Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Silas J. Metcalf - Cooper

Barrel making - Silas Jefferson Metcalf (center) - circa 1890 - 1900 Larue Co., Kentucky
Photo courtesy Lou Lucas 1998, copied from her collection.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday: Silas Jefferson Metcalf

CO. D.
37 KY. INF.

Riverview Cemetery, Nelson Co., Kentucky
Maternal great, great grandfather of my husband Mike, father of Edna Metcalf Melvin and approximately 19 others by three wives. See more at this link: Amanuensis Monday: The Will of Silas J. Metcalf.


Monday, September 26, 2011

Amanuensis Monday: The Will of Silas J. Metcalf

Silas J. Metcalf
Copied from photo
owned by Lou Lucas, in 1998
Silas Jefferson Metcalf was the maternal great, great grandfather of my husband Mike. He was born in Nelson Co., Kentucky on August 11, 1818 and died April 6, 1906 in Larue Co., Kentucky. He was the husband of Mary Emily Cundiff and the father of Edna (Metcalf) Melvin-Price. Silas served on the Union side in the Civil War, 37th Kentucky Infantry. He was married three times: 1) Ellen Jenkins, 2) Margaret Jane Gollaher (daughter of Benjamin Austin Gollaher and sister of Elizabeth Gollaher Melvin) and 3) Mary Emily Cundiff. Silas had approximately 20 children by the three wives.

Last Will and Testament of Silas Jefferson Metcalf

       I S. J. Metcalf, of the County of LaRue, State of Kentucky, do hereby make this my last will and testament, hereby revoking all wills heretofore made by me.
     I hereby will and direct that my funeral expenses and other just debts be paid as soon after my decease as possible.
     Whatever else may remain after complying with above request, I hereby will and bequeath to my son-in-law Thomas B. Howell.
     And lastly I hereby nominate constitute and appoint my said son-in-law Thomas B. Howell as executor of this my last will and testament and request that he be permitted to qualify without security and not requested to return an inventory and appraisment nor make any settlement of my estate.
     This 28th day of October, 1905.
                                                                    S. J.
                                                               his  X  mark
J. Ekra Rapier
James E. Rapier

     At a county court begun and held at Hodgenville, Kentucky, on the 23rd day of April, 1906, an instrument of writing purporting to be the last will and testament of S. J. Metcalf Decd. was produced in open court and offered for probate which was fully proven by the oath of James E. Rapier one of the subscribing witnesses thereto, who testified that he attested said will at the request of testator in his presence and in the presence of J. Ekra Rapier the other subscribing witness thereto, and that J. Ekra Rapier attested said will in his presence and in the presence of testator at his request and that testator signed said will in their presence, and that testator was of sound mind and capable of making a will. It is therefore ordered that such be established as the last will and testament of S. J. Metcalf Decd. and the same is ordered to record as I have truly recorded the same together with this certificate in my office.
     Given under my hand this 27th day of April, 1906.
                             W. A. Robinson, clk.
                             By Chas. Walters, D. C.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Little Uncle Bud

Morris Henry "Bud" Newby circa 1900
brother of my maternal grandmother, Fern Newby Runyan


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sunday's Obituary: Elijah Darling 1915

Elijah and my great grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Runyan were twins, born on May 28, 1859. They were two of 10 children born to Samuel and Beulah (Smith) Darling and the first two to be born in Indiana. They had 5 older siblings that were born in New Jersey. Elijah married Onedia C. Morris, daughter of Hillary and Mary (Keesling) Morris, on August 11, 1884 in Henry Co., Indiana. Elijah and Onedia had 10 children, two daughters died in infancy.

           ELIJAH DARLING.
  [Special to The Daily Courier.]
Death of Elijah Darling
Daily Courier - July 8, 1915
     KENNARD, Ind., July 8.--Elijah 
Darling, age fifty-six years, one of the 
best known residents of Kennard, 
died suddenly from heart trouble to-
day at 1 o'clock p. m. Mr. Darling had 
been picking cherries during the 
morning and had complained of a pain 
in his shoulder. Mrs. Darling was 
bathing his arm with liniment when 
he expired. He is survived by his 
wife and eight children. Howard 
Darling and Mrs. Florence Wilkinson, 
a son and daughter, are residents of 
     The funeral arrangements have not 
been made.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday: Euna Ellen (Wallen) Norton

Wife of John Norton
born Sept. 25, 1883* - died July 28, 1907

Skaggs Creek Baptist Cemetery, Rockcastle Co., Kentucky
*Tombstone birth year is an error.

