615. Jesse K. Dubois (William H. Herndon Interview).
Decr. 1st '88
Thomas Lincoln with his family started to go from Ind to Ills in March '30. The weather was rough and cold. When Lincoln got somewhere near the line that divides Ind from Ills; after traveling several days, the family Came to one of those long loggy corduroi bridges laid over a wide swamp. The water was over the logs and a thin sheet of ice bridged the water. Now & then there were posts along the bridge to direct the traveller. The family came to the edge of the swamp. Abrm drove the Oxen, two yoke, but when he attempted to go into the swamp & on the bridge he could not make the oxen break the ice, without apparent cruelty. Abm coaxed and threatened by turns, but the oxen would not go on the ice; and at last Abrm saw that force must be applied — so he swung his long oxe lash around and around over the oxen high in the air and brought the lash down Cutting open the hide. The oxen at last went on the thin ice — broke their way &c. When about half way over Abe heard his poor dog bring a kind of despairing howl: he stopt the oxen, pulled off his shoes — rolled up his pants — got out of the wagon — jumped into the Cold water, the sheets of ice hitting his shins. He got to the dog — took him, frightened nearly to death, in his long & strong arms, Carried him to the wagon — put him in it, the dog cruching close to Mrs Lincolns feet, scared half out of his wits. The oxen were soon told to go on and on they went through the ice. After the family had crossed and got on dry land Abe found difficulty in getting the dog out of the wagon — at last he had to haul him out by force. When the dog was out and on dry land he cut up such antics as no dog Ever did before: he ran round and round Abe & laid down at his feet — got up and ran round and round again and again: he seemed — was grateful to Abe, his benefactor. Lincoln
719said to Dubois after telling him the story — "Well, Jesse, I guess that I felt about as glad as the dog". This story I got from Dubois, he getting it from L many — many years ago when the two were young men.
Library of Congress: Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 3515-16