Lincoln's New Salem, by Benjamin P. Thomas; drawings by Romaine Proctor from photographs by the Herbert Georg studio, Springfield.
Thomas, Benjamin Platt, 1902-1956.
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Page  [unnumbered]Page  93


"SALEM, indeed, is desolate," observed a traveler along the road to Petersburg, in 1847. "Once it was a busy, thriving place. It is (or was) situated upon a high bluff, overlooking the Sangamon river and the country for some distance around. What rollicking times were there some ten years ago? It is said that a horse race came off regularly every Saturday afternoon—a drinking spree fol|lowed, perhaps a fight or so, and at night those disposed took a turn at old sledge, or poker. But the glories of Salem have departed.—Most of those whilom engaged in the 'joust and tournament there,' have left the 'diggings.' Petersburg has been built up, on a pleasant site, a few miles below." In 1866, "one lone and solitary log hut" was all that re|mained. A few years later, even that was gone. For more than sixty years the site was deserted.

But as New Salem mouldered a Lincoln legend grew. The place assumed a new importance as a factor in the making of the man.

Lincoln's contact with the New Salem people did not cease with his removal to Springfield and the village's de|mise. Many of those people moved to Petersburg, while others continued to live in Menard County. From 1839 to 1847, that county was included in the Eighth Judicial Circuit, and Lincoln, traveling that circuit, appeared in Petersburg every spring and fall, when court convened. The list of his clients reads like a roster of old settlers. He was retained by Reason Shipley, Jacob Bale, John Purkepile, James Meadows, Isaac Cogdale, George Blane, Bluford Atterbury, William White, Jacob and Joshua Williams, John Taylor, John Tibbs, George Miller, Elihu Bone. Page  94 David Rutledge, brother of Ann and one of Petersburg's first attorneys, opposed him in several cases.

In 1842, as attorney for Doctor Allen, he sued Samuel Hill for trespass vi et armis, and got damages for $20 for his client. In 1845, Nancy Green, widow of his friend Bowl|ing Green, retained him in a suit against his old teacher, Mentor Graham, on a promissory note for $112.23; and Graham, confessing judgment, paid the debt. In 1857, Hannah Armstrong, Jack's widow, appealed to him to de|fend her son "Duff," who was on trial for murder at Beards|town. Lincoln did so, and Duff was acquitted.

After 1847, when Menard County was transferred from the Eighth Circuit, Lincoln turned over his practice there to his partner, William H. Herndon, and through Herndon kept in touch with his old friends. During political cam|paigns, he spoke at Petersburg, and there had opportunity to see and talk to them. When he ran for Congress, in 1846, Menard County gave him 456 votes to 336 for his opponent, Peter Cartwright.

But with the crystallization of the slavery issue the county became Democratic, although its vote was always close. In 1858, when Lincoln made his campaign against Douglas, the Democratic candidate for the State Legislature carried it 812 to 790. In 1860, it gave Douglas 1035 votes for President against Lincoln's 962. By this time its population was more than double what it had been twenty years before, and the newcomers outnumbered the old residents.

During Lincoln's presidency, and after his death, as his greatness came to be appreciated, his New Salem acquaint|ances recalled with pride their earlier association with him. They never tired of talking about him, and every story found an eager audience. Gradually, in Menard County a Lincoln legend grew, centering around the site of old New Salem, and permeating all that countryside.

Naturally these simple folk were tremendously impressed at having known a man who had attained fame such as Page  95 Lincoln's. As they recalled the days when they had known him, not only were their memories stimulated, but their imaginations were also quickened. In the light of Lincoln's later accomplishments it was inevitable that they should make a hero of him. They flattered themselves that even in the New Salem days they had recognized in him a man of genius and destiny. Their stories had a naïve boastfulness and self-complacency—often it was "me and Lincoln."

They told tales of his amazing strength. James Short re|called seeing him lift "1000 pounds of shot by main strength." Rowan Herndon testified that he was "by fare the stoutest man that i ever took hold of i was a mear child in his hands and i Considered myself as good a man as there was in the Country untill he come about i saw him Lift Between 1000 and 1300 lbs of Rock waid in a Box." "I have seen him frequently take a barrel of whiskey by the chimes," said R. B. Rutledge, "and lift it up to his face as if to drink from the bung hole." Bill Greene told of hav|ing bet a man a fur hat that Lincoln could lift a whiskey barrel and drink from the bung, and of winning when Lincoln rolled the barrel on his knees and did so, then spat the liquor out.

