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Abraham Lincoln - Marble Player

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Found this in a Sport's Illustrated article, "The Honest Wrestler", July 30, 1956.

"...When he wasn't refereeing or defending his wrestling and crowbar-throwing championships, Lincoln played a game that seems incongruous for a man of his size and strength—marbles. But like everything he attempted, he did it better than anyone else.

While Lincoln played marbles with the youngsters in the New Salem area, he also shone against men. In those days marbles were popular with all ages. The game was played on a square marked off on the ground with a stick. Lines were drawn diagonally across the square, connecting its corners, a small marble placed at each corner and a larger one (Old Boler) put at the spot in the center where the lines intersected. From the taw line, at a previously agreed-upon distance from the square, Lincoln could hit Old Boler with his taw (shooter) four times out of five.

The marbles used were irregular, homemade ones fashioned from rounds of clay and baked in the embers of a fireplace. Sometimes a bullet mold was used to shape the marbles; otherwise the clay was rolled between the hands.

Once, after he had become President and was burdened with worries about the Civil War, Lincoln found relaxation in a makeshift game of marbles. He was walking toward Army headquarters in Washington with a telegraph clerk and one of his sons. Picking up a smooth round stone from the street, he challenged them to a contest of shooting stones ahead, marble fashion, to see who could get his stone to the headquarters steps in the least number of shots. When they reached the steps, Lincoln had won and had found in a simple game a respite from Presidential pressures."

I predict a new sales pitch for ebayers, "Lincoln's Marbles, recently unearthed at an archeology site near Springfield, Illinois"


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