Learning Lincoln On-line

CONTENTS SET B:

The New Salem Village Store-- Storekeeper

Pioneer Village Store & Lincoln's Career at Storekeeper
READ THE ONLINE CHAPTER BOOK BY DR. JAMES BALDWIN
ABOUT THE EARLY YEARS OF ABRAHAM FROM HIS BIRTH THROUGH THE SPRINGFIELD LAW CAREER  CLICK HERE
  to read the Story

RESOURCES FOR LINCOLN AT "NEW SALEM AND SPRINGFIELD" RESOURCES


First Lincoln-Berry Store at New Salem
STORE CLERK/OWNER--1833-35,
NEW SALEM


New Salem: Second Lincoln-Berry Store
Photo by Howard Taylor
Click 
HERE for Chapter Seven


---(Also in Chapter Nine)

ABE LINCOLN AND THE GENERAL STORES AT NEW SALEM

. . . General stores in appearance were similar to each other.  Their exterior resembled a one or two level house with a door in the center and two windows on each side with steps leading up to a porch.  The shopkeeper and his family usually lived on the second floor.
 
 . . . Stores offered an enormous variety of articles, including household items, hardware and farm equipment.  Customers found household staples such as coffee, tea, spices, molasses, grains, dairy products and locally grown produce.  Children delighted in the tempting jars of candy and long licorice whips kept by the front counter.

 

. . . The store itself consisted of a large room with a wide open area where a wood-burning stove and chairs or stools bade welcome to customers and passerby alike.

. . . Merchandise was displayed on shelves behind a great wooden counter where the shopkeeper could assist the customer and hand items.  The counter sometimes displayed goods to help customers decide on what to purchase.

  . . . In addition to providing needed merchandise, the general store also provided services not available elsewhere.  These might include serving as a tavern, issuing marriage licenses, offering a telephone, and, with the shopkeeper as the local postmaster, serving as a post office. 

 


Second Lincoln-Berry Store

Rutledge Tavern
The place to gather, eat, sleep and often hear Abe telling his jokes and stories. 

. . . A pound of flour, a pound of sugar, a bag of nails and a coffin.  What else can I get for you today, Mrs. Jones?”  This shopping list might sound a bit strange, but general stores carried a bit of everything and made living in pioneer farming communities easier.

. . . The general store also was the place to go for news and gossip.  The friendly atmosphere of the general store made people feel like part of one big family where everybody knew everybody else in town.


BUY ON CREDIT

. . . One of the most important services the general store provided to its customers was a system of credit which began in the 19th century.  The credit system was developed mainly because money was scarce in rural area.  Because patrons of the store were farmers and their families, the shopkeeper had to hope that the year would yield a good crop so his customers could make payments.

 . . the general store offered home delivery.  “For fifty cents your purchases were delivered right to your door.” 

HONEST ABE

. . . Lincoln had a wonderful time working at the store. He talked and joked for much of the time. He often told very entertaining stories, but, unfortunately, they usually kept the customers from buying anything. Most of the time, Lincoln read or was wrapped up in politics. One historian wrote that, "sometimes, intending purchasers found him [Lincoln] not in the store at all, and had to call him from the wayside, where he was sprawling in the grass, covering a wrapping paper with problems in mathematics." Another historian concluded, "he had little aptitude for business; he was not a shrewd bargainer."

 

In 1842 Abraham Lincoln moved from New Salem to Springfield to practice his new-learned law.  He would marry Mary Todd in 1844. 


New Salem intersection-- Second

Lincoln-Berry Store back right

. . . Lincoln was always very honest, just as legend says. He did not exaggerate the truth or make a customer want to buy something unnecessary. He always made sure to tell customers that they would regret the whiskey or tobacco that they were thinking of buying. Lincoln told customers when the quality of a particular product was not very good. If he ever made a mistake in money or weight, he walked for miles to give the customer his correct change or amount of something.

ABE MOVES TO SPRINGFIELD AND MARRIES MARY TODD

Lincoln Springfield Years Timeline
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