As a worker he was not excelled. "My, how he could chop!" said one man. "His ax would flash and bite into a sugar tree or sycamore, and down it would come. If you heard him fellin' trees in a clearin', you would say there were three men at work the way the trees fell." James Short declared: "He was the best hand at husking corn on the stalk I ever saw. I used to consider myself very good; but he would gather two loads to my one."

People recollected his honesty and kindness. In making change for a woman, while working in Offut's store, he took out six and a quarter cents too much, and at closing time, discovering his error, walked six miles to return the money. On another occasion, after weighing out some tea, he found a four ounce weight on the scales, and again walked Page  96 several miles to correct his mistake. Such acts as these won him the nickname "Honest Abe."

He helped a barefoot boy split rails to get money to buy a pair of shoes. He offered the horse on which he was riding to Doctor Chandler of Chandlerville to help him get to the Land Office ahead of a "land shark" who wanted his farm. In re-surveying the town of Petersburg he ran the lines out of plumb to prevent the house of Jemima Elmore, widow of a comrade in the Black Hawk War, from being in the street.

When a loafer offended his women customers by persist|ent swearing he took him out and thrashed him. Sometimes he restrained his rash associates from an especially cruel prank. He stopped them from rolling an old drunkard down the bluff in a barrel, although the victim had agreed to let them do it for a drink. He dissuaded Jack Armstrong from thrashing a stranger who refused to be bullied.

"In the rôle of story telling I never knew his equal," T. G. Onstot testified. "His power of mimicry was very great. He could perfectly mimic a Dutchman, Irishman or Negro. . . . I have heard men say that they had laughed at his stories until they had almost shaken their ribs loose. I heard cases where men have been suffering for years with some bodily ailments and could get no relief but who have gone a couple of evenings and listened to Lincoln and laughed their ail|ments away and became hale and hearty men, giving Lin|coln credit of being their healer."

They remembered his intensive application to his books; how he stretched out on the counter of the store with his head on a bolt of calico and an open book in his hands, how at night he heaped shavings on the fire in Onstot's cooper shop and read by the flames. He read until late at night and arose early to read more. He carried an open book before him as he sauntered down the street to his meals. Sometimes he was so abstracted and absorbed in thought that they had considered him "queer."

Page  97They marveled at his mental aptitude. He mastered sur|veying in six weeks, grammar in three. Mentor Graham told Herndon that in his forty-five years of teaching he had never seen anyone as quick and apt as Lincoln, that he was the "most studious, diligent, strait forward young man in the pursuit of a knowledge and literature than any among the five thousand I have taught in schools." Dr. Jason Duncan testified that Lincoln mastered Kirkham "in an astonish|ing manner."

The exact proportion of truth in these tales of miraculous achievement is of no great importance. What matters is that the people of Menard County were keeping alive the remembrance of Lincoln's residence among them. And fortunate it was that this should be the case, for the world at large, for several years after Lincoln's death, was only mildly interested in the New Salem period of his life. The campaign biographies of 1860 and 1864 contained little about it, and the first biographies written after 1865 were sketchy on that period. In popular conception Lincoln was the liberator of the slaves, the patient, kindly martyr to the cause of liberty and union. His ancestry and early en|vironment were looked upon as handicaps, his rise and character as mysteries.

Early in Lincoln's administration his young secretaries, John G. Nicolay and John Hay, conceived the idea of writ|ing a biography of him. They collected notes and docu|ments, and after Lincoln's death secured permission to use the manuscripts and letters that had come into the posses|sion of his son, Robert. They worked for more than twenty years, and finally, in 1886, published part of their material in a series of articles in the Century Magazine. In 1890, their ten volume Abraham Lincoln: A History was pub|lished.

Their book was really a history of the Civil War, and the Lincoln about whom they wrote was the war-time execu|tive, the "mighty counselor whose patient courage and Page  98 wisdom saved the life of the republic in its darkest hour." Their purpose was "to show his relations to the times in which he moved, the stupendous issues he controlled, the remarkable men by whom he was surrounded." They were less interested in and less familiar with his early life and naturally gave less attention to it.

In 1894, at the suggestion of Robert Lincoln, Nicolay and Hay published an edition of Lincoln's works, thus enabling people to read Lincoln's letters and speeches for themselves and to draw their own conclusions from them. These writings strikingly revealed Lincoln's character and individuality. They showed that many of the qualities that made him great were present early in his life, while others were of long development. They stimulated interest in his earlier years and led students to seek the explanation of him in his heredity and environment.

