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421. Johnson Gaines Greene (William H. Herndon Interview).


Johnson G. Green

I Came to Ills in 1821 — am now 46 — Know Mrs Mary Vineyard — once Mary Owens — I Knew her as Early as 1837 in Ills at Salem — She Staid with Mrs Able in Menard Co in Ills — Mrs Able was her Sister — Mr Owens was a Kentuckian — rich & well Educated — married the 2d time — his wife — the 2d one & Miss Owens didn't agree. Miss Owens Came to Ills as Early as 1836 — or 7 — lived with her Sister, Mrs Able — It was at Mrs Ables that Miss Owens & Mr Lincoln Saw Each other — Miss Owens was about 24 or 5 ys of age in 1837 — She is 5 feet — 7 in high — Strong nervous & muscular woman — has dark blue Eyes — dark brown hair — flesh light colored and weighed 160 pounds — She is my Cousin — Saw her in 1866 in the winter and Spring at Weston Mo. — She & I had a Conversation about Lincoln when I Saw her at Weston Mo — She Said She remembered Lincoln well — had recd letters from him — is an intellectual woman — the most intellectual woman — Ever Saw — She had a fine Education — her forhead is massive & angular — Square, prominent & broad — . I had heard a great deal about Lincoln's & her Courtship — was determined to have it & dragged it out by degrees —

Lincoln had gone to Havana to Survey Some land — had been gone about 3 Weeks — One of Ables boys went up to get the mail — Lincoln had just got back: he asked the little boy if Miss Owens was at Mr Ables: the boy replied — yes: Tell her — Said Lincoln that I'll be down to see her in a few minutes". Able lived about 1 M north of Salem. The boy told Miss Owens this — Miss Owens had that Evening determined to go Mentor Graham's her Cousin: She thought a moment and Said to herself if I can draw Lincoln up there to Grahams it will all be right: they had had a difficulty about Mrs Bolin Greens boy before this — The difficulty arose in this way — Miss Owens & Mrs Bolin Green were going to Ables from Bolin Greens. Lincoln Came along just at that time — Mrs B. Green said they


were going to Ables, and asked Lincoln to go along. Mrs B.G's child was along — it was a great big fat child — heavy & crossly disposed — Mrs. BG. had to Carry her own child up — L & Miss Owens walking behind — Lincoln did not appear to notice the old lady's struggles and when they all had got up to the house — Say 100 ft & pretty Steep. Miss Owens Said to Lincoln — laughingly — You would not make a good husband Abe: they Sat on the fence & one word brought on an other, till a Split or breach Ensued — It was with an Eye to this quarrel that Miss Owens wished to test L love That if he came to Grahams it was all right. She wanted to make L bend. Lincoln according to promise went down to Ables and asked if Miss Owens was in: Mrs Able replied that She had gone to Grahams, about 1 1/2 M from Ables — due south west — : Lincoln Said — "Didn't She Know I was Coming". Mrs Able Said — "No." One of the children Said — "Yes Ma — She did for — heard one of the children — the boy Saml who went to the P.O told her So." Lincoln Sat a Short time — went to Salem to his office — place of business — bording house and didnt go to Graham's. The fat was now in the fire. Lincoln thought that as he was Extremely poor and Miss Owens very rich that it was a fling on him on that account. This was at that time Abes tender spot. Abe was mistaken in his guesses for wealth Cut no figure in Miss Owens Eyes — Miss Owens regretted her Course — Abe would not bend and Miss Owens wouldn't: She Said if She had it to do over again She would play her Cards differently. She went back to Ky about 1838 — did not Court any one for Several years — married in Ky to a man, about 1842, by the name of Jesse Vineyard: he was a good man — a man of property. they Subsequently went to Mo where he died — Say about 1862. Mrs Vineyard had 2 Sons in the Southern Army: She Said — Mrs Vineyard — that if Either of her Sons had got into difficulty that she would willingly have gone to Old Able for relief. She has got 3 children now — 2 boys & 1 girl. The oldest boy is a lawyer & a good one The other is a farmer.

The Able house was about 1838 or 9 moved from the top of the bluff to the bottom of the hill: it is the Same house Except the Ell which has been put to it Since — house 18 by 30.

Mrs Owens herself told Green the above.

Library of Congress: Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 3889 — 93; Huntington Library: LN2408, 1:341 — 44



1. Vineyard is written above Owens.