Euna Ellen "Ella" Wallen was born September 25, 1881. Her sister Lucy was born August 15, 1883. From the diary of Ella's brother, my great grandfather Oliver:

February 17, 1905 - "...Jess, Ella and I are all that is left of Mamma's children. Ella lives in Rockcastle Co., Ky. Jess is here with me. O. M. Wallen Born July 12, 1870. Jessee Uriah Wallen Born Oct. 17, 1878. Euna Ellen Wallen Born Sep. 25, 1881..."

The name "Euna" was a name used often in my family. The first I know of was Euna (Delaney) Sutton, Ella's maternal grandmother. Ella's maternal aunt was Euna Ann (Sutton) Lawrence, her grandmother's sister Isabel (Delaney) Reynolds named a daughter Euna Ellen and another sister, Mary Ann (Delaney) Lindsay, named a daughter Mary Euna and I think there are others. It is also one of the most misspelled names: Una, Unah, Uny, Unice, Eunice, etc. The quote from Oliver's diary shown above is the first I found it correctly spelled and, much later, after following Euna Ann Lawrence out west, I found it spelled correctly in her death records.

Ella died just 6 months after her brother Oliver and Jess died 10 years later. Their father outlived them all by 5 more years. Their mother and all 9 of her children died of TB in one form or another.


Monday, September 12, 2011

Amanuensis Monday: The Will of Millie McMullen

Milla Jane (Trowbridge) McMullen 
b. 26 Oct 1869 - d. 26 Mar 1905

Milla Jane (Trowbridge) McMullen
Millie was born in Rush Co. Indiana in 1869 and died 35 years later in Knightstown, Henry Co., Indiana. She was the daughter of John Calvin and Phoebe (Cook) Trowbridge, sister of my great grandmother Ida May Newby, and wife of Henry McMullen. Millie had no descendants.

The copy of Millie's will that I have in my possession, is the original copy given to my great grandparents, Charles Lee and Ida May (Trowbridge) Newby in 1905 by the family attorney, Floyd J. Newby, first cousin of Charles.

Last Will and Testament of Millie McMullen

I, Millie J. McMullen, of Knightstown, Henry County, Indiana, being of sound mind and disposing memory, do make and publish this my last will and testament.

Item 1. I hereby will, devise and bequeath to my sister Ida M. Newby, wife of Charles L. Newby my farm in Henry County, Indiana, containing 33 1/2 acres more or less described as follows: - The west division of the West half of the northwest quarter of section 25, township 16 north of Range 8 east bounded as follows: - Commencing at the Northwest corner of said quarter section and running thence south on the west line thereof 162 rods and 12 1/2 links to the Southwest corner of said quarer section; Thence east 33 rods and 1 5/6 links; Thence north 162 rods and 12 1/2 links to the north line of said quarter section at a point 33 rods and 1 5/6 links east of the place of beginning; Thence west to the place of beginning.

Also all that part of Lot number 66, in section number 2 in Glencove Cemetary at the Town of Knightstown, Henry County, Indiana, that remains unused after my death.

The said Ida M. Newby shall pay to my nephew, Arthur M. Trowbridge the sum of $500.00 in cash either from the proceeds of the sale of the property devised to her in Item 1 herein or any other manner she may elect.

The said Ida M. Newby shall pay all my just debts, my funeral expenses and the costs of the probate of this will.

The said Ida M. Newby shall receive all money and other personal property which I may possess except that which is otherwise willed and bequeathed by me herein.

Item 2. I will and bequeath my household goods to Ida M. Newby and Arthur M. Trowbridge to be held by them equally.

