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April 14 , 2011

Lincoln’s Old Friends of Menard County, Illinois


At the age of twenty-two, Abraham Lincoln arrived in New Salem, Illinois, as a “strange, friendless, uneducated, penniless boy” (in his own words). He did not remain friendless for long. Meet the community that welcomed him: Bennett and Elizabeth Abell, the couple who guided him through heartache; Mary Owens, Elizabeth Abell’s sister who helped educate him in the realm of the heart; Mentor Graham, the schoolmaster who helped teach him; Bowling Green, the jolly justice of the peace who allowed Lincoln to practice law before his court; and Slicky Bill Greene, who clerked with Lincoln at a frontier dry goods store. Making good use of primary sources overlooked by many historians, Dale Thomas helps flesh out the important story of Lincoln’s formative years in Menard County.

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