Chapter 4

  1. William H. Herndon. "Abraham Lincoln, Miss Anne Rutledge, New Salem, Pioneering & The Poem." A lecture delivered at Springfield, Illinois, November 16, 1866, p 57. From a photostat of the original broadsheet of the lecture, courtesy of the Illinois State Historical Society.

From Tripp: "…sorrowed and grieved, rambled over the hills and through the forests, day and night…He slept not, he ate not, joyed not…His mind wandered from its throne [until] his reason…walked out of itself along the uncolumned air, and kissed and embraced the shadows and illusions of the heated brain."

A slightly more complete quote from Herndon's lecture reads: "That word [love] cannot be found more than a half dozen times if that often, in all his letters and speeches, since that time. I have seen some of his letters to other ladies, but he never says 'love.' He never ended his letters with 'yours affectionately,' but signed his name, 'your friend, A. Lincoln.' Abraham Lincoln was, by nature, more or less, in tendency, abstracted - had the power of continuous concentrated thought. It may be, as alleged, that he was warm, ardent and more or less impulsive man, before 1834, and of which I give no opinion. He never did care for food - eating mechanically. He sorrowed and grieved, rambled over the hills and through the forests, day and night. He suffered and bore it for a while like a great man - a philosopher. He slept not, he ate not, joyed not. Things he did until his body became emaciated and weak, and gave way. His mind wandered from its throne. In his imagination he muttered word to her he loved. His mind, his reason, somewhat dethroned, walked out of itself along the uncolumned air, and kissed and embraced the shadows and illusions of the heated brain. Love, future happiness, death, sorrow.

  1. Paul M. Angle, "Lincoln's First Love?" Bulletin No. 9, Lincoln Centennial Association, Dec. 1, 1927, p. 5.

"No reliable contemporary record has ever been discovered for it."

A slightly more complete quote from Angle reads: "It is apparent that such a tale as that of Lincoln and Ann Rutledge offered him an opportunity for the exercise of his wildest fantasy.
With this in mind, let us examine Herndon's evidence. The first thing to strike one's mind is that it is entirely traditional in character. No reliable contemporary record has ever been discovered. Instead, there are numerous reminiscences put in writing at the request of Herndon, who, once given the lead, followed it tirelessly. However, every single one of these written testimonies is dated in 1865, later - after Lincoln had been assassinated, and when the frailest claim of mere acquaintance was itself a great distinction. And every single written testimony comes either from a member of the Rutledge family - naturally interested in making the attachment between Ann and the martyred President as intimate as possible - or from a one-time resident of New Salem, interested in fastening all possible glamour to that forgotten village."

  1. Randall, "Sifting the Anne Rutledge Evidence," in Lincoln the President, vol. 2, 321-342.

  2. Hertz, The Hidden Lincoln, 310.

"I trust largely to your courtesy as gentleman, to your honesty and integrity as a historian, and to your skill in writing for the public, to enlarge wherever my statement seem obscure, and to condense and remove whatever seems superfluous…I beg of you to consider well the testimony in each case, and make up your history from those statements which may appear to you best fitted to remove all doubt as to their correctness."

A slightly more complete quote reads: "I trust largely to your courtesy as a gentleman, to your honesty and integrity as a historian, and to your skill in writing for the public, to enlarge wherever my statements seem obscure, and to condense and remove whatever seems superfluous. Above all, I trust to your honor and your sense of right and consistency, to exclude from print anything which in your judgment may injuriously affect the surviving actors in the great drama which you propose to re-enact once more. many of my statements are made from memory with the aid of association of events; and should you discover that the date, location, and circumstances of the events here named should be contradictory to those named from other sources. I beg of you to consider well the testimony in each case, and make up your history from those statements which may appear to you best fitted and remove all doubt as to their correctness."

  1. Randall, "Sifting the Anne Rutledge Evidence." 329.

"In the law of evidence, however, it is insisted that testimony ought to come straight. If witnesses arrange their recollections so as to make them agree, or if they seek to build them up where they admit uncertainty, the result lacks the validity of statements obtained from witnesses separately and unretouched."

A slightly more complete from Randall reads: "There are inconsistencies and contradictions in Rutledge's assertions, and in reading his labored statements one can sympathetically understand his difficulty in reconstructing a picture of what happened. A writer of today ought not to put a higher value on his recollections than he himself did. He confessed uncertainty on points of Herndon's questioning and spoke of comparing notes with others. In part this consultation may have been intended to supplement his own knowledge, which he did not claim to be complete in itself. In the law of evidence, however, it is insisted that testimony ought to come straight. If witnesses arrange their recollections so as to make them agree, or if they seek to build them up where they admit uncertainty, the result lacks the validity of statements obtained from witnesses separately and unretouched. One must give full credit to the sincerity of R. B.'s effort to deliver the truth and some investigators might not consider that his product was rendered less valuable by this consultation."

