Primary tabs


131. Abner Y. Ellis to Willam H. Herndon.

Moro, Illinois Jany 30th 1866

Freind Herndon

I am in recipt of your favor of the 28th and its Contents flatters me verry much for I was fearful that you Could not make sense out of it — I did intend to Coppy it but laziness was my only Excuse and since I have wished a dozen time that I had. but their is No Use talking Now You have it as it is up to the time he Moved to your city Since then I have Said but little

I Shall Now endeavour to answer the questions proposed by you

Mr Lincoln I do not think belonged to any Secret Society Neither Masonic or Oddfellows I once heard Judge Denney ask him if he was Not a Mason And his answer Was I do Not belong to any society except it be for the Good of my Country

The Judge asked him if he Was Not a Member of any Church his answer was No This Conversation was in the Store of Messrs Condell Jones &c in the year of — 1844

I lived in New Salem in the Summer & fall of 1833 I left Mr Lincoln their. Rowen or James Herndon Was Not there at the time I Was


I Cant remember the Year that Bowling Green died it Was after the year 1840.

Mr L used to read at Nights Wen in New Salem

he used to Read Shakespear & Burns in Springfield He read this Novel George Balcomb in New Salem also Tom Pain & Volney. As to the News papers I Cant think of any he used to read Except the old Sangamo Journal as to what he Used to Eat I do not know but I think he was Not Verry particular in what he Eaten he Was fond of Pop Corn I remember

His speach in 1834 Was Verry — clear & Logical but he was Not verry self possesed he was a timid I thought

I do Not rember of Ever hearing him talk politicks in 1833 Neither do I remember of his reading any thing More than I have Named and Whether he read them through or Not I do Not Know

Oh Yes I once loned him Some Play Book to read I have them yet They wer as follows

The Wept of the Wishton Wish
"Lady or Lyons
"Illustorus Strange
"The Hypocrite
"Poor Pillicoddy

William I think that Mr Lanning or Mr Lukins of Petersburgh could give you conciderable information concerning his early history in Sangamon Count as they were then his early associates also James Short I beleave I have answ all that you desired but if you think of anything More Just Command Me

& I am You Obd Sevt
A. Y. Ellis

P.S. I should be delighted to have a Coppy of the Life of Abraham Lincoln by My old freind Wm. H. Herndon


Wm do you remember of Mr. Lincolns having a political — set to — Withe Judge Jesse B Thomas in or on the old Court room steps in what Was Called Hoffman Row — When Mr L Made the Judge Cry by Mimicing him — I do

and at another time how he got Judge Logan once in the Cour room By informing the Jury that the Judge Was a Verry Knowing Lawyer but Said M L as Smart as he is he dose Not Know that he has his shirt on with the pleated Bosom


behind it Was a New Shirt that the Judge had Not Noticed very particular When he put it on They Were Made to button the Collar band behind in those days

do you remember anything about his Mechanical jenious He in the year 1849 Mad a Model for a steam ship I think he took it to Washington I have Seen it He Worked at it in Walter Davis' Shop He liked Walter for Some Cause I never knew he also liked James Short & Bowling Green and also Joshua F Speed & he allways thanked Josh for his Mary I Know Many things about that Match

If I am Not Mistaken Mr Lincoln was Nomenated for the Legislater in the Year 1834 but Was Defeated

He Must have Studyed Law before he Came to Springfield but With Whomb I do Not Know

I think he had read Conciderable before he Came to New Salem but Not Law Books

When he first Came to New Salem he had Something to do With a Man Named Offut I think he Was a Merchant in fact I Know he Was. (Whare is Offut do You Know if he is living he is the Man that Could tell all about his first Coming to Salem &c &c

Lincoln Was Onc Post Master at New Salem under M Adams or Jackson. I guess it was Jackson

Felix Green is anothe Man that New him in his younger days. Bill & Nult was too Young then

Library of Congress: Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 2443 — 45, Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C.2460 — 61; Huntington Library: LN2408, 1:411 — 15



1. Possibly William A. Denning (ca. 1817 — 56), a supreme court justice (1847 — 48) and judge of the Third Circuit (1848 — 54).

2. Condell, Jones and Co., a Springfield mercantile firm, where Ellis was once employed.

3. See §127, note 6.

4. See §127, notes 7 — 8.

5. The Wept of Wish Ton Wish: A Drama, in Two Acts (1856) was based on James Fenimore Cooper's novel (1829) of the same name; Edward Bulwer-Lytton, The Lady of Lyons: or, Love and Pride. A Play, in Five Acts (first American edition, 1838); James Kenney, The Illustrious Stranger; or, Married and Buried, an Operatic Farce in Two Acts (1827?); The Hypocrite is the name of a play by Moličre and also by Colley Cibber; John M. Morton, Poor Pillicoddy: A Farce, in One Act (Philadelphia, ca. 1845).