Meanwhile, William H. Herndon, Lincoln's law partner from 1844 to Lincoln's death, having worked along inde|pendent and different lines from Nicolay and Hay, had also published a biography. His Lincoln was different from the one whom they had known; theirs was the President, his the small-town lawyer and politician. Their intimate ac|quaintance with Lincoln began about the time his ended. Their interest was in Lincoln's achievements, his in his ancestry and pre-presidential years, in an analysis and ex|planation of his characteristics. Thus his work and theirs were complementary.

Herndon began to collect material soon after Lincoln became President, although at that time he had no definite idea of writing a book. After Lincoln's death he visited the Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois neighborhoods where Lincoln had lived, and interviewed and corresponded with people who had known him. In the course of his investiga|tions he visited New Salem. He knew something of the village at first hand, for his father had owned land in that vicinity, and he had visited his cousins, James and Rowan Page  99 Herndon, when they lived there. He had followed the Talisman up the Sangamon, and had known Lincoln as early as 1834. From 1847 to 1860 he handled his and Lin|coln's legal business in Menard County.

As he interviewed old settlers they groped back through the intervening years, recalling New Salem incidents and personalities. He found their recollections vivid, for as he said, "Lincoln had great individuality which he never sank in the mob. His individualism stood out from the mass of men like a lone cliff over the plains below." By patient and persistent work, Herndon accumulated a mass of testimony. He used part of his material in a series of lectures and sold copies of some of it to Ward Hill Lamon, who used it in a biography of Lincoln that was published in 1872. Herndon's book appeared in 1889.

[missing figure]
depiction of Henry Onstot's house


Page  100Herndon was largely responsible for arousing popular interest in Lincoln's early life and environment, yet he failed to appreciate or fully understand the influence of that environment. He, like Nicolay and Hay, regarded it almost wholly as a handicap. He conceived of Lincoln as rising from "a stagnant, putrid pool" and contrasted his early life and background with his accomplishments.

Ida M. Tarbell was the first to see Lincoln's frontier surroundings as an energizing and constructive force. She began her research shortly after Herndon's book appeared, when, acting upon the suggestion of the editors of McClure's Magazine, she set out to interview those acquaintances of Lincoln's who were still alive, to study Lincoln's ancestry, and visit and photograph places associated with him and his progenitors. She began to realize the vigor, the independ|ence, the democracy of the frontier, to see that while pioneer life was often poor and hard, it was not sordid, hopeless or belittling. Miss Tarbell, like Herndon, did much to create interest in Lincoln's background and development, yet after intensive study of both his heredity and environment, in her earlier books she saw him primarily as "the flower|ing of generations of upright, honorable men."

Perhaps a fuller understanding of the frontier influence on Lincoln was not possible without a clearer realization of the part the frontier played in shaping American institu|tions and ideals. At any rate, it was only after the develop|ment of the "frontier hypothesis" by Frederic Jackson Turner and his school of historians that writers began to see Lincoln's early environment in something like its true perspective, to realize that while it was raw and crude in many ways and imposed seeming hardships and difficulties, yet it was what had nurtured him; that he succeeded not in spite of, but in some respects at least, because of it. Miss Tarbell in her later books, and especially in In the Foot|steps of the Lincolns, published in 1924, gave Lincoln's surroundings and associates a more prominent place as Page  101 factors in his development. Louis A. Warren devoted a large portion of his Lincoln's Parentage and Childhood to Lincoln's Kentucky environment and its influence. Carl Sandburg in the preface to his Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years noted that Lincoln was "keenly sensitive to the words and ways of people around him. Therefore those people, their homes, occupations, songs, proverbs, schools, churches, politics, should be set forth with the incessant suggestion of change that went always with pioneer life. They are the backgrounds on which the life of Lincoln moved, had its rise and flow, and was moulder and moulded."