  1. Hertz, The Hidden Lincoln, 236.

From Tripp: "Herndon himself privately struggled with the idea that Ann was indeed engaged to both men at once, as he wrote to his coauthor, Jessie Weik, on January 11, 1889, shortly before their Lincoln biography was published."

From Hertz (W. H. Herndon letter): "Again, the more I think of the Anne Rutledge story, the more do I think that the girl had two engagements, i.e., that she was engaged to two men at one and the same [time]. I do not recollect that she ever got a release from McNamar, though she tried to get one. Lincoln jumped in when Ann was ready to receive his jump."

  1. Wilson and Davis, Herndon's Informants, 252.

"Mr. Lincoln was not to my knowledge paying particular attention to any of the young ladies of my acquaintance [sic] when I left [for New York]."

From John McNamar to G. U. Miles, May 5, 1866.

"Mr. Lincoln was not to my knowledge paying any particular attention to any of the young ladies of my acquaintance, when I left there was no rivalry between him and myself on that score, on the contrary I had every reason to consider him my personal friend..."

  1. Wilson and Davis, Herndon's Informants, 253.

"I never heard an[y] person say that Mr. Lincoln addressed Miss Ann Rutledge in terms of courtship[,] neither [from] her own family nor my acquaintances otherwise [although] I heard…from two prominent gentlemen of my acquaintance and Personal Friends that Lincoln was Grieved very much at her death."

From John McNamar to G. U. Miles, May 5, 1866.
Quote: "I never heard an[y] person say that Mr. Lincoln addressed Miss Anne Rutledge in terms of courtship, neither her own family nor my acquaintances otherwise. I heard simply this expression from two prominent gentlemen of my acquaintance and personal friends that Lincoln was grieved very much at her death. I arrived here only a few weeks after her death. I saw and conversed with Mr. Lincoln. I thought he had lost some of his former vivacity he was at the Post Office and probably Post master he wrote a deed for me which I still hold and prize not for the Land it conveyed but as a valued memento."

  1. Wilson and Davis, Herndon's Informants, 253. (See footnote number 8)

"…wrote a deed for me which I still hold."

From John McNamar to G. U. Miles, May 5, 1866.
Quote: "I thought he had lost some of his former vivacity he was at the post office and probably post master he wrote a deed for me which I still hold and prize not only for the land it conveyed but as a valued momento."

  1. Beveridge, Abraham Lincoln 1809-1858, vol. 1, 148.

"…family arrangement."

A slightly more complete quote reads: "He told Anne of his[McNamar] plans, change of name and the reason for it; and then, in the summer of 1832, started upon his eastward journey. They had agreed to be married on his return. Seemingly as a family arrangement, McNamar on July 26 of the previous year had bought half of Rutledge's eighty-acre farm, paying for the forty-acres the sum of fifty dollars. To this farm James Rutledge took his family about the time his prospective son-and-law departed for New York."

  1. Randall, "Sifting the Ann Rutledge Evidence," 331.

"If Lincoln did court Ann to the point of betrothal, and McNamar who was known to be engaged to her was not told of this fact when he returned to New Salem, human nature in country towns has radically changed!"

A slightly more complete quote from Randall reads: "John McNamar, Ann's fiancé who was in the East at the time of the alleged Lincoln-Rytledge courtship, wrote in 1866: 'I never heard and [i. e., any] person say that Mr. Lincoln addressed Miss Ann Rutledge in terms of courtship neither her own family nor my acquaintances otherwise.' McNamar knew the Rutledges well not only because of his engagement to Ann but because he had bought half of the Rutledge far, this being referred to as a 'family arrangement.' If Lincoln did court Ann to the point of betrothal, and McNamar who was known to be engaged to her was not told of this fact when he returned to New Salem, human nature in country towns has radically changed! McNamar was trusted by his neighbors and his word was trusted."

  1. Wilson and Davis, Herndon's Informants, 237; testimony of Mrs. William Rutledge on Rutledge family memories of correspondence between Lincoln and Ann. David Donald, Lincoln, page 56, on the cessation of letters from McNamar to Ann.

From the text: "According to the Rutledge family tradition McNamar corresponded with Ann for some time after leaving New Salem for New York, but then stopped writing, a signal he had lost interest in the marriage."

From Donald: "Lincoln, of course, knew of the engagement and of McNamar's departure for the East. As postmaster, he was necessarily aware of the letters the engaged couple exchanged-fairly frequently at first, and then more and more rarely, until correspondence from McNamar ceased."

  1. The historian William E. Barton comments: "If Lincoln ever wrote to Ann while he was away [at Vandalia], the Rutledge family did not preserve his letters, and they were accustomed to save their correspondence." The Women Lincoln Loved, 178.

  2. Randall, "Sifting the Ann Rutledge Evidence," 335.

From the text: "Indeed, Ann Rutledge's name appears nowhere in any of Lincoln's writings, as Randall points out."

