Denver Post, Denver Colorado
Feb. 8, 1927, pg. 13

Emancipator Was Barefooted, Raw Boned, Homely, But of Magnetic Personality, John W. Anderson, Aged 83, Declares, Recalling Pioneer Days.

A sign of those “good” old days at Springfield, Ill., when men about town would toast their feet on the old stove at Lincoln’s grocery, swapping bets on “Ab’s” campaign was given Tuesday by an aged man in Denver.

Let the world cherish the memory of Abraham Lincoln, the potential politician and martyred president, but for John W. Anderson there is a memory which takes him back to “well nigh sixty-seven years ago,” infinitely more precious. It is of Abraham Lincoln, the grocer and owner of “Lincoln’s store.”


“I can see him yet, barefoot, raw boned, homely but of magnetic personality, joking in his droll manner as he wrapped up groceries. He always had a comeback for every joke. His store was the most popular meeting place in town.” Anderson recalled.

“The first time I saw Lincoln was when I was sent from Carlinville, a small town outside of Springfield, to Lincoln’s grocery for our food supply. We became good friends after that. I hauled the log for him which he split with an ax into rails as a signal for the opening of his presidential campaign.”

“I was present at the opening of his second campaign, too, when ‘Steve Douglas tried to pull one on Lincoln by pointing out that he sold whisky at his grocery. I heard him make his famous reply: ‘I acknowledge that I sold the whisky, but the judge over there is one of my best customers.’ Everybody broke out laughing at that.”


Abraham Lincoln’s greatest wish in life, Anderson claimed, was for a daughter.

“He was very fond of children and was very kind to them. He frequently would pat a little girl on the head and express the wish that he had a daughter.”

Lincoln was good at everything, as a grocer, a lawyer, a citizen, and as president. In his whole life Anderson believes that Lincoln made only one mistake and that he would have corrected that if he had lived.

“When Lincoln set the Negroes free, he did not foresee the injustice that might be worked upon them, nor of the difficulties that would follow. If he had lived I believe he would have furthered his policy by segregating the Negroes in a certain section of the country.” He declared.


“What was so appealing in those ‘old days’ for which you sigh?” Anderson was asked.

“It was the simple life, the virility of men, perhaps,” was his reply. “In those days when I was a boy and Lincoln a man, perhaps 44 years old, life was more of a struggle. Most of us had only one pair of shoes a year, and a man going barefoot, as Lincoln did, was no uncommon thing. Friendships seemed to amount to more in those days, somehow.”

Life has lengthened to eighty-three years for John W. Anderson. Fifty years he lived and pioneered in Iowa, and now he has settled down in a cottage at 3727 West Virginia avenue.



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