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The Boyhood of Abraham Lincoln
03-31-2017, 12:10 PM
Post: #1
The Boyhood of Abraham Lincoln
This is a collection of stories given during an interval of about 5 years from Ausitn Gollaher, Abraham Lincoln's boyhood friend in Kentucky, to J Rogers Gore when he worked for the local weekly newspaper published in Hogenville, KY. Mr Gollaher died in 1898, and the book was published in 1921.

"I found much pleasure in visiting the home
of Mr. Gollaher, and drawing from him
these tales of the days when he and Lincoln,
children of the wilderness, played in
the woods, and along Knob Creek, upon
the banks of which the boy Austin Gollaher
lived when the Lincolns moved from Cave
Spring Farm to the Knob Creek hills.
Mr. Gollaher was unschooled, but he pos
sessed a keen intellect, and talked interestingly
and intelligently of his and Lincoln's
childliood in LaRue County. In answer to
my questions Mr. Gollaher, little by little,
related the narratives quite free from intentional
embellishment, I feel sure.

In following these pages, however, the
reader is asked to bear in mind that they are
leaves from the loving memory of an old
man. Abraham Lincoln was, in the recollection
of Austin Gollaher, the great event ; he
was at once playmate and prophet, the day's
companion and the man for the ages. JNIr.
Gollaher saw the boy through the splendor
of the man's later years, and while he sought
a scrupulous truth to fact—for he ever made
probity his watchword—it would have been
extraordinary, if not impossible, for his narration
of early youth to escape the coloring
and the glamour of an imperishable name.
It is undoubtedly true that no one, except
the writer, preserved the data from which
this series of stories has been written.

I have, therefore,
dramatized Mr. Gollaher's reminiscences in
order to reconstruct with more realism the
life of the period, and have allowed Abe and
Austin, their friends and neighbors to talk
in character and so, naturally, reveal in
anecdote and experience the early life of the
boy who was to become one of the world's
greatest figures.

All that being said, most of the stories in this book are probably just stories. But some of them are quite interesting, including one about Lincoln and his dog Honey, which could have easily have been the basis for an episode or two from Lassie. The book ends as he leaves with his family on the move to Indiana

The book is on the Internet Archives

I found it an interesting book, has about 314 pages with 40 short chapters with many stories. Many of the stories reflect on Abraham's personality and personal characteristics as a young boy, and life in the early 1800's in rural Kentucky.
It is a reflection of the times in which it was written. Reprinted copies are available, but they are not cheap, and some of them are low quality printing. I am satisfied to have read it on line.

So when is this "Old Enough To Know Better" supposed to kick in?
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03-31-2017, 12:43 PM
Post: #2
RE: The Boyhood of Abraham Lincoln
Austin Gollaher claimed he saved Abraham Lincoln from drowning. I have often wondered if the story were (1) true as told; (2) embellished from what really happened; (3) created totally.


"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."
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04-01-2017, 07:34 AM (This post was last modified: 04-01-2017 07:48 AM by Eva Elisabeth.)
Post: #3
RE: The Boyhood of Abraham Lincoln
Thanks once more, Gene, for a helpful review.
(03-31-2017 12:43 PM)RJNorton Wrote:  Austin Gollaher claimed he saved Abraham Lincoln from drowning. I have often wondered if the story were (1) true as told; (2) embellished from what really happened; (3) created totally.
I could swim before I could walk without anyone ever teaching me (we used to spend summers at the Mediterranean Sea, and I was hardly to get out of the water and at that age never thought it possible one could drown), so I always have a hard time to relate to a kid being unable to "naturally" be able to swim. (I mean it seems somewhat natural - all life comes from the sea and we started out swimming for nine months.)

However, soaked clothes make swimming way more difficult. I think it might have happened as the same happened to my mother when she was a child (in winter, ice was too thin - and of course, the parents weren't told anything...).

When I was 4.5 yrs I was "saved" from the rough Indic Ocean by a Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) native who believed I were drawing (by no means, I was enjoying diving through the waves). I immediately returned into the water after his actions of pulling me out, but nothing could stop him from spreading the story of him heroically saving my life (strangely I've often experienced natives living at the sea indeed cannot swim well).

PS: Some of these websites that "reveal" Abraham Lincoln's favorite food, drink, color and the like also claim swimming his favorite hobby...
PPS: As for your question - I'd think it possible, I think...
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