Lincoln Humor for the Holiday

For all of you loyal blog readers, I am sure you are aware that Lincoln established a day of Thanksgiving in November of 1864 to give thanks for the efforts of the United States soldiers during the Civil War.  Many of you will be at a Thanksgiving Table over the course of the next week and will be in need of some jokes to tell to keep the relatives entertained.  Therefore, this week, I will present ten humorous Lincoln stories from the White House years.  You can give thanks for the hilarity that will surely ensue from these blog stories.  414_jump

10.  A New-Yorker at the White House said to the President taht it seemed strange that the President of the United States and the President of the Confederate States should have been born in the same State.  “Oh, I don’t know about that,” laughed Lincoln.  “Those Kentucky people will tell you taht they raise ‘most anything in their State, and I reckon they’re mighty near right.”

9.  Lincoln was once asked by a man who wanted the a job to be doorkeeper to the White House.  Lincoln did not think much of the man, but decided to interview him.  “So you want to be doorkeeper of the House, eh?”  “Yes, Mr. President.”  “Well, have you ever been a doorkeeper?  Have you ever had any experience of doorkeeping?”  “Well, no-no actual experience, sir.”  “Any theoretical experience?  Any instructions in the duties and ethics of doorkeeping”  “No”  “Have you ever attended lectures on doorkeeping?”  “No, sir.”  “have you read any texts on teh subject?”  “No.”  “Have you conversed with anyone who has read such a book?”  “No sir; I’m afraid not, sir.”  “Well, then, my friend, don’t you see that you haven’t a single qualification for this important post?”  “Yes, I do,” said the man, and quickly departed, almost gratefully.

8.  Lincoln met with a Congressman from New Jersey, who introduced him to two of his constituents.  The Congressman said, “Mr. President, this is Mr. X and Mr. Y, and they are among the weightiest men in Southern New Jersey.”  After they had gone, Lincoln said, “I wonder that end of the State didn’t tip up when they got off it.”

7.  H.C. Whitney was in D.C. and went to see Lincoln about possibly serving in the war.  Due to his military experience, he expected a solid appointment in the army.  Lincoln said to him, “I’m making generals now.  I na few days I’ll be making quartermasters, and then I’ll fix you.”

6.  Lincoln was quite the story teller.  He once told the story of a judge who was rather specific and “held the strongest ideas of rigid government and close construction that was ever met.”  Lincoln said, “It was said of him, on one occasion, that he would hang a man for blowing his nose in the street, but he would quash the indictment if it failed to specify which hand he blew it with!”

5.  Lincoln was also fast and sharp with the one liners.  In a cabinet meeting, William Seward, the Secretary of State and part of his “Team of Rivals” said, “Mr. President, I hear that you turned out (stepped aside) for a colored woman on a muddy crossing the other day.”  Lincoln answered, “I don’t remember, but I think it very likely, for I have always made it a rule that if people won’t turn out for me I will for them.  If I didn’t, there would be a collision.”

4.  Robert Dale Ownen, a spiritualist, once read Lincoln a rather lengthy manuscript.  Lincoln sat and listened quietly and when asked for feedback, yawned and said, “Well, for those who like that sort of thing I should think it is just about the sort of thing they would like.”

3.  Lincoln told the story of a Southern Illinois preacher who gave a sermon and said that the Savior was the only perfect man who ever appeared in the world and that there was no record of a perfect woman having lived on the earth.  At that point, a person in the back of the church rose to take offense.  They said, “I know a perfect woman, and I’ve heard of her every day for the last six years.”  “Who was she?” asked the minister.  “My husband’s first wife,” said the woman.

2.  Senator Charles Sumner came to visit Lincoln at the White House one day and was told he was downstairs.  When he went to see him, he found Lincoln polishing a pair of boots.  Sumner asked, “Why, Mr. President, do you black your own boots?”  The President vigorously polished away and quipped, “Whose boots did you think I blacked?” 

1.  Two final gems:  Lincoln got a letter asking him for a sentiment and his autograph.  He wrote back, “Dear Madam, when you ask a stranger for which is of interest only to yourself, always enclose a stamp.” 

Finally, Lincoln was visiting with a visitor from the west who told him about a river in Nebraska, but could not remember the Indian name for it, knowing it signified Weeping Water.  Lincoln said, “As Laughing Water, according to Mr. Longfellow, is Minnehaha, this must be Minneboohoo.”


2 Responses to “Lincoln Humor for the Holiday”

  1. Michael Says:

    Don’t forget to try the veal . . . I’ll be here at Ford’s Theatre all week.

  2. Katie Says:

    A father noticed that his son was spending way too much time playing computer games. Trying to get the boy to focus more attention on his schoolwork, the father said to his son, “When Abraham Lincoln was your age, he was studying books by the light of the fireplace.” The son replied, “When Lincoln was your age, he was The President of The United States.”

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