“Sixty Dollars to Make the Trip to New Orleans, March,1831”

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Denton Offut, a brisk and venturesome business man, whose operations extended up and down the Sangamon river for many miles. Having heard glowing reports of John Hanks’ successful experience as a boatman in Kentucky he had come down the river to engage the latter’s services to take a boatload of stock and provisions to New Orleans. “He wanted me to go badly,” observes Hanks, “but I waited awhile before answering. I hunted up Abe, and I introduced him and John Johnston, his step-brother, to Offut. After some talk we at last made an engagement with Offut at fifty cents a day and sixty dollars to make the trip to New Orleans.

Abe and I came down the Sangamon river in a canoe in March, 1831; landed at what is now called Jamestown, five miles east of Springfield, then known as Judy’s Ferry.” Here Johnston joined them, and, leaving their canoe in charge of one Uriah Mann, they walked to Springfield, where after some inquiry they found the genial and enterprising Offut regaling himself with the good cheer dispensed at “The Buckhorn” inn. This hostelry, kept by Andrew Elliot, was the leading place of its kind in the then unpretentious village of Springfield. The figure of a buck’s head painted on a sign swinging in front of the house gave rise to its name. Offut had agreed with Hanks to have a boat ready for him and his two companions at the mouth of Spring creek on their arrival, but too many deep potations with the new-comers who daily thronged about the “Buckhorn” had interfered with the execution of his plans, and the boat still remained in the womb of the future.

Offut met the three expectant navigators on their arrival, and deep were his regrets over his failure to provide the boat. The interview resulted in the trio engaging to make the boat themselves. From what was known as “Congress land” they obtained an abundance of timber, and by the aid of the machinery at Kirkpatrick’s mill they soon had the requisite material for their vessel. While the work of construction was going on a shanty was built in which they were lodged. Lincoln was elected cook, a distinction he never underestimated for a moment. Within four weeks the boat was ready to launch. Offut was sent for, and was present when she slid into the water.
By William H. Herndon,Jesse W. Weik  “Herndon’s Lincoln: A True Story of a Great Life” 

One thought on ““Sixty Dollars to Make the Trip to New Orleans, March,1831”

    Experiences « Abraham Lincoln said:
    May 4, 2018 at 22:55

    […] Sixty Dollars To Make The Trip To New Orleans,March,1831 […]

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