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bushels of corn in a day. There was but little wheat grown at that time; and, when we did have wheat, we had to grind it on the mill described, and use it without bolting, as there were no bolts in the country. In the course of two or three years, a man by the name of Huffman built a mill on Anderson River, about twelve miles distant. Abe and I had to do the milling on horseback, frequently going twice to get one grist. Then they began building horse-mills of a little better quality than the hand-mills.
“The country was very rough, especially in the lowlands, so thick with bush that a man could scarcely get through on foot. These places were called Roughs. The country abounded in game, such as bears, deer, turkeys, and the smaller game.
“At that time there were a great many deer-licks ; and Abe and myself would go to these licks sometimes, and watch of nights to kill deer, though Abe' was not so fond of a gun as I was. There were ten or twelve of these licks in a small prairie on the creek, lying between Mr. Lincoln's and Mr. Wood's.
"The people in the first settling of this country were very sociable, kind, and accommodating; but there was more drunkenness and stealing on a small scale, more immorality, less religion, less well-placed confidence."
Mr. Turnham's allusion to the prevalence of drunkenness, at that day, renders it necessary to state that the prevalence of this evil was the source of much anxiety to Mrs. Lincoln. The danger to her boy was imminent; and many a word of warning and counsel dropped from her lips into his young ears. When Abraham began his public career, and he fearlessly and firmly avowed his total abstinence principles, he said that he owed much to one counsel of his mother, viz., “Men
become drunkards because they begin to drink; if you never begin to drink you will never become a drunkard.”
The sagacity and wisdom of the mother in this striking remark will not appear to the reader until it is remembered that, at that day, there was not a total abstinence society or pledge in the world. Mrs. Lincoln had never heard of a temperance movement; for, indeed, there had been none, except on the smallest scale, in a few localities. Yet she proposed the only safeguard to her boy,-one that proved of inestimable value to him, as he publicly and privately acknowledged many years thereafter.
We have given in detail the time, place, and circumstances of Abraham's discipline in early life, that the reader may appreciate the force of character which lifted the incubus of poverty and obscurity, and made him famous in the world.
TT was in the spring of 1817, when Thomas Lincoln I was preparing to put his first seed into the soil of Indiana, that Abraham made his first shot at game. His parents were discussing the old subjecttheir loss on the Ohio River, when Mrs. Lincoln remarked,
" I'm thoroughly convinced that our loss was all for the best. I think I can see it.”
“Glad if you can,” replied Mr. Lincoln ; "you're pretty good for seein' what nobody else can ;” and he uttered this sentence rather thoughtlessly, as his mind was really absorbed in another subject.
"I don't know about that; but what in the world would you have done with all the whiskey, if we had not lost any of it in the river ? Never could sell it all here,—and what a job it would have been to get it here from the Ferry!"
“Well, if I didn't sell it, we should be about as well off as we are now."
“Except the cost of getting the barrels here." “That wouldn't be much.”
“Then there's the danger of the evil it might do. It's dangerous stuff any way, as the case of many men shows."
“I know that; but I don't fear for myself.” “ Neither do I fear for you; but I was thinking of Abe. You know how it is with boys in these times, and how much misery whiskey makes in a great many families. And I can't help thinkin' that it is all for the best that most of it is in the river."
"I can't say but what it is; I hope it is. It makes mischief enough, if that's all; and if I dreamed it would make any in my family, I should wish that all of it was at the bottom of the river.”
"You may as well be glad now; for we have less to fear; and perhaps the Lord thought it was best to put so much of it where it couldn't injure no one."
“So be it, then; but I must go to my work. This weather is too fine to be lost in doin' nothin'. The stuff is all sold now, so that there is no fear on that score.” He sold a barrel to Posey, the teamster, who hauled his goods from the Ferry, and the remainder he disposed of in the course of the winter.
Mr. Lincoln arose and went out to his work, and within ten minutes afterwards Abraham came rushing into the cabin in a state of great excitement.
“Mother," he exclaimed, “there's a flock of turkeys right out here that I can shoot. See there," and he directed her to look through a crack in the cabin where the clay had fallen off. “Let me shoot, mother.”
“Sure enough, Abe, there is a flock,” responded his mother, as she caught sight of the turkeys; "a fine shot it is,” and she hastened for the rifle that was always kept loaded.
"Be quick, mother, I'll fire right through the hole," continued Abe, under increasing excitement.
His mother was not long in bringing the rifle, and adjusting it through the loop-hole between the logs, when, with a few quick words of caution, she allowed him to fire.
" Bang!” went the rifle, and resounded through the
forest with unusual volume, as Abraham thought in his intense earnestness. Both mother and son ran out to discover the result of the shot, and by the time they reached the spot the smoke had cleared away, and there lay one of the flock dead.
“Killed one,” shouted Abraham, as he lifted an extra large turkey from the ground.
“So you have,” answered his mother, under almost as much excitement as her son.
“A monster!" continued the lad, surveying the lusty fellow with boyish pride. “Did you ever see such a big one ? ”
"It is a very large one,” replied his mother ; "that was a good shot, Abe.”
By this time Mr. Lincoln had reached the spot. Hearing the report of the gun, he left his work, and hurried back to learn the cause.
“What's the firin' for?” he asked hurriedly.
“ I've killed a turkey," answered Abraham, exhibiting in triumph the dead bird.
"Did you do that, Abe?”.
“Nobody else did it," was the boy's rather characteristic reply.
“A capital shot, Abe; you'll make a good one with the rifle if you keep on,” his father added, intending to praise the boy. The fact was it was not a capital shot at all : he accidentally killed the turkey. He did not understand the use of a gun well enough to make a “ capital shot.” The turkey happened to sit in the way of the bullet, and was killed in consequence—that was all there was of it,
We have already said that pioneer families were dependent upon game for food. On this account fathers and sons became good marksmen, and even females were often expert with the rifle. Mrs. Lincoln