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80. David Turnham (William H. Herndon Interview).

Septr 15 1865

I went to David Turnhams after leaving the town of Gentryville — T — lives in Elizabeth — a town about 4 ˝ M North East — Elizabeth has a population of about 300 hundred people — same size as Gentryvill — Mr Turnham Commenced —

I came to Ind in the year 1819. Mch — settled in Spencer Co — settled about 3 M south of this and about 1 M North East of Thomas Lincolns — am now 62 years. I Knew Abm Lincoln well — Knew his father — didn't Know his Mother — immediately on landing in Ind I became acquainted with Mr Lincon. My father and his were acquainted in Ky — Abe was then about ten years of age. — I being 16 ys of age — Abe was a long tall dangling award drowl looking boy — went hunting and fishing together — Abe was a boy of Extraordinay mind I think


— went to School to-gether — Hazel Dorsy & Andw Crawford — Dorzey Kept first, I think: he kept school near the Pigeon Meeting house — about 1 ź miles from Thos Lincolns and south or SE of his his. Crawford (Andw) taught school next: he taught about ź East of the Pigeon School Meeting house. Dorsey Keept School before the Marriage of Aaron Grigsby — So did Crawford — Crawford Kept soon after Dorsey — say the next year. Our School were Kept in the fall and winter, working in the Summer. Lincoln went to school to these 2 men about four winters — didn't go steady — I didn't go to school to Swany — Lincoln had a strong mind. I was older than he was by 6 years and further advanced — but he soon outstript me. We Studied lst in Dilworths Spelling book — 2d in Websters — Lincoln Studied arithmetic — no geography — nor grammar — Lincoln read the life of Washington — the Pilgrims Progress Robinson Crusoe — the Bible — the new Testament — hymn Books — Watts hymns & Dupuy's. — think that news papers as Early as 1828 — 30 — Saw Sarah Lincoln many times — she was a woman of ordinary size — Have seen Mordecai Lincoln — he came to Indiana on a visit about 1822 or 3 — he was the oldest brother — Sarah Lincoln had a good mind, but I did not Know her so well as I did Abe: She married Aaron Grigsby — . We had but few books at that time and our opportunities were poor —

Abe Lincoln was a moral boy — was temperate — Sometimes he took his dram as Every body did at that time: he was honest: he was an industrious boy — he didn't love physical work — wouldn't do it if was agreeable to all — always was reading, studying, & thinking — Taking all in all he was not a lazy man. Lincoln Sometimes hunted on Sundays — What Lincoln read he read and re-read — read & Studied thoroughly — . He was generally at the head of all his classes whilst at school — in fact was nearly always so — He loved fishing & hunted Some — not a great deal — He was naturally Cheerful and good natured while in Indiana: Abe was a long tall raw boned boy. — odd and gawky — He had hardly attained 6 ft-4 in when he left Indiana — weighed about 160 — I bought the hogs & corn of Thomas Lincoln when he was leaving for Ills — Bought about 100 and about 400 or 5 hundred bushes of corn — paid 10 c per bushel for the Corn — hogs lumped — Lincoln when a boy wore buckskin — for pants — wore Coon skin Caps — Sometimes fox Skin & possum Skin Caps — Buckskin was a Common dress at that time. When Lincoln was going about he read Everything that he could lay his hands on and it is more than probable that he read the Louisville Journal as well as other papers before he left Indiana and as before remarked what he read he read well and thoroughly — Never forgetting what he read —

Mr. N. Grigsby — says he now remembers that L. read newspapers — That they were Introduced about the time Col Jones came to Gentryville The Lincoln's


moved to Ills in an oxe waggon — 2 yoke of oxen — waggon Ironed — Lincoln sold his farm to Gentry — Jas Gentry Sen — the old man — Mr Lincoln wrote a book of Chronicles — Satirizing the Grigsby and Josiah Crawford — The production was witty & showed talent — it marked the boy — as a man. Grigsby & Johnson had a fight — Grigsby would have whipt Johnson, had no foul play been used — Bill Boland showed foul play — the fight took place after the marriage of Chas & Reuben Grigsby were married — Thomas Lincoln had about 40 acres of land under cultivation when he left for Ills — he planted a young orchard on his old farm — Mr Thos Lincoln was a Carpenter & Cabinet Make. I have a Cupboard now in my house which Mr Thomas Lincoln made for me about 21. (1821 or 1822) Abe Lincoln has worked for my father some — worked at farming work —

To show Lincolns — Abes Humanity let me tell you a short story — One night when Lincoln & I were returning home fromg Gentryville we were passing along the road in the night. We saw something laying near or in a mud hole and Saw that it was a man: we rolled him over and over — waked up the man — he was dead drunk — night was cold — nearly frozen — we took him up — rather Abe did — Carried him to Dennis Hanks — built up a fire and got him warm — I left — Abe staid all night — we had been threshing wheat wheat — had passed Lincolns house — Lincoln stopt & took Care of the poor fellow — Smith — This was in the year 1825 There was one Store in Gentryville. Don't publish the mans name: he was an honorable man having now near us Excellent, dear & near relatives —

Went and took dinner with Mr Turnham — good dinner, good man. Abe Lincoln — was not fond of the Girls. Lincoln went to Gordons mills to grind We had hand Mills here

I knew Thomas Lincoln very well — have Studied his make & his form: he was not tall — was dark skinned — was Stout — muscular — not nervous — nor Sinewy — He weighed about 165. lbs.: he was Somewhat raw boned — Abe favored him in many particulars. Both were humerous — good natured — Slow in action Somewhat. Sarah Lincoln favored Abe: she dark Skinned — heavy built — favored Abe very much — looked alike —

I Knew Dennis Hanks: he was not the truest man in the world — would dodge — Equivocate and Exagerate: the idea that he taught Lincoln to read and write is to me preposterous — . The Hanks were a peculiar people — not chaste — Dennis Hanks was a bastard — was the son of _________ His mother married Levi Hall — Dennis Hanks married Miss Johnson Abe Lincoln's Step Sister — Squire Hall married Matilda Johnson — Squire Hall Hall was ˝ brother to Hanks. Squire Hall was the Son Levi Hall. These people were all good clever people I assure you, but they were peculiar —


Abe Lincoln preached the Sermon Jerimiah Cash. Cash had preached a sermon and Abe Said he could repeat it and we boys got him at it Abe mounted a log and proceeded to give the text and at it he went. He did preach almost the identical Sermon. It was done with wonderful accuracy — This was in 1827. Abe did not much like the girls — didn't appear to —

We had here in Early days hand mills on which — rather with which we ground our corn into meal

Library of Congress: Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 2353 — 56; Huntington Library: LN2408, 1:97 — 103



1. In top margin in pencil: Came by Aaron Grigsby's where abe's sister [died?] & then on next day went to Elizabeth 4 M from Gentryv.

2. For Dilworth, see §76, note 1; for Webster, see §76, note 3.

3. For Life of Washington, see §24, note 15, and §,71, note 16; John Bunyan, The Pilgrim's Progress from This World to That Which Is to Come (1678); for Robinson Crusoe, see §74, note 2; for Watts's Hymns and Dupuy, see §72, note 6.

4. The Louisville Journal began publication after the Lincolns had left Indiana. See §231.

5. This sentence is in the margin.

6. William Grigsby and John D. Johnston, AL's stepbrother.

7. Marginal note: Mallory built the Gordon Mill — Abe ground his corn there so say Nat Grigsby — Abe wrote his name on the Arms. Note at bottom of page: Sarah Lincoln — / Dennis Hanks — / Abe Lincoln — Sermon.