  1. Thomas, Abraham Lincoln, 51.

"…most [Lincoln students now] regard it [the Ann Rutledge romance]as improbable and reject utterly its supposed enduring influence on Lincoln."

A slightly more complete quote reads: "Thus came to culmination a legend for which no shred of contemporary evidence has been found. Nothing in Lincoln's writings supports it. In the face of affirmative reminiscences, Lincoln students can scarcely declare with certainty that no such romance took place. But most of them regard it as improbable, and reject utterly its supposed enduring influence upon Lincoln."

  1. Wilson and Davis, Herndon's Informants, 108.

"He was not very fond of girls as he seemed to me."

A slightly more complete quote from Sarah Bush Lincoln (WHH interview, September 8, 1865) reads: "There seemed to be nothing unusual in his love for animals or his own Kind, though he treated everybody and everything kindly, humanely, Abe didn't much care for crowds of people: he chose his own company which was always good. He was not very fond of girls as it seems to me."

  1. Wilson and Davis, Herndon's Informants, 455.

"I never Could get him in Company with women: he was not a timid man in this particular, but did not seek such Company."

A slightly more complete quote from John Hanks (WHH interview, 1865-66) reads: "Lincoln devoured all the books he could get or lay hands on: he was a constant and voracious reader. I never could get him in company with women: he was not a timid man in this particular, but did not seek such company."

  1. Wilson and Davis, Herndon's Informants, 105.

"Didn't love the company of girls."

A slightly more complete quote from Dennis Hanks (WHH interview, September 8, 1865) reads: "He would joke, tell stories, run rigs, &c on the boys, didn't love the company of girls, didn't love crowds as a general rule..."

  1. Wilson and Davis, Herndon's Informants, 123.

"Abe did not much like the girls."

A slightly more complete quote from David Turnham (WHH interview, September 15, 1865) reads: "He did preach almost the identical sermon. It was done with wonderful accuracy. This was in 1827. Abe did not much like the girls, didn't appear to."

  1. Wilson and Davis, Herndon's Informants, 518.

"When in company with men and women he was rather backward but with the boys, he was always cheerful and talkative. He did not seem to seek the company of the girls and [when about] them was rather backward."

A slightly more complete quote from David Turnham (WHH interview, December 17, 1886) reads: "Abe was by no means lazy saucy or insolent, neither was he forward but rather timid and not sensitive. When in company with men and women he was rather backward but with the boys, he was always cheerful and talkative. He did not seem to seek the company of the girls and [when about] them was rather backward.

  1. Wilson and Davis, Herndon's Informants, 170.

"…always disliked to wait on the Ladies[;] he preferred trading with the Men and Boys as he used to Say."

A slightly more complete quote from Abner Y. Ellis (statement for WHH) reads: "He also used to assist me in the store on busy days, but he always dislike to wait on the ladies he preferred trading with the men and boys as he used to say."

  1. Wayne C. Temple, "Lincoln and the Burners at New Salem," Lincoln Herald, 67 note 2 (Summer 1965).

"The four years I knew him in New Salem I never saw him with a girl…Talking about girls, I want to say there is no truth in the story about Lincoln being engaged to Ann Rutledge."

A slightly more complete quote from Temple reads: "Daniel was 89 at the time of his death, and he had been 80 when he revealed his reminiscences of Abraham Lincoln. Nevertheless. His description of the Railsplitter at New Salem is remarkably accurate and truthful. Although a few statements might be questioned as to exact and minor details, Burner describes Lincoln as scholars today know his to have been. Unlike so many of the old settlers from New Salem, Daniel Burner denied that Lincoln was ever engaged to Ann Rutledge. In fact, he declared that Lincoln was rather shy with the girls - a fact which can be now ascertained by reading his letters and studying his life minutely from other primary evidence."

  1. Wilson and Davis, Herndon's Informants, 91.

"He didn't go to see the girls much. He didn't appear bashful, but it seemed as if he cared but little for them. Wasn't apt to take liberties with them, but would sometimes. he always like lively, jovial company, where there was plenty of fun and no drunkeness, and would just as lieve the company were all men as to have it a mixture of the sexes."

A slightly more complete quote from N. W. Branson to WHH reads: "He didn't go to see the girls much. He didn't appear bashful, but it seemed as if he cared but little for them. Wasn't apt to take liberties with them, but would sometimes. he always like lively, jovial company, where there was plenty of fun and no drunkeness, and would just as lieve the company were all men as to have it a mixture of the sexes. he was very agreeable in company and everybody liked him."

  1. Donald, Lincoln, 55.

From Tripp: "Nor did class seem to matter; he was as outgoing and congenial with illiterate Hannah Armstrong as he was with the upper-crust Orville Browning, Mrs. Browing being a special friend. In short, he was quick to lean forward toward women who were 'already taken,' yet any encounters with eligible girls and women (as David Donald was the first to notice), instantly stirred discomfort if not distain."

