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Fun facts about Abraham Lincoln

  • Lincoln was born on Feb. 12, 1809, in a log cabin in Hardin (now Larue) County, KY.
  • In 1816 the Lincolns moved to Indiana, "partly on account of slavery," Abraham recalled, "but chiefly on account of difficulty in land titles in Kentucky." He began his political career in Illinois. The Lincoln Presidential Library is located in Springfield, Illinois
  • In 1818 Abraham Lincoln nearly died after being kicked in the head by a horse.
  • After his birth mother died of milk sickness in 1818, Lincoln's father remarried a Kentucky widow, Sarah Bush Johnston. As a boy, Lincoln was very close to his step-mother, and she was supportive of his need to educate himself.
  • Lincoln’s first political party was the Whig Party. He later switched to the Republican Party.
  • Lincoln had an older sister named Sarah, who died in childbirth about 1831, and a younger brother named Thomas, who died in infancy.
  • Lincoln’s first love, Ann Rutledge, died in 1835, and he became severely depressed.
  • Lincoln served one term (1847-49) as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, where he opposed the Mexican War--Whigs did everywhere--as unnecessary and unconstitutional.
  • It was President Abraham Lincoln who proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day on the last Thursday of November. He proclaimed this on October 3, 1863.
  • In 1909, Abraham Lincoln was the first historical figure to be portrayed on a U.S. coin. If Lincoln were still alive in 1909 he would have been 100 years old.
  • Lincoln’s stovepipe top hat served as more than fashionable headwear. He used it to store and carry notes, letters, even bills.
  • Lincoln was the tallest President. At six feet, four inches, Lincoln towered over most of his contemporaries. When he wore his stovepipe hat, he stood nearly 7 feet tall! The average height for a man during that time was about five feet, six inches. When seated, the President was about the same height as an average man; he had exceptionally long legs.
  • Before Abraham Lincoln, there had never been a U.S. President with a beard. Since his presidency, four presidents have had full beards.
  • There are many coincidences between Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy. Here are three we think are very interesting:
    1. Their Vice Presidents, both named Johnson, were Southern Democrats, and both were in the Senate.
    2. Lincoln's secretary was named Kennedy, Kennedy's was named Lincoln.
    3. Both of their secretaries warned them that they should not go to the place they were assassinated.
  • At the time of his marriage to Mary Todd Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln had been very poor. Lincoln courted Mary Todd for only one year before proposing marriage. Mary Todd Lincoln's family did not approve of the match.
  • Mary Todd was born in Lexington, KY. Mary was the 4th child of Robert S. Todd and Eliza Parker Todd. Her family was among the founders of Lexington.
  • Abraham and Mary were married November 4, 1842 in the parlor of her sister Elizabeth Edwards.
  • Abraham and Mary spent their wedding night at The Globe Tavern-a boarding house. They spent the first year of marriage at the Globe and their first child Robert was born there.
  • Mary Todd and Abraham Lincoln had four sons-- Robert, Edward, William and Thomas. Three of their children died before reaching adulthood. Robert Lincoln was the only child to survive. Abraham Lincoln has no living descendants.
  • Mary Lincoln considered Mrs. Keckley her “best friend’ during the White House years. She was a former slave and Mrs. Lincoln’s seamstress. She was present when Willie died and helped care for Mary after Abraham’s murder.
  • Lincoln’s son Willie died in the White House on February 1862 of bilious fever, probably caused by contamination of the White House drinking water.
  • The 16th President hated to go to the dentist. There was little anesthesia at the time, and one dentist actually broke off part of Lincoln's jaw when pulling a tooth.
  • Lincoln loved animals and did not like hunting or killing them even for food. He had several pets including dogs, cats, and even a turkey.
  • Lincoln suffered from serious depression and migraine headaches. Both could be debilitating, and there were times he spent days in bed.
  • Abraham Lincoln was a witty man. Many of his jokes and funny sayings have been recorded, including this one: "If I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one?" and “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.”
  • On Apr. 14, 1865, five days after Robert E. Lee's surrender to Grant at Appomattox Court House, Lincoln attended a performance of Our American Cousin at Ford’s Theatre in Washington. There Booth entered the presidential box about 10:13 p.m. and shot Lincoln. The next morning at 7:22 a.m. Lincoln died. He was 56 years old.
  • After Lincoln’s shooting, Booth shouted to the audience at Ford’s Theater, “Thus always to tyrants,” the motto of the state of Virginia.
  • Lincoln was carried across the street from Ford’s Theater to the Peterson Boarding House, because it was feared he could not survive being transported to the White House.
  • John Wilkes Booth evaded capture for 12 days before he was found and shot and killed.
  • Abraham Lincoln had a dream predicting his own death. In his dream, he heard crying in the White House. When he asked the person who had died, he was told that it was the President.

The Gettysburg Address

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
November 19, 1863

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate – we can not consecrate – we can not hallow – this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us – that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion – that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain – that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom – and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

 
 
Historical Photos

Historical Photos

Historical photos from the time of Abraham Lincoln through the Civil Rights movement.

Lincoln Minutes

Lincoln Minutes

Video segments illustrate key moments in Lincoln's life.