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Chapter 4.

  • The settlement in Illinois.
  • -- splitting rails with John Hanks. -- building the boat for Offut. -- the return to Illinois. -- New Salem described. -- Clerking on the election board. -- the lizard story. -- salesman in Offut's store. -- the wrestle with Jack Armstrong. -- studying in the store. -- disappearance of Offut. -- the Talisman. -- Oliphant's poetry. -- the reception at Springfield. -- the Captain's wife. -- return trip of the Talisman. -- Rowan Herndon and Lincoln pilot her through. -- the navigability of the Sangamon fully demonstrated. -- the vessel reaches Beardstown.

After a fortnight of rough and fatiguing travel the colony of Indiana emigrants reached a point in Illinois five miles north-west of the town of Decatur in Macon county. John Hanks, son of that Joseph Hanks in whose shop at Elizabethtown Thomas Lincoln had learned what he knew of the carpenter's art, met and sheltered them until they were safely housed on a piece of land which he had selected for them five miles further westward. He had preceded them over a year, and had in the meantime hewed out a few timbers to be used in the construction of their cabin. The place he had selected was on a bluff overlooking the Sangamon river,--for these early settlers must always be in sight of a running stream,--well supplied with timber. It was a charming and picturesque site, and all hands set resolutely to work to prepare the new abode. One felled the trees; one hewed the timbers for the cabin; while another cleared the ground of its accumulated growth of underbrush. All was bustle and activity. Even old Thomas Lincoln, infused with the spirit of the hour, was spurred to unwonted exertion. What part of the work fell to his lot our only chronicler, John Hanks, fails to note; but it is conjectured from the old gentleman's

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