Written by Tyler D. Age 14
Abraham Lincoln was an honest, courageous, and truthful man who served like a king. But even before becoming a man, he carried these values with him as a child. He made Thanksgiving an official holiday, needing a day for the North to be thankful for the victories they achieved. Ten nights before his assassination, Lincoln had a dream that was later proclaimed prophetical by his wife after his death on April 25, 1856. He was greatly grieved by the nation after his death as the people called him “Father Abraham” and considered him as a father. Abraham Lincoln was the greatest American who has lived.
Abraham Lincoln was born on a farm five miles south of Elizabethtown, Kentucky on February 12, 1809. He lived on the farm he was born on for two years then moved to a farm ten miles away where he lived for five years then moved to Indiana. Abe and his family traveled through the thick forests around Spencer County to obtain a land grant. After they got their land grant, he and his father started the work to turn 160 acres of forestland into farmland. He and his father had to build a three sided structure and make a fire that had to burn day and night since they had arrived in early winter. After finishing the shelter, he and his father started on their cabin; which they moved into in February of 1817. In 1830 they made their final move west of Decatur. His childhood was rough for he had to chop trees down for wood and home usage, spilt rails for fences, plow the land, seed the fields, and take care of house chores. Abraham’s father; Thomas Lincoln worked as a frontier farm hand most of his youth when his father Abraham (not the Abraham were talking about but his grandfather Abraham). He then went on to be a carpenter when he had enough experience. There is not very much information on his mother Nancy Hanks-Lincoln only that she is the daughter of Lucy Hanks and that she was a housewife who took care of things around the house until she contracted milk fever and eventually died. His father influenced his position against slavery but it is not known what his mother’s influence was. Abe mainly helped run the farm but in his spare time he would read anything and everything he could and practiced his arithmetic also. The education he received was very minimal since he had to help maintain the farm and accomplish his chores but later on when he is older he began to self-educate himself. His teen years were hard, adventurous, and humorous; he would often amuse himself and others by imitating some preacher or politician who had spoken recently. He also looked for hard work which was not very hard for him. His first start of an income began when he started rowing passengers to steamboats in midstream (Holzer 312-313).
Dr. James Smith, pastor of the Springfield First Presbyterian Church helped Abraham to claw his way back to God after putting him on “hold” for more than twenty years. But the influence that was with him his whole life was the Devine One or simply God as we know him (Wheeler 15&19). He didn’t attend college nor obtain any degree because he solely taught himself (Holzer 313-315). On the evening of November 4, 1842, Abraham Lincoln married Mary Todd (Holzer 315).
In 1832 he served as a soldier in the Black Hawk War. In 1834 he was elected to the Illinois State Legislature. In 1836 he passed the state bar exam after teaching himself law. In 1836, 1838, and 1840 he was re-elected to the Illinois State Legislature. In 1846 he won the Whig nomination for a seat from the Illinois seventh congressional district to the U.S. House of Representatives. In 1860 he was elected president of the United States of America. In 1863 his Emancipation Proclamation was passed. And in 1864 he was re-elected president of the U.S.A (“Burlingame”).
On the night of April 14, 1865, Abraham Lincoln was shot in the head with a single shot Derringer by John Wilkes Booth. He died the next morning on April 15, 1865 at 7:22am. He was aged 56 when he died. After his death John Nicolay and John Hay –Lincolns personal secretaries—coauthored the greatest of Lincoln biographies (Wheeler 236-239&246). There are several monuments and memorials that were constructed and dedicated to him after his death. There are also several anecdotes, quotations, poems, and stories from him that have been recovered and ones that were made for him and/or in honor or dedication of him (Wheeler ix).
People consider Abraham Lincoln the Greatest American who ever lived. He made thanksgiving an official holiday and he passed the Emancipation Proclamation to free slaves; marking the path for the Civil Right Movement in later years to come. The world would be different as there would still be slavery which would prevent Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, and more from enacting the Civil Rights Movement which ended the inequality between whites and blacks in America.
