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78. Nathaniel Grigsby, Silas Richardson, Nancy Richardson, John Romine (William H. Herndon Interview).

Lincoln Farm Septr 14th 1865

I started from Nat Grigsby's house, with him as my guide & friend throughout the trip, Except at Rockport on the Ohio R. Grigsby lives in Gentryville — population about 300 — laid off in 1824 — runs North & South Mostly — Mainly — Started at 8 o'c M. Went to the Lincoln farm about 1˝ m East of Gentryville and a little North. The house is a one Story hewed log one — porch in front: it is not the house that L lived in — though he built it. The old houses — the 1st & 2d are gone — fronts South — chimney at East End — has 2 rooms, the East one & west one — Stands on a Knowl or Knob about 50 feet above the road & about 150 yards north of the road. On the Gentryville road leading to the Hoffman Mills. The Country is a heavy timbered one — farms are cleared and cut out of the forests. The woods — the timber is hickory — white oak, called buck-eye and buck lands. The old farm now belongs to Jas Gentry — Son of JasGentry for whom, the old man the brother of Allen — Lincoln went to N. Orleans in 1828 or 29. John Heaven or Heavener now lives as tenant on the land: it an orchard on it part of Which Abm Lincoln planted with his own hands — Allen Gentry got drunk and fell off the boat going to Louisville and was drowned — Abe Lincoln hewed the logs of this new house for his father — one door north & one South — 2 rooms — plank partition — one window — 2 rooms: it has been moved from its original position — placed further south than the old ones: it is not as Lincoln left it: it was not completed by Thomas Lincoln. The farm was sold to ___________ by Thomas Lincoln in 1829 — went to the place of the old Spring N.W of the house — about 300 yards — : it was dry — Saw the place — Saw various old well all Caved in — it is Said water Could not be had on that hill — pity — Saw 5 or 6 old — old apple trees: the old house and Shelter are gone I say again and again — Started to find Mrs Lincoln's grave — it is on a Knob — hill or Knowl about ˝ m S.E of the Lincoln house — passed out of the lane going East — landed at the grave — tied my horse: the grave was — is on the very top or crown of the hill. The Know or Knowl is a heavy timbered one. A Space is cut out of the forest by felling the trees Somewhat circularly. In the centre of this Small cleared place about 15 feet from a large white oak tree — rather Somewhat between 2 of them, lies buried Mrs Lincoln. God bless her if I could breathe life into her again I would do it. Could I only whisper in her Ear — "Your Son was Presdt — of the U.S from 1861 to 1866," I would be satisfied. I have heard much of this blessed, good woman. I stood bare headed in reverence at her grave. I can't Say why — yet I felt in the presence of the living woman translated to another world. "God bless her,"said her Son to me once and I repeat that which Echoes audibly in my Soul — "God bless her". The grave is almost undistinguishable: it has Sunk down, leaving a Kind of hollow. There is no fence around the grave yard and no tomb — no head board to mark where She lies. At her head — close to it I peeled a dog wood bush and cut or marked my name on it. Mrs


Lincoln is buried between two or more persons — Said to be Hall & his wife on the one hand and Some Children on her left hand — There are two hollows or sinks. Nat Grigsby & Richardson were with me at the time — they said this was the grave. Mrs Richardson Saw Mrs. Lincoln buried and says it is not the grave — one of these sinks — graves crumbled in lies a few feet — 10 feet — South of the other: Mrs is the southern one as I think from Dennis Hanks & A. Lincoln told me. Mrs Lincolns body — her ashes lie just 15 feet west of a hollow hickory Stump & just 18 feet from — NE — from a large white oak tree. After looking at the grave and Contemplating in Silence the mutations of things — death — immortality — God, I left, I hope, the grave, a better man — at least if but for one moment