A slightly more complete quote from Donald reads: "But he was extremely awkward around women. With the wives of old friends, like Mrs. Hannah Armstrong, he could be courtly, even affectionate, but he froze in the presence of eligible girls. At his store he had been reluctant to wait on them, and at Rutledge tavern he was unwilling to sit at the table when a well-dressed Virginia woman and her there daughters were guests. Effort of New Salem matrons to match him with a Miss Short and a Miss Berry failed completely."

  1. Wilson, Lincoln Before Washington, 79. Originally published as "Abraham Lincoln , Anne Rutledge, and the Evidence of Herndon's Informants," in Civil War History, 36 (December 1990).

"If you ever see Mrs. [Hannah] Armstrong please get out of her all the facts in reference to Mr. Lincolns life when in Menard-what he did-what he said-when he said it where he said it-before whom-how he lived-his manners-customs-habits-sports, frolics-fun-his sadness-his wit; his humor. What he read-when he read it-How he read-and what and who he loved. Etc. etc. and in short all she may know about him in mind-heart-soul-body."

From Wilson: "Writing six months later to his father-in-law in Petersburg, G. U. Miles, who acted as a kind of research assistant, he directed. 'If you ever see Mrs. Armstrong please get out of her all the facts in reference to Mr. Lincoln's life when it Menard-what he did-what he said-when he said it where he said it-before whom-how he lived-his manners-customs-habits-sports, frolics-fun-his sadness-his wit; his humor. What he read-when he read it-how he read-and what and who he loved. etc. etc. and in short all she may know about him in mind-heart-soul-body.' These examples show what becomes clear when one reviews the documents, that Herndon's initial approach to informants was typically open-ended, and although it may have prompted informants to respond on certain subjects, it was not calculated to elicit preconceived answers."

  1. Wilson and Davis, Herndon's Informants, 525.

From Tripp: "As it later turned out, Herndon himself interviewed Hannah, who remembered nothing of any Lincoln Romance."

The full quote from Hannah Armstrong (WHH interview) makes no reference to any love affair.

  1. Beveridge, Abraham Lincoln 1809-1858, vol. 1, 39.

From Tripp: "Besides all this mayhem and misery amid wretchedly dirt-poor poverty during an era of no screens or sanitations, the air was filled not only with mosquitoes, but with swarms of noxious black flies and poisonous yellow ones that flew in unhindered from feasting on dung heaps and human feces."

Quote: "In 1816 these forests were full of animals-raccoon, squirrel, opossum, skunk, deer, bear, wolf,wildcat, panther. Wild turkeys ran through underbrush filled with grouse and quail; wild ducks and geese flew overhead. Incredible numbers of pigeons his the sun, 'darkening the air like a thick passing cloud' and, when settling for the night, broke down stout branches of trees. Swarms of misquitoes rose from dank, stagnant pools and noisesome swamps; large black and poisonous yellow flies abounded."

  1. Rankin, Personal Recollections of Abraham Lincoln, 73.

From Tripp: "As conditions worsened, Lincoln stayed over more often to offer continual help with the nursing, and with many other hard and dirty tasks at hand."

Quote: "In every home some member was stricken down, and in most homes all the family were ill at the same time. Treatment of these malarial diseases was very crude and drastic at that time. Heroic doses of medicaine were administered,-often more fatal than the disease,-killing a person of frail physique instead of effecting a cure. The Rutledge family were among the unfortunate many who suffered. Ann was among the last to be stricken. Lincoln had been a frequent visitor and assistant in nursing at the Rutledge home during their sickness,-going over from Salem with Dr. John Allen, the physician, every day or two. He would stay over night when needed, or return with the doctor who would stop for him after visiting the other patients in that neighborhood. At length, towards the end of August, Miss Rutledge's condition passed beyond the help of physicians and nurses and the delirium of her last few days-common in the fatal cases of those malarial fevers-brought an end to her life on August 25, 1835."

  1. Rankin, Personal Recollections of Abraham Lincoln, 74.

 

"There were no undertakers. No caskets were kept on hand. Coffins had to be made after the death; and in a few instances he had assisted in making them for his friends."

A slightly more complete quote reads: "Added to the depression of Lincoln from illness in those days, was that from the death of several of his personal friends, and the neighborly aid he had given unstintingly at the funerals and burials of those who died. There were no undertakers. No caskets were kept on hand. Coffins had to be made after the death; and in a few instances he had assisted in making them for his friends."

  1. Shutes, Lincoln and the Doctors, 18.

"…until he passed three consecutive weeks without a chill."

A slightly more complete quote reads: "His good friend, Dr. John Allen, a wise man as well as a skillful physician, took him in charge. He explained that death was always caused by natural agents, by fixed laws made in the beginning of things. Lincoln was quick to react to the preposterous assumption that the Creator of the universe would single out his unimportant self for chastening. Dr. Allen then conspired with the hospitable wife of Bowling Green, whose cabin still leans by the highway, to care for the distracted fellow. Aunt Polly took him in and mothered him until he became himself again, and until, as Dr. Allen ordered, he had passed three consecutive weeks without a chill."

