|Birth: ||Mar., 1806|
|Death: ||Feb. 21, 1898|
"I would rather see him than any man living." ~ President Abraham Lincoln about Austin Gollaher
Austin was the son of Thomas Gollaher and was born in March of 1806. He was only three years older than Abraham who was born in 1809. He achieved prominence because he was Abraham Lincoln's childhood friend who once saved his life as he was drowning.
As a young boy growing up in Kentucky, Abraham Lincoln used to played with a little boy in his neighborhood whose name was Benjamin Austin Gollaher, usually referred to as Austin. Austin came with his family to the Knob Creek area in 1812. His family lived approximately two miles from Abraham's log house and has the distintion of going to school with him. He grew to be an old man and people often asked him about his famous childhood playmate, with whom he played near Abraham's father shop where he worked as a carpenter. They frolicked around like most little boys, went hunting for partridges and raccoons and had a merry time as youngsters.
In the year 1816, the boys had stopped going to school because it had been closed down due to a lack of students. Bored as little boys do become, they got into a little adventure that, if it would have ended in misfortune, could have changed the course of American history in a significant way.
Describing the events of that June day, Austin said that he and Abraham wandered near the little stream called Knob Creek. Here is hte story in his own words:
"I once saved Lincoln's life. We had been going to school together one year; but the next year we had no school, because there were so few scholars to attend, there being only about 20 in the school the year before.
Consequently Abe and I had not much to do; but as we did not go to school and our mothers were strict with us, we did not get to see each other very often. One Sunday morning my mother waked me up early, saying she was going to see Mrs. Lincoln, and that I could go along. Glad of the chance, I was soon dressed and ready to go. After my mother and I got there Abe and I played all through the day.
While we were wandering up and down the little stream called Knob Creek Abe said: 'Right up there' - pointing to the east - 'we saw a covey of partridges yesterday. Let's go over and get some of them.' The stream was swollen and was too wide for us to jump across. Finally, we saw a narrow foot-log, and we concluded to try it. It was narrow, but Abe said, 'Let's coon it.'
I went first and reached the other side all right. Abe went about half-way across, when he got scared and began trembling. I hollered to him, 'Don't look down nor up nor sideways, but look right at me and hold on tight!' But he fell off into the creek, and, as the water was about seven or eight feet deep, and I could not swim, and neither could Abe, I knew it would do no good for me to go in after him.
So I got a stick - a long water sprout - and held it out to him. He came up, grabbed with both hands, and I put the stick into his hands. He clung to it, and I pulled him out on the bank, almost dead. I got him by the arms and shook him well, and then rolled him on the ground, when the water poured out of his mouth.
He was all right very soon. We promised each other that we would never tell anybody about it, and never did for years. I never told any one of it until after Lincoln was killed."
Images and partial bio courtesy of Mr. Norton.
Pleasant Grove Cemetery
Created by: Vera
Record added: Mar 26, 2005
Find A Grave Memorial# 10676097
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