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197. Coleman Smoot to William H. Herndon.

Petersburg Ills May 7th 1866

Dear Sir

Yours of May 3d is at hand and contents noted in answer to Inquiries will Say to You I became acquainted with Abraham Lincoln in the Spring of 1832 I believe. I had heard Abe Lincoln Spoken of very frequently and was very anxious to See him and I presume he had often heard my name Spoken and had expressed a desire to See me also. one day when I was at New Salem I went into the Store in


which he was then acting as Clerk and some one Calling me by name Lincoln Came forward and Says is that Smoot I remarked to him that was my name he then remarked that he was very much disappointed as he had Expected to See an old Propst of a fellow I told him I was Equally disappointed with himself for I Expected to See a good looking Man

(Now you probably Know what he meant by a Propst of a fellow he had become acquainted with old Nick Propst of Sugar Grove who was a man of very Singular looks — Shape and actions hence the name Propst of a fellow)

In Regard to his Clothing I do not Remember anything of Interest any more than his Pantaloons were very Short Causing him to look very awkward — know nothing objectionable in his manners or habits during my acquaintance with him

Now Sir for the hogs Eye affair Offitt had Bought hogs of Onstott who then owned a distillery on the farm on which I now Reside the hogs were to be driven to the flat boat on Sangamon River and being very wild it was proposed to Sow up their Eyes in order to drive them Robert Bracken then proposed to Lincoln if he would plow in his place he would help Offitt in the Sowing operation it proved to be of no benefit for the hogs scattered in Every direction Causing Much trouble Lincoln has Stayed with me many nights while Surveying in this Country he was always Sociable and agreeable making hosts of friends wherever he went

After he was Elected to the legislature he came to my house one day in Company with Hugh Armstrong Says he Smoot did you vote for me I told him I did Well Says he You must loan me money to buy Suitable Clothing for I want to make a decent appearance in the Legislature I then loaned him two hundred Dollars which he Returned to me according to promise. Now for an Anecdote in Regard to Offitt Lincoln & Co navigating the Sangamon River I presume it is true but will not vouch for its truth

Offitt Seemed to think that with Lincoln as Pilot or Captain there was no such thing as fail in the navigation of the Sangamon While building his flat Boat he determined on their Return from down the River to build a Steam boat for the Sangamon his friends Remonstrated with him on account of the lowness of the River for a large part of the Season and frozen over for months Offitt Said he intended to build it with Rollers underneath so that when it come to a Sand Bar it would Roll Right over and Runners underneath for to Run on the ice for when Lincoln Was Captain By thunder She would have to go if there is any thing in these few lines that will be of any Service to You then you are welcome to it

Yours Truly
Coleman Smoot

Library of Congress: Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 2573 — 74; Huntington Library: LN2408, 1:543 — 46

1. Denton Offutt, AL's employer.