Archive for February 11th, 2009

Abraham Lincoln: Industrious, Clever, Ugly

February 11, 2009



Travels All the Way from Berlin for This Year’s Celebration.

Here is a new Lincoln story that has never been published. It was told to a Chicago man a few weeks ago by a gentleman living in Berlin, Germany:

Two hero worshipers had long desired to meet Abraham Lincoln, but when they coveted privilege was finally granted they were unspeakably disappointed in the personality of the rail-splitting President. They gazed at him in silence and then one of them exclaimed in a dissatisfied voice:

“Why, Lincoln is just a common looking man like us!”

“The great emancipator turned to the speaker and said genially:

“Yes, my friend, but I have the consolation of knowing that God loves common looking men!”

“How do you make that out?” queried the other interestedly.

“Oh, because he made so many of them!”



She Married Him Because He Was the Ugliest Man She Ever Saw.

Mr. Lincoln used to take great delight in telling how he gained a knife by his ugly looks. That story has been published, but I have not seen another in print, telling how he gained his wife, says a well-known writer. Mrs. Lincoln was a beautiful lady, attractive, sharp, witty and relished a joke even at her own expense. She was staying with her sister, Mrs. Edwards. She had not been there long before everybody knew Miss Mary Todd. She often said: “When a girl I thought I would not marry until I could get one of the handsomest men in the country, but since I became a woman I learned I can’t get such men, which has caused me to change my mind. I have concluded to marry the ugliest-looking man I can find.”

Later on Lincoln came to town. She had never seen him before she met him on the street. She was told who he was and went home and told her sister she had seen her man., “the ugliest man I ever saw — Abraham Lincoln — and I am going to set my cap for him.” That became a common saying in street gossip. When they were married, instead of taking a bridal trip, they went to a hotel and took board at $4 a week.

When he got able he bought a lot for $200, and built a four-roomed house costing less than $1,000. When he received $5,000 from his great railroad case he spent $1,500 of it in putting a second story on his house, and there he lived until he went to Washington.


Lincoln’s Logic.

It is said that Lincoln’s acuteness in analysis and logical powers were traceable to his complete mastery of Euclid’s propositions. Certainly whenever he attempted to prove or disprove a thing he did it. A story told by United States Judge C.G. Foster, and printed in the Syracuse Standard, illustrates his logical faculty.

In the winter before Lincoln was nominated for President he visited Kansas, and made speeches at Troy and Atchison. At the hotel in Atchison where he stayed, Gen. Stringfellow, John A. Martin and Judge Foster called upon him. In the course of the conversation Mr. Lincoln turned to Gen. Stringfellow, who played a prominent part in the effor to bring Kansas into the Union as a slave State.

“Gen. Stringfellow,” he said., “you pro-slavery fellows gave as one reason why slavery should not be prohibited in Kansas that only the negro could break up the tough prairie sod. Now, I’ve broken hundreds of acres of prairie sod in my time, and the only question which remains to be decided is whether I am a white man or a negro.”

Gen. Stringfellow laughingly admitted the force of the quaint argument, and congratulated Mr. Lincoln upon his pointed, logical way of putting things.



How the Immortal “Abe” Won His Early Successes at the Bar.

A suit was brought in the United States Court in Springfield against a citizen for an infringement of a patent right. Mr. Lincoln went to the most skilled architect in the city, inquired how he spent his winter evenings, and received the reply: “If time are brisk I sometimes work; otherwise I have no special business.” Mr. Lincoln said: “I have a patent right case in court; I want you as a partner, and will divide fees. I know nothing about mechanics — never made it a study. I want you to make a list of the best works on mechanism, as I don’t suppose they can be purchased here. I will furnish the money, and you can send to Chicago or New York for them. I want you to come to my house one night each week and give me instructions.” In a short time he had witnesses to meet him, and they were thoroughly drilled. When the trial commenced, Mr. Lincoln put his questions at the cross-examination so scientifically that many witnesses were bothered to reply. When his witnesses were put on the stand, so skillful were his questions that the court, the jury and the bar wondered how “Abe” Lincoln knew so much about mechanism. His witnesses could reply promptly. He gained the suit and a reputation such that Mr. Lincoln was sustained in every patent right case brought into that court, up to the time he went to Washington. He went to Chicago, St. Louis, Iowa, Ohio, Kentucky and Michigan to try patent right cases, and the last year of his practice did little else. –Thomas Lewis’ “Recollections of Lincoln,” in Leslie’s Weekly.

The Daily Herald (Chicago, Illinois) Feb 9, 1901

Parsing a Kiss

February 11, 2009


He Kissed Me.

