Contributed by Gigimo
Description: Reminiscences of LINCOLN. Some of the Stories Jesse BAKER, of Crane Creek, Tells.Date: May 2 1878
Newspaper published in: Cairo, Illinois
A writer in the Havana Democrat of the 19th, gives the following reminiscences, which will awaken in very many of our "grey beards" (Ex-President LINCOLN'S old friends and neighbors) memories of the long, long ago. The writer says:
"Having been informed that Mr. Jesse BAKER, of Crane Creek, lived near old Salem, when our assassinated President "kept store" in that ancient burg, I pilgrimated to Uncle Jesse's commodious residence, some weeks ago, and found a rich mine of historical wealth. After stating my errand, the venerable octogenarian cast his eyes on a large portrait of Abraham LINCOLN, which decorated the parlor, and proceeded to relate, among others, the following: When LINCOLN first came to Salem, the people didn't like him very well, for he was a terrible uncouth youngster, but they got to like him mighty smart shortly after. He was the honestest storekeeper they ever had on the Sangamon. He was a great fellow to joke, and was eternally a-studying some book. My father and a couple of other old settlers made up some money to buy some books for him. I often bet with young LINCOLN on horse races and turkey shootings, but whenever he lost I offered him the money, but he said: 'No, no, Jesse; you won the money honestly, and I don't take it back.' LINCOLN was a great friend of the RUTLEGE family. He took a great liking to Annie, and she never kept company with anybody else. Abe and her were engaged to be married, but, she died, and LINCOLN took it so much to heart that we thought he would go crazy. He wrote mournful verses from Burns' poems with chalk on the fences, and hummed sad songs for a long while. He finally got married to Mary TODD, for whose father I run a whisky distillery for some time. Mary TODD was a nice girl, but she couldn't hold a candle to Ann RUTLEDGE. I helped LINCOLN survey some land on Quiver. That stream used to be called 'Little Mackinaw," until I named it Quiver, because it was so quivering. While LINCOLN surveyed some government lands in Mason county, a constable levied on his compass and other instruments for debt, and he would have sold or taken 'em along if I hadn't advanced money enough to kill the debt. Abe paid me back the money as soon as he had it. The first plea that he made was for me, and it was in the Salem store. Some of us lively fellows had been on a spree to Springfield, when I set one fellow's new coat on fire. He had me arrested and tried, but LINCOLN cleared me, and the burnt coat fellow had to pay the drinks for the crowd.
"After listening to Mr. BAKER a few hours, I thankfully departed, after he informed me, in a comic way, that he was the oldest man and the biggest snake killer in Mason county, and that he slaughtered cartloads of wolves."