  1. Rankin, Personal recollections of Abraham Lincoln, 82.

"…cheerfully [and] gladly given by Mr. and Mrs. Green,"

A slightly more complete quote reads: "He knew the motherly care Mrs. Greene would bestow in the meanwhile, and the quiet of that farm home at the foot of the oak-timbered bluff rising abruptly behind the yard and orchards. This was the rest-cure refuge for body and soul that Lincoln so greatly needed. It was cheerfully, gladly given by both Mr. and Mrs. Greene."

  1. Bulletin No. 12, Lincoln Centennial Association, Sept 1, 1928, 8.

From Tripp: "By September 17 (less than a month after Ann died) he had met the medical requirements and was back as postmaster; by September 24 he had completed his next surveying job."

From Bulletin No. 12: "Mr. Barrett brings forth the record of a survey which Lincoln made, and which he himself labeled, 'Timber Land Surveyed by A. Lincoln from Wm. Green to M. S. Marsh 24 Sept 1835'. The lot contained ten acres, and was located about one and one-half miles southwest of New Salem."

  1. Hardin Bale to William H. Herndon (in Herndon's handwriting), May 29, 1865, Herndon-Weik Collection, Library of Congress.

"…was locked up by his friends…to prevent his derangement or suicide."

  1. Wilson and Davis, Herndon's Informants, 604.

From Tripp: "Mrs. Hill, as delicately as possible, laid it squarely on the line, describing Ann as 'heavy set'-a description David Donald accurately quoted-"

A slightly more complete quote from Parthena Nance Hill (WHH inteview, March 1887?) reads: "Ann Rutledge had brown hair-heavy set-Ann Rutledge came out to my fathers house saw her frequently-knew her well."

  1. Donald, Lincoln, 55-56.

"…in Lincoln's eyes this was no disadvantage, for all the women he loved were plump."

A slightly more complete quote reads: "But one young woman in the village did interest him greatly. She was Ann Rutledge, the daughter of one of the founders of the village and the owner of the tavern, where he roomed and boarded some of the time. She was a very pretty girl, with fair skin, blue eyes, and auburn hair. Only five feet and three inches tall, she weighed between one hundred and twenty and one hundred and thirty pounds. 'Heavy set,' Mrs. Samuel Hill called her-but in Lincoln's eyes this was no disadvantage, for all of the women he loved were plump. In addition, a villager recalled, she was 'good-kind, social-goodhearted.'"

  1. Lincoln, Collected Works, vol. 1, 118.

"…a fair match for Falstaff."

A slightly more complete quote reads: "In a few days we had an interview, and although I had seen her before, she did not look as my imagination had pictured her. I knew she was over-size, but she now appeared to be a fair match for Falstaff;"

  1. Lincoln, Collected Works, vol. 1, 466; To Mary Todd Lincoln, April 16, 1849.

  2. Tarbell, Life of Abraham Lincoln, vol. 1, 180.

From the text: "In fact, friends who had for years seen him in these states now warned others not to be overly alarmed; since he very often experienced deep depressions, the situation was probably less serious than it looked."

Tarbell was writing about a different incident, the 'fatal first' of January 1841 (see Chapter 7), during which Lincoln, who was by then serving in the Illinois legislature, missed some days of work. One colleague, H.W. Thornton, told Tarbell: 'Mr. Lincoln boarded at William Butler's, near to Dr. Henry's, where I boarded. The missing days, from January 13th to 19th, Mr. Lincoln spent several hours each day at Dr. Henry's; a part of these days I remained with Mr. Lincoln." His most intimate friends had no fears of his injuring himself. He was very sad and melancholy, but being subject to these spells, nothing serious was apprehended. His being watched, as stated in Herndon's book, was news.

  1. Herndon monograph on "Miss Rutledge & Lincoln" (c. 1887) Herndon-Weik Collection, p. 9 of transcript, Library on Congress.

"Lincoln was sent for and the poor girl felt his approach and heard his tread; on his quick and hasty arrival he was admitted to see Ann; the doors were closed, and no one knows but God what was felt, thought and said."

  1. Shutes, Lincoln's Emotional Life, 45.

"'Crazy with Grief' was a standard phrase at the time."

A slightly more complete quote reads: "'Crazy with grief' is still a common expression implying exaggeration and not insanity. Mrs. Able's words are the best - not crazy but desponding."

  1. Wilson and Davis, Herndon's Informants, 73.

"…did not know of any…tender passages between Mr. L and Miss R at the time[.] But after her death [Lincoln] seemed to be so much affected and grieved so hardly that I then suppose there must have been something of the kind."