Item 3. I hereby will and bequeath to my nephew Arthur M. Trowbridge mentioned in Item 1 herein the sum of $500.00 in cash to be paid to him as mentioned in Item 1.

Item 4. I will and bequeath to my niece Mary Fern Newby, daughter of Charles L. Newby and Ida M. Newby my gold watch and chain.

Item 5. I hereby constitute and appoint Ida M. Newby as Executrix of this my last will and testament.

In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this the 22nd. day of March, 1905.

                                                                                      Millie J. McMullen

Signed and acknowledged by the said Millie J. McMullen as her last will and testament in our presence and signed by us as witnesses in her presence this 22nd. day of March, 1905.

     A. L. Stage
     Floyd J. Newby 

More information and photos on Millie and her husband Henry can be found at this link: Henry and Milla Jane (Trowbridge) McMullen

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Austin Gollaher and The Lincolns at Knob Creek

Benjamin Austin Gollaher
copy made for me in 1998
 by Lou Lucas
I was going through my old files of articles and photos that were copied for me back in the summer of 1998 by Lou Lucas and I found an old typewritten transcription of a 1953 newspaper article that I'm pretty sure came from her. I looked around on the Internet and when I was satisfied that this article was not already in circulation, I decided that because it's such an engaging interview, I would carefully transcribe it again and post it here for all those Abe Lincoln and Austin Gollaher researchers. Much of the information herein has been told in other articles, but some details are new. Once again however, the date of 1889 and Austin's age of 91 years do not match up with what we know. Austin Gollaher was born in 1806 so he could not have been 91 years of age in 1889. I think the last two numbers of the year were transposed in The Citizen or transposed by whoever transcribed it, and should have read 1898.

From The Citizen, Brinkley Arkansas, Thursday, February 12, 1953:

Seldom told tales in the life of Abraham Lincoln.

Yellowed with age and with edges frayed from much handling through the years, a clipping from "The LaRue County" paper printed in 1889 has lain within the leaves of the family bible in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Austin Melvin near Hunter, Arkansas, several decades. 

The principal of the article was Austin Gollaher, maternal grandfather of Mr. Melvin.  It was passed on to Mr. Melvin by his mother and has recently come into the possession of one of his daughters, Mrs. Otis Freeman of Hunter.  Mrs. Freeman is a sister of Garvin Melvin and Beckham Melvin of Hunter, Nate Melvin and Mrs. John Nelson of Brinkley, Mrs. Green Devasier of Palestine, Arkansas and Mrs. Lee Johnson of near Owensboro, Kentucky. All these last names are great grandchildren of Mr. Gollaher.

There is a picture of the aged Mr. Gollaher included in the article but which cannot be reproduced on account of its dimness due to the age of the paper. 

Mr. Gollaher relates some interesting incidents seldom told in the life story of one so great as was our former president, Abraham Lincoln.  Being a boyhood friend of Abe Lincoln, Mr. Gollaher was enabled to give first hand information as to his early years of poverty and hardships.  This gives us a more sympathetic understanding of the courage of this youth who overcame the obstacles of an early life  and emerged triumphant to the highest honor our country bestows; that of President of the United States.

Uncle Austin Gollaher
The boyhood playmate of President Lincoln, is nearing the end of life's journey. 

In an humble log cabin, surrounded by the vine clad Muldraugh's Hills, in a quiet and obscure part of LaRue County, lives the venerable playmate of Abraham Lincoln - Mr. Austin Gollaher - or "Uncle Austin" as his Larue County friends delight in addressing him, whenever they meet him at his home to talk over with him the scenes and incidents of his simple childlife when he was a playmate of the lamented Lincoln.

"Uncle Austin" is again a child and a very feeble one physically.  The old gentleman is now rapidly rounding out his term of earthly existence. Ninety-one years of active life has well nigh worn out the machinery that has so long been subject to the orders of his active hand, and he lies in bed a helpless man, to be waited on as if he were an infant.

The Herald takes pleasure in producing this week a splendid picture of "Uncle Austin", which is made from his latest photograph, taken only last week as he lay in bed at home.

