When Lincoln lived in Illinois (New Salem) he wore trousers made of flax and tow cut tight at the ankles and out at both knees. Though a very poor young man he was universally welcomed in every house of the neighborhood. Money was so scarce in those days that it is known that Lincoln once split 400 rails for every yard of brown jeans, dyed with white walnut bark, that would be necessary to make him a pair of trousers.
Armstrong’s friends rushed to his rescue, and for a time it seemed as if Lincoln would be mobbed. But he held his own bravely and all alone, and by his daring excited the admiration of even those whose sympathies were with young Armstrong. What at one time seemed to result in a general fight resulted in a general handshake, even "Jack" Armstrong declaring that Lincoln was "the best fellow who ever broke into camp."