National Geographic : 1952 Feb
Abe's early life. Of the Indiana years, he said, "We lived the same as the In dians, 'ceptin' we took an interest in politics and re ligion." William H. Herndon, the 16th President's last law . partner and early biog rapher, asked Dennis how he and Lincoln learned so much under such condi tions. Dennis answered: "We learned by sight, scent, and hearing. We heard all that was said, and talked over and over the questions heard, wore them slick, greasy, and threadbare." Across the Charleston fairgrounds we visited the site of the fourth Lincoln Douglas debate, September 18, 1858. A trainer was working out a harness racing horse on the dirt track (page 144). Here, 28 years after passing through as a poor immi grant, Lincoln returned as a candidate for the U. S. Senate. The town, in Holiday array, swarmed with visitors to hear "a plain common feller like the rest of us-Abe L;nkern" debate the polished Stephen A. Douglas. Lincoln lost the Senate race to Douglas, but in the debates he established many points which helped him win the Presidency two years later (page 145). Tom Lincoln died in 1851 in his cabin 8 miles south of Charleston. We drove across Goose Nest Prairie to the reconstructed home preserved in Lincoln Log Cabin State Park. The 162 National Geographic Photographer B. Anthony Stewart promise of rich land which Visitors Stroke the Lincoln Nose, Keep It Shiny the old pioneer saw here, Gutzon Borglum's heroic head at the Springfield tomb inspires almost but never realized for him everyone to touch the face (pages 179 and 180). self, was fulfilled all about us in yellow seas of wheat I must say, both now being dead, that Abe and green floods of corn and soy. was the best boy I ever saw, or ever expect Floods of water formed the topic of con to see." versation around the Charleston Square that Another rare soul associated with Abe for day. The rain we had driven through the many years was Dennis Hanks. His grave is afternoon before measured nearly three inches, near the western end of the fairgrounds in we learned. Farmers could not work their Charleston. He too outlived Lincoln and sodden fields, so they came to town to shop proved to be a source of information about and talk about the unseasonable weather.