Daily Story Page – Sam Brown’s Credit

Daily Story

[The Detroit Free Press, 9 January 1898, interviews 88-year-old Richard W. Thompson who recalls AL’s opinion of one claim:] I will say of your case that it suggests to me a story I once heard about Sam Brown, lawyer, in Illinois. This fellow could not make a living for himself and family by practicing law, so he decided to enter the merchandising business. In pursuance of this purpose he ordered a large bill of goods from an eastern firm. The firm at once wired its western correspondent in regard to Sam Brown’s credit. The correspondent replied that Sam was worth over $100,000 and gave the following itemized statements of his possessions.

“He has a beautiful wife, with black hair and lustrous eyes; I should say she is worth $50,000. He has two children, one a little girl, who is the image of her mother, and the other a bright and amiable boy. The girl is worth at least $25,000 and if the boy were mine you could not buy him for $50,000. Besides these objects of value, Mr. Brown has an old table worth 25 cents, an inkstand worth 10 cents and a pocket-knife 5 cents. But, over and above all I have named, Sam has, in the corner of his office, a great big rat hole that is worth looking into.”

Emanuel Hertz, Anecdotes By & About Abraham Lincoln, p. 116.