Site hosted by Build your free website today!

The Page Begins Here

Echoes: Abraham Lincoln the Miller

A model of the combination grist and saw mill in New Salem.

Jason Duncan, a Vermont native who practiced medicine in the village, recalled seeing Lincoln working in the mill. He said that when he first met him, Lincoln "used to unload sacks of wheat from farmers wagons, measure out and settle with them for the same, this I believe he followed as long as Offit continued proprietor of the Mill."

Some Millers will tell you, the reason why Abraham Lincoln was known as "Honest Abe," was because he was an "Honest Miller."

An "Honest Miller" was something to spread the word to others in the community about............
According to traditional legend, it says that Lincoln walked all night in bad weather to return two cents that were over charged. In reality, it was two cents that was over charged in a toll that was collected from the grist mill operation and not the general store.

Abraham Lincoln the Miller

According to early American letters and records gradually being fitted together, the premature death of George Washington, first president of the United States, was due to great measure to his insistence on an inspection trip during inclement weather to his mill.

Note: George Washington, who inherited a flour and grist mill from his brother, installed the improvements of Oliver Evans into the mill. However, in a thirty year period, he had three drunken millers, one after another. Every time George Washington turned around, the miller went across the road to the whiskey distillery. Ships would come to the wharf waiting for barrels of flour to ship them to the West Indies, but where was the drunken miller? When ever George Washington was away from home (in the service of his country) he would ask in every letter how it the mill doing? When ever he was at home at Mount Vernon, George Washington had to make daily trips to inspect the mill and check on the miller. George Washington got caught is a bad sleet and rain storm, got strep throat, and died as a result of the cures of the day.

The February both date of Abraham Lincoln (as will as George Washington) made timely Wheat Flour Institutes's story in its February Food Facts, on Lincoln's brief career as a flour miller in New Salem, Illinois. Not a flour mill owner as Washington was (or Thomas Jefferson an John Quincy Adams), Lincoln nevertheless less had some unusual mill emergencies to face. As related by C. P. Casey, "It was from the original mill dam that Lincoln in April, 1832, demonstrated his ingenuity in floating Denton Offutt's flat boat after it became stranded with a load of grain, flour, barreled and live port and other merchandise which had set out to deliver in New Orleans. Lincoln and his crew shifted the cargo forward, and with several of the local citizens as added ballast, tilted the boat forward over the dam and drained the water out through an auger hole which he then plugged . During the delay, Offutt became convinced that New Salem was a suitable location to operate a store.

"Lincoln returned to New Salem in July of that year and help erect the store which he later managed. Offutt, with an eye to future traffic located his stone close to the mill, for in these days the grinding was slow and frequently farmers would wait for hours to get their grinding done. Their horses, loaded with a few bushes of grain, were tethered nearby, sometimes as many as 20 in a line. Offutt soon saw the advisability of operating the mill as well as the store so leased it and put Lincoln, his right hand man, in charge.

"The mill, built in 1829 by James Rutledge and his nephew John Cameron, was supported on rock filled foundations right in the Sangannon River. Two great wheels were installed, one to saw logs and the other to grind grain. The wheel that powered the saw mill was a turbine which rotated on a vertical shaft with the swift flow of the water through an opening in the dam. The second wheel which transmitted its power to the stone burrs was undershot, and turned by the flow of water against the blades.

"Lincoln came to New Salem as a stranger. He left with the good wishes of a host of friends. He had demonstrated a capacity for leadership which he, himself, could only suspect in 1831. During his six years in New Salem, Lincoln clerked in stores, operated a flour mill, served as postmaster, enlisted in the Black Hawk War, studied law, entered politics and courted Ann Rutledge. In the future he was to grow beyond, but never away form his associates of New Salem days."

The first move toward recrating New Salem was made in 1906. During 1910, more than 250,000 visitors from all parts of the country visited New Salem State Park, near Springfield, Illinois, to witness the construction work that is underway to restore the "New Salem of 1830" where some of the most important chapters of Abraham Lincoln's life were lived. These visitors have seen homes, the stores, and the flour mill which now is more than half completed.

From a copy of a page out of an old flour milling journal, no date or page number known.

"Honest Abe"
Abraham (Enloe, Jr.) Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln, himself knew that he was the son of Abraham Enloe and Nancy Hanks. Lincoln said, "My mother is from Rutherford County, and my right name is Enloe, but I have always gone by the name of my stepfather." Abraham himself knew that people would refuse to vote for him if they knew he was illegitimate, and that his mother was also illegitimate (her mother's name was Lucy Hanks, and her father's name was Michael Tanner), and thus the log cabin myth was created and the false birth year of 1809. Abraham (Enloe, Jr.) Lincoln was born February 12, 1804 on Puzzle Creek farm near Bostic, Rutherford County, North Carolina. Like George Washington and the "Cherry Tree Stories," only smallest fraction of the truth about Abraham Lincoln was also made into stories that make good reading for young people. One story illustrates the supernatural powers of the small boy, Abe Lincoln, as told by a schoolmate, Austin Gallaher. Austin says, "Abe often went to the mill, carrying a half bushel of corn,m and after it was ground he carried it back seven miles on his shoulder, making a fourteen mile trip" Austin Gallaher (also spelled Gollaher) said that young Abe was "running around the floor" at his folks wedding. He also said, "He was eight year, when he fell into the creek, this being in the year of 1812, (saved Abe from drowning when he was eight and Austin was 11 years old,) this boy was two years old when his mother was married, and he may have been six months old when he was taken from North Carolina, but it is not likely that he was older." And the majority of historians, believe he did this. It is historical camouflage of fact and date fixing in the professional writings of Abraham Lincoln creating the myth of "Honest Abe." He never mentioned the story extensively told in Kentucky about "Little Abraham riding away from the wedding between his mother and Thomas Lincoln."

What was the "Lincoln mystery" that Robert Todd Lincoln held secret in the "Little Box" was it the truth about the Abraham Lincoln ancestry or the truth about who really assassinated President Abraham Lincoln. The story says that Robert Todd Lincoln his these papers in one of the columns that was beginning built in the Pension Building in Washington, D. C.

Source: "The Eugenics of President Abraham Lincoln, His German-Scotch Ancestry Irrefutably Established from Recent Discovered Documents," by James Caswell Coggins, Goodwell Press, Milligan College, Tennessee, 1940, "Haunted Washington," and other National Park Service publications.

This page is presented by Theodore R. Hazen & Pond Lily Mill Restorations

Return to Home Page

Copyright 2002 by T. R. Hazen