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history lesson

Posted Nov 21 2007 12:00am

My family fought on both sides of the Civil War and Lincoln is in our family history. My great great grandmother, Laura Onstott, is the niece of Henry Onstott. Henry owned a cooper store in New Salem, Illinois and he was a friend of Abe Lincoln.

these are some interesting sites that mention my ancestors and Lincoln.

http://showcase.netins.net/web/creative/lincoln/sites/salem.htm

http://www.abelincoln.com/orginal/sc-26.htm

Dear SirThrough Mr. Kincaid, Mason City, I learn you have Life of Abraham Lincoln Written by William Herndon the first edition not his Revised, as I have that in two volumes. I mean the First Edition. If you have it I should like much to see it and read it. I suppose you know who I am. R. J. Onstott Born at New Salem Dec 1830 that was before Abraham Lincoln came down the Sangamon River with Offit on the flat boat on their trip to New Orleans. I know the Publisher destroy all of this first Edition if they can get a hold of it. I know there is not anything in the first Edition about the Story of Ann Rutledge being Lincoln's sweet heart. This could not be for My Father Henry Onstott bought the Tavern of Jas Rutledge in 1833 and Jas Rutledge Moved down to Concord 6 miles north of New Salem and the Rutledges did not live in New Salem after that. So all the Story is a lie out of Whole Cloth. It is to refute thees lies that I want to get this first Edition. I remember very well when Ann Rutledge died. My Father went to see her and the Family about two weeks before she died. I know that Lincoln did go to see her once at her request as others did but he did go to her funeral.The Salem Chautaqa got me to Plat New Salem and Publish it to Preserve it and I will send you Copy of it and ask you to accept have it framed. I also send a...I was not a Soldier on account of being Ruptured lifting on a Lincoln Pole at Havana Ills in 1860. Ran as Mail Agent from Pekin to Virginia every day till 1863. I am the only one now living of the 9 who originated and organized the Union League at Pekin Illinois in 1862. I have now in my Safe all of the Ritual and Working of League which I shall soon Publish.
Let me hear from you soon.

Very rushed,R. J. Onstott, Snow busy


The letter was part of a collection of papers obtained from the Kincaid family of Illinois. Lincoln boarded with Onstott at the Rutledge Inn. It was in the Onstott's cooper shop that Isaac Onstott, R. J.'s brother, fed shavings to the fire which Lincoln read by when he studied surveying. It was from Henry Onstott that Lincoln borrowed the auger to bore the hole in the bottom of the flat boat that was hung up on the New Salem Dam.

And that concludes your history lesson for today...

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