was always at school early and atentive to his studies he aways was at the head of his cllass he progessed rapedly in all of his studies he lost no time at hom when he was not at work he was learning his books he pursued his studies on the Sabeth day he also packed books when at work to read when he rested from laber his habit of life he was kind and clever to all indeed he apeared to cultivate it as a prinsipal alway being wel stored witty sayings giving no offence to any one he al so rit while very young essays on bein cind to animals and crawling insects he was always temperet in all of his habits he was truthf and onest and industrious always working with his one hands when not at scool or studying at home Thomas Lincoln the father of Abraham was a man of limited means so that it became nessessary for Abraham to work from home he ocaisially took Jobs of claring or making fense rails Sometimes he worked on the ohio river at one tim he hired to Allen Gentry and went dow the River on aflat boat to new orleans as a bow hand reseving $8 per mont Gentry paying his passage back on the deck of the boat but the most of his time wile at laber was at hom on his fathers farm he sometime worked at the cabinet business his father being a carpente and cabinet maker, Sally Lincoln the sister of Abraham Lincoln grew up and made a smart intiligent lady and a devoted christian belonging to the baptist per swasion She was married to Aaron Grigsby in August 182[6] after living with Grigsby about two years and being the mother of one son who died wile an infant She Deceas this life february 1828 being nine teen years of age, the wife of Thomas Lincol and mother of Abraham Lincoln her maiden name was Hanks a lady of medium size lite complection and dark hair being a lady of intiligence and a cristian woman of the baptist per swasion Thomas Lincoln the father of Abraham Lincoln was a good citizen and a worthy intiligent farmer and a devout Christian of the baptist order but like most of the western pioneers he emigrated to Ind from Ky with but little of this worlds goods he settled on a track of government land and made a farm of a bout forty acers and baught it of government i think there was 80 acers in the entry his business chiely was farming but he was a cabinet maker and a carpenter there is yet in this contry furniture that he maid also houses standing that he done the carpenters work there was nothing on commin a bout him only his onisty and industy he left this state about the year 29 or thirty for Ill With this history i wil cease riting for this time if you wish any more history that i can give you let me now what it is and i wil try to give it i have done the best i can for you so you must excuse bad riting and spelling i wish you to rivise this history and comment on it so as to not alter the meaning of the instrument hoping to hear from you soon

N Grigsby

PS i am sorry that i my narritive is so short but it is the best i can do for you so you must excuse me

Library of Congress: Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 2276 — 78; Huntington Library: LN2408, 1:287 — 93



1. See §24, note 11.

2. Sarah Bush Johnston.