Mr. Gollaher has become widely known in almost every state in the Union by reason of the fact that he is the only living playmate of President Lincoln. Hundreds of our daily papers printed his picture and columns of matter, detailing the incidents of his younger life, while the great Magazines - The Century, Scribners, and others have found pages of matter about him sufficently interesting to be given space.  It is not true, however, that Mr. Gollaher related all that has been published.  Far from it.  Much that has been printed was related by him.  The remainder of it is simply the over-ripe of the energetic imagination of the newspaper correspondents.  Mr. Gollaher is a very plain, dignified old gentleman, who has never attempted to arrest public attention by giving publicity to his companionship with Lincoln, nor would he under any circumstances misrepresent or ever exaggerate the intimacy of the acquaintanceship he enjoyed with Lincoln as a boy.

Mr. Gollaher has been a strong man mentally and physically.  His large bony frame, upon which there is now not enough flesh to keep it warm, shows that in former years he was a powerful man and his very large head, high, full forehead and expressive eyes indicate great natural ability and had he enjoyed opportunity of improving his natural talents had some fortunate circumstances called him from obscurity, he would have reached far beyond the average prominence accorded man and would have been one of our most noted and useful citizens.  But satisfied with a pleasant, easy going life, and not of an adventuresome spirit, he enjoys the only pleasant memories of his acquaintance with Lincoln and the respect and esteem of all who know him.

Several years ago when the Century magazine was preparing for publication his story of Abraham Lincoln, its editor came to Hodgenville for the purpose of securing data for the work.  He drove out to the home of Mr. Gollaher, secured a photograph of him and spent some time in pleasant conversation with him. Upon his return The Herald asked him his opinion of "Uncle Austin". "Why", he said, "I was delighted with the old gentleman and was favorably impressed."  He said that his great brain power needed only development and opportunity to have made him a great man and that his gentle manners and carefulness of narration impressed on him the fact that every word he uttered was the truth.

Mr. Gollaher has spent his entire life in his present neighborhood and has scarcely ever been far from his birthplace, living a quiet, retired, satisfied life.

Years ago there were living in Larue County several men who remembered the Lincoln  family distinctly and some of them could recall the incident of President Lincoln's birth, among whom were Judge Cessna and Abe Enlow, but they have passed over the river of death, and, as stated, Mr. Gollaher is now the only one who has any personal knowledge of the Lincolns and their Larue County home. 

In a recent interview Mr. Gollaher was asked where the Lincolns lived when Abe was born, and when he moved down on Knob Creek, where Mr. Gollaher lives.

"When his family moved down on Knob creek", he said, "I was eight years old and Abe was five.  It was immediately after they moved that we began going to school together.  The Lincoln family moved to a house that stood where Mr. Nick Rapier lived a few years ago, and my father lived on a farm not far off, which he moved to in 1812.  Our house was on the upper prong of Knob Creek. The house where we went to school together most of the time stood on the pike about where Mr. Jesse Dawson used to live; but the first school house where we attended school together was just across the creek from there, at the foot of the hill.  Abe's father bought this piece of land on Knob Creek for $200, but he did not make any money and could not pay for it.  He had to give it up and then the Lincolns moved away.

"When the Lincoln family moved down on Knob Creek, where had they been living?" 

"They moved down there from a farm near Hodgenville, which everybody now calls Lincoln springs."

"Was Lincoln born at the old Creal place which you said the Lincoln family moved from when they came down on Knob Creek?"

"Yes sir.  My information is that Abe was born there at the old Creal farm.  In fact, I am satisfied that he was.  Mr. Wm. Cressna," he continued, "who was the father of Judge Cessna, and who was well acquainted with the Lincolns when they lived on the Creal farm, told me that Abe was born there.  The way he happened to tell that Abe was born there was in speaking of how poor the Lincolns were, and he appeared to feel very sorry for them, and for Abe's mother especially.  He had been informed by some of the neighbors that Mrs. Lincoln was actually suffering for something to eat.  He went over to the Lincoln house to see about the matter and found that the report was true.  She was really in need of the necessities of life and he told her he would get her something to eat.  He took her a sack of wheat and something to eat the next morning when they told him that a baby had been born to Mrs. Lincoln the night before and Mr. Cessna said that the baby was Abe.

