7. William G. Greene to William H. Herndon.
Tallula Ills May 29th 1865
Yours of the 20th inst. & I now respond to your Interogatories to the best of my recollection 1 Mr Lincolns Mothers Maiden name was Lucy Hanks she was a native of State Va I have understood that she was rather above the average size for women but know nothing further of her 2 Mr Lincoln weighed when he & I Clk for Denton Offutt 214 lbs I have weighed him often my impression now is that he was PO.M. in 1833 & — 34 his first Stump Speech ever made I have heard him say was in Macon Co in reply to two Men by the Names of a Mr Posey & Ewing this was no Political Speech but an Experementer in 1830 or 31 that was before I knew him all I know of that effort I learned from Mr Lincoln I have often heard him regret that he had no copy of it as it was Extempo he has often shown & read to me his first Composition he prized it highly it was full of witt & I pronounced a good thing I will explain it more fully when I see you it was personal an old Lady who lived & died in Sangamon but was written long before he came to Ills I think he informed me that he was fourteen years ould when he wrote it 3 he came to Sangamon in the fall preceeding the Winter of the Deep Snow and assisted in building a Flat Boat (John Rool) of your City worked with him on the Boat Mr Lincoln last June told me how to guide myself as to the date
of his coming to our part of then
Sangamon Co which was this that he came down the Sangamon River as a sort of floting Drift wood on the great freshit produced in the thawing of that snow. he was a candidate for the Legislature & made his first Political Speech in Petersburg 1832 he was beaten althoug his precinct then which now comprises nearly all of Menard voted him or for him unanimus save and except Three
Votes in 1834 he was elected 4th he was elected Captain of a Malitia Co in the Black Hawk War his Men Idolized him he was the finest Wrestler that belonged to that Army except a man by the name of Thompson who hailed from Union Co Ills (I have many little Incidents of their Wrestle) 5th he Studied Grammar & Surveying while he & I clerked in Offutts store which was in 1832 & — 33 6th he at the same time Devoured all the Law Books he could get hold of I left Ills in the Spring of 1836 at that time he was a Dep. Surveyor not of Calhoons as many have it but of T. M. Neal of your City I now have in my possesion many Feald Notes signed T. M. Neal by A Lincoln Dep &C I have spent a few nights with his Father he then lived in Coles Co Ills. & was tending a small Water Mill the profts of which nearly supported him & his second wife whose name was Johnson before she was married to Mr Thomas Lincoln Abrahams father believe I have answered your interogatories as well I can at this time I will call and see you as I can give much better satisfaction verbal than written
Verry truly Your friend
W G Greene
P.S. will you say to J. K. Dubois & Jacob Bunn that the Citizens generally of Menard & myself especially think verry strang that this Co has not been honored with a Member as the "Lincoln association to raise funds" &c for a Monument as the ould Poll-Book now go & see it apart of the Archieves of Sang., will demonstrate that we people then before his greatness voted him with a uninimity that the wide World has no paralell
W G Greene
Library of Congress: Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 2124 — 25; Huntington Library: LN2408, 1:474 — 77
1. John f. Posey and William L. D. Ewing, who were compaigning for the Illinois House of Representatives in the summer of 1830. See Edwin Davis, "Lincoln and Macon County, Illinois, 1830-31," Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society 25 (1932): 97-99. For another account, see the WHH interview with John Hanks, §344.
2. The long-remembered "Winter of the Deep Snow" was in 1830-31.
3. John E. Roll.
4. AL won most of his wrestling matches but was bested by Lorenzo Dow Thompson of St. Clair County. For a version of AL's own account of this match, see Col. Risdon M. Moore, "Mr. Lincoln as a Wrestler," TISHS (1904), 433 — 34.