Daily Story Page – Civil Liberties

Daily Story

Speaking of conflicts between civil and military authorities, Lincoln asked: “What has become of our old friend Bob Lewis, of DeWitt county? Do you remember a story that Bob used to tell us about his going to Missouri to look up some Mormon lands that belonged to his father? You know that when Robert became of age he found among the papers of his father a number of warrants and patents for lands in Northeast Missouri, and he concluded the best thing he could do was to go to Missouri and investigate the condition of things. It being before the days of railroads, he started on horseback, with a pair of old-fashioned saddle-bags. When he arrived where he supposed his land was situated, he stopped, hitched his horse, and went into a cabin standing close by the roadside. He found the proprietor, a lean, lank, leathery looking man, engaged in the pioneer business of making bullets preparatory to a hunt. Mr. Lewis observed, on entering, a rifle suspending in a couple of buck horns above the fire. He said to the man: “I am looking up some lands that I think belong to my father,” and inquired of the man in what section he lived. Without having ascertained the section, Mr. Lewis proceeded to exhibit his title papers in evidence, and, having established a good title, as he though, said to the man: “Now, that is my title. What is yours?” The pioneer, who had by this time become somewhat interested in the proceedings, pointed his long finger toward the rifle. Said he: “Young man, do you see that gun? ” Mr. Lewis frankly admitted that he did. “Well,’ said he, “that is my title, and if you don’t get out of here pretty d__d quick, you will feel the force of it.”

Allen Thorndike Rice, Reminiscences of Abraham Lincoln, p. 211-213.