Best Lincoln Stories Tersely Told
by J. E. Gallaher
Pub. in 1898


Lincoln Saved From Drowning.

The life of Lincoln during the time the family lived in Kentucky appears to have been entirely uneventful. He helped his mother—after he was 3 years old—in the simple household duties, went to the district school, and played with the children of the neighborhood. The only one of young Lincoln’s playmates now living is an old man nearly 100 years old named Austin Gollaher, whose mind is bright and clear, and who never tires of telling of the days Lincoln and he "were little tikes and played together." This old man, who yet lives in the log house in which he has always lived, a few miles from the old Lincoln place, tells entertaining stories about the President’s boyhood.

Mr. Gollaher says that they were together more than the other boys in school, that he became fond of his little friend, and he believed that Abe thought a great deal of him.

In speaking of various events of minor importance in their boyhood days Mr. Gollaher remarked: "I once saved Lincoln’s life." Upon being urged to tell of the occurrence he thus related it: "We had been going to school together one year; but the next year we had no school, because there were so few scholars to attend, there being only about twenty in the school the year before.

"Consequently Abe and I had not much to do; but, as we did not go to school and our mothers were strict with us, we did not get to see each other very often. One Sunday morning my mother waked me up early, saying she was going to see Mrs. Lincoln, and that I could go along. Glad of the chance, I was soon dressed and ready to go. After my mother and I got there Abe and I played all through the day.

"While we were wandering up and down the little stream called Knob Creek Abe said: ‘Right up there’—pointing to the east—‘we saw a covey of partridges yesterday. Let’s go over and get some of them.’ The stream was swollen and was too wide for us to jump across. Finally we saw a narrow foot-log, and we concluded to try it. It was narrow, but Abe said, ‘Let’s coon it.’

"I went first and reached the other side all right. Abe went about half-way across, when he got scared and began trembling. I hollered to him, ‘Don’t look down nor up nor sideways, but look right at me and hold on tight!’ But he fell off into the creek, and, as the water was about seven or eight feet deep and I could not swim, and neither could Abe, I knew it would do no good for me to go in after him.

"So I got a stick—a long water sprout—and held it out to him. He came up, grabbing with both hands, and I put the stick into his hands. He clung to it, and I pulled him out on the bank almost dead. I got him by the arms and shook him well, and then rolled him on the ground, when the water poured out of his mouth.

"He was all right very soon. We promised each other that we would never tell anybody about it, and did for years. I never told any one of it until after Lincoln was killed."

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