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610. John Moore Fisk (William H. Herndon Interview)

Feby 18th '87

On Saturday Evening I was called out to write the will of Benj Bancroft and at the house of Bancroft I found an old friend of Lincoln, whose name is Fisk: he told me the following story which is correct. A man by the name of Pollard Simmons was a good friend of Lincoln in 1834-6. Jno Calhoun was the surveyor of Sangamon County — was "The Candle box Calhoun" — and a democrat in 1834-6. Simmons loved Lincoln, who was very poor at that time, and he tried to get Lincoln in some business: he applied to Calhoun as the friend of Lincoln to give him a deputyship in the Surveying business. Calhoun as Simmons remembers it gave Lincoln a deputyship. Simmons got on his horse and went on the hunt of Lincoln whom he found in the woods mauling rails. Simmons Said "Lincoln I've got you a job" and to which Lincoln replied — "Pollard, I thank you for your trouble, but now let me ask you a question — Do I have to give up any of my principles for this job. If I have to surrender any thought or principle to get it I wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole?" "No, you do not Lincoln," said Pollard Simmons, and to which Lincoln replied — "Ill accept the office and now I thank you and my superior for it"

Library of Congress: Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 3357



1. Benjamin Bancroft, a neighbor of WHH.

2. Pollard Simmons lived in New Salem and was later a miller in Mason County.

3. A reference to an electoral fraud in Kansas Territory.