Honest Abe

At the age of twenty-four, Abraham Lincoln served as the postmaster of New Salem, Illinois, for which he was paid an annual salary of $55.70.

Even then, twenty-four years before he entered the White House, the rail splitter was showing the character that earned him the title of "Honest Abe."

The New Salem post office was closed in 1836, but it was several years before an agent arrived from Washington to settle accounts with ex-postmaster Lincoln, who was a struggling lawyer not doing very well.

The agent informed him that $17 was due the government. Lincoln crossed the room, opened an old trunk and took out a yellow cotton rag, bound with a string. Untying it, he spread out the cloth and there was the $17. He had been holding it untouched for all these years.

"I never use any man's money but my own," he said.