Denton Offutt

Denton Offutt

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Denton Offutt was a 19th-century American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 general store
General store
A general store, general merchandise store, or village shop is a rural or small town store that carries a general line of merchandise. It carries a broad selection of merchandise, sometimes in a small space, where people from the town and surrounding rural areas come to purchase all their general...

 operator who hired future President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led his country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and...

 for his first job as an adult in New Salem
New Salem
New Salem is the name of several places:In Canada:* New Salem, Nova ScotiaIn the United States:* New Salem, Menard County, Illinois, onetime home of Abraham Lincoln...

, Illinois
Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...


After Lincoln and his family had moved there from Indiana
Indiana is a US state, admitted to the United States as the 19th on December 11, 1816. It is located in the Midwestern United States and Great Lakes Region. With 6,483,802 residents, the state is ranked 15th in population and 16th in population density. Indiana is ranked 38th in land area and is...

 in 1830, he was hired by Offutt near Decatur, Illinois
Decatur, Illinois
Decatur is the largest city and the county seat of Macon County in the U.S. state of Illinois. The city, sometimes called "the Soybean Capital of the World", was founded in 1823 and is located along the Sangamon River and Lake Decatur in Central Illinois. In 2000 the city population was 81,500,...

 to take a boat
A boat is a watercraft of any size designed to float or plane, to provide passage across water. Usually this water will be inland or in protected coastal areas. However, boats such as the whaleboat were designed to be operated from a ship in an offshore environment. In naval terms, a boat is a...

load of cargo downriver to New Orleans
New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans is a major United States port and the largest city and metropolitan area in the state of Louisiana. The New Orleans metropolitan area has a population of 1,235,650 as of 2009, the 46th largest in the USA. The New Orleans – Metairie – Bogalusa combined statistical area has a population...

. With his stepbrother John D. Johnston and cousin John Hanks
John Hanks
John Hanks was Abraham Lincoln's second cousin, his mother's cousin. He was the son of Joseph Hanks, Nancy Hanks Lincoln's uncle.- Early years :...

, Lincoln departed on a three-month journey.

Lincoln had reached adulthood during his travels, and Offutt offered to hire him to tend the counter at his general store in the flourishing village of New Salem. From July 1831 to 1832 when the business failed and Offutt moved on, Lincoln used much of the time not conducting the store's business to educate himself.

Supposedly, the young Abraham had accidentally overcharged a customer, and traveled many miles to return the money, which earned him the nickname "Honest Abe." The little known fact is that "Honest Offutt" forced Abe to run those many miles.