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422. Thomas L. D. Johnston (William H. Herndon Interview).


Thomas L. D. Johnson — aged 29th

Am the Son of John D. Johnson who helped Lincoln to make a flat boat near Sangamon Town in Sangamon Co. in 1831. My father is — was the son of Mrs


Lincoln by her first husband — My father is the brother of Mrs More, who was the wife of Squire Hall. Mrs Moores 1st husband was Esqr Hall — her second husband was Reuben Moore — Both died in Coles Co. Hall married Miss Johnson — or Mrs Moore in Indiana. Moore married in Coles. My father and mother are both dead — buried in the grave yard — one mile south west — of Farmington on the right hand side of the road, leading from Charleston Coles Co to Praire City Cumberland Co Ills. All the parties mentioned herein, including Thomas Lincoln are buried in this grave yard — Called Gordons grave yard — 9 miles from Charleston — South, bearing a little west of Charleston. Dennis Hanks married a Johnson — who was the Child of old Mrs Lincoln by her first husband — Danl Johnson. My father died in 1852 — mother in 1849 — leaving 6 children. Hall died in 1851 — Mrs Hall is living: her name is Mrs Moore. She had 10 children by her 1st husband — one by her 2d husband. Dennis Hanks wife died in 1854 — had 6 children. My father in Coles Co in 1835. Hall was married in Indiana — Dennis Hanks was married in Indiana — Dennis Hanks — his wife & children — Hall his wife and Children — John D. Johnston, Thomas Lincoln — Sarah his wife and Abm all came to gether from Indiana to Ills in March 1831.

Dennis Hanks is fast failing in body & mind — has quit his liquor — is more foolish than Grand Mother Lincoln. Grand Mother Lincoln is a little childish — yet she is much smarter than usually thought: she needs rousing: thats' all. and when roused she talks well for she remembers well. Dennis Hanks so his own children say is Crazy — nearly so — is decidedly foolish — has to my mind been so for 3 or 4 years.

I hand you Mr Lincolns old copy book to use in your history of Mr Lincoln It was a copy book as I and family Know it made up of Mr Lincoln's labor when he was — & was not going to school: he worked out his sums & problems at various times — & places. The latter years of the book is gone: It took 5 or 6 years to make the book as we understand it — Know it: I give you some of Mr Lincolns private letters to my father. One was printed in the Charleston Courier in the year 1865 — The one that has the poetry in is the Charleston paper — the Courier — The Decatur Gazette & Chronicle of Octr 17th 1866 publish the Poetry — swift as an arrow &c — The Poetry &c published as above in the Courier was "I'll be a good boy — God Knows when &c."

Mr Lincoln took a fancy to one of my bros — Abraham — wanted him to come to Spfdgd — stay at L house — go to school — L saw his wife about it — refused furiously — caused hard feelings — L wrote to my bro that what he had proposed could not be filled on his part on account of domestic difficulty, but to go on and he L would give him money — books — pay schooling &c — &c my


bro did not do as wished — got a good Common English Education — died in 1861 — aged 22 —

The Lincoln farm is 8 ˝ miles South of Charleston — & 3/4 mile from Farmington. It is called 8m from Charleston to Farmington.

I dont think that Thomas Lincoln was a witty man — a humorous man: he was a social man — loved Company — peeple & their Sports very much: he seemed to me to border on the serious — reflective — He read his bible — told Indian Stories — that thrilled my young nature — was about 16 years of age — he died in 1851. I was then in my 15th year. The Indian Story as told me by Thomas Lincoln — the Father of Abm is true as related to you by Dennis & Jno Hanks. I Know the story because I was young: it interested me much & is now vivid in my mind. Thomas Lincoln — my grand father told me in what Co in Ky it took place, but have forgotten it. Thos Lincoln was the boy that the Indian had and was running off — 2 or more Indians were Killed then & there.

Library of Congress: Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 3936 — 39, Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 3940 — 43 (Springer transcription)



1. This is the Springer transcription, which somehow escaped inclusion in the bound volumes and is in the Herndon-Weik Collection at the Library of Congress.

2. Matilda Johnston Moore.

3. Mary Barker was his mother's maiden name. She married on October 16, 1834.

4. Elizabeth Johnston, stepsister of AL.

5. Marginal note: Jefferson Adams — / Thomas Phipps — / Jas. Phipps — (write to them) Campbell, PO Coles Co Ills.

6. No copies of the Charleston Courier for 1865 appear to have survived.

7. For the surviving remnants of AL's copybook, see CW 1:xxix — xlviii.