317. Caleb Carman to William H. Herndon.
Petersburg Ills Nov 30th 1866
I Recd your letter of the 29th Reiuesting me to rite what I new Concerning Lincoln I will Commens at the first of my Knowledg of him i Saw Lincoln in Sangamon Town about the year 1826 He Came Down from Decater with Denton Ott & Hankas & Johnson said Ott imploied Lincoln Hanks & Johnson to build the Boat the Boat that is spoken of so often that Lincoln worked on Lincoln Hanks & Johnson Built the boat i think the boat went Down to New Salem & then was Loaded with Corn for New Orleans — I will now inform you what my opinion was of Mr Lincoln when i first him i thought him a Green horn tho after half hours Conversation with him i found Him no Green Horn His Apperance was very od his dress was a short Roundabout of Blew Janes Lite Blewe & pants of the same the pants very Short in the Leggs which Gave him a very curous Apperance with a corse pare of Stoga Shoes on a Low Crownd Brod brimed Hat on this Completed his Dress after all this bad Apperance i Soon found to be a very inteligent young man His Conversation very often was a bout Books — such as Shakespear & other histories and Tale Books of all Discription in them Day He Talked about policks Considerable He semed to have the Run of politicks very well he was a John Q Aadams man & went his Lenght on that Side of politicks He was opposed to Slavery & said he thougt it a curse to the Land i liked to forgaten the Egg fried in Lincoln Low Crownd hat, at Sangamon Town one nigh at a Show it Caused a Great laff but Lincoln turned of the Joke very well as he Always did on any Occation now Lincoln is Gon Down the River to New Salem I do not so mutch about him for Some Time
I do not know wether Lincoln went to New orleans or not whare he dide I Cannot Say but he Returnd again to New Salem & became a Candidate for the Legislator for the first time and was beatan this was before Sangamon Cty was Devided the next Time he was a Candidate for the Lagislature he was Elected & made a good member — Before was Elected i had moved Down to New Salem when i first moved to that place Lincoln Borded with one Mentor Graham after that he Boarded Nelson Alley for Some Time how long i Cant Say i Baught out Alley my Self & a one horse Tavren & Lincoln came to Live with Me Boarded with me Some Two years as near as i Can Reclect Lincoln was post master & had it at my house the winter he went to Legislator i Kept the Office for him — the next time he was Elected was after he went to Springfield i think Lincolns Songs he Sang was a great many i do not think of all of them such as oald oald Suckey blew Skin & the woodpecker stoping on the hollow Beach tree and a Great many others that was funny — he told a Geat many Jokes & yarns he was allways verry mery & full of fun — Lincoln once rote an Artical against Peter Cartwrgh which was a good
one the name Sined to it was Diotrefus you may Bet it used the old man very Ruff it was a hard one it was Published in the Beardstown Cronicle by Francis Earns Simeon Francis would not publish in the Sangamon Journal — you wished to know what Lincoln used to Read he Read Shakespear & histories of all kinds news papers &c you wished to know something about the time Ann Rutledg died i cannot find out the time yet but i will try find out & let you know as Soon as i can you wished to know about lincoln Reading he Read Setting Lying down & walking in the Streets he was allways Reading if he had Time, he was Some Time Surveying Some Times tending the post office Some times to law suits before a Justice of the peace you wished to know Something about Lincolns Love with Ann Rutleg this i cannot Tell mutch about it is true he Loved Miss Rutledg i suppose this hapend before i moved to Salem i saw Mr James Short about this matter he says it is not so about Lincolns Refuseing to Eat on the account of the death of Miss Rutledg — I must Come to Close for i getting tired i will Rite again i will find out about the time of Miss Rutledgs death as Soon as i can — You must Excuse my bad hand Riteing — you Can fix it up to Your notion if you can reade it —
Yours with Respect
Library of Congress: Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 2811 — 15
1. Denton Offutt, John Hanks, and John D. Johnston.
2. A short, close-fitting jacket, here made of the durable twilled cotton cloth called jeans.
3. A stout, coarse shoe or brogan.
4. For "Old Sukey Blue Skin," see §270, note 1.
5. Francis Arenz, editor of the Beardstown Chronicle and Illinois Military Bounty Land Advertiser, November 1, 1834. For the text of the letter, see Wilson, 63 — 66.