Insights into the Personal Friendship and Patronage of Abraham Lincoln and Anson Gordon Henry, M.D.: Letters for Dr. Henry to His Wife, Eliza

By Floyd, Elbert F. | Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, Winter 2005 | Go to article overview

Insights into the Personal Friendship and Patronage of Abraham Lincoln and Anson Gordon Henry, M.D.: Letters for Dr. Henry to His Wife, Eliza


Floyd, Elbert F., Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society


In the 183Os two impoverished ambitious young Whig politicians moved to Springfield. They had tried many lines of work, but they soon turned to the professions of law and medicine. They were wedded to politics and, on that basis, soon joined in a fast and firm friendship that would last for the rest of their lives. One man became President of the United States and, through the political patronage system, appointed the other man to a high position in the Washington Territory. These men were Abraham Lincoln and Anson Gordon Henry.

Unlike Henry's life, there is no lack of information about Lincoln's life and activities. Anson Henry, however, was important to Lincoln, as details regarding his background, character, activities and achievements will show.

Henry was born on 3 October 1804 in Richfield, New York. He received his medical education by studying under a practicing physician in Richfield and later attending a medical college for about a year in Cincinnati, Ohio. He served on a hospital staff in Louisville, Kentucky and, in addition, owned and ran a drug store. This business, however, perished in the February 1832 flood of the Ohio River.1 On 12 March 1832 he married Elizabeth (Eliza) Dudley Bradstreet, the daughter of a Harvard graduate, Dudley Story Bradstreet. Rather than stay and try to reconstruct the business, the young couple decided to move.

In October 1832 when they reached Springfield, Illinois, Henry, at age twenty-eight, had $5.31 1/2 cents in his pocket. With the help of another doctor, he established his own practice and advertised that he would serve patients in Springfield and Sangamon County. He became well respected in the profession and was regarded as a specialist in the prevention and treatment of Asiatic cholera. He was one of the founders of the Illinois State Medical Society and its first vice-president.2

Lincoln and Henry probably met in 1833 when they were postmasters in the villages of New Salem and Sangamo Town, which were located in close proximity to each other in Sangamon County. They became closely acquainted on or about 15 April 1837 when Lincoln, at age 28, moved to Springfield to enter into the practice of law. Lincoln was no wealthier than Henry as, according to his friend Joshua Fry Speed, he had all of his personal belongings in his saddle bags when he rode a borrowed horse into town that day from New Salem.1

Politics were at the forefront of the attentions of Lincoln and Dr. Henry. In their early manhood, they aligned themselves with the Whig party and became leaders of that party in Illinois. Lincoln served four terms in the House of Representatives in the Illinois General Assembly and led the Whigs in that legislative body. In 1837, he and others helped pass a bill that moved the Illinois State Capital from Vandalia to Springfield. Henry, with Lincoln's help, was appointed as one of three commissioners to construct the new Capitol building. He kept active in Whig politics and, as a result, incurred criticism from Democrats in the legislature. He held the position of commissioner from 3 March 1837, when the bill was signed by Governor Joseph Duncan, until 27 February 1841, when the state legislature abolished the commissioner positions.4

Henry regarded Lincoln highly, but he was a sharp critic of persons with whom he disagreed!5 Henry seemed to have bathed himself in partisan politics. He put the needs of the Whig Party above his medical practice. As a result, his practice suffered. He worked hard, without pay, for the Whig party by corresponding with leaders such as Henry clay, William Henry Harrison, and Zachary Taylor. He served as Chairman of the Illinois Whig Central Committee and actively worked for the elections of William Henry Harrison, clay, and Taylor to the presidency in the general elections of 1840, 1844, and 1848. He was'a sort of unpaid office manager for the Illinois Whigs. He liked to write letters, editorials, pamphlets, and flyers about politics and ran, twice unsuccessfully, for elective political office before he moved to Oregon Territory in 1852. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Insights into the Personal Friendship and Patronage of Abraham Lincoln and Anson Gordon Henry, M.D.: Letters for Dr. Henry to His Wife, Eliza
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.