As this conception gained gradual acceptance, people in increasing numbers began to visit Hodgenville, the place of Lincoln's birth, and to follow the route the Lincolns trod in their migration from Kentucky through Indiana to Illinois, visiting the places associated with his life, trying to visualize his surroundings. There was growing demand for the marking of the route and the restoration of the more important places. In 1887, Robert Lincoln presented the Lincoln home in Springfield to the State of Illinois. Later the state acquired the old capitol at Vandalia, where Lin|coln sat as a legislator, the courthouse at Metamora, where he practiced law, and the Coles County farm of his parents. The Lincoln Centennial, in 1909, did much to promote the preservation of local traditions and create wider interest in the general Lincoln story. From 1906 to 1911, 81,000 people enrolled in the Lincoln Farm Association and con|tributed amounts from twenty-five cents to twenty-five dol|lars for the purchase of the Lincoln birthplace farm and cabin and the erection of a memorial there. The memorial was dedicated in 1916, and turned over to the Federal gov|ernment. In 1922, the Lincoln Circuit-Marking Association, formed under the auspices of the Illinois Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, undertook to mark the route followed by Lincoln when he practiced law on Page  102 the Eighth Judicial Circuit. In 1929, the Abraham Lincoln Association stated one of its purposes to be "to preserve and make more readily accessible the landmarks associated with his life." The states of Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois undertook to ascertain and mark the route of the Lincoln migration. Interest in Lincoln's background and develop|ment eventually eclipsed the interest in his achievements as a president.

In so far as New Salem was concerned, the realization came that Lincoln did not dominate the place, but was both in and of it; that while he influenced its life, more important was the mark it left on him. William E. Barton, writing in 1925, called New Salem "Lincoln's Alma Mater."

With the growth of the Lincoln legend in Menard County came the belief that New Salem had not yet fulfilled its destiny. In 1902, T. G. Onstot in his Pioneers of Menard and Mason Counties asserted that it was destined to become the "Mount Vernon of the West." Onstot wrote his book at the insistence of old settlers who wished to keep alive the story of the community. The Old Salem Chautauqua, organized in 1897, held its meetings across the river from the old village and helped perpetuate its memory. In 1906, William Randolph Hearst delivered a lecture before this Association and afterwards was taken to the site of New Salem. His interest was aroused to such an extent that he purchased a sixty-two acre tract containing the site for $11,000, and conveyed it to the Chautauqua Association in trust.

In January, 1917, the people of Petersburg organized the Old Salem Lincoln League, with fifty charter members. July 4, 1917, the League held a picnic at New Salem and invited all old settlers who had knowledge of the town to come to it. With the help of these old people the sites of several cabins were located and the old roads were traced and marked. On January 4, 1918, the League was incor|porated and began a drive for funds with which to continue Page  103 the work of restoration. Under its auspices, and as Menard County's part in the celebration of the Illinois Centennial, in 1918, a pageant, depicting episodes in Lincoln's life, was given at New Salem. Log cabins were erected on the sites of the Rutledge tavern, the Lincoln-Berry store, the Offut store, the Hill-MacNamar store and Doctor Allen's resi|dence. These were not authentic reproductions, and were subsequently torn down. In addition, the League published a book, Lincoln at New Salem, by Thomas P. Reep, thereby putting into permanent form the mass of information it had gathered about the village and the families that lived there.

The pageant and the book stirred interest far and wide and did much to make New Salem a place of pilgrimage. The idea of restoring the village was enthusiastically ac|cepted, and on April 3, 1918, the Illinois Legislature, ac|ceding to the public desire, agreed to take over the sixty-two acre tract, maintain it as a state park and eventually restore all buildings that were there in Lincoln's time. With Mr. Hearst's consent the Old Salem Chautauqua Association deeded the land to the state, which erected a museum, and purchased an additional twenty-acre tract adjoining Mr. Hearst's purchase.

In 1932, the work of restoration was begun. It was pre|ceded by intensive research. Every available bit of informa|tion about New Salem was collected and collated. Lincoln biographies, contemporary letters, public records and remi|niscences of New Salem residents and their descendants yielded useful information. The investigations made by the Old Salem Lincoln League were of inestimable value.

The first problem was to locate the various cabin sites. The original plat of New Salem, on file in the Recorder's Office, gave the numbers and dimensions of the lots, the width of Main Street (sixty feet) and its compass direction, but did not locate the town with respect to section lines. By studying the available records of surveys made in connec|tion Page  104 with land transfers in New Salem, however, and by making some necessary corrections in them, the surveyors were able to locate the north and south lot lines. The east and west lot lines were located—with the possibility of a slight variation—by means of the old basements.

