Saturday, April 18, 2015

William Herndon Speaks on Lincoln-- Part 4: Lincoln's Herndon

William Herndon's book on Lincoln is usually referred to as "Herndon's Lincoln."  Someone has also written a book called "Lincoln's Herndon."  Herndon's book was not well received as he wrote of Lincoln both good and bad aspects. something that was usually not done in the gushy biographies back in the late 19th century.

Afterwards, there was a question and answer session with Ron Halverson, who portrayed Herndon, and the person from the Kenosha Civil War Museum.

William Herndon never visited Washington, D,C, when Lincoln was president.  He continued to run the law office, figuring that Lincoln would rejoin him after his Presidency.  They believe Herndon to be buried in Springfield.  I looked up Herndon on Wikipedia which said he did visit D,C. once and was well received, but invited to the private quarters of the White House.  He is buried at the same cemetery in Springfield as Lincoln.

As far a s Lincoln's assassination, Halverson said it was a big tragedy as Herndon was a good friend.  he decided to spend much of the rest of his life writing Lincoln's biography.

--Old Secesh

William Herndon Speaks On Abraham Lincoln-- Part 3: A Great Joke Teller

By age 17, Abraham Lincoln stood 6'4" and weighed about 160 pounds.  He was an avid reader and never missed a chance to do so, regardless of the subject.  He was interested in essentially everything.  He was also a great joke teller which is why people liked to hear him talk.

Anne Rutledge was his first and only love.  The public did not know this fact until Herndon wrote about it in his book.

One of the reasons Herndon had problems with Mary Todd Lincoln was that he had once been so impressed with her dancing that he told her that she danced like a serpent.  This was a big compliment in his mind, nut Mary Todd took it differently and was greatly offended.  Best not to get on Mary's bad side.

Dancing With the Serpent.  --Old Secesh

William Herndon Speaks About Abraham Lincoln-- Part 2: Undisciplined Kids

According to Herndon, Lincoln had a great dislike for anything manual labor saying his father had taught him to work, but had not taught him to like it.  Above all else, Lincoln's two sons, Tad and Willie, drove him crazy.  Lincoln would bring them to work and get absorbed in something and completely ignore them.  They responded by running rampant over the office, screaming and yelling as well as overturning things.

They were spoiled and lacked discipline and out of control.  And there sat Lincoln, completely oblivious.

Herndon's relationship with Mrs. Lincoln was nonexistent.  She hated him and Herndon described her as a "a whole other can of worms."

Me No Like.  --Old Secesh

William Herndon Speaks About Abraham Lincoln-- Part 1: "Billy"

From the joint meetings of the McHenry County Historical Society and Civil War Round Table.

William Herndon was the junior partner in the Lincoln-Herndon law office and Lincoln always called him "Billy."  Lincoln, despite Herndon's junior status, always divided fees equally.  Lincoln was never particular about what food he ate, nor was he much on how he dressed.

His trousers almost invariably were too short.

While on the circuit court and traveling, Lincoln used a carpet bag to carry his papers and changes of underwear.  Back in Springfield, Lincoln would arrive at the office most days at around 9 a.m., then proceed to lie down on the sofa and read the newspaper which invariably was done aloud, much to "Billy's" consternation.  That drove him crazy, but Lincoln said that reading aloud helped him remember what he read as he had not only seen the news, but heard it as well.

--Old Secesh

Friday, April 17, 2015

To Union, Illinois, for Lincoln Commemoration-- Part 3: The Story of the Story

Our Round Table president also said there was another man from Union who served in the House of Representatives in Springfield, Illinois, in 1861, and might have known Abraham Lincoln and William Herndon.

Abraham Lincoln was a mentor and friend to William Herndon.  They knew each other for 15 years and Herndon was a partner with Lincoln in the law firm in Springfield.

Years after Lincoln's death, Herndon decided the time was right to write a biography of Lincoln and he set about finding and interviewing as many people as he could to write the "real" story.  he found that he was not a very good writer and enlisted a professional writer to help him.

Herndon could help with the law office aspect of Lincoln's life but realized that was essentially boring, just law, other than his interactions with Lincoln there.

--Old Secesh

Thursday, April 16, 2015

To Union for Lincoln Commemoration-- Part 2: Why We Meet Here

April 14, 2015

There was a full house in the former gymnasium of the school that serves as the McHenry County Historical Society's Museum in Union.  This was a joint meeting of the historical society and the McHenry County Civil War Round Table, to which I belong.  MCCWRT members got in for free with their membership cards.

Our regular meetings are always the second Tuesday of the month, which today falls on the anniversary of Lincoln's assassination 150 years ago.  Quite the coincidence.  When our leaders saw this, they decided to do something special for it, and this was it.

Our president got up and spoke a few words.  He said it was right that we meet here for this commemoration as there is a huge Civil War flag in the side of the gym which was presented by the Spence family of McHenry.

In addition, there was a young man from Union who, when the war began, raised a company of soldiers from the Union/Marengo area and was elected captain.  Henry Wayne, 38,  left a wife and child to go off to war and was killed April 6, 1862 at the Battle of Shiloh.  His home still stands a few blocks from the museum.

--Old Secesh

To Union for Lincoln Commemoration-- Part 1: Checkers II and Mission

This past Tuesday, the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's assassination, this Old Rebel took a trip out to that strangely-named town of Union (Confederate would be better), Illinois, and heard an excellent presentation on William Herndon, a man who knew Abraham Lincoln well from his Springfield days.

