The Caddo Herald
April 14, 1933
Former Caddo Woman Knew Abe Lincoln
Mrs. E. L. Powell, who passed the 81st milestone of her earthly journey on Monday, April 10th, is the granddaughter and daughter of men who lived adjacent to Abraham in his early boyhood and younger manhood and until the time of his first election to the presidency of the United States. Mrs. Powell, who is the widow of E. L. Powell, who died at his home four miles southwest of Caddo, on February 1, 1928, hardly seems to be 81 years old. Her face does not give her age away, neither do her steps as she goes about her daily avocations. Speaking with a firm voice which waxed with enthusiasm as she approached her favorite character in American history, she told us the story of her early life which she spent on a farm in Spencer County, Indiana.
Mrs. Powell was born April 10, 1852 near the town of Centerville, Indiana, which is 12 miles from Rock Port and forty miles from Evansville. Tales of the story to follow were told her by her father and grandfather and her actual associations with Abraham Lincoln were confined to her early childhood. She was the daughter of Josiah Crawford and the granddaughter of J. C. Crawford. Her early home was near Lincoln City, Indiana, a town named in honor of the great American.
Thomas Lincoln, father of Abraham Lincoln, was a tenant farmer and laborer and it will be remembered from our histories that the story is once told of how Abrahams Lincoln borrowed a book from a man to read, and it was destroyed by its getting wet and he offered to repay the neighbor for the value of the book as a day laborer. The man the book was borrowed from was J. C. Crawford and the book’s title was “Weems Life of Washington”. The fence rails around her father’s and grandfather’s farms were split by Lincoln himself, who received a wage of fifty cents a day for his labor on them.
The sister of her husband, Sarah Powell, married James Grigsby, who was a brother of the man who married Sally Lincoln, sister to Abe. Mrs. Powell’s actual recollection of Abraham Lincoln was in the summer following his inaugural as president the first time in 1861, when he made a trip with his homefolks and friends, returned to Lincoln City to visit there. She remembers him from her tender age of nine years, and from her memory of him can come the cause of the esteem and respect he has commanded as an American. The fact that she can remember it so well after 72 years is easily accountable for by the impression he made on her at that one time.
Lincoln was held with the highest regard by his neighbors and his honesty and integrity were never doubted by anyone who knew him during his earlier years on the farm in Indiana.
Mrs. Powell’s mother, Mrs. J. C. Crawford was present at the death of both Lincoln’s mother and sister; and his sister’s death caused his greatest grief in that he had previously lost his mother and the lonesomeness caused by his sister’s death overshadowed the grief at the death of his mother.
A corner cupboard was made by Lincoln and given to Mrs. Powell’s grandmother, with whom he made his home together with his sister immediately after his mother’s death, in partial repayment for his and his sister’s care given by Mrs. Crawford. The cupboard now rests in the Henry Ford museum at Dearborn, Michigan, where it was brought by the automobile magnate for the reported price of $25,000. The cupboard was made of walnut and the boards were hand hewn by Lincoln himself with the aid of an old fashioned whip-saw. One feature of its construction is that the top is held together by walnut pegs while the bottom is held together by hand wrought iron nails. It stands over seven feet high and is over three hundred pounds in weight.
Lincoln also made and present to the Crawfords a “clothes presser” but what in modern times could be more accurately described as a linen closet. This cabinet work was made from cherry lumber and was held together by handmade cherry pegs. After the death of the Crawfords, it remained in the family until the completion of a new courthouse in Spencer County, Indiana in the early part of this century and was then purchased by the county and is now at the new courthouse in memory of that county’s great citizen. When her father moved to Texas, Mrs. Powell moved with the family and they settled on a farm which was later developed into the present site of the town of Dallas. Mrs. Powell moved to Caddo in 1905 and lived here at their home place until the death of her husband in 1928, and has since made her home with her various children. She is at present at the home of her son, S. H. Powell, who lives west of town on the Kenefick road. The following are her children with the present places of residence:
W. J. Powell of Granite, Okla.; Mrs. Geo. Frazier of Los Angeles, Calif.; I. S. Powell, formerly of Caddo and Durant, now deceased; Mrs. Arthur Cheney of Victoria, Texas; Mrs. H. D. Pierson of Shawnee, Okla.; Mrs. J. A. Jeanes of Clifton, Texas; S. H. Powell of Caddo; Earnest E. Powell of Ft. Worth, Texas, and Claude Powell of Los Angeles, Calif. Mrs. Powell will go on April 25 to visit with her daughter Mrs. J. A. Jeanes of Clifton, Texas.