Went to Dennis Hanks old place — N.E from the grave yard about ž of a mile — just East of the old Lincoln farm about the Same distance. Got Silas Richardson — an old friend of Abes: he came to Indiana in 1816 — so did Lincoln. His mother Saw Mrs Lincoln buried; he went to the grave yard with us — Nat & myself and made certain what was before doubtful: he agrees with Dennis Hanks & A Lincoln. Richardson Says old man & Mrs Sparrow — Abes Grand Father & Mother lie on one Side of Mrs Lincoln. 2 Bruners — probably children lie on the other side — or an old Lady and a child. Mrs Lincoln lies in the middle The grave is 6 feet from Said Shaved dogwood bush. Mrs Richardson is 83 years of age. Says that Mrs Lincolns grave lies 4 ˝ feet South of the one I say is the Correct one. Dennis Hanks — A Lincoln — Silas Richardson — the old lady's Son and myself agree to the place. I only go by recollection & what others say — Mrs Richardson & her son go by what they saw — and Know. One Jno Richardson was the husband of old Mrs Richardson — & father of Silas Richardson. — There is no fence around the grave — no palings — Enclosures of any Kind — no headboard — no footboard to mark the Spot where Abm Lincoln's Mother lies — Curious — and unaccountable is it not? All is a dense forest — wild and grand.

I then proceeded to old Saml Howells House — South of the grave yard about ˝ m — drank out of a good Spring near the little pigeon meeting house out of which Abe had Kneeled and drank a thousand times. Spring close to the Corner of the old Howell farm — part of which is turned out wild again. I passed the Spring — a little East — S.E — up a small rise or swell in the ground and landed at the famous Meeting house, called the little Pigeon Meeting House. It is a Babtist Church now and probably was then, but was free to all Comers of all & Every distinction. The House is a two is a two Storie one entrance, but one inside: it was intended to let the Choir and people set up there when crowded, but remains unfinished. This House is about 1˝ m from Lincolns house — South & East. Went


through the church, stealing in at the windows — The pulpit was made by Thomas Lincoln. I cut a small piece therefrom as memento. Passed East about 50 yds into the large grave yard — Saw the grave of Sarah Lincoln — Mrs Grigsby — Abe's Sister — God bless her ashes — Mrs Grigsby & her husband Aaron lie side by side — God bless 'Em. They lie 10 ft South of Nat Grigsby's wife — 1st & mother. Grave yard Slopes East & North — is in the forest — fenced in — quite a pretty place. Crawfords School House lies East of the church — East of the grave yard about 200 yds.: it is about 2 M from the Lincoln farm S.E: is now — the place Enclosed in a field — School house long since rotted away & gone.

I then Started for John Romines — SW — met Romine in the road meeting us. his age is 60 ys. Says — I Saw Mr Lincoln hundreds of times — have been in Spencer Co since 1815. Lincoln went to N.O. about '28 or '29 — halled some of the bacon to the River — not for Lincoln but for Gentry — Thomas Lincoln was a carpenter by trade — relied on it for a living — not on farming. Abe didn't like to work it — didn't raise more than was Enough for family & stock. Boat Started out of the Ohio in the Spring — Abe about 20 years of age — Started from Rockport — a Short distance below rather — at the Gentry landing — Give about 2 m. Lincoln was attacked by the Negroes — no doubt of this — Abe told me so — Saw the scar myself. — Suppose at the Wade Hampton farm or near by — probably below at a widows farm. Abe was awful lazy: he worked for me — was always reading & thinking — used to get mad at him — He worked for me in 1829 pulling fodder. I Say Abe was awful lazy: he would laugh & talk and crack jokes & tell stories all the time, didn't love work but did dearly love his pay. He worked for me frequently — a few days only at a time. His breeches didn't & socks didn't meet by 12 inches — Shin bones Sharp — blue & narrow Lincoln said to me one day that his father taught him to work but never learned him to love it.

Saw old Man Gordons Mill — rather the near ruins of it. This is the Mill where Abe got Kicked by a horse — hunted for Lincolns name written in tar & black lead & grease on a shaft of the mill — couldn't find it — got a cog or two of the mill — Romine tells me one verse of the Book of Chronicles — it runs thus —

Reuben & Charley have married 2 girls —
But Billy has married a boy
Billy & Natty agree very well
Mamma is pleased with the match.
The Egg is laid but won't hatch.

Library of Congress: Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 2345, Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 2344, Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 2349, Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 2347 — 48, Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 2350 — 52; Huntington Library: LN2408, 1:140 — 46



1. Levi Hall and Nancy Hanks Hall, the sister of AL's grandmother. This Nancy Hanks was the aunt of AL's mother and gave birth out of wedlock to Dennis Hanks (by Charles Friend) before marrying Hall. See the appendix.

2. Apparently members of the family of Peter Brooner. See J. T. Hobson, Footprints of Abraham Lincoln (Dayton, Ohio, 1909), 17 — 19.

3. Noah Gordon.