The presentation started at 7 p.m., but I arrived in town at 5:30, intending to get a bite to eat at a local establishment.  At first I was considering Clasen's, which has been there for over 100 years, but had been there once before, so decided on Checker's II, noted for their German food.

The place was packed, so sat at the bar and talked with a guy about this past Thursday's storm.  He said he had been there (at Checkers) with another seven people and had ridden the storm out, but were ready to get into the crawl space had a tornado been seen (and was reported just a few miles away).

I ordered the German sausage platter and while waiting, got into a conversation with a woman who, as it turned out, was the Mommie of Mission.  Mission is Northern Illinois' current Huskie (NIU spelling) mascot.  She is a dog breeder and he lives with her when not doing Northern stuff.  That is one really spoiled dog.

--Old Secesh

McHenry Commemorates Lincoln's Assassination-- Part 2

In addition, William Herndon was an early member of the new Republican Party and mayor of Springfield, Illinois.

He wrote the two volume "Abraham Lincoln: The True Story of a Great Life.

Twenty-five years had passed since Lincoln's death when it was finally published.  Herndon wrote:  "Those who knew and walked with him are gradually passing away, and ere long the last man who ever heard his voice or grasped his hand will have gone from earth.

The presentation will be given at the McHenry County History Museum at 6422 Main Street in Union, Illinois.  A $10 donation is suggested.

--Old Secesh

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

McHenry County Civil War Round Table and Historical Society Look at Lincoln on Assassination Anniversary-- Part 1

From the April 10, 2015, Northwest Herald (McHenry County, Il.) "McHenry County Historical Society program looks at Lincoln in assassination anniversary."

This held in Union, Illinois, an appropriately named place to observe the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's assassination on April 14, 1865.

The McHenry County Historical Society and the McHenry County Civil War Round Table held a joint meeting on April 14th at the McHenry County History Museum in Union starting at 7 p.m. in observance of the anniversary.

Actor Ron Halverson, member of the Racine (Wis.) Theater Guild was selected by the Kenosha (Wis) Civil War Museum to portray Lincoln's friend and business partner William Herndon.  Herndon wrote a definitive biography of Abraham Lincoln in the 1890s and the presentation id based on its contents.

Herndon published "the first and arguably best account of Lincoln's life" in 1888.  He was the third and last of Lincoln's law practice partners.

--Old Secesh

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

"The Man Who Knew Lincoln" Presentation Tonight

From the McHenry County Civil War Round Table site.

Next General Meeting will be the Civil War Round Table and the McHenry County Historical Society present "The Man Who Knew Lincoln" presentation by Ron Halverson.

7 p.m. at the McHenry County Historical Society at 6422 Main Street in Union, Illinois.

Actor Ron Halverson will portray William Herndon in this program based on Herndon's biography of Lincoln.  Herndon was a law partner with Lincoln and close personal friend.

Ron will present his program at the Union Historical Museum (not at the Woodstock Library).  The general meetings of the MCCWRT are at the library.

I will be leaving shortly for it.

What With This Being the 150th Anniversary and All.  --Old Secesh

Ford's Theatre Reopened in 1968 After 103 Years Closed

I am listening to Fessa John Hook's Beach Music Reunion for 1968, where he counts down the top forty Beach Songs of that year.

He mentioned that in 1968, Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C. reopened for the first time in 103 years in 1968.

A definite tie-in with today's date.

A Sad day in U.S. History.  --Old Secesh

The Chicago Tribune Reports the End of the War-- Part 14: Prelude to Something Horrible

On the morning of April 14, 1865, Tribune readers woke up to read, "THE END OF THE WAR,"  and the fateful words, "The cruel war is well nigh over.  The republic has vindicated its integrity.  The Union was safe."

Sadly, the leader of the Union was not.

The celebration that day would be short-lived.  That very night, the calamitous event at Ford's Theatre would turn joy to sorrow and happiness to vengeance.

--Old secesh

The Chicago Tribune Reports the End of the War-- Part 13: Stop Further Bloodshed

More headlines from August 14, 1865.

Lee Going to Johnston to Stop Further Bloodshed.

Reported Defeat of Johnston's Forces.

The Capture of Selma---- Twenty-three Pieces of Artillery Taken.

Grant's Headquarters in Washington.

Interesting Details of Lee's Surrender.


Louis Napoleon Reported Dangerously Ill.

Of Course, This News in the Morning.  The Next Day Was a Whole Different Thing.  --Old Secesh

The Chicago Tribune Reports the End of the War, April 14, 1865-- Part 12: No More Draft

These were the headlines of the paper on the morning of April 14, 1865:



The Draft Stopped and No More Recruiting.


The Expenses of the Army and Numbers of Officers Reduced.


--Old Secesh

Monday, April 13, 2015

Cleveland Morning Leader Reports Victory Celebrations

From April 11, 1865:

New York--  Streets full of people celebrating.

Chicago--  Stores, courts and public offices nearly all closed.  Business entirely suspended.

Cincinnati--  200 guns fired at noon today, April 10th.

Washington, D.C.  Departments all closed on April 10th.  "Secretary Stanton expresses the opinion that there will be no more heavy fighting."

Indianapolis--  200 gun salute

Detroit--  At 3 o'clock thousands assembled and sang "The Star Spangled Banner" and other patriotic airs.  The city is most brilliantly illuminated.

--Old Secesh