Mr. Gollaher stated that he and Abe were thrown together more than with the other boys in school and that he grew quite fond of him, and he believed that Abe thought a great deal of him.  In speaking of various events of minor importance that he remembered to have occurred in their boyhood days together, Mr. Gollaher remarked: "I was once the cause of saving Lincoln's life."  Upon being urged to tell of the occurrence, he said: "We had been going to school together one year, but the next year we had no school because there were so few scholars to attend, there being only about twenty in school the year before. Consequently, Abe and I had nothing much to do, but as we did not go to school and our mothers were pretty strict on us, we did not get to see each other often. One Sunday morning my mother waked me up early saying that she was going to see Mrs. Lincoln and that I might go along.  Glad of the chance I was soon dressed and ready to go.  After my mother and I got there Abe and I played together all through the day."

"While we were wandering along the branch - Knob Creek - Abe said: 'Right up there,' pointing across the branch, 'we saw a gang of partridges yesterday and they are there yet.  Let's go over there and get some rocks and kill some of them.

"But the branch, which was then a good deal swollen, was too wide for us to jump across, and if we waded we would get our breeches wet, and I knew that my mother would whip me if she caught me with my breeches legs wet for she would know that I had been wading the branch.  Finally we saw a narrow foot log which some men had thrown across to cross on and we concluded to cross it. It was narrow but we were determined to get over after the birds.

"Abe said, 'Let's coon it.'  I went first and made it all right.  Abe got about half way across when he got scared and began trembling.  I hollered to him, 'Don't look down, nor up nor sideways, but look right at me and hold tight.'  But he fell off into the creek and the water was about seven or eight feet deep. I could not swim and neither could Abe, and I knew it would do no good for me to go in after him. So I got a stick, a long water sprout, and held it out to him.  He came up grabbing with both hands.  He clung to the stick that I put in his hands and I pulled him out on the bank almost dead.  I got him by the arms and shook him good and then rolled him on the ground, when the water just poured out of his mouth.  He was then soon all right.

"We were both afraid our mothers would see our wet clothes and we knew what would happen then, so we pulled them off and laid them on the rocks in the sun, which was as hot as it ever is in August, although it was then in June. We talked the matter over while our clothes were drying, trying to think of some plan by which we could keep our mothers from finding out about it. Finally I told Abe that the only way to do was never to tell anybody at all. 'For,' I said, 'if you should even tell another boy, he might tell his mother and she would tell your mother and you would then get whipped; and your mother would tell my mother and I would get whipped, too.'  So we promised each other that we would never tell anybody about it, and we never did for years.  I never told anyone about it until Lincoln was killed."

"Was Lincoln a bright boy at school; did he learn fast and study hard?"

"Oh, yes," he replied. "Lincoln was an unusually bright boy, and went right along in his books as fast or faster than anyone in the school; and he studied hard, although he was young.  He would get up spice-wood bushes and hack them up on a log and put a few of them in the fire at a time to make a light for him to read his books by.  It did not make a very good light, but it was all he had.

"Lincoln was not a good looking boy.  He was ugly and awkward.  He was rather bony and rough looking.  Abe's mother was a rather slim woman and of over medium height.  Tom Lincoln, his father, was not tall.  Abe did not favor him much.  Tom Lincoln had a full face and was heavier than Abe."

In answer to a question as to whether Lincoln had any brothers or sisters, the old man brightened up and said: "Oh, yes, he had a sister.  Her name was Sallie and she was a very pretty girl.  She was older than Abe.  She went to school whenever she could but that was not often."

After a rather pointed question Uncle Austin engaged in a low chuckling laugh and smilingly replied: "Yes, Sallie was my sweetheart.  She was about my age, and, like all boys, I claimed her for my sweetheart.  I guess that was one reason why I thought so much of Abe," he then admitted.  "But when the Lincolns moved to Indiana I did not get to tell Abe or Sallie either good-bye. I wanted to go tell them good-bye but my father would not let me.  When they moved away Abe was about twelve years old and I was fifteen."

