Saturday 1 July 2023


We cannot comprehend who people were once, by looking at the best of their careers. The best living  example is the current Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, who was once selling tea but recently seen by everyone making an unforgettable and impressive address in Joint session of US Congress, a week back! Coming to US presidents there is no single career path to the white house and American Presidentship although most of them were lawyers.

Americans seem to regard Abraham Lincoln not only as one of their great Presidents but also a great man! I am fully with them in this matter. Emancipation Proclamation he had issued on  1 January, 1863 against all odds stating that ' all persons held as slaves are and henceforth shall be free " itself is enough to make him great.

But how many of us know that Abraham Lincoln did varied jobs before he became a President? He  was a licensed bartender for some period- a part owner of a small store in Illinois named Berry & Lincoln! He was a wrestling champion as well! Most interesting of all is that he was the only President to receive a patent though he was a self made person in Education!!! Here I am to share three of his earlier jobs which are less well known- a bartender, a patent holder and a wrestler.

A bartender.....
Abraham Lincoln had served in the Black Hawk war, the war between United States and native Americans. It was after that he had met his friend William F berry. Abraham Lincoln joined him to open a  store in Illinois at New Salem where he lived from 1831 to 1837. Co owned with his friend Berry, it was  a general store which was licensed to sell alcohol in quantities greater than a pint for off premises consumption.

Berry was an alcoholic and used to sell goods while Lincoln was dealing with customers and reading. As they fell into debt in 1833 Lincoln sold his interest to his partner. Lincoln joined as a post master. Lincoln remained at New Salem and he studied law and earned a legal license.

A Patent holder....
Abraham Lincoln had a brief experience as a ferryman. His invention" adjustable buoyant air chambers" could be attached to the sides of the boat. They could be lowered into water and inflated to lift the boat over obstruction in the water. On May 22,1849 Lincoln got a patent which was numbered as 6469 for a device to lift boats over shoals as below.

A wrestler........
Wrestling was already an established sport among native Americans in the 15th and 16th centuries when the first Europeans began arriving in North American continent. Abraham Lincoln started wrestling as early as in 1830 at the age of 21.Strengthened by physical hard work in the fields Lincoln had an impressive physical specimen who was 6' 4" tall.

He had completed 300 wrestling matches for more than a decade and lost only once. He was wrestling champion of his county in Illinois. While working in the store he had a famous bout with Jack Armstrong also a wrestling county champ. I am sure that only few know the fact that Lincoln was enshrined in the national wrestling Hall of Fame along with few others who became US Presidents! See what all jobs Lincoln did before he became a great emancipator who said in his later life "Be sure to put your feet in the right place, then stand firm"!



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