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:


No comments:

Post a Comment