The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

February 17, 2013

No friend was closer to Lincoln than Lamon

(Continued)

Judge David Davis, who did more, perhaps, than any other man to see Lincoln elected president, noted, “Abe trusted Lamon more than any other man.” The president and Lamon became friends when they worked together in Danville, and Lincoln never withdrew his support for Lamon, but he was astute enough not to appoint him to any high post. He was well aware of his friend’s limitations. .

Historian Clint Clay Tilton noted no two men were “ever more unlike than Lincoln and Lamon.” Tilton observed, “One, the quiet teller of stories; the other, the boisterous singer of sentimental ballads and the so-called comic songs of the ‘50s; one, the joker whose pranks never went farther than to place the victim in a ridiculous position — the other whose sense of humor was not satisfied unless there was an element of danger to the recipient of his attention; one who delighted in a solitary evening wrestling with the problems of Euclid — the other ever ready to participate in a horse race, foot race, or wrestling match or to back his skill with real money in a friendly game of Old Sledge or Whist; one who only tasted intoxicants when by doing so it might cement a future political friend or attract a possible client — the other who bought his liquor by the gallon and served it out of a pitcher at the law office in the Old Barnum building.”

Lamon’s lifestyle was well known in Vermilion County. When the inaugural train with Lincoln and Lamon aboard stopped in Danville on its journey to Washington City, Mrs. P. W. B. Carothers remarked the stop was so brief it “did not give Hill time to get off to get a grog.” Carothers had been critical of Lamon while he was an attorney in Danville. Her husband published the Independent in the city and she wrote columns for the paper.

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