Burlingame, Michael. “Miller Center.” American President: Abraham Lincoln. Miller Center, University of Virginia. Web. 14 Apr. 2012. .
Holzer, Harold. “Lincoln, Abraham.” World Book Encyclopedia. 2011 ed. 2011. Print.
Wheeler, Joe L. Abraham Lincoln, a Man of Faith and Courage: Stories of Our Most Admired President. West Monroe, LA: Howard, 2008. Print.
INFORMATION ON PRESIDENT LINCOLN’S SON TODD LINCOLN
Provided by Dale Alumbaugh ID. 4.8.13
WHO WAS ROBERT TODD LINCOLN?
He was the only child of Abe and Mary Lincoln to survive into adulthood – with his three brothers having died from illness at young ages. Believe it or not, Robert lived until 1926, dying at age 83. But along the way, he sure lived a remarkable life.For starters, he begged his father for a commission to serve in the Civil War, with President Lincoln refusing, saying the loss of two sons (to that point) made risking the loss of a third out of the question.But Robert insisted, saying that if his father didn’t help him, he would join on his own and fight with the front line troops; a threat that drove Abe to give in.But you know how clever Abe was. He gave Robert what he wanted, but wired General Grant to assign “Captain Lincoln” to his staff, and to keep him well away from danger.The assignment did, however, result in Robert’s being present at Appomattox Court House, during the historic moment of Lee’s surrender.Then – the following week, while Robert was at the White House, he was awakened at midnight to be told of his father’s shooting, and was present at The Peterson House when his father died.Below are Robert’s three brothers; Eddie, Willie, and Tad.
Little Eddie died at age 4 in 1850 – probably from thyroid cancer. Willie (in the middle picture) was the most beloved of all the boys. He died in the White House at age 11 in 1862, from what was most likely Typhoid Fever.
Abe grieved the hardest over Willie’s death. It took him four days to pull himself together enough to function as President again. Lincoln had a temporary tomb built for Willie, until they could return home with his body to Springfield , and he often spent long periods of time at the tomb. I guess Tad was a real hellion. None of his tutors could control him, which is why he grew up unable to competently read or write. He was a momma’s boy, he had a lisp and was probably mildly retarded.
He died at age 18 in 1871, most likely from the same thyroid cancer Eddie had died from, suggesting a genetic flaw.
But – back to Robert, shown at age 22 at left, following his father’s assassination, he moved to Chicago with his insane mother, and brother Tad, who was 12 at the time. Robert finished law school and practiced the craft for a time, while constantly struggling to keep crazy Mary in check.
As she had done as First Lady, Mary went on shopping binges that far exceeded common sense, driving what was left of the family fortune into bankruptcy, and leading to violent disputes between Robert and she.
Robert also had torrid battles with Mary to keep her from destroying Lincoln’s private papers, not just for their financial worth, but for their historic value also, with Mary forever trying to tear them apart and burn them in fireplaces.
In fact, her irrational behavior (she was probably schizophrenic) grew so destructive that Robert had to have her put away, with his signature signing her into a psychiatric hospital, where she stayed locked up for three months. Mary never forgave him for it – and they remained estranged from then on – until Mary died at age 63 in 1882.
Worth noting, as a deceased President’s wife, Mary had petitioned Congress for a pension, and by God, she got one! She received $3,000 a year, a sizable sum back then.
Of profound interest, as an adult Robert wrote there was a lot of distance between his father and he – caused mainly by Abe’s being absent so much of the time during Robert’s formative years. Abe was forever gone on state wide judicial circuits, or campaigning for office – or serving in the state legislature.
Robert writes that his most vivid memories of his father were seeing him pack his saddle bags to be off again. Nonetheless, Robert respected his father – and he wept obsessively the night he was killed.
In 1868, Robert married a senator’s daughter and they had three kids – two girls and a boy, Abraham Lincoln’s only grandchildren. Their son, whom they named Abraham Lincoln II (but whom they called “Jack”) would die in 1890 from an infection arising from having a boil pierced under his arm. He was 15 at the time, and at left is a blurry, but still remarkable photo of his lying in bed, shortly before he died.