"The next time I heard of Lincoln was several years afterward.  I heard that he would make rails during the summer, and with the money he earned would send himself to school in the winter." 

"The next time I heard anything of him was when he was nominated for president. I told the boys that no matter what happened I was going to vote for him if it was the last act of my life because I had played with him when a boy and I was glad that he had gone up in the world and I did vote for him." 

"I am the only person now living in the country that ever went to school with Abe. There were others around here but they are all dead now."

"After Lincoln was elected President he inquired of Dr. Jesse Rodman about me when Dr. Rodman called on him at Washington, and I wanted to go see him, but I did not think I could spare the money.  I always thought I acted a fool for not going.  If I had gone there to see him he would have done a good part by me. He might have made me Judge of one of the Kentucky Courts."

Austin Melvin, mentioned in the news article's first paragraph, is the brother of Mike R. Melvin, my husband's maternal great grandfather.

This is the sixth and final post in a series of six daily blog posts on Benjamin Austin Gollaher. Previous posts on Gollaher (done before this series) can be seen at the links below:


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday: Mary "Polly" (Price) Gollaher

Mary, wife of B. A. Gollaher 1804-1873
Photos take by me in 1998

Original tombstone, broken in pieces

Pleasant Grove Cemetery, Larue Co., Kentucky 1998

Newer, double tombstone of Mary and her husband Austin Gollaher
Pleasant Grove Cemetery, Larue Co., Kentucky 1998

Pleasant Grove Baptist Church
White City, Larue Co., Kentucky 1998

Austin and Mary were the maternal 3rd great grandparents of my husband Mike. Mike descends from their daughter Elizabeth (Gollaher) Melvin, wife of Nathan L. R. Melvin. While these photos were taken in 1998, we were there again earlier this year photographing mostly Melvin tombstones that I did not yet have in my collection from this cemetery.

This is the fifth in a series of six daily blog posts I am doing on Benjamin Austin Gollaher, the maternal 3rd great grandfather of my husband Mike. Previous posts on Gollaher (done before this series) can be seen at the links below:


Monday, September 5, 2011

Uncle Austin Gollaher - The Breckenridge News

From The Breckenridge News - March 2, 1898


Abraham Lincoln's Playmate Dead, Aged 93, Near Hodgenville. He Was Known Far And Near.

      Hodgenville, Ky., Feb 22--, After an illness which kept him confined to his bed for over a year, Uncle Austin Gollaher, the playmate of Abraham Lincoln, died at his home near here this morning. His death was due to old age and general debility.
      He was ninety-three years old. A few months before his death his mental faculties became much impaired, but until that time his mind was exceptionally bright and he conversed freely.
      It was his great delight to relate the experience of his saving Lincoln from drowning and he considered this the greatest accomplishment of his life.
      When this country was young Mr. Gollaher taught school in the Muldraugh Hill section, and though his book learning was very limited, his naturally strong intellect enabled him to perform schoolroom duties in a manner that gave satisfaction to the patrons, and there are many old citizens living in this county who went to school to him in the '40s.
      He was the father of six children, his grandchildren number twenty-six, his great grandchildren forty-five, and his great, great grandchildren sixteen. Mr. Gollaher's entire life was spent in the hills of Larue county.
      The old man had become widely known in almost every State in the Union by reason of the fact that he was the only playmate of Abraham Lincoln. He was a very plain, dignified old gentleman, and never attempted to arrest public attention by giving publicity to his companionship with Lincoln, nor would he under any circumstances misrepresent or even exaggerate the intimacy of the acquaintanceship he enjoyed with Lincoln as a boy.
      Mr. Gollaher had been a strong man mentally and physically. His large, bony frame shows that in former years he was a powerful man, and his very large head, high full forehead and expressive eyes indicated great natural ability, and had he enjoyed the opportunity of improving his natural talents--had some fortunate circumstance called him from obscurity, he would easily have reached far beyond the average prominence accorded to man, and would have been one of our most noted and useful citizens. But, satisfied with a pleasant, easy-going life, and not of an adventurous spirit he enjoyed only the pleasant memories of his acquaintance with Lincoln and the respect and esteem of all who knew him.