The lots having been re-located, the sites of most of the cabins could be identified. The site of Dr. Allen's residence was located for the Old Salem Lincoln League, in 1918, by Mrs. Louisa Clary, who lived in New Salem about 1840; and her identification is confirmed by a deed showing con|veyance of this lot to Allen. Mrs. Clary also pointed out the locations of Hill's residence and store, and the Lincoln-Berry store. Her identification of the two former places is also confirmed by a deed showing title in Hill. Clary's grocery and Offut's store had been located years before by old settlers, and the remaining houses were located either by deeds or by discovery of the old basements. When deeds were lacking identification was made by means of maps, or rather, crude drawings of the village. Six of these are in existence, and while they all contain errors and incon|sistencies and are not drawn to scale, they give an idea of the positions of the various cabins with respect to each other.^4^9

In many instances excavation of the old cellars uncovered the piers of the original foundations, with the old lime mortar clinging to the stones. The ruins of an outside cellar were found near the site of the Rutledge tavern. The exact dimensions of most of the cellars could be ascertained by noting the difference in color between the newly-spaded virgin soil and the filled-in earth. Frequently the number of rooms in a cabin was determined by the size and shape of the excavation. In two or three cases indications of an outside cellar door were detected.

Discovery of pieces of broken brick, mortar and ashes revealed the position of most of the fireplaces; and this in turn showed the direction of the ridge-poles, for the chim|ney Page  105 was invariably built at one of the gable ends of the house because of the added support secured there. The New Salem settlers found stone for fireplaces, chimneys and foun|dations, and excellent clay for bricks close by. The bricks used in the restored houses are the same kind found in the excavations, and are made of clay from a pit just southwest of New Salem hill.

In general, the New Salem cabins were superior to those built in Indiana and southern Illinois; for by the time that pioneers reached central Illinois many of them had had previous experience in cabin building. The first cabins in New Salem were of simple construction, but with the com|pletion of the mill, the coming of the blacksmith and other mechanics, and the opening of contacts with Cincinnati, New Orleans and St. Louis, better workmanship and ma|terials were available, and more comfortable houses were built.

In order to work out the details of the cabins it was necessary to collect all available data regarding their oc|cupants. The date of a man's arrival, the number of chil|dren he had, his occupation, the part he played in village activities all gave clues as to the type of house he lived in. Doctor Allen, for example, was well-educated, a good busi|ness man, and accustomed to comfortable living. Conse|quently, his house is one of the better ones. The fireplace and chimney have been built of stone, because Allen could afford that type of construction. The house sometimes served as a church and school and general meeting place, so the opening between the living room and one of the bedrooms has been left wide on the assumption that it was hung with portières, which could be pushed back to allow both rooms to be used when people gathered there.

Since Samuel Hill was married on July 28, 1835, it was presumed that his house was built sometime between April and July of that year. By that date the mill was in opera|tion, the blacksmith was in town, and good materials could Page  106 be had. Hill was a prosperous man, and his wife was a woman of good taste. Hence their residence is the finest in town, the only one with two stories and a porch. It has doors front and rear, an outside cellar entrance, and a slid|ing

[missing figure]
depiction of Robert Johnson's shop

window such as was used only in the more pretentious homes.

Peter Lukins was a shoemaker, and a shop room has been added to his house. Since his cabin was one of the earlier ones, it has been simply built, with notched corners, puncheon floor, wood mantel and "cat and clay" chimney. Robert Johnson, the wheelwright, must also have had a workshop in connection with his house. Johnson was a man of moderate means, so his house is unpretentious. The floor is made of puncheons, and latches, hinges and other fit|tings Page  107 are of wood. The original iron kettle used by Martin Waddell, the hatter, has been preserved. It is too large to have been used in a fireplace, and must have been used out of doors. Consequently, a porch roof has been built on the south side of Waddell's house, where he would have been least exposed as he worked, and the kettle now hangs there. Since Waddell was not well-to-do, his house has a puncheon floor, and wooden hinges and locks. Windows are small and fixed in place.

Joshua Miller and John Kelso married sisters, and their house was double—really two houses, with an opening be|tween and a continuous roof and floor. This type of cabin was popular in the West and is often seen in the South today. It was assumed that the Kelsos, being childless, lived in one room, while the Millers, who had two children, had two rooms. Since Miller was a blacksmith, one of the win|dows in his cabin is an ingenious sliding type similar to the one in Hill's house, and all fittings are of iron.