A slightly more complete quote from James Short to WHH, July 7, 1865, reads: "After my marriage, the Rutledges lived about half a mile from me. Mr. L came over to see me and them every day or two. I did not know of any engagement or tender passages between Mr. L and Miss R at the time but after her death, which happened in 34 or 35, he seemd to be much affected and grieved so hardly that I then supposed there must ahve been something of the kind. Miss R was a good looking, smart, lively girl, a good house keeper, with a moderate education , and without any of the so-called accomplishments."

  1. Randall, Lincoln the President: Springfield to Gettysburg, 333.

From Tripp: "Although this is a classic instance of what Randall called a 'must have been true' conclusion, still is perhaps better than pure hearsay."

A slightly more complete quote reads: "So the testimony runs-some pro, some con, some inconclusive, all of it long delayed reminiscences, much of it second- or third-hand, part of it consisting of inference or supposition as to what 'must have been' true. The old settlers were contradictory among themselves."

  1. Wilson and Davis, Hendon's Informants, 557.

"[H]e was not crazy but he was very disponding [sic] a long time."

A slightly more complete quote from Elizabeth Abell to WHH, February 15, 1867, reads: "[the] Courtship between him and Miss Rutledge I can say but little this much I do know he was staying with us at the time of her death it was a great shock to him and I never seen a man mourn for a companion more than he did for her he made a remark one day when it was raining that he could not bare the idea of it raining on her grave that was the time the community said he was crazy he was not crazy but he was very disponding a long time I think that was in the year 34 or 35."

  1. Wilson and Davis, Herndon's Informants, 168.

"He told all that was unimportant with a gushing frankness."

A slightly more complete quote from Leonard Swett to WHH reads: "He always told enough only, of his plans and purposes, to induce the belief that he had communicated all; yet he reserved enough, in fact, to have communicated nothing. He told all that was unimportant with a gushing frankness; yet no man ever kept his real purposes more closely, or penetrated the future further with his deep designs."

  1. Herndon, Life of Lincoln, 473.

"He was a sad looking man; his melancholy dripped from him as he walked. His apparent gloom impressed his friends, and created sympathy for him-one means of his great success."

A slightly more complete quote reads: "Thus stood, walked, acted, and looked Abraham Lincoln. He was not a pretty man by any means, nor was he an ugly one; he was a homely man, careless of his looks, plain-looking and plain-acting. he had no pomp, display, or dignity, so-called. he appeared simple in his carriage and bearing. He was a sad-looking man; his melancholy dripped form him as he walked. His apparent gloom impressed his friends, and created sympathy for him-one means of his great success."

  1. Wilson and Davis, Herndon's Informants, 23.

"Lincoln bore up under it [the shock of Ann's death] very well until some days afterwards [when] a heavy rain fell, which unnerved him."

A slightly more complete quote from John Hill to WHH, June 6, 1865, reads: "Miss Ann Rutledge died within a few days of September 1st 1835. Certain. Lincoln bore up under it very well until some days afterwards a heavy rain fell, which unnerved him and-(the balance you know)."

  1. Wilson and Davis, Herndon's Informants, 557.

"…he could not bare the idea of it raining on her grave."

A slightly more complete quote from Elizabeth Adell to WHH, February 15, 1867, reads: ""[the] Courtship between him and Miss Rutledge I can say but little this much I do know he was staying with us at the time of her death it was a great shock to him and I never seen a man mourn for a companion more than he did for her he made a remark one day when it was raining that he could not bare the idea of it raining on her grave that was the time the community said he was crazy he was not crazy but he was very disponding a long time I think that was in the year 34 or 35."

See footnote 43.

  1. Herndon, Life of Lincoln, 114.

From Tripp: "When he tried to deliver a eulogy at the funeral of his friend Bowling Green, he broke down completely and left in tears."

A slightly more complete quote reads: "In 1842, when the latter [Greene] died, and Lincoln was selected by the Masonic lodge to deliver the funeral oration, he broke down in the midst of his address. 'His voice was choked with deep emotion; he stood a few moments while his lips quivered in the effort to form the words of fervent praise he sought to utter and the tears ran down his yellow and shriveled cheeks.' Every heart was hushed at the spectacle. After repeated efforts he found it impossible to speak, and strode away, bitterly sobbing, to the widow's carriage and was driven from the scene."

  1. Shutes, Lincoln's Emotional Life, 143. From Shutes: "Willie's body was disinterred from an above-ground mausoleum, in keeping with Lincoln's great discomfort at the thought of rain seeping into an underground grave of a loved one."

From the text: "Not only was Lincoln said to have never fully recovered, he seemed to keep reliving the loss-twice having Willie's body disinterred, just to see him again."

  1. Lamon, The Life of Abraham Lincoln, 504.

From Tripp: "Was his extraordinary reaction to death due in part to his long ago having iscarded most religion, including whatever consolation he might have had from believing in a life after death, as his friend Ward Lamon once suggested?"