The two daughters, however, lived fairly long lives, one living until 1938 to die at age 69, and the other until 1948, dying at age 72.
The last direct descendent of Abraham Lincoln would be the child of one of Robert’s daughters – Abe Lincoln’s great grandson – a guy named Bud Beckwith, who died married but childless, in 1985.
In his own right, Robert made quite a life for himself. He got into politics and was highly regarded in those circles. In fact – he served as Secretary of War under President Garfield – and, incredibly, was with him when Garfield was shot at the Washington train station!
And then – some years later, Robert would also be present when President McKinley was gunned down in Buffalo ! I’m telling you, if I were President, I’d be leery about having him around me – wouldn’t you?
In later years, Robert would grow a beard, as shown at left. He would serve in other political appointments and ambassadorships, and later became president of the Pullman train car company, a booming enterprise back then, and a position he would hold for the rest of his life.
Worth noting, Robert was an avid amateur astronomer, and even had an observatory built into his Vermont home, which is better described as a mansion, really; but anyhow – the telescope was so well built and powerful that’s it’s still used today by a local astronomy club!
And below – is his house. Some joint, huh?
A footnote. Abe Lincoln once said he doubted Robert would do as well in life as he had done. You sure wouldn’t know it from the pad Robert lived in, huh? Beyond that, Robert was several times offered the chance to run as President or Vice-President, with his every time refusing the offer, so – Old Abe’s assessment of his son was way off the mark, wasn’t it? Of course, who knows how much ‘being Abe’s son’ influenced Robert’s success in life?
But anyhow – now for the most incredible thing there is to know about Robert Lincoln.
In his 20’s, Robert was standing on a train platform in Jersey City – buried among a crowd of passengers attempting to buy sleeping births from a haggard conductor – when the train moved. Robert was standing so close to the train that it spun him around and sent him dropping into the space between the train and the platform – a perilously tight place to be – against a moving train threatening to crush him!
Suddenly – a hand grabbed Robert by the neck of his coat and pulled him up onto the platform, a quick action by a solidly strong man that may well have saved Robert’s life.
And you know who that man was? It was Edwin Booth – the brother of John Wilkes Booth … who had murdered Robert’s father.
Below is Robert’s sarcophagus at Arlington National Cemetery , where he’s buried with his wife and son Jack.
And – now you know the whole story….
LITTLE KNOWN LINCOLN FACTS:
The Things You Didn’t Know About Abraham Lincoln
- At 6 foot, 4 inches, Abraham Lincoln was the tallest president.
- Lincoln was the first president to be born outside of the original thirteen colonies.
- Lincoln was the first president to be photographed at his inauguration. John Wilkes Booth (his assassin) can be seen standing close to Lincoln in the picture.
- There are no direct descendents of Abraham Lincoln even though he had 4 sons.
- During the Civil War, telegraph wires were strung to follow the action on the battlefield. But there was no telegraph office in the White House, so Lincoln went across the street to the War Department to get the news.
- The contents of Lincoln’s pockets on the night of the assassination weren’t revealed until February 12, 1976. They contained two pairs of spectacles, a chamois lens cleaner, an ivory and silver pocketknife, a large white Irish linen handkerchief, slightly used, with “A. Lincoln” embroidered in red, a gold quartz watch fob without a watch, a new silk-lined, leather wallet containing a pencil, a Confederate five-dollar bill, and news clippings of unrest in the Confederate Army, emancipation in Missouri, the Union party platform of 1864, and an article on the presidency by John Bright.
- Lincoln was the only president to receive a patent, for a device for lifting boats over shoals.
- Lincoln’s son, Robert, who was in Washington when his father was killed, was also on the scene when President Garfield was shot in 1881, and when President McKinley was assassinated in 1901.
- Lincoln and his wife held séances in the White House. They had a great interest in psychic phenomena.
- Lincoln was the first president to wear a beard.
- Lincoln had the largest shoe-size documented. He wore a size 14!