Barrels were in great demand in the New Salem com|munity, and Henry Onstot, the cooper, was a prosperous man. Moreover, his house was built in 1835, when good workmanship and materials were available. Hence it has stone fireplaces, chimneys and mantels, brick hearths, floor of sawn boards, and iron locks, latches and hinges. Clary's grocery, on the other hand, was one of the first structures to be built and was purely utilitarian in character. It has only one room, with fireplace and chimney made of logs and plastered sticks, and a wooden mantel. Floors, windows, doors and log corners are of relatively crude construction. The roof is built of clapboards or shingles, held in place by log "weight poles," instead of nails.

Besides necessitating a thorough study of the village and its inhabitants, the reconstruction presented technical problems. Walls had to be built in some cellars where they did not exist because of the danger of cave-ins. Stone foun|dations had to be built down below the frost line, although Page  108 the originals did not go that deep. Since the logs could not be painted, they were treated with zinc chloride to make them impervious to insects and decay. Warping of puncheon floors had to be guarded against. A type of plaster that would be more durable than the mixture of lime mortar or mud and hair used by the pioneers, but would have the same appearance, had to be devised. Cement, mixed with hair and colored to resemble mud, was used. The terrain of New Salem hill has changed in one hundred years. The ravine east of the Lincoln-Berry store, for example, had cut back many feet, and an extensive fill was necessary to re|store the former topography.

When the state took over the task of reconstruction, the Old Salem Lincoln League devoted itself to securing furnishings for the cabins. Within a relatively short time it had collected over nine hundred articles. Most of these were contributed by descendants of pioneer settlers of Menard County. Every piece was passed on by an authen|ticity committee, and unless an article was obviously one hundred years old the donors were required to trace its history back a hundred years before it was accepted. The people of Menard County and some from more distant places were most generous in turning over old pieces of furniture and relics to the state. Not a single piece was bought.^5^0

A few of the articles were actually used at New Salem. Among these are a spindle-back, wood-bottom chair, used in the Rutledge tavern while Onstot was proprietor; a trunk, brought from Ohio by Doctor Regnier in 1828; two wooden benches from Doctor Regnier's office; a sewing basket owned by Mrs. Hill; a whiskey flask and dish pur|chased at the Offut store. In the Hill residence are two blanket chests owned by Mrs. Hill and brought from Ken|tucky by her family, a hand-made wooden foot stool, a chest of drawers, two hickory-bottom chairs, a hammer and two plates, all owned by Mrs. Hill, and a trunk and hand-made Page  109 gun hooks owned by Samuel Hill. On the bottom of the trunk is written "McNeal & Hill, St. Louis, Missouri." From various parts of the country descendants of New Salem residents sent these relics back to adorn the reconstructed cabins of their former owners.

All the articles are reminiscent of pioneer days, and give a picture of the life and origin of the community—a cotton gin made at Rock Creek; a Boston rocker brought from New York state to Athens, Illinois, in 1818; a chair in which Eliza Church, holding her baby in her arms, sat in a covered wagon during the ride from Massachusetts to Illi|nois sometime in the twenties; a pewter "sugar and creamer" brought to Illinois in a covered wagon in the thirties; a platter owned by Frances Green Armstrong, sister-in-law of Jack Armstrong; a sideboard brought from Kentucky in a covered wagon; a long-neck, clear-blown glass bottle given to the Clary's Grove Baptist Church for use in the com|munion service.

The residence of Peter Lukins is equipped with furni|ture from the house of Charles James Fox Clarke, erected near New Salem in 1839. At one time Clarke was a cobbler and cabinet maker, and most of this furniture was made by him. It had never been moved from the old home until placed in Lukins' cabin.

And so New Salem stands again. And in imagination we can see Onstot, Waddell, Ferguson, busy at their work, Kelso strolling toward the river with his fishing pole, Hill behind his counter, Miller at his forge, Allen visiting the sick. We can hear the creaking of the carding machine, listen to the gossip in the stores and watch a horse race or a wrestling match. We can see the people turning out to vote, riding into town on Saturday to stock up with sup|plies and have their "fling," greeting the stage as it pulls up the steep hill.

We can picture Lincoln, coming here at twenty-two, an unknown, unschooled youth—clerking in the store, joining Page  110 the boys in their rough and tumble sports, rapidly establish|ing himself. We can see him talking, joking, arguing theol|ogy, discussing politics, learning to know these people, win|ning their confidence. We see him studying, developing, rising from laborer to postmaster, surveyor, legislator. We see him when he leaves at twenty-eight, and realize that he has found himself.

[missing figure]
depiction of cooking pot over fire