Uncle Austin was the maternal 3rd great grandfather of my husband Mike. At the time of this writing, two of those sixteen great grandchildren mentioned in this article were Mike's great aunt, Bessie Elizabeth Melvin, and his great uncle, Charles Walter "Bud" Melvin.

This is the fourth in a series of six daily blog posts I am doing on Benjamin Austin Gollaher. Previous posts on Gollaher (done before this series) can be seen at the links below:


Sunday, September 4, 2011

Sunday's Obituary: Austin Gollaher Dead!


HODGENVILLE, Ky., Feb. 22.--Un-
cle Austin Gollaher, the boyhood play-
mate of Abraham Lincoln, died at his
Morning Herald
February 22, 1898

home, near this place, this morning of
paralysis and old age. He had been
lingering between life and death for
over a year. Had he lived a month lon-
ger he would have been ninety-three
years old. Until recently Mr. Gollaher
retained his mental vigor and convers-
ed freely about his and Abe's ups and
downs, when they were boys together
in Larue county; but a while before his
death his mind became greatly impared.
He always referred to the time he saved
Abe from drowning in Knob creek as
a great episode, and never tired of tell-
ing the story to his friends.

Benjamin Austin Gollaher was the son of Thomas and Judith Gollaher. 

This is the third in a series of six daily blog posts I am doing on Benjamin Austin Gollaher, the maternal 3rd great grandfather of my husband Mike. Previous posts on Gollaher (done before this series) can be seen at the links below:


Saturday, September 3, 2011

Abe Lincoln: Quotes From Old Man Gollaher 1897

From the Morning Herald - March 26, 1897


A Schoolmate of the President Tells of His Early Life.

Mr. George H. Yenowine contributes a paper on "The Birthplace of Lincoln" to St. Nicholas. Mr. Yenowine quotes the following from an old man named Austin Gollaher, who went to school with the emancipator: "Lincoln was an unusually bright boy, and he made good progress in his books--better than almost any one else in school--and he studied very hard, although he was young. He would get spice wood bushes and hack them up on a log and put a few of them in the fire at a time to make a light for him to read his books by. It did not make a very good light, but it was all he had at night. Young Lincoln was never good looking. He was angular and awkward. His mother was a rather slim woman of medium height. Tom Lincoln, his father, was tall. Abe was not very much like him, for Tom Lincoln had a fuller face and was of a heavier build."

In answer to a question as to Lincoln's brothers or sisters, the old man brightened up and said: "Oh, yes, he had a sister. Her name was Sally, and she was about my age. That was one reason why I thought so much of Abe. But when the Lincolns moved to Indiana I did not say goodby to either of them.

"I next heard of Lincoln several years afterward. It was said that he would make rails during the summer and thus earn money to go to school. Then I heard no more of Lincoln until he was nominated for president. I told the boys that no matter what happened I was going to vote for him if it was the last act of my life, because I had played with him when a boy, and I was glad he had gone up in the world, and I did vote for him!" said the old man.

There is a wonderful old book , "The Boyhood of Abraham Lincoln" written by John Rogers Gore and published in 1921 about Lincoln's boyhood and it was compiled from the narratives of Gollaher. Mr. Gore was with the LaRue County Herald at the time and he interviewed Gollaher over a period of 4 or 5 years before Austin's death in 1898. It can be read on line at the Internet Archives. Our copy is the modern paperback reproduction done by Bibliolife.

This is the second in a series of six daily blog posts I am doing on Benjamin Austin Gollaher, the maternal 3rd great grandfather of my husband Mike. Previous posts on Gollaher (done before this series) can be seen at the links below:


Friday, September 2, 2011

Austin Gollaher is 80 - Hartford Republican

 The Hartford Republican - May 3, 1895


An Old Kentucky Gentleman 
to Whom the Nation is Indebted.
Austin Gollaher, a playmate of Abraham Lincoln, is 80 years old today. He lives with his son, Thomas Gollaher, on the top of Muldraugh's Hill, three miles south of Hodgenville and the many friends of the old gentleman are helping him celebrate the important event in royal style. Gollaher himself, however, is not permitted to enter very largely into the festivities of the occasion, owing to an unusually severe attack of rheumatism, from which he has been a sufferer for years, and which of late is giving him more than ordinary trouble. His spirits are not impaired by his ailment, though, and he promised yesterday, when interviewed, to "hit his lick with the balance of 'em." For an old man, Gollaher is surprisingly lively in his conversation, due, doubtless, to the fact that he seldom has a chance to see a person from the outside world, and is compelled to make up for lost time when such an opportunity occurs.

