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341. Russell Godbey (William H. Herndon Interview).

[1865 — 66]

Squire Godbey

I first Knew Abe Lincoln in 1832 — I Saw him — the first time I Ever Saw him with a law book in his hands he was Sitting astraddle of Jake Bails wood pile in New Salem — Said to him — "Abe — what are you Studying" "Studying law" — replied Abe. "Great God Almighty — " Said Godbey. Lincoln surveyed the first piece of land I Ever owned or Ever had Surveyed. He Stopt with me all one night after Surveying. I Sold two Excellent well dressed buck skins. He — Abe wanted them to fox his Surveyer's pants. to prevent thorns — briars — bushes & vines from cutting them — &c — . Mrs Armstrong did the foxing and Sowing. I always loved & respected Abe, though he and I radically differed in politics. I loved to meet — greet & talk to Abe. He was a witty — humorous & genial man — an honest man — . I voted for him in 1834 against my political Creed & principles He was Elected. Snodgrass told me not to vote for him — because Abe was a Deist — &c — I did vote for him nonetheless — and never regretted it.

When a fight was on hand Abe used to Say to me "Lets go and Stop it — tell a joke — a Story — Say Something humorous and End the fight in a good laugh". We never failed to accomplish the End.

One time Abe and I were on the North Side of the River and a man Came a long who got down & hitched his horse &c. It had martin gails on it. The horse got these tangled — I tried to undo them — look at them — was surprised — was taken aback at their oddity — &c. and halloed to Abe — "Abe do come here and See these thing. A Philadelphia lawyer Can't undo them. You are an Ills one and may do it. Abe looked at them Some time — Studied them — &c. and undid them — & this Cut a Knot I Couldn't

Library of Congress: Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 3877 — 78; Huntington Library: LN2408, 1:394 — 96



1. Hannah Armstrong. See her testimony at §415.

2. Isaac Snodgrass was a neighbor to and brother-in-law of Godbey.

3. A martingale is a strap to restrain a horse from throwing back its head.