13 Facts that Will Change the Way you Look at President Lincoln
We tend to think of Lincoln as having this great baritone voice that carried into the crowds as he gave monumental speeches. We can’t be certain of how his voice sounded, because Thomas Edison’s phonograph was invented 12 years after Lincoln died. So, how can we know? Well, a man by the name of Holzer has written 40 books about Lincoln and the Civil War.
He has spent countless hours poring over information circulating about all his appearances and speeches to the public. He states that it is certain that Lincoln was a tenor!
It’s said that for the first ten minutes of his speech, people were shocked at his voice and accent, but soon his strong ideas and views overtook them and they could overcome his high voice and twangy accent. Just because he was a country boy with a high voice, did not mean he wasn’t intelligent and very well spoken!
- Abraham Lincoln was elected to Congress in 1846. John F. Kennedy was elected to Congress in 1946.
- Abraham Lincoln was elected President in 1860. John F. Kennedy was elected President in 1960.
- Both were shot in the back of the head in the presence of their wives.
- Both wives lost their children while living in the White House.
- Both Presidents were shot on a Friday.
- Lincoln\'s secretary was named Kennedy.
- Both were succeeded by Southerners named Johnson.
- Andrew Johnson, who succeeded Lincoln, was born in 1808. Lyndon Johnson, who succeeded Kennedy, was born in 1908.
- Lincoln was shot in the Ford Theatre. Kennedy was shot in a Lincoln, made by Ford.
- Lincoln was shot in a theater and his assassin ran and hid in a warehouse. Kennedy was shot from a warehouse and his assassin ran And hid in a theater.
- Booth and Oswald were assassinated before their trials.
Lincoln wore clothes that didn’t quite fit him and had messy hair. He didn’t really seem to take stalk in how he looked. He did, however, take the time to buy a gold pocket watch that was very tell-tale of success in that time period from a Springfield, Illinois jeweler. His great-grandson, Lincoln, Isham donated the pocket watch to the Smithsonian in 1958.
On April 13, 1861, Confederate forces first attacked Fort Sumter and began the Civil War that changed the U.S. forever. On that day, and Irish immigrant and watchmaker, Jonathan Dillon was working on President Lincoln’s gold pocket watch at M.W. Galt and Co. jewelers in Washington D.C. Forty-five years later, Dillon told the New York Times that he was screwing the dial on the watch when his boss announced the shot had been fired and the war was beginning.
Dillon unscrewed the dial and with a sharp instrument he said he wrote “The first gun is fired. Slavery is dead. Thank God we have a President that at least will try.” After the Smithsonian received the pocket watch, they received a phone call from the great-great grandson of Jonathan Dillon telling them to open the pocket watch and see the hidden message.
The story had been passed down through his family. Amazingly, they decided to check and lo and behold, there was a message inscribed by Dillon, but not precisely what he’d said he wrote. The inscription read " The first gun is fired. Slavery is dead. Thank God we have a President who at least will try." Lincoln never knew he was carrying around the message.
Abraham Lincoln gave his second inaugural address on March 4, 1865 and it is the only known picture of Lincoln delivering a speech. However what is interesting about this picture is that John Wilkes Booth can be seen in the row on the right.
In addition to Booth are David Herold, George Atzerodt, Lewis Paine, John Surratt, and Edmund Spangler, all of whom were conspirators in the assassination. Lincoln spoke about the sadness of the war yet highlighted the evils of slavery. He could not have known he was standing with a handful of his future assassins.
Mary Lincoln was the beloved wife of president Abraham Lincoln and after experiencing extreme loss she sunk into a severe depression. Mrs. Lincoln would only wear black, but that wasn’t all that was different about her. After the death of two of her sons in addition to her husband began increasingly erratic behavior in Mrs. Lincoln.
Mary spent large amounts of money on items she never used such as dresses and tapestries, and would also walk around the city with over $56,000 in governmental bonds sewn into her petticoats. Unfortunately, her son insisted that Mrs. Lincoln be committed to a psychiatric hospital in her later life after she became convinced that a “wandering Jew” tried to poison her on a train and tried to jump out of a window to escape a non-existent fire!
There are no direct descendants of Abraham Lincoln alive today.
Lincoln had four sons, three of which died before achieving adulthood. Robert Todd Lincoln, the eldest of the four, was the only son who lived long enough to marry and have children. His eldest daughter, Mary, birthed a son named Lincoln Isham, who later had no children. Robert’s middle child, Abraham, died at the age of 17 and therefore had no children. And finally Jessie, the youngest, had two children of her own, Mary Beckwith and Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith, neither of which had any children. Unlike the father of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity whose descendants were said in the Bible to be as numerous as the stars, our Abraham’s lineage only lasted three measly generations!
Find out more fascinating facts about \"Honest Abe\" here!
In late 1864 or early 1865 (the date is not certain), Booth and Lincoln were waiting for a train in Jersey City, New Jersey. Lincoln fell onto the train tracks from a platform as the train came towards him! Suddenly, someone grabbed him by his collar and was pulled up to safety.
The man who saved him was none other than Edwin Booth, brother of famed assassin, John Wilkes Booth! Booth did not find out the identity of Lincoln until months later when Booth joined the Union Army and was commemorated for his good deed. After his father was murdered, Robert Lincoln was comforted by Edwin Booth!
