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8. Hardin Bale to William H. Herndon (interview).

Petersburg Il My 29th 1865

Dear Sir:

I came to Sangamon County — in 1829 and Settled in New Salem then in Sangamon County; & now Menard County: it having been Cut off Sangamon in


1839 —: Lincoln Came to the County of Sangamon to New Salem — in 1830. When I became acquainted with Lincoln he was Keeping store for Offut or Nuffet — a gassy — windy — brain rattling man. Offut kept a kind of dry good store — probably some liquors in it. This was in 1830 & 31. The winter of the deep snow was in 1829 & 30. Lincoln kept the store in 1830 & 1831. He went into the Black Hawk war in 1832 — was Elected Captain of the Company. He then returned from the Black Hawk war. He Commenced reading law in 1832 & 3 — read in the mornings & Evenings — would play at varis games — jumping — running — hopping telling stories & cracking jokes. When his associates would return in the Evening to their various homes he would go to his reading & in the morning he would read till his associates would Come back the next day —: He Commenced Surveying in before 1834 — . Wm Berry & Mr Lincoln bought a kind of grocery store of Wm. G. Green, as said, and it is my impression he, L., kept it some time. This was in 1834 or 1835. It is said that Berry & Lincoln broke up by the improvidence of Berry in their business — Executions were had against the firm — & Lincoln Law Books — Compas — flag staff — Jacob Staff &c were sold to pay the debt. Jas Short became the purchaser of them and gave them back to Lincoln. Lincoln still read law and surveyed, In the Spring of 1834 or 35 Mr Lincoln invented a wheel — a water wheel — which ran under water: it promised at the time of some value. I do not know what became of it. He at this time fell in love with a Miss Ann Rutledge — a pretty & much accomplished girl of Menard County, living in New Salem. It was said that after the death of Miss Rutledge & because of it, Lincoln was locked up by his friends — Saml Hill and others, to prevent derangement or suicide — so hard did he take her death. He surveyed off — laid off the old town of Petersburg the County Seat of Menard County in the years of 1835 or 6 — . He surveyed and laid off the town of Huron on the Sangamon River about 10 miles North of Petersburg. This was about the year 1835 At the time he invented or made his wheel he made a box in the mill — put stones in it and raised one thousand, by throwing straps across his shoulders — he getting on some logs. I saw the box — rocks & straps & it is said by good men & true that he lifted the thousand pouns. I helped him with his [illegible] wheel; his invention. He borded at Nelson Alley's who kept tavern in the village — There is now only one house in the village of S the balance of the houses having been moved to Petersburg. About the year 1834 A Lincoln wrote a work on infidelity, denying the divinity of the Scriptures and was persuaded by his friends — particularly by Saml to burn it which was done —

Truly Yours
Hardin Bale

Library of Congress: Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 2126 — 27; Huntington Library: LN2408, 1:336 — 38



1. Written out by WHH in the form of a letter and signed by Hardin Bale.

2. Located at Miller's Ferry on the Sangamon, a widely used crossing between Petersburg and Havana, the projected town of Huron was surveyed by AL and its plat recorded on May 21, 1836. See CW 1:48ff. and Harry E. Pratt, The Personal Finances of Abraham Lincoln (Springfield, Ill., 1943), 58 — 59.