79. Joseph C. Richardson (William H. Herndon Interview).
[Sept. 14?, 1865]
My father Came to Spencer Co Indiana in 1828. Lincoln was tall and raw boned at 18. When 16 years of age he was 6 feet high — he was somewhat bony & raw — dark Skinned: he was quick and moved with Energy: he never idled away his time. When out of regular work, he would help & assist the neighbors: he was Exceedingly Studious. I Knew him well — he wrote me a copy in my writing Copy book which runs thus
Good boys who to their books apply
Will make great men by & by.
This Copy was written in 1829. The Weems Washington — the book Story took place in 1829. — one year before Abe went to Ills. Crawford
Onc Lincoln & Squire Hall raised some water melons — Some of us boys lit into the melon patch accidentally. We got the melons — went through the Corn to the fence — got over — All at onc to our Surprise and mortification Lincoln Came among us — on us — good naturedly said boys "now I've got you — sat down with us — cracked jokes, told stories & helped to eat the melons.
One day Abe's grand Mother wanted him to read some chapters in the Bible for her. L. did-not want to do it. At last he took up the Bible and read & rattled away so fast that his poor old grand Mother Could not understand it. She good naturedly ran him out of the house with the broom Stick — who being out, the thing he wanted he Kept shy that day — all done in sport & fun.
Lincoln did Keep ferry for Jas Taylor for about 9 mo — at the mouth of Anderson River on the ohio, between Troy & Maxville. The Lincoln & Grigsby family had a Kind of quarrel and hence for some time did not like Each other. Aaron Grigsby had some years before this married Miss Sarah Lincoln — the good & Kind Sister of Abe — Two other Grigsby boys — men rather — got married on the same night at the Same house — though they did-not marry Sisters — they had an infair at old man Grigsbys
120& Reuben got into bed with Charles' wife, by accident as it were. Lincoln, I say was mortified & he declared that he would have revenge. Lincoln was by nature witty & here was his Chance. So he got up a witty poem — called the Book of Chronicles, in which the Infair — the mistake in partners — Crawford & his blue nose Came in Each for its Share — and this poem is remembered here in Indiana in scraps better than the Bible — better than Watts hymns.
Grigsby challenged Lincoln to fight. Abe refused. Said he was too big — Johnson — Abe's step brother took Abes part — Shoes — met at the old School house — Johnson got whipt — worsted rather — Richardson Says that Lincoln was a powerful man in 1830 — Could Carry what 3. ordinary men would grunt & sweat at — Saw him Carry a chicken house made of poles pinned together & Covered that weighed at least 600 if not much more. Abe was notoriously good natured — Kind and honest. Men would Swear on his Simple word — had a high & manly sense of honor — was tender — gentle — &c — &c — never seemed to care for the girls — was witty & Sad and thoughtful by turns — as it Seemed to me.
God bless Abe's Memory forever
Library of Congress: Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 2330 — 31, Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 2333 — 34; Huntington Library: LN2408, 1:125 — 28