A slightly more complete quote reads: "It is very probable that much of Mr. Lincoln's unhappiness, that 'melancholy that dripped from him as he walked,' was due to his want of religious faith. When the black fit was on him, he suffered as much mental misery as Bunyan or Cowper in the deepest anguish of their conflicts with the evil one. But the unfortunate conviction fastened upon him by his early associations, that there was no truth in the Bible, made all consolation impossible, and penitence useless."

  1. Stevens, A Reporter's Lincoln, 12.

"I'm afraid there isn't. It isn't a pleasant thing to think that when we die, that is the last of us."A slightly more complete quote reads: "The wife of the man who had burned the argument asked Lincoln, 'Do you really believe there isn't any future state?' And Lincoln, so Mrs. Hill told, replied. 'Mrs. Hill, I'm afraid there isn't. It isn't a pleasant thing to think that when we die that is the last of us.'"

  1. Whitney, Life on the Circuit With Lincoln, 169.

"To my mind the life and death of Ann Rutledge was not a misadventure, or in vain,…[it] will be hailed as one of the agents of Destiny in the salvation and regeneration of the nation."

A slightly more complete quote reads: "To my mind the life and death of Ann Rutledge was not a misadventure, or in vain; but that when the veil is with drawn from the things that are now hidden, the existence of being of this modest and unobtrusive girl of an obscure hamlet, will be hailed as one of the agents of destiny in the salvation and regeneration of the nation."

  1. Wilson and Davis, Herndon's Informants, 408.

From the text: "Likewise with Billy Greene who, on reading Herndon's lecture, had only a mild complaint of his exaggerating the 'PICTURRESK' of the New Salem countryside, raising not a single objection to Herndon's depiction of Lincoln, though he was bound to have known it was not true."

The entire passage is quite brief, and so is provided here:
William G. Greene to WHH, November 21, 1866.
"Friend Herndon
Yours of the 19 Recd. I have carefully read your lecture on Mr. Lincoln. You describe the state of his mind by the shock of Miss Rutledge's death to letter. I think you rather overdraw the picturesk of N-Salem still every surrounding is there that you mention.
Your description of the people of that dayis a master success not even our lamented oald friend E. D. Baker could have surpassed it. I have no doubt your lecture was well recd. I thank you for the copy you sent me, Truley,
W.G. Greene"

  1. Donald, Lincoln's Herndon, 231.

"Thank you for [the] copy of that fancylecture-Romance is not your forte-The few grains of history stirred into thatlecture-in a plain narrative would be interesting-but I don't like the garnishments."

A slightly more complete quote reads: "Many opf Herndon's correspondents were brutally blunt in their critisism. Judge Theophilus Lyle Dickey, one of Lincoln's best friends in the old days, though more recently a political opponent, wrote curtly to the author: 'Thank you for copy that fancy lecture-romance is not your forte-The few grains of history stirred into that lecture-in a plain narrative would be interesting-but I don't like the garnishments.'"

  1. Wilson and Davis, Herndon's Informants, 743.

"…was a farmer and stone mason who operated a quarry…He was eventually admitted to the Illinois bar in 1860, having been encouraged in the law by his old New Salem friend, Ad. Lincoln."

COGDAL, ISAAC (1812-87)
A native of Kentucky, Isaac Cogdal was a farmer and stone mason who operated a quarry in Menard County and provided material for many buildings in this region. An active Whig and later Republican, Cogdal eventually was admitted to the Illinois bar in 1860, having been encouraged in the law by his old New Salem friend, AL. (Onstot; HEI/Sangamon).

  1. Herndon's Isaac Cogdal interview was dated 1865-66; thus the ambiguity as to whether four or five years had elapsed.

  2. The spelling Cogdal himself used.

  3. Wilson and Davis, Herndon's Informants, 440.

  4. Randall, "Sifting the Ann Rutledge Evidence," 335.

"In the face of such reticence the Cogdal record seems artificial and made to order. It was given out after Lincoln's death; it presents him in an unlikely role; it puts in his mouth uncharacteristic sayings."

A slightly more complete quote reads: "In the face of such reticence the Cogdal record seems artificial and made to order. It was given out after Lincoln's death; it presents him in an unlikely role; it puts in his mouth uncharacteristic sayings."

  1. Wilson, Lincoln Before Washington, 88.

"We have no more reason to doubt [Cogdal's] testimony than did Herndon, who knew Cogdal as a man highly regarded in his community and an old friend of Lincoln's."

A slightly more complete quote reads: "Cogdal was testifying just five or six years after the event, which was not an obscure encounter with an old friend but an extremely memorable one with the president-elect of the United States. And once Lincoln's departure from his usual reserve in personal matters is accounted for, we have no more reason to doubt this testimony than did Herndon, who knew Cogdal as a man highly regarded in his community and an old friend of Lincoln's."

