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The village had been alarmed by this time, and many people had come down to the bank. He called all hands to come and help roll the log into the water, and after this had been done, he with the assistance of several others towed it some distance up the stream.A daring young fellow by the name of ‘Jim’ Dorrel then took his seat on the end of the log, and it was pushed out into the current, with the expectation that it would be carried down stream against the tree where Seamon and Carman were.” “The log was well directed and went straight to the tree.
Carman had the paddle and Seamon was in the stern of the boat.
Lincoln shouted to them to ‘head up stream’ and ‘work back to shore,’ but they found themselves powerless against the stream.” “At last they began to pull for the wreck of an old flatboat, the first ever built on the Sangamon, which had sunk and gone to pieces, leaving one of the stanchions sticking above the water.
They were working for Allen’s father, a local merchant.
Writing of himself in the third person, Lincoln recalled: “He was a hired hand merely; and he and a son of the owner, with out other assistance, made the trip.
Just as they reached it Seamon made a grab, and caught hold of the stanchion, when the canoe capsized, leaving Seamon clinging to the old timber, and throwing Carman into the stream. Lincoln raised his voice above the roar of the flood and yelled to Carman to swim for an old tree which stood almost in the channel, which the action of the high water had changed.” “Carman, being a good swimmer, succeeded in catching a branch and pulled himself up out of the water, which was very cold and had almost chilled him to death; and there he sat shivering and chattering in the tree.
Lincoln, seeing Carman safe, called out to Seamon to let go the stanchion and swim for the tree.With some hesitation he obeyed and struck out, while Lincoln cheered and directed him from the bank.As Seamon neared the tree, he made one grab for a branch, and missing it, went under the water.This episode may have stirred young Lincoln’s interest in the law; it might have also predisposed him to read Constable Thomas Turnham’s copy of The Statues of Indiana with unusual avidity.” There, Lincoln was introduced to the texts of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.In the spring of 1829, Lincoln went down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers in a flatboat with friend Allen Gentry – transporting produce and hogs to New Orleans.(Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1922) Lincoln and the Water Illinois and Michigan Canal 1837 Internal Improvements Legislation The Legislature in 1838 State Legislature in 1839-1840 The State Legislature in 1840-1841 Rivers and Harbors Convention Internal Improvements Speech Lincoln and Railroads Illinois Central Railroad Rock Island Bridge Case Transcontinental Railroad Lincoln and the Water By 1829, Abraham Lincoln saw his future on the river.The 20-year-old may also have seen rivers as his path to economic freedom. “Uncle I want you to go to the [Ohio] River -and give me Some recommendation to some boat.” When the neighbor noted that Lincoln was not yet 21, young Lincoln replied: “I Know that, but I want a start.” Lincoln’s lifelong fascination with rivers began early and was deeply personal.No sooner had his boat touched the bank than he was roughly seized by Dill and his brother Lin, who had been hidden in the bushes.In vehement language they accused Lincoln of interfering with a licensed ferry by transporting passengers for hire and announced their intention to ‘duck’ him in the river then and there.Lincoln had started rowing customers back and forth across the Ohio River to Kentucky. Townsend wrote: “One day, just as Lincoln had made one of these trips, he was hailed from the opposite side by John T.Dill, who operated the ferry near this point, and in response to the signal Lincoln rowed over to the Kentucky shore.