February 20, 2012

A President’s Day Tale

From John Wood at Old time Strongman, via email:

On the day of April 8th, 1865, President Lincoln was at a Union Army field hospital in Virginia, spending hours shaking hands and greeting thousands of wounded soldiers.

At the end of that long day, he spotted an ax and walked over to it.

He was able to grip the ax by the very end of the handle and hold the 7-pound tool parallel to the ground, motionless. He was 56 years old at the time.

“Strong men who looked on, men accustomed to manual labor, could not hold the same ax in that position for a moment,” wrote Francis Fisher Browne, a Union soldier who authored a biography called “The Every-Day Life of Abraham Lincoln.”

Lincoln performed this feat on several occasions and it was never mentioned that anyone could duplicate it.

They still have the ax; it is located at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield, Illinois.

Lincoln also was a wrestler, incidentally — and quite a good one.

By comparison? Well. You know.

I bet Lincoln could dribble with his left, too. Had there been such a thing as basketball, I mean.

Posted by Jeff G. @ 9:57am

Comments (30)

  1. Hey! He’s an intellectual! and some of our greatest presidents were physically weak. Like FDR!

    ….oh wait.

  2. Washington, Washington
    Six foot eleven
    Weighed a fucking ton…

  3. Abe Lincoln was also a hell of a vampire hunter, which is not something that you’ll find in high school history books.

  4. “We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and then bid the geldings to be fruitful.” — C.S. Lewis

  5. Somehow, I don’t think that anybody but the most sycophantic (as in the entirety of the Lickspittle Media) would buy Barack Obama, Vampire Hunter.

    The Rail-splitter, on the other hand, is just the man to split some vampire skulls.

  6. I heard Lincoln was a good town-ball player, too (predecessor to baseball).

  7. BTW, a seven-pound axe is a big ‘un. More like what we’d call a splitting maul. It’s not clear from the description above, but I assume that Lincoln was straight-arming the axe. Anyone who can do that with a five-pounder has my respect. Doing it with a seven-pounder is verging on super-human.

  8. Abe Lincoln just never struck me as a guy you’d want to fuck with, carrying an axe or no.

  9. insert joke about Mary Todd here.

  10. It may be the first time Professor Erkel ever threw a baseball.

  11. My go-to tool for splitting wood was something more like this; half again the weight of your average splitting maul. But I was never anywhere near strong enough to straight-arm a 7-lb axe. There’s a huge difference between being able to swing a tool and having the sheer wrist, shoulder and finger strength to straight-arm one. What rjacobse said, pretty much.

    The Lincoln axe is shown here, if anyone’s interested. It’s not your Craftsman light-duty axe.

  12. Yeah, see what Lincoln can really do with an axe.

  13. I can straight arm it, I think. It looks to be a little shorter than a sledge, and I can sometimes do an 8lb from the ground by the end up to standing position, keeping it parallel. At the very least I know I can do a 6 because I have video of it. Can’t hold it for too terribly long that way, though.

    Lincoln was a strong dude.

  14. That’s not an axe.

    That’s an axe.

  15. He was committing the presidential equivalent of showing a little thigh. Which he does — as a politician, we might say — even after his last election, perhaps less out of habit than because he knows he still requires the good will and favor of the people to carry out his work in office.

  16. whoops… sorry I see Slart got to the trailer first. (I really should read all the comments first)

  17. My Paul Hogan impression is impeccable, by the way.

  18. We have a hydraulic log-splitter that is gas powered and can be used horizontally and vertically. And an Echo chainsaw that will take your head off if you’re not paying attention. Also mauls, axes and the like. Splitting wood is hard, hard work.

  19. I am linking this, great story.

    I admit I am sort of looking forward to Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Slayer. I hope they do not screw it up.

  20. Photo didn’t load there for me so here’s another picture.

  21. The curator in that picture looks like Mr. Peepers.

  22. By God, I wish Zombie Abe would rise up, grab that axe and lay to with enthusiasm all about our miserable Capitol in Springfield. First swing at Mike Madigan, second at John Cullerton…and so on.

  23. I admire Teddy Roosevelt too. A physically weak child, he managed to over come it by force of will and hard work. And that photo of Teddy Roosevelt? That was real.

  24. Speaking of TR, I have a copy of this book coming.

  25. Lincoln the vampire hunter, Clinton the booty hunter, and Obama cannot find his ass.

    Great comment I just saw at the Blaze.

  26. geoffb–I read it. Then I got the audio and listened to it. Great stuff. Just an amazing story.

  27. This is still a classic-liberal flavoured website, yes?

    If so, let me give a classic liberal response to Lincoln:

    sic semper tyrannis

    And no offense, EBL, but the same to TR and the whole Progressive Roosevelt Clan.

    …But then I am an outlaw.

  28. Said the slaver to the freer of men.

  29. 12 years ago today (President’s Day), I moved into this house, and I still haven’t bought a washer/dryer.

  30. LTC John says February 20, 2012 at 12:02 pm
    By God, I wish Zombie Abe would rise up, grab that axe and lay to with enthusiasm all about our miserable Capitol in Springfield. First swing at Mike Madigan, second at John Cullerton…and so on.

    While we’re dreamin’ send him up the Chicago and Cook County. Plenty of political vermin needin’ some axin’.