Abraham Lincoln created the Secret Service the day before he died!
When most people think of the Secret Service, they think of the agents who follow the president and protect him from assassination attempts. This would make it pretty ironic that the Secret Service was created the day before the first presidential assassination. However, Lincoln created the Secret Service not for presidential security detail, but for investigating counterfeiting. This is still the main responsibility for the Secret Service.
Counterfeiting was a huge problem during the Lincoln administration; as much as â..." of American money was counterfeit. There was no FBI at the time, so there was no police force to enforce federal laws. On April 14, 1865, Lincoln ordered the creation of the Secret Service of Division of the Department of the Treasury just hours before his fateful visit to Ford’s Theatre the next day.
The FBI, ICE, ATF, and IRS have since taken on many of the duties originally assigned to the Secret Service. The Secret Service still investigates counterfeiting to this day, though that work is often overshadowed by the Uniformed Division in charge of protection duties.
You can learn more about Lincoln and the Secret Service on "Now I Know" (full article here) an email service that sends a new fact to your email every day. Click here to check out "Now I Know".
In fact, Abraham Lincoln is the only U.S. president to hold this job! He was a co-owner of the pub ‘Berry and Lincoln’ in Springfield, Illinois with a man named William Berry.
It was hard for Berry and Lincoln to run a bar together because while Lincoln preferred not to drink, Berry was an alcoholic and would sometimes drink the customers’ orders before they could. In 1834, Lincoln ran for state legislator and won so he gave up the bartending business. The entire enterprise was abandoned by 1840 due to Lincoln’s politics and Berry’s death five years prior in 1835.
For details on the President’s pub, click the Source below.
In late October 1860, at the tail end of the crucial 1860 presidential election, Grace Bedell offered sage advice to then Congressman Lincoln on how to win the presidency. In a letter to Lincoln she suggested that, with such a thin face, he would be better off "letting his whiskers grow". This way he would be guaranteed to win the votes of her 4 brothers and would inspire American women to convince their husbands to vote for him (1860s American women couldn't vote, but they loved beards).
Later, in February 1861, President-Elect Lincoln visited Bedell during his inaugural trip from Illinois to the White House to show off his beard. Bedell contacted Lincoln again in 1864, asking for a job in the Treasury Department to support her family that had fallen on hard times. It's not known if Lincoln ever read or responded to this one, though. Her original letter has since become a piece of folk legend. Both of her letters, as well as Lincoln's 1860 letter in response have been copied and can be read at the Grace Bedell Foundation's website.
The elder Lincoln also lived in a log cabin. In 1786, while tending his fields, a small party of warriors from a Native American tribe attacked him. He was shot and killed from the nearby forest. His oldest son, 14-year-old Mordecai Lincoln (the future president\'s uncle) arrived with a rifle and killed one of them as he was preparing to scalp Abraham. The others retreated.
Abraham Lincoln was survived by his wife, Bathsheba, and his five kids Mordecai, Josiah, Nancy, Thomas (the President\'s father, who also shared the name with the President\'s son) and Mary (who had the same name as the President\'s wife).
More on Grandpa Lincoln.
Sculptor Victor David Brenner, the designer of the penny, had previously sculpted a plaque based on a photograph taken of Lincoln in 1864. Lincoln faces right in the photo (which you can see here), so he also faces right in the plaque. When President Theodore Roosevelt hired Brenner to design the Lincoln penny in celebration of Lincoln\'s 100th birthday, Brenner based the penny off of the plaque he made, so he faces right on the penny.
On the 2005 nickels, Thomas Jefferson faces to the right too. Most nickels have Jefferson facing to the left, like the other presidents do on the other coins. However, in 2005 the nickel was redesigned to celebrate the Lewis and Clark expedition, and Jefferson was switched to facing right. Then, in 2006, the nickel was redesigned again, with Jefferson facing forward. This would make him the only U.S. president facing forward on a coin.
President Lincoln's recollection of the dream to a friend, a mere three days before the incident:
"About ten days ago, I retired very late. I had been up waiting for important dispatches from the front. I could not have been long in bed when I fell into a slumber, for I was weary. I soon began to dream. There seemed to be a death-like stillness about me.\"
\"Then I heard subdued sobs, as if a number of people were weeping. I thought I left my bed and wandered downstairs. There the silence was broken by the same pitiful sobbing, but the mourners were invisible. I went from room to room; no living person was in sight, but the same mournful sounds of distress met me as I passed along. It was light in all the rooms; every object was familiar to me; but where were all the people who were grieving as if their hearts would break?\"
\"I was puzzled and alarmed. What could be the meaning of all this? Determined to find the cause of a state of things so mysterious and so shocking, I kept on until I arrived at the East Room, which I entered. There I met with a sickening surprise. Before me was a catafalque, on which rested a corpse wrapped in funeral vestments. Around it were stationed soldiers who were acting as guards; and there was a throng of people, some gazing mournfully upon the corpse, whose face was covered, others weeping pitifully. \'Who is dead in the White House?\' I demanded of one of the soldiers \'The President\' was his answer; \'he was killed by an assassin!\' Then came a loud burst of grief from the crowd, which awoke me from my dream."