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Lot 85: THAT ROGUE, WILLIAM BUSH 1811
29 October 2016
Wells, ME, USA
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Description: Kentucky Pioneer Document, 1811, written and signed by Ben Helm, Hardin County [Elizabethtown] Kentucky. Legal matter concerning: WilliamBush, the brother of Sarah, Abraham Lincoln's step-mother. Approx. 6-1/2 x 5-1/8". Signed on the verso by Robert Bleakley.Robert Bleakley, opened a store in Elizabethtown with William Montgomery, another Irishman. Their establishment is said to have been the first such operation in the pioneer village that could ready be called a "store." Montgomery was an Orangeman, who was engaged in the rebellion In Ireland in 1798. He was arrested and confined in a prison from which men were taken and executed daily He was released from prison through the efforts of his aunt, who was married to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland on the condition that he would emigrate to America. Wm. Montgomery and Bleakley opened adry goods store. In 1806 they hired the father of Abraham Lincoln [Thomas] to take a flatboat down the Mississippi river with their merchandise to be sold in New Orleans. They paid Tom Lincoln 16 pounds gold and a credit of 13 pounds in gold. Their store account books show Tom Lincoln buying "two twists of tobacco & one pint of whisky." And thebooks also show that in May 1806, Thomas went on a buying spree, purchasing silk, linen, scarlet cloth, dozens of buttons, etc. Earlier that year he had purchased an aristocratic beaver hat & a pair of silk suspenders for $1.50. He was, at this time, courting his future bride Nancy Hanks [Abe Lincoln's mother]. After the wedding he made his home in a cabin close to the courthouse in Elizabethtown. He then purchased at their store, knives, forks, spoons, thread, needles, silk & tobacco. Carl Sandburg wrote about Bleakley and Lincoln.BEN HELM (b. Fairfax county, Va., May 8, 1767; son of Capt. Thomas Helm, apioneer settler of Kentucky, who moved from Virginia to the Falls of Ohio, in the fall of 1779. In 1801-03 Ben Helm erected the first brick house built there. He became a surveyor; was state senator, 1796-1800; clerk of the Hardin county courts, 1800-17; an officer with the rank of major in the war of 1812; filled various other offices of honor and trust in Kentucky: purchased the farm owned by Christopher Bush, father of Mrs. Sarah (Bush) Johnston Lincoln, step-mother of Abraham Lincoln, and was a partner in a general store with Duff Green [later, American statesman], conducting the business as Green & Helm. He died in Elizabethtown, 1858, nearly 91 years old.Apparently William Bush was somewhat of a troublemaker in the E-town area. He was born in 1763, and in 1828 he acquired the Knob Creek farm where the Lincolns had lived, before they left for Indiana. His sister, Sarah, became the step-mother of the future U.S. president, Abraham Lincoln. See the article THAT ROGUE, WILLIAM BUSH, by Blaine V. Houmes, the Iowa physician and collector of Lincolniana. This article appears in The MANUSCRIPT, Summer 2002. William Bush acquired land like his parents, and by 1817 had married and built an attractive brick house [Elizabethtown area], a sign of sure success. He served on jury duty with Thomas Lincoln, after of Abraham and acquired the Knob Creek farm where the Lincolns had lived, before they left for Indiana°, and later Illinois. Although prosperous, he was frequently entangled in lawsuits. His reputation was guarded and he did not enjoy the respect og other members of the Bush family. Little is known of Lincoln_s relationship with the Bush family. Lincoln claimed that his family_s _removal (to Indiana) was partly on account of slavery, but chiefly on account of the difficulty in land titles in Kentucky._ Thomas Lincoln was known to be anti-slavery, and as a young boy Abraham probably observed slaves being taken in chains to Southern markets, on the road beside his home. Carl Sandburg and other historians have not dwlt on the cantankerous nature of the President_s uncle by marriage,8 let alone the fact that there was a slave-trader in the family. We wish to give credit to Blaine Houmes for much of what appears in this description. See pictures of this article here. Fine.
Condition Report: FINE