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94. Augustus H. Chapman to William H. Herndon.

Charleston Ills. Oct 8th 1865.

Dear Herndon,

Yours dated the 1st came to Hand two days since. I did not coppy the Quotation from Mr Lincolns Coppy Book but got it from Johnston who said it was word for word as in coppy Book. I succeeded in getting hold of the coppy Book last evening & find that Johnston Lied to me. I find the extract in question in three places in the coppy Book all exactly alike & read as follows word for word — Abraham Lincoln his hand and Pen, He will be good but god Knows when.

In one place the following lines follow word for word,

Time what an empty vapor tis
And days how swift they are
Swift as an Indian arrow
Fly on like a Shooting star
The present Moment Just is here
Then Slides away in haste
That we can never say theyre ours

But only say they are past. word for word & spelled exactly as in coppy Book. Farmington is the name of the Little town we passed through. It is 7 Miles South of Charleston, one Mile north of the Lincoln farm & one & a ˝ miles East of the


Grave Yard where Thos Lincoln is buried. Farmington, The Lincoln Farm & the Grave yard are all in Coles Co. I hardly Know how to write you a description of Mr Lincolns visit to his Mother before he Started to Washington in 1861 as there was so much excitement here & such a crowd around him all the time but I will give you the facts as near I can recollect them & you can write out to Suit yourself. Mr Lincoln Left Springfield about the lst day of February 1861 on Monday Morning to visit his relations & Friend here. He was accompanied by the Hon Thos. A. Marshall State Senator for this senatorial District & a resident of this place. (The Legislature was in Session at that time) The weather was very cold & they failed to make Rail Road connections with passenger Train at Mattoon but came from that place to Charleston on a Frt Train arriving [here] about 9 o clock PM. They went to the residence of Mr Marshall. It soon became Know in town that Mr Lincoln had arrived & hundreds, called to See him. He was also serenaded by the Brass & Strings Band of the Town but declined making a Speech. The next morning early, he went up to His Coz. Dennis F Hanks. Again the House was crowded by those that were anxious to see him. After breakfast Mr Lincoln and my self got into a two Horse Buggy and started down to the Southern part of the County to see his Step Mother who was at that time at the residence of her Daughter Mrs Moore who resided at that time in Farmington. We had much difficulty in crossing Kickapoo a Little Stream 3 Miles South of Charleston on act of the Ice in the stream. We finaly succeeded in crossing it all safe & in a Short time arrived at Farmington. The Meeting between Mr Lincoln and his Step Mother was very affectionate. After resting there a short time we proceeded to the residence of John Hall on the old Lincoln Farm & from there to the grave of his Father. Mr Lincoln said he intended to have the grave enclosed and suitable Tomb Stones erected over his Fathers grave & requested me to acertain what the cost would be & he would furnish Dennis Hanks the money to have it done. Said he would furnish an inscription for the Tomb-[stone, such] as he wished inscribed on it, Said he would do it as soon as he got time for me then to see the marble dealer & write him the cost & he would furnish Dennis the Mony to have it all done just as he wished. We then returned to Farmington where we found a Large crowd of citizens nearly all old acquaintances waiting to see him. his reception was very enthusiastic and appeared to gratify him very much. after taking Dinner at his Step Sisters Mrs Moores we returned to Charleston His Step Mother coming with us. Our conversation during the Trip was Mostly concerning family affairs. Mr Lincoln spoke to me on the way down to Farmington of his Step Mother in the most affectionate manner. Said she had been his best Friend in this world & that no Son could love a Mother more than he loved her. He also told me of the condition of his Fathers Family at the time he married his Step Mother & the change she made in the Family & of the encouragement he Abe received from his Step Mother. he Spoke on the road of the various men that had supported him during


the canvass & said he thought Caleb B Smith had done him More Service than any public speaker. Spoke of his Father & related Some amusing incidents of the old mans life. of the Bull Dog biting the Old Man on his return from New Orleans, of the old mans escape when a boy from an Indian who [was shot] by his Uncle Mordecai. Spoke of his Uncle Mordecai, being a man of very great Natural gifts, spoke of his step Brother, John D Johnston who had died a Short time previous in the Most affectionate Manner. Arriving at Charleston on our return from Farmington we proceeded to my residence Again the House was crowded by persons wishing to see him. The crowd finally became so great that he authorized me to announce that he would hold a public reception at the Town Hall that eve at 7 Oclock but untill that time he wished to be left with his relatives & Friends, After supper he proceeded to the Town Hall where Large Nos from the Town and the surrounding country irrespective of party, called to See Him. He left this place Wednesday Morning at 4 Oclock to return to Springfield. Hon Thos A Marshall again accompanied him. (Marshall was a very intimate personal friend of Lincolns) Mr Lincoln appeared to enjoy his visit here remarkable well. His reception by his old acquaintances appeared to be very gratifying to him. They all appeared so glad to See him irrespective of party & all appeared so anxious that his administration might be a success & that he might have a pleasant & honorable career as Prest. The parting between him & his Mother was very affectionate. She embraced him when they parted & Said she would never be permitted to see him again that she felt that his enemies would assassinate. he replied No No Mama (he always caled her Moma) they will not do that trust in the Lord and all will be well. We will See each other — again While at Farmington they tried to induce him to make them a Speech. he also declined speaking at Charleston. He never furnished me the inscription for his Fathers Tomb Stone & none has ever been erected on his grave. This as I understand it is all you request in your Letter. If any thing else is wanted before I leave write me & it will be furnished promptly & with pleasure was offered 100 Dollars last week for facts & incidents of Mr Lincolns early life but Declined in fact have not time & if I had would not do so for less than 250 or 300. Dollars. Hope to get of by the 1st of Nov. will follow your advice if it ruins me. As Ever

your Friend
A H Chapman

Will be D D Hard up about the time I start, If you can remit the bal due on act of expenses in getting up facts for you please do so. It is about 30 Dollars. If I was not a going to be so hard up would not mention it.

Library of Congress: Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 2375 — 77; Huntington Library: LN2408, 1:210 — 15



1. Thomas L. D. Johnston, son of AL's stepbrother, John D. Johnston.

2. These lines are from the first two stanzas of a hymn by Isaac Watts, "The Shortness of Life, and the Goodness of God," which appears as no. 58 in book 2 of Watts's Hymns and Spritual Songs (1707). The first two stanzas are as follows: "Time! What an empty Vapour 'tis! / And Days how swift they are! / Swift as an Indian Arrow flies, / Or like a shooting Star. // The present Moments just appear, / Then slide away in haste, / That we can never say, They're here, / But only say, They're past." See Isaac Watts, Hymns and Spiritual Songs, 1707 — 1748, ed. Selma L. Bishop (London, 1962), 220 — 21.

3. AL's stepsister Matilda Johnston (Hall) Moore.