  1. Wilson, Lincoln Before Washington, 21-36. Originally published as "William H. Herndon and his Lincoln Informants," Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association (Winter 1993), 15-34. Quote at hand, p 31.

From Lincoln Before Washington, 31: "In some ways, the most abused characters in this drama are Herndon's informants, most of whom gave their testimony on the subject of Abraham Lincoln in good faith and to the best of their ability. Although much of what is known about Lincoln's early life comes from these informants, Herndon's critics have been very hard on them as witnesses and people. Angle and J. G. Randall are often condescending about the young Lincoln's unlettered neighbors and friends, and Donald delights in picturing them as willing collaborators with Herndon in either fabricating a romance out of a rumor or as participants in a contest to stretch the truth about their old friend. Informants whose information is approved are generally tolerated, but bearers of unwelcome testimony are singled out for harsher treatment. Angle, for example, in the face of Isaac Cogdal's testimony that Lincoln once admitted he had been in love with Ann Rutledge and had gone off the track at her death, disputed Cogdal's claim to be a friend of Lincoln's at all and dismissed him as 'a mediocre lawyer.' Angle seems to have known very little about Cogdal, who turns out to have been an old friend and political associate from Lincoln's New Salem days and a fellow Whig from Democratic Menard. Randall is equally distrustful of Cogdal's 'effusive' testimony, and although he took the trouble to look into his back-round and reported that Cogdal was licensed as a lawyer, he suppressed the relevant information from the same source that it had been Lincoln who had encouraged and abetted Cogdal's study of the law. The point is that Angle and Randall had no more reason to doubt Cogdal's testimony than that of many other witnesess they chose not to question. their disposition to treat Isaac Cogdal as untruthful is clearly the result of their disinclination to accept what he had to say."

  1. Angle, "Lincoln's First Love?"

From Tripp: Three years later, in a 1993 paper, Wilson sharpened his attack , stating firmly that 'Angle and Randall had more reason to doubt Cogdal's testimony than that of many other eye witnesses they chose not to question.'"

  1. Wilson, Lincoln Before Washington, 31.

"Their disposition to treat Isaac Cogdal as untruthful is clearly the result of their disinclination to accept what he had to say."

See note 61, 62: "The point is that Angle and Randall had no more reason to doubt Cogdal's testimony than that of many other witnesess they chose not to question. their disposition to treat Isaac Cogdal as untruthful is clearly the result of their disinclination to accept what he had to say."

  1. John Y. Simon, "Abraham Lincoln and Ann Rutledge," Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association, II (1990), 13-33.

From the text: "In fact, all of the opposition to Randall that has appeared in print in the 1990s-from the seminal article by J. Y. Simon…"

  1. Burlingame, The Inner World of Abraham Lincoln, xxiii. Note especially the "Court of Law" charge that critics of Randall like to cite. But Randall never used the phrase. The nearest he came was to once speak of the "law of evidence," which he specifically defined as demanding "that testimony ought to come straight. If witnesses arrange their recollections as to make them agree, or if they seek to build them up where they admit uncertainty, the result lacks the validity of statements obtained from witnesses separately and unretouched." Randall, Sifting, 329.

  2. Donald, Lincoln, 58. Author's note: In two of his earlier books, Lincoln's Herndon and Lincoln Reconsidered, Donald offered no accepting words, and mostly sharp derision, for both the legend and for Herndon's presentation of it. Remarkably, in his 2001 revision of Lincoln Reconsidered, he retains unchanged his comments on Ann Rutledge, gently conceding (p. 186): "I have come to adopt a more tolerant view of the (Ann Rutledge) episode, which I have presented in my Lincoln."

From Donald "By September 24 he was back making surveys, but the memory of Ann Rutledge did not quickly fade. Many years later, after his first election as President, he began talking with an old friend, Isaac Cogdal, about early days in New Salem, asking the present whereabouts of many of the early settlers. When the name of Rutledge came up, Cogdal ventured to ask whether it was true that Lincoln had fallen in love with Ann. 'It is true-true indeed I did,' Lincoln replied, if Cogdal's memory can be trusted. 'I loves the woman dearly and soundly: she was a handsome girl-would have made a good loving wife...I did honestly and truly love the girl and think often-often of her now.'"

  1. Clarence A. Tripp, Fritz A. Fluckiger, George H. Wei, "Measurments of Handwriting Variables," Perceptual and Motor Skills, Monographic Supplement, 5 (1957).

From the text: "Handwriting experts know that in forging a signature is much harder to convincingly reproduce writing that is full of straightforward lines and curves than it is to fake an elaborate autograph."

  1. Randall, Sifting, 334-35.

From the text: "Trivial as such examples may seem they are the epitome of what Randall labeled as 'unLincolnian' and as 'uncharacteristic sayings.'"

See footnote 59.

 

 

All rights reserved. Copyright Estate of C.A. Tripp 2005