Did y’all know Abraham Lincoln was a wrestler? Didn’t did ya? Sometimes, Stephanie McMahon teaches me things. I found a video clip from an upcoming TV special w/ Stephanie talking about it and was intrigued by this little fact. Things to KLQ Wrestling for this little gem. It prompted me to do more research. I found this page which includes sources.
“There was a big fellow named Jack Armstrong, strong as a Russian bear, that I could not put down; nor could he get me on the ground,” Mr. Lincoln once recalled. “I suppose you have heard of Lincoln’s wrestling match with Jack Armstrong. I saw part of that. [Jack] Armstrong was one of the Clary Grove gang and it was their habit to initiate newcomers into town. Lincoln was tall, ungainly, awkward, and was bantered by this crowd,” recalled New Salem resident Daniel Green Burner. “These fellows would come into New Salem, get drunk, and would handle a novice roughly. Lincoln finally wagered Armstrong $10 that he could find a man who could throw him. The challenge was accepted and the next Saturday was set for the time. When the Armstrong gang arrived Lincoln told them that his man had not yet come. They waited around and became impatient and finally Armstrong demanded of Lincoln the $10. Lincoln replied:
‘Look here, Jack, my man isn’t here yet, but rather than lose that $10 I will wrestle with you myself.’
Burner continued: “They went at it, and Lincoln just fooled with Armstrong until he had tired him completely out. Then he swung his long leg over Armstrong’s neck and made Armstrong run around holding him up in that position. Jack finally begged off, admitting he was beaten and offered Lincoln the $10, which Lincoln refused to take. The two were ever afterward warm friends. I saw all the last part of this match, and it was highly amusing. The story about Lincoln rubbing smartweed in his face is untrue.”
Kick ass, right? I love when I can put history and wrestling together! From rough-and-ready wrestler to President of the United States. Lincoln definitely got a push.