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Posted By: Julie (email)
Date: 10/3/2007 at 10:37:50


Month? 1917 – from North Iowa Times, McGregor, Clayton Co., Iowa

McGREGOR, IA., Oct. 14 – Special:
If he hadn’t run away from home George Doulgass could not now say “See this bald head of mine. Abraham Lincoln once patted it.”

Mr. Douglass is the aged janitor of the Congregational church of McGregor. It is about as good a job as he ever held except when he was a soldier and fought valiantly for the union from 1863 to 1865. He has always been short of this world’s goods, yet real riches are his, after all, for Lincoln’s hand has touched him.

Mr. Douglass was born in Clayton, IA., of one of the pioneer families of northeastern Iowa. When 16 years old he had an idea he wasn’t being treated right at home and ran away.

“For some months,” he says, “I worked as cabin boy on a Mississippi river steamer, then I went to Alton, Ill., where I had an uncle. My uncle was a wholesale leather dealer. Lincoln had tried a lawsuit for him and they had become friends. When the Lincoln and Douglass debate was set for Freeport, Ill., uncle decided to go. I begged him to take me along, but he wouldn’t. I waited until he had left the house, then I sneaked out, went down to the depot and got onto the train in the car behind. When the conductor asked for my fare, I told him my uncle was in the next coach and would pay it, which he did.
“After we had reached Freeport and were walking down the street I heard someone say ‘Hello, George’ Uncle turned and said to a tall man who was holding out his hand. ‘Why, hello Able!’ The two talked together a minute then Lincoln looked at me and said to uncle, ‘This is your boy, is it?’

“’No,’ uncle answered. ‘He’s my nephew and he ran away from home.’ Lincoln put his hand on my head and said, ‘You look like a pretty good boy, but you shouldn’t have run away from home. That was wrong!’”

Several times after that during the day Mr. Douglass says his uncle and Lincoln were together. Just before the meeting Lincoln sent the uncle on a political errand and during his absence took charge of his runaway nephew. He had him given a seat on the platform and “there,” says Mr. Douglass, “within a few feet of Lincoln, I sat all evening and heard the great debate.”

Click here for another article about George Douglass

Clayton Biographies maintained by Sharyl Ferrall.
WebBBS 4.33 Genealogy Modification Package by WebJourneymen


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