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Lincoln's housekeeper - Dave Taylor - 08-28-2023 03:09 PM

Stumbled across this article in my searching recently. It's from the Feb. 13, 1913 issue of The Chronicle=News out of Trinidad, Colorado.

Anyone ever heard of a housekeeper at the Lincoln home in Springfield named Clara Louisa Farley aka Louisa Klink?

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RE: Lincoln's housekeeper - RJNorton - 08-28-2023 05:15 PM

I do not think I have ever come across a Louisa Klink in any of my books. I checked Benjamin Thomas' book on New Salem, and there is no mention of Abraham Lincoln being friends with a man named Klink. I could not find mention of Klink in Joe Di Cola's book on New Salem. Also, there is no mention of a Klink in Herndon's Informants. Right now I am drawing a blank on this.

RE: Lincoln's housekeeper - AussieMick - 08-28-2023 07:40 PM

There was a family named Clink in Springfield and the spelling was sometimes shown as Klink.

( Apart from that, I know ..... NOTHING !! )

RE: Lincoln's housekeeper - STS Lincolnite - 09-06-2023 09:44 PM

Dave, thanks for sharing.

I wasn't familiar with this name, but it piqued my curiosity because this lady's story slightly crossed over with an article I am working on (basis for a talk I am doing that was mentioned in another thread). I have a friend who is working on a book about those who the Lincoln's employed in Springfield and she was not familiar with the name either.

I did a little poking around on my own with regards to Clara Louisa (Klink) Farley. I found another article that I will send to Roger to post. I also found some other information. She shows up in 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880 censuses for Springfield as well as in several city directories. In one, she is living on Jackson str between 11th and 12th (the Lincolns, of course, lived at 8th and Jackson). In the 1860 census she is listed as a "wash woman." It certainly seems possible she served the Lincolns in that capacity. Her overall story seems to have some kernels of truth but there is certainly some exaggeration here and there and probably even some fabrication.

1) claims she opened the door for Lincoln when he left the house for Washington - well, the Lincoln's were at the Chenery house just before leaving for Washington (having rented out their home), so can't be exactly true

2) states her father was close friends with Lincoln from the time he lived in "Salem, IL." - Salem vs New Salem aside, census records show that the Klinks moved to Illinois in the early 1840s, this would have been after Lincoln had left New Salem (and New Salem had pretty much disappeared by that time)

3) she states that her husband died in St. Louis just after the war in a cholera epidemic - this one is confusing; I found a burial record for James H. Farley (her husband's name) who died of cholera in St. Louis in 1867, all the details match up...but I then find an 1870 census record that shows him living in Springfield with Louisa. I suppose she could have reported him alive so as to be able to keep property they may have owned - or maybe for another reason? I can probably even think up some more nefarious scenarios.

4) she states she named one of her sons William Wallace Farley after Willie Lincoln - census records do show she had a son named William Farley, but I can't find that he was named William Wallace or what happened to him after he appears in the 1880 census

In any event, Clara Louisa (Klink) Farley is a person who can't be totally ruled in as having worked in some capacity for the Lincolns because of some story inconsistencies, but can't really be totally ruled out either because some of what she says is possible. Interesting for sure. People like to have an association with Lincoln!

RE: Lincoln's housekeeper - RJNorton - 09-07-2023 04:53 AM

Many thanks to Scott for sending this article.

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RE: Lincoln's housekeeper - Donna McCreary - 09-22-2023 09:00 PM

I am drawing a blank on this one as well. In addition to the sources mentioned above, I have checked LINCOLN'S SPRINGFIELD NEIGHBORHOOD by Bonnie Paull and Richard Hart and a publication titled LINCON'S HIRED GIRLS by Camesha Scruggs. Neither of these publications verify Mrs. Farley's claim.
Her story may be true, but I can not find the documentation to support it.