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617. Charles Chandler (William H. Herndon Interview).


An other good Story

Mr Chandler of Chandlerville in Menard County about 1880-2 told me this story: he is a gentleman, and is the proprietor of the town of Chandlerville, about 34 miles North West of this City & 12 miles west or north West of Petersburg. The original pioner to this section of the world was at the beginning of things very


poor, but ambitious of wealth and distinction: they generally owned or had preempted a 40 acre tract of land; and it was the generous and manly custom among us that no neighbor should interfere with his neighbor in the matter of land that immediately joined his farm; and which he from necessity or convenience wanted or should have. To violate this rule was robbery & consigned a man to felony in the opinions of his neighbors. Mr. Chandler had a small farm and wanted — needed — Must have from necessity an 80 acre tract adjoining his 40.: he had no money but was honest and his credit good among all his neighbors. This I know — have known him for many years — possibly 40, if no more. A man who had money and who did not live very far from Chandler, wished the same piece of land and put his eye and his heart on it, though he did not need the land and was not of the Chandler neighborhood, exactly: he knew that he was violating — if not defying custom. One morning he arose Early — put $100. in his saddle bags and started on a fine swift horse for Springfield in order to enter the 80 ac which Chandler ought to have by custom and its rights. This man Confided the purposes of his trip to Springfield to one or two men in the neighborhood: They no sooner saw the man off on his trip than they saddled up horses and ran over to Chandler and told him what was up in the air. Chandler had no money, but the men, his good neighbors who notified him of the intended wrong, thought that Chandler had not so much money by him as he needed, had taken the precaution to take with them to Chandler's more than the hundred dollars. These men told Chandler that the man had gone to Springfield to enter the wanted 80 Chandler was thunder struck at the news, and the meanness of the man — said he had no money, and that it now was too late to collect or borrow any from neighbors or friends. The men who had the kindness to tell him the story of the contemplated wrong said to Chandler, "Come there is no time to talk now — go saddle old "Bess" — your swiftest and best animal — here is the money — a cool hundred — use it as you please — buy a horse on the road if you must, but by all means beat the villain to Springfield and get your land." There was no time for thanks and Expressions of gratitude. Chandler only prayed to himself — Caught and Quickly bridled old "Bess — " took the hundred, & $80 of his own and was off for Springfield like an arrow, going under whip and spur. The man had some two hours start of Chandler. However Chandler knew the woods and pathes and Struck straight through the Country for Springfield. The man rode leisurely along, not thinking that Chandler knew anything about the matter. Chandler rode swiftly from his farm to Salisbury 14 miles north west of Springfield, having ridden under whip — Spur and gallop some 20 miles, when he overtook two men going to Springfield — one of whom was — Abraham Lincoln on horseback. "Bess" was nearly out of wind and covered with lather — foam from head to foot. Lincoln asked Chandler — a stranger to him Except by reputation — what was the cause of his great hurry. Chandler told his story quickly — his wants & his needs — the custom of the Country — the man's meanness. &c. Lincoln heard his story and quickly sprang from his own horse — and said to Chandler — . "There is no time to be lost — here's my horse — quickly mount him and go quickly. My horse is quick


— has wind and grit: he'l take you to Springfield in quick time — put him up at Herndon's Tavern and he'l be well attended to. This Coming from a mere stranger except by reputation made Chandler think that there was a providence at last in all things. Chandler thanked Lincoln and got on the horse and was off again: he put whip and spur too to the horse: it was a noble one. Chandler soon struck the village of Springfield — hitched the horse to the rack in front of the Register's office — ran in and Said — "Here Mr. Register — I want to enter this piece of land," Explaining by numbers — section — township and range & its location — "Well," said the Register, "Your turn will soon come — . Mr Clerk take a note of the land and the Man's name," which was done, and Chandler was a happy man — for he was first on time and on demand: he Counted off his hundred dollars and handed it to the Register of the land office, who gave him his Certificate of Entry. Chandler now was fixed — glad — happy. Just about this time in Came the man and to his utter astonishment he saw Chandler there with a grin on his face and the Certificate of the entry of the land in his hand: he knew that the fates had beaten him: he took it and a good "Cussing" from Chandler as well as he could — quit the office and started back for home a whipt man. Chandler did put up Lincoln's horse at Herndon's tavern, and did hire a man to rub him dry and to blanket him. In some two or three hours after the entry of the land Lincoln landed in the village and quickly asked — Chandler — "How did you succeed;" and to which Chandler replied — "All's well — got my land — see here," Showing his certificate of entry. Chandler and Lincoln were strangers no more but were ever afterwards firm personal and political friends. Chandler thanked Lincoln a thousand times for his kindness. Lincoln subsequently surveyed off the land for Chandler — such were the "barbarian" — "Savages" of Illinois in 1832-40.

Library of Congress: Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 3781-83



1. Chandlerville is now in Cass County and was never part of Menard County; Chandler was probably a resident of Morgan County at the time of this incident.

2. The Indian Queen, run by Archer G. Herndon, WHH's father.