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Lincoln Heritage Museum - Week of Celebration
09-18-2020, 05:07 PM
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RE: Lincoln Heritage Museum - Week of Celebration
(09-18-2020 03:52 PM)David Lockmiller Wrote:  As a very young lad growing up in Kentucky, Abraham Lincoln often played with a boy in the neighborhood named Austin Gollaher. Austin was the son of Thomas Gollaher who first brought his family to the Knob Creek area in 1812. The Gollahers lived about two miles from the Lincolns.

Austin Gollaher lived into his 90's and told how he played with Abraham near his father's carpentry shop, hunted raccoons with him, and had youthful adventures in the nearby woods. There was even an instance where Austin saved Abraham's life. It took place in 1816 when Abraham was seven years old. Austin Gollaher told the story as follows:

"I once saved Lincoln's life. 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 20 in the school the year before.

Consequently Abe and I had not much to do; but as we did not go to school and our mothers were strict with us, we did not get to see each other very often. One Sunday morning my mother waked me up early, saying she was going to see Mrs. Lincoln, and that I could 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 all through the day.

While we were wandering up and down the little stream called Knob Creek Abe said: 'Right up there' - pointing to the east - 'we saw a covey of partridges yesterday. Let's go over and get some of them.' The stream was swollen and was too wide for us to jump across. Finally, we saw a narrow foot-log, and we concluded to try it. It was narrow, but Abe said, 'Let's coon it.'

I went first and reached the other side all right. Abe went 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 on tight!' But he fell off into the creek, and, as the water was about seven or eight feet deep, and I could not swim, and neither could Abe, 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, grabbed with both hands, and I put the stick into his hands. He clung to it, and I pulled him out on the bank, almost dead. I got him by the arms and shook him well, and then rolled him on the ground, when the water poured out of his mouth.

He was all right very soon. We promised each other that we would never tell anybody about it, and never did for years. I never told any one of it until after Lincoln was killed."

Within this same source is a photograph of a Commonwealth of Kentucky plaque which reads in part: "Lincoln, while President, once said: 'I would rather see Austin Gollaher than any man living.'"

The familiar source of this information is Abraham Lincoln Research Site, at Austin Gollaher Saved Abraham Lincoln From Drowning.

A related story appears in the book titled "The Real Lincoln, A Portrait" by Jesse Weik at pages 16-17:

Dr. Rodman of Larue County, Kentucky was sent to Washington with the cane and directions to have the cane mounted with a gold or silver head and the names of the contributors engraved thereon. One of Lincoln's friends had gone down to the farm on which Lincoln was born and cut from a tree that was growing there a limb of the size required for a cane. Dr. Rodman called on President Lincoln to make the formal presentation. Lincoln seemed to be deeply pleased by this mark of appreciation on the part of his Kentucky friends and immediately asked how he was to learn who the donors of the cane were. Before I could answer that he would find their names on the metal head, he interrupted me, exclaiming laughingly, 'How absurd a question. I ought to have known better than to ask it. I am like the Irishman who called on me when I was postmaster in Salem, Illinois and asked for his mail.

"'What name?,' said I."

"'Sure,' said the Irishman, 'and the name is on the letter.'"

The President then read over the list of the names from the early residents of the county. . . . When I reached the name of Austin Gollaher, he halted me. 'Is that old fox living yet?' he exclaimed. "You may not believe it, but I would rather see him than any other man in Kentucky. Be sure to remember me to him when you reach home."

The Real Lincoln; a Portrait

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RE: Lincoln Heritage Museum - Week of Celebration - Steve Whitlock - 09-18-2020 05:07 PM

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