548. Oliver C. Terry to Jesse W. Weik.
Mt. Vernon, Ind., July 1888
Yours of the 16th received, and would have answered earlier, but for my health. I have been confined to my room for several days since my first letter to you —
In answer to yours of the 16th will say, I have had a long interview with the venerable Judge John Pitcher, and read your letter to him — He says the passage you quote from Lamons life of Lincoll where it referred to "Abes trial on National Politics."
The Judge says Thos Lincoln — the father of Abraham — settled in spencer Co Ind in 1816 — Pitcher settled at Rockport in 1820 Thos Lincoln left Indiana for Ills about 1829 or 1830 — Pitcher left Rockport about the same time, and settled at Princeton Gibson Co Ind — Judge Pitcher is verry clear in his recollections of Lincoln —
His distinct recollection of Mr Lincoln's borrowing books from his (Pitchers) library is assigned as follows.
1st Lincoln lived about 16 miles from Rockport at or near a place now called Gentryville — A man by the name of Crawford, a well to do farmer lived in the same neighborhood. Crawford was noted for his littleness in all his dealings with his neighbors. This man Crawford owned Weems Life of Washington in one volume — Mr Lincoln borrowed this from Mr Crawford, and before he had finished reading the book, he left it in an open window, when a rain storm wet the book, causing the covers to warp, and otherwise damage the book.
Mr Lincoln felt verry much hurt over this misfortune, took the book to Mr Crawford and said to him — "I have no money with which to pay you for the damage the book has sustained, but will work it out if you have any work I can do — " When Mr Crawford told Mr Lincoln to "pull fodder two days, and they would call it even."
This story Mr Lincoln told to Judge Pitcher in Pitchers office in Rockport — Judge Pitcher says, "Lincoln said to me, you see I am tall and long armed, well I went to work, and there was not a corn blade left on a stalk, where I worked during the two days I were paying the damage sustained by the little wetting that book received. I made a clean sweep."
It was then that Judge Pitcher told young Abe, to help him self to any thing he wished to read — that he (Pitcher) had in his library, which he did — and frequently afterwards — The Judge does not Know now just what books it was he lent to Mr Lincoln — but Says they were all standrd works of that day, and some may have been law books, as to this he will not be positive — says the Judge, Abe wanted to read law with me, but his father was too poor to spare him away from the farm and mill — " I asked the Judge about the mill — when he said — "Tom Lincoln built a horse mill for grinding corn — It would not be called a mill now, but it answered then, and the people were glad to have it. I have ate many corn dodgers made from
663the meal from that old mill — It would make good chicken feed now — but we were glad to get it then. Abe use to bring me my meal regularly."
This man Crawford (above referred to, had a verry large nose, And was Known by the name of Nosey Crawford —
Judge Pitcher says Mr Lincoln would frequently refer to his friend "Nosey," and laugh about stripping all the corn blade off of 6 or 8 acres of Corn to pay about a 25c damage to a "book — "
The last time the Judge met Mr Lincoln was in 1862. He tells me now it was upon a letter from Mr Lincoln — and in the interest of the Judges Son, Genl Thomas G Pitcher —
At that time Thos G. Pitcher was a Capt in the regular army, and the old Judge visited the President in the interest of his son, who was at once promoted from a Capt. to a Colonel in the Regular army, and a brigadier Genl of volunteers. At that time Mr Lincoln asked about his friend "Nosey." I have had a good deal of trouble to secure a photgraph of the old Judge, and had to half way steel it.
This is the only picture ever taken of him that was one and a half years ago — Its good —
Pardon bad breaks — in speling — grammer and poor witing — a sick man cant work you Know — I write a while then rest. my health is verry poor, and not improving — hoping you can read my writing I will close. Will not attend the Sate Convention health will not permit.
O. C. Terry
I was in no condition to interview the Judge when I did — I being so weak, and he so deaf, made it quite a task —
The old gentleman said he was a younger man now than I am — his genl health is as good now as it ever was, and he has always been a healthy man
I will here say — the Judge has lost or given away all of Lincolns letters. He remembers of about four, but just the contents — he is unable to state
Library of Congress: Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 4661 — 65