Gollaher was older than the martyred President, and consequently remembers many circumstances of their boyhood days. His conversation, however, is rather barren of details, and from some of his stories it is surmised that he has somewhat confused what really happened with what he has heard. There is no disputing the fact, though, that he was Lincoln's playmate, and even the historians have given him brief credit for that honor, but he is practically unknown as the one-time savior of the youthful Lincoln's life. In Nicholay and Hay's life of Lincoln short mention is made of Gollaher, and the fact of his service to the subject of their work is dismissed summarily and not entirely without a suspicion of doubt.

Gollaher's present home with his son is within a dozen miles of where the rescue of Lincoln is credited with having taken place. In all the life of the old gentleman he has never for more than a few weeks at a time been outside of his native country. The house is a commonplace affair of rough clapboards, surrounded by a tin box. The first greeting is from the dogs; then, at the door, you will likely meet the old gentleman, hobbling on his crutches, with a broad-brimmed hat pulled low to protect his failing eyes, and a hearty welcome in his face. He is dressed in heavy woolen garments, rough, but comfortable. His first thought is to invite you to a seat. Like yourself, he is anxious to talk of Lincoln. After half an hour's listening to him you are apt to be disappointed and conclude that after all he hasn't very much to say. Speaking of former visitors he said yesterday: "Yes, I am known somewhat all over the United States. Men come from away off to hear me talk of Abe Lincoln. Years ago a man came here from New York, getting up a history, and wanted to know what I could tell him of Lincoln. He sent me one of them, but it had a lot of things in it that wasn't so.

"It was in 1812 that my father settled near the Linkhorn, (Lincoln) farm, and in a few days Abe and his mother come over to see mother an' me. Abe seemed sullen, and at the first meeting I didn't have much to say to him. I wasn't taken with his appearance. After mother an' me went over to see them, though, we were together quite often, and we got to be great friends. Abe was three years younger than me, an' I had to look after him somewhat. We played all over the hills down on South Fork, and when school took up there went school together. Next year we went to the school over on the other side of the creek, but it wasn't no use for me to try to keep up with Abe. He was great at larnin, and ciphered out and read everything he could find. Down in the creek bottoms there was lots of iron weeds, an' Abe'd gather them to pile on the fire at night to make light for him to study by."

"Well, did you not save his life at one time" How was that?"

"Yes, yes," and his face brightened. "It was when he was fishin' one day. The creek was high, an' we had to coon crost on a log and Abe fell off. Abe wasn't much of a swimmer, an' I got a sycamore limb and pulled him out."

"How old was Mr. Lincoln then?"

"'Bout 9. The histories all say Abe was only 7 years old when he left for Indiany, but he must have been about 9. They wasn't there, though, and of course can't be expected to get everything right."

Mr. Gollaher has long been a devout Christian, and holds his membership in a small Baptist church on the Louisville and Nashville road, about a mile beyond his home. He has not visited the church since the cold weather began last fall, but still hopes to see it in it's completed state in the spring. The church has long been in an unfinished condition, and the old gentleman has worried considerably over this fact. The funds however, are now guaranteed for it's completion.

Up until the discovery of this article, it has been accepted by most  researchers that Austin Gollaher's birth was in March of 1806. This article indicates the date was actually May 3 (however, the year 1815 would definitely be impossible and is likely a typo that should have read "89 years old today"). This article casts some doubt on the formerly accepted month of birth. 

This is the first in a series of six daily blog posts I am doing on Benjamin Austin Gollaher, the maternal 3rd great grandfather of my husband Mike. Previous posts on Gollaher (done before this series) can be seen at the links below: