447. Edgar Conkling to William H. Herndon.
Cincinnati O. August 3d 1867
I have just talked with Mr. Collins & he has just talked with Rev. Dr Montfort (Publisher of Presbyterian) who well remembers teaching Mr. Lincoln at Camden Preble Co. Ohio, near Richmond Ia. about 1827. He thinks valuable facts can be obtained there & incidents about Mr Lincoln some of which I learn but cannot now relate, Montfort will gladly aid you & go with you there. If you should show Mr. Lincoln's likeness there it might be seen how it resembles his reputed father. so his likeness compared with that of his real father in Ky. might lead to facts from old citizens there Collins says the more he thinks of it the more he can post you up. He published Danville Review years since with Rev. Dr Breckenridge of Lexington Ky where the Todd family lived. He says Dr R. took Mrs. Lincoln into his church. That among the administration papers in the estate of Mrs. Lincoln's parents may be found letters from Mr. Lincoln ordering sale of slaves or a slave, his wife was interested in showing his views at that time; that he thinks
Should you be able to identify a family likeness between Mr Lincoln & his real father either from discovering likenesses or portraits or opinions of other citizens you will have established an interesting fact; but which can only be done by your visiting several localities & carefully consulting with Mr. Lincoln's relatives on each side of his parents & their characters etc. This as yet has not been done nor likely to be as you can do it & while parties are living it should now be done. No man can do it as well as you can nor will you be willing to treat as facts as they should be done unless you yourself get them from sources that you can verify to the world as personally known to you. I look on it as important to get Mr. Lincoln's letters from the administrators estate in Lexington on the subject of selling slaves, his wife was interested in.
Bancrofts Memorial address p. 16 says Lincoln floated down the Ohio to Spencer Co. Ia. When 8 years old Mother could read not write, father do neither. But they sent him to school &c. Where is all this verified? Dr Montfort claims to have taught
566him in Ohio in 1827 at age of 19. With which father reputed or real does the traits of Mr. Lincoln correspond with as well as his likeness agree? E. C.
Library of Congress: Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 3022 — 23