According to an Ohio paper, this is how a high school girl recently parsed the sentence, “He kissed me.” “He,” she began, with a fond lingering over the word that brought crimson to her cheeks, “is a pronoun, third person, singular number, masculine gender, a gentleman and pretty well fixed; universally considered a good catch! ‘Kissed’ is a verb, transitive, too much so, regular every evening, indicative mood, indicating affection; first and third persons, plural number and governed by circumstances. ‘Me’ — Oh! well everybody knows me.” And she sat down.

Indiana Progress (Indiana, Pennsylvania) Feb 12, 1896

Charles A. Bonfils, Husband of Winifred Black aka “Annie Laurie”

February 11, 2009

In my previous post, “Diary of a WWI Canteen Worker,” the author of the diary excerpts mentioned Charles A. Bonfils.

This first article is just something sort of random,  but following are a few articles about his first wife, Winifred Black, who also wrote under the pen name of Annie Laurie.

Excerpt from “I Remember,” by Les Claypool, in which he writes about some premonitions he had during his life, including one regarding Charles Bonfils.

Declines Trip

In 1914 I was editor of the Kansas City Weekly Post. I was planning to take some time out soon to go to Europe with Charles A. Bonfils, editor of the Daily Post. I had made reservations and all other arrangements in so far as that was possible.

One morning, on the way to work, I had a strange feeling of depression. I had the feeling that I should not go to Europe. I told Mr. Bonfils that I was canceling out and he insisted on being told why.

“I can’t tell you why,” I replied. “I have a feeling that it would be dangerous for me to go to Europe at this time.”

Mr. Bonfils went on as he had planned. In a short time World War I broke out in Europe and it made travel in Europe a serious problem. Although he normally had adequate funds and his brother, the late F.G. Bonfils, was a millionaire, Charles was stranded in Europe and had to wait quite a while for funds and his travel plans on the continent were stymied.

Valley News (Van Nuys, California) Mar 12, 1965

This is what I found about his wives, Winifred being a rather interesting person to read about:

Winifred (Sweet) Black Bonfils

Winifred (Sweet) Black Bonfils

Winifred Black Dies in Frisco
(Assoiciated Press)

San Francisco, May 25. — Mrs. Winifred Sweet Bonfils, 73, veteran newspaper woman, who wrote under the names of Annie Laurie and Winifred Black, died at her home here Monday.

Though ill for several months Mrs. Bonfils had continued her daily newspaper columns and her friends said she died as she would have wished, “Still in the harness.”

After spending her earlier years in Chicago, New York, Washington, Massachusetts and Denver she came to San Francisco 34 years ago. She had been connected with the Hearst papers for 37 years.

Mrs. Bonfils was born in Chilton, Wis., the daughter of General Benjamin Jeffrey. She attended school in Chicago and Northhampton, Mass., and married Orlow Black in June 1892.

After his death she married Charles A. Bonfils of the Denver newspaper family.

Greeley Daily Tribune (Greeley, Colorado) May 26, 1936


Click on the above news clipping  from the  May 26, 1936, New York Times for full size to read more details about her life.

Read a 1935 TIME article about Winifred online HERE.

The TIME article mentions that Winifred and Charles had been separated for years. Evidently, he waited till she died to remarry rather than divorce?

Bonfils funeral services pending

DENVER (UPI) — Funeral arrangements were pending today for Mabel W. Bonfils, widow of a one-time assistant publisher of the Denver Post.

Mrs. Bonfils died Sunday at her home following a long illness. She was 85.

She worked in the advertising department of The Post prior to her marriage to Charles A. Bonfils in 1936.

Greeley Daily Tribune (Greeley, Colorado) Jam 20, 1976

The Heckler’s Wool-Pulling Match

February 11, 2009
Pulling Wool

Pulling Wool

Sherman Heckler and wife had a wool-pulling match last Friday night in which Sherman got a handful of har pulled out and two black eyes. Sherman says Het is about to have her rights, regardless of the shade he carries over his optics; and Het says she will send him where the whang doodle mourneth, if he fools with her rights.

April 14th, 1884

Decatur Morning Review (Decatur, Illinois) Apr 18, 1884

*From Wikipedia:

A nudum pactum in Latin literally means ‘Bare or Naked Promise.’ In common law, it refers to a promise that is not legally enforceable for want of consideration. An example of a nudum pactum would be an offer to sell something without a corresponding offer of value in exchange. Since the offer has not been created with any consideration, it is gratuitous and treated as a unilateral contract. The offer is therefore revocable at any time by the offeror before acceptance by the offeree.