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e facts to me concerning his ancestry, which he did not wish to have published then, and which I have never spoken of or alluded to before. What the facts referred to by Mr. Scripps were we do not know; for he died several years ago without, so far as is known, revealing them to anyone. On the subject of his ancestry and origin I only. remember one time when Mr. Lincoln ever referred to it. It was about 1850, when he and I were driving in his one-horse buggy to the court in Menard county, Illinois. The suit we were going to try was one in which we were likely, either directly or collaterally, to touch upon the subject of hereditary traits. During the ride he spoke, for the first time in my hearing, of his mother, Dennis and John Hanks have always insisted that Lincoln's mother was not a Hanks, but a Sparrow. Both of them wrote to me that such was the fact. Their object in insisting on this is apparent when it is shown that Nancy Hanks was the daughter of Lucy Hanks, wh
ndly but with no uncertain meaning. The first letter I received from Mrs. Vineyard--for she was married to Jesse Vineyard, March 27, 1841--was written at Weston, Mo., May 1, 1866. Among other things she says: After quite a struggle with my feelings I have at last decided to send you the letters in my possession written by Mr. Lincoln, believing as I do that you are a gentleman of honor and will faithfully abide by all you have said. My associations with your lamented friend were in Menard county whilst visiting a sister who then resided near Petersburg. I have learned that my maiden name is now in your possession; and you have ere this, no doubt, been informed that I am a native Kentuckian. The letters written by Lincoln not revealing enough details of the courtship, I prepared a list of questions for the lady to answer in order that the entire history of their relations might be clearly shown. I perhaps pressed her too closely in such a delicate matter, for she responded i
one say that Lincoln don't want to go to Congress, I wish you, as a personal friend of mine, would tell him you have reason to believe he is mistaken. The truth is I would like to go very much. Still, circumstances may happen which may prevent my being a candidate. If there are any who be my friends in such an enterprise, what I now want is that they shall not throw me away just yet. Letter to R. S. Thomas, Virginia, III., Feb. 14, ‘43, Ms. To another friend in the adjoining county of Menard a few days after the meeting of the Whigs in Sangamon, he explains how Baker defeated him. The entire absence of any feeling of bitterness, or what the politicians call revenge, is the most striking feature of the letter. It is truly gratifying, he says, to me to learn that while the people of Sangamon have cast me off, my old friends of Menard, who have known me longest and best, stick to me. It would astonish if not amuse the older citizens to learn that I (a strange, friendless, une
n like, the corners of his mouth; his frame quivered with suppressed excitement; and when the point — or nub of the story, as he called it — came, no one's laugh was heartier than his. These backwoods allegories are out of date now, and any lawyer, ambitious to gain prominence, would hardly dare thus to entertain a crowd, except at the risk of his reputation; but with Lincoln it gave him, in some mysterious way, a singularly firm hold on the people. Lincoln was particularly strong in Menard county, and while on the circuit there he met with William Engle and James Murray, two men who were noted also for their story-telling proclivities. I am not now asserting for the, country and the period what would at a later day be considered a very high standard of taste. Art had not such patrons as to-day, but the people loved the beautiful as nature furnished it, and the good as they found it, with as much devotion as the more refined classes now are joined to their idols. Newspapers we
protem. H. C. Whitney, Ms., letter, Nov. 13, 1865. The lawyer who reads this singular entry will appreciate its oddity if no one else does. After making it one of the lawyers, on recovering his astonishment, ventured to enquire, Well, Lincoln, how can we get this case up again? Lincoln eyed him quizzically a moment, and then answered, You have all been so ‘mighty smart about this case. you can find out how to take it up again yourselves. During my first attendance at court in Menard County, relates a lawyer who travelled the circuit with Lincoln, some thirty young men had been indicted for playing cards, and Lincoln and I were employed in their defense. The prosecuting attorney, in framing the indictments, alternately charged the defendants with playing a certain game of cards called sevenup, and in the next bill charged them with playing cards at a certain game called old sledge. Four defendants were indicted in each bill. The prosecutor, being entirely unacquainted wi
good deal like a fellow who is made groomsman to a man that has cut him out and is marrying his own dear gal. The causes that led to his disappointment are set forth more in detail in a letter, two days later, to a friend in the new county of Menard, which now included his old home, New Salem, whose powerful assistance was therefore lost from the party councils of Sangamon. The letter also dwells more particularly on the complicated influences which the practical politician has to reckon wie have a striking illustration of Lincoln's intelligence and skill in the intricate details of political management, together with the high sense of honor and manliness which directed his action in such matters. Speaking of the influences of Menard County, he wrote: If she and Mason act circumspectly, they will in the convention be able so far to enforce their rights as to decide absolutely which one of the candidates shall be successful. Let me show the reason of this. Hardin, or som