Each story in this rare and beautiful heirloom collection reveals the servant heart of President Lincoln, his dedication to the people who served him, and his homespun humor and wisdom. These are the stories that build character and inspire conviction in those who read and hear them. Gathered for the very purpose of being passed from generation to generation, these delightful stories will become favorites of adults and children alike—as parents and grandparents read them again and again to their children and grandchildren. Collected over a lifetime from old magazines and publications—most published between the 1880s and the 1950s—these stories tell of the personal life of Lincoln, his tumultuous years during the Civil War, and the impact he had on the people who met him.
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.20(d)|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Abraham Lincoln Civil War Stories
JOSEPH LEININGER WHEELER
Yes, it has taken that long for this collection of stories about Lincoln to become a reality. One hundred of it being our family contributions. My late mother, Barbara Leininger Wheeler (born in 1912), spent her entire lifetime collecting and performing (as a stage-performing elocutionist) thousands of pages of short stories, poetry, and readings. And she loved Lincoln more than all the rest of our presidents put together. In this, she is anything but unique, for it is still true today, of all age groups, that Lincoln dominates the presidential market. Just look at the rows and rows of books about Lincoln on bookstore shelves.
Most Americans don’t realize that the same phenomenon remains true for short stories written about Lincoln. Reason being that few people know they even exist! In fact, I did an exhaustive search through generations of high school literature textbooks to see how many Lincoln stories have been picked up by textbook editors. I found only two: one, a chapter from Carl Sandburg’s monumental biography of Lincoln’s life, and the other, Bailey and Walworth’s “He Loved Me Truly.”
One reason for this is that most Lincoln stories weren’t written by academics but by men and women from America’s heartland, and they were kept alive by oral tradition. At virtually every school, civic, or church function, elocutionists of all ages would recite the most beloved stories, poems, and readings of the age. Sadly, today that tradition is all but extinct.
Indeed, up until the late 1800s, it was virtually a given that if a public speaker, politician, or minister alluded to any of three works (the Bible, Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, or the McGuffey Readers), most everyone, young or old, in the audience would catch the allusion. That is no longer true. Just watch the Jeopardy! programs each evening: There is no longer any cultural denominator that our culture shares. Not even the Bible. In cultural tests I’ve administered to various groups through the years, the only two genres that register at all on people’s radar screens are sports and media trivia.
First of all, they survived through oral transmission. Virtually all of them are based on true incidents in Lincoln’s life. During the first couple of generations after his passing, these stories thrived in the American heartland, many being passed down from one elocutionist to another. However, not until the 1880s did very many get written down.
In my own lifetime spent searching (as a story archeologist) for these precious vanishing Lincoln stories (they continue to crumble out of existence with each day that passes), I have found stories 1) still in the oral tradition, 2) handwritten, 3) carbons, 4) typewritten, 5) spirit-duplicated (if you’re older you’ll remember purple fingers and hands), 6) mimeographed (such a gooey mess to work with!), 7) printed, 8) computer-typed, and, of course, 9) clipped out of magazines, newspapers, and books. If you were to paw through my story archives, you’d find them all! Early magazine editors did the most to keep these stories alive. I unearthed the majority of the strongest Lincoln stories in older magazines. And now, with print increasingly on the defensive, surviving copies are increasingly harder to find.
At the very pinnacle of my personal bucket list is this: Put together a definitive collection of the most memorable Lincoln stories ever written before I die. And this collection is the result. I know of no other person who has ever amassed a comparable collection.
If you check the acknowledgments, you’ll discover that the bulk of the surviving Lincoln stories were printed during the period I call the Golden Age of Stories (1880s through the 1950s). Ever since television and the digital age thundered in upon us, the magazines that enabled writers to earn a living by specializing in stories that internalized core values have, one after another, been forced to either close their doors or specialize in contemporary social media instead.
It is my earnest hope that you will discover in these simple but moving stories answers to some of your own deeper questions about life and its meaning. In these stories—far more than in Lincoln history and biography—you will begin to understand why Lincoln continues to grow in stature around the world. And you will find virtually everything in these stories amazingly relevant to today’s day-to-day problems and challenges.
You may wish to access my recent biography, Abraham Lincoln: A Man of Faith and Courage (New York: Howard/Simon & Schuster, 2008), so that you may better understand life and times during the bloodiest war in our history. Many years of my life went into the evolution of that biography, written not just for the academic or historian but for the average person who seeks to find in but one book the essence of our greatest American.
So welcome aboard! I would love to hear from you, and especially about your reactions to these stories. You may reach me at:
Joe L. Wheeler, Ph.D.
P.O. Box 1246
Conifer, CO 80433
Table of Contents
Preface to Second Edition, 2017 xv
"Lincoln, the Man of the People" Edwin Markham xvii
Why Lincoln Matters Today xix
"It Took More Than 150 Years" Joseph Leininger Wheeler xxiii
Part 1 The Frontier Years: The Early World of Abraham Lincoln 3
Lincoln Storiettes: The People Remember 5
"How Lincoln Paid for His First Book" Earle H. James 17
"Childhood in Lincoln's Town" Octavia Roberts Corneau 21
"He Loved Me Truly" Bernadine Bailey Dorothy Walworth 29
Part 2 Civil War-The Early Years: "Once to Every Man and Nation" James Russell Lowell 37
"Countdown to the Civil War" Joseph Leininger Wheeler 39
"Three Hundred Thousand More" James Sloan Gibbons 43
"Stalemate" Joseph Leininger Wheeler 45
"When Lincoln Passed" Mabel McKee 53
"The Strength Conquered" T. Morris Longstreth 65
"More Than His Share" Author Unknown 81
"Boys in the White House" Ruth Painter Randall Joseph Leininger Wheeler 89
"The Tall Stranger" Arthur Somerset 97
"The Missionary Money" Olive Vincent Marsh 107
"Just Folks" Mary Wells 111
"The Sleeping Sentinel" L. E. Chittenden 121
"Lincoln and the Little Drummer Boy" Roe L. Hendrick 137
"Only a Mother" Author Unknown 141
"A Schoolboy's Interview with Abraham Lincoln" William Agnew Paton 145
Part 3 Civil War-The Later Years: "Battle-Hymn of the Republic" Julia Ward Howe 153
"High Tide at Gettysburg" Joseph Leininger Wheeler 155
"Across the Great Plains Just to See Lincoln" Caroline B. Parker 159
"A Lesson in Forgiveness" T. Morris Longstreth 167
"Ransom's Papers" Mary Wells 183
"Tad Lincoln" Wayne Whipple 197
"The Heart of Lincoln" Louis B. Reynolds 205
"The Perfect Tribute" Mary Raymond Shipman Andrews 209
"Mary Bowman, of Gettysburg" Elsie Singmaster 227
"Tad Lincoln's Goat" Seth Harmon 247
"President Lincoln's Visiting Card" John M. Bullock 255
"Tenderness in a Ruined City" Louis B. Reynolds 271
"Memory of Lincoln" Carta Brown 275
Part 4 To Live on in Hearts Is Not to Die: "O Captain! My Captain!" Walt Whitman 283
"The Living Myth" Joseph Leininger Wheeler 285
"A Boy Who Loved Lincoln" Kathleen Reed Coontz 289
"A Decision That Took Courage" John L. Roberts 301
"Captain, My Captain" Elizabeth Frazer 309
"Abraham Lincoln's Rose" Isabel Nagel 325
"He Knew Lincoln" Ninde Harris 333
"Mr. Lincoln, I Love You!" M. L. O'Hara 343
Epilogue: "Personal Memories of Abraham Lincoln" Robert Brewster Stanton 349