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237. Abner Y. Ellis to William H. Herndon.

Moro; Illinois 19th Sept 1866

Freind William

Yours of the 17th is recd and contents Noted

Mr Lincoln Says he was Shown this piece of Poetry when he was a young Man "by a freind."

I have the Whole of it pasted in My Scrap Book do you wish it if you do I think I Can get it out for you, it is the the same — . "Oh Why Should the Sperit of Mortal be proud" The Time and place he Committed this to Memmory I Never New

2nd Question I Never Knew a Man in Sangamon or Menard by the Name of Jason Duncan. I Know a Man in Salisbary Sangamon County by the Name of Jason Miller, and the Duncans and Millers are relativs

Morris Linsay is a Brother in Law to Jason Miller

From your freind
A. Y. Ellis.

I have Just read the peice of Poetry refered to and it Makes Me think of his old Uncles & Aunts they we Jealous of Proud People

I can imagine how Old Mrs Reason Ray his Aunt Could say it — She was old Billy Hanks daughter I Knew her Well

Your Father also Knew him —

PS It has been raining and I could not go to the PO sooner.

I think if I was you I would try and see his old aunt — the last I knew of her, she was living only 4 miles west of Springfield near John Simmes — remember near John Simmes; her first husband was Reason Ray and her last was Samuel Dillon. I think she can be of some assistance to you. I have to do this with my pencil as no pen is near just now.

By the by she may only be his old cousin instead of aunt

(A. Y. Ellis)

Library of Congress: Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 2666; Huntington Library: LN2408, 2:348



1. Marginal note: It was in Menard Co Ills about 1835 — when & where he learned it I am satisfied from what I Know & have heard Herndon.

2. The first line of "Mortality" by the Scottish poet William Knox.

3. Because Francis B. Carpenter recently had written that AL told him he first learned of the poem named above from a man named Jason Duncan, William H. Herndon wrote to many of his informants about this time seeking information on Duncan.

4. The balance of the original letter is missing; the text is supplied from the Springer transcription.