38. Abraham Lincoln Pardoned First Thanksgiving Turkey
Days before the 1863 Thanksgiving meal, a turkey came to the White House for Thanksgiving meal preparations. However, 10-year-old Tad Lincoln started to take care of the bird and named him Jack. Tad begged the executioner not to kill the bird and went to talk to his father, President Abraham Lincoln, in the middle of a cabinet meeting. Tad burst into the meeting, crying to his father to spare Jack because he was a good turkey. Lincoln took heart to his son’s cries and saved the turkey, establishing a tradition.
Before Abraham Lincoln became president in 1861, he received a patent for his invention, Buoying Vessels Over Shoals. The device would equip boats with inflatable bellows, improving the boat’s navigation system in shallow waters. Lincoln received the patent on May 22, 1849, but the Buoying Vessels Over Shoals invention would never become manufactured. But even so, Abraham Lincoln remains the only President of the United States of America to own a patent while in office.
36. Lincoln Started The Civil War To Save The Union And Not End Slavery
While many states of rebellion, also known as the Confederate States, left the Union because they felt Abraham Lincoln wanted to end slavery, Lincoln did not. Before he became president and immediately after, Lincoln stated that he had no right to free slaves as the President of the United States. He did not agree with the institution of slavery but did not feel he could free slaves. For Lincoln, the Civil War started because he wanted to save the union. Lincoln did not officially bring slavery into the Civil War until the Emancipation Proclamation.
Before Lincoln became the 16th President of the United States of America, he was a lawyer. However, Abraham Lincoln practiced law without a degree. Partially because his family was so poor, Lincoln only received about 18 months of formal education. Thomas, Lincoln’s father, believed learned trades was more important than going to school. However, Abraham Lincoln did not agree with his father and would often get caught reading when he was supposed to be doing chores. Lincoln continued to teach himself, including the law and politics.
While Abraham Lincoln grew up extremely poor, his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, grew up in a wealthy slave-owning family. Mary Todd was born in Lexington, Kentucky, to Elizabeth and Robert Todd. Mary’s father was a bank and one of the richest men in the town. Mary’s wealthy status as a child was known to cause issues in her marriage as Abraham Lincoln did not have the same expensive tastes as his wife. In fact, once they moved into the White House, Mary went out and bought all new furniture.
33. John Wilkes Booth’s Brother Saved Robert Lincoln
Not too long before Robert Todd Lincoln’s father, Abraham Lincoln, was assassinated at Ford’s Theater by actor John Wilkes Booth, Edwin Booth, actor and brother of John Wilkes Booth saved the life of Robert Lincoln. Robert and Edwin were on a train platform when Robert fell on the train tracks right before the train was about to take off. Edwin was close-by and saw Robert fall, so he reached down and grabbed Robert to save him from being hit by the train.
32. Bill To Establish Secret Service Hit The Desk The Night Lincoln Died
Actor John Wilkes Booth assassinated the President of the United States of America, Abraham Lincoln on April 14, 1865. Lincoln had gone with his wife, Mary, and another couple to see the play “Our American Cousin” at Ford’s Theater. Lincoln’s bodyguard was off for the night and Booth was able to walk right up to Lincoln and shoot him in the head. On that same night, the bill to create a secret service to protect the president from such acts had made its way to the desk for approval.
Even though the telegraph first came around in the 1830s, Abraham Lincoln became the first President of the United States of America to communicate by using the telegraph. Lincoln primarily used the telegraph to talk with the war general during the Civil War. He wanted to know the ongoings of the Civil War as soon as he could, and Lincoln believed the telegraph was the best and fastest way to hear of the news and communicate with the generals.
Abraham Lincoln was always interested in dreams and often wrote of the meaning of his dreams in letters. Days before his own death, Abraham Lincoln had a dream that he walked into the East Room of the White House and saw a corpse which was protected by guards. Upon further investigation, Lincoln saw himself lying in the casket to which he heard that an assassin took the president’s life. Lincoln’s former law partner and bodyguard, William Hill Lammon, told this story.
It’s believed that from the beginning of Abraham Lincoln’s presidency, John Wilkes Booth was not a fan. However, a photograph of Abraham Lincoln’s second inauguration has led people to wonder if Booth did in fact like Lincoln at first. In the picture, standing on the balcony behind Abraham Lincoln, who is giving his inauguration speech, is the face of actor and Lincoln’s assassin, John Wilkes Booth. With the photograph taken on March 4, 1865, John Wilkes Booth would shoot and kill the 16th president only a little over a month later.
Abraham Lincoln had many obstacles throughout his life. He never fully felt understood by his father, his mother passed away when he was a young boy, and he never cared for his stepmother. On top of this, Lincoln’s presidency consisted of fighting to keep the union as a whole. Lincoln’s melancholy was evident to people around him that Lincoln would go into spurts of depression, especially during his presidency. Those who knew him best knew Lincoln’s look of gloom and knew that when he said he was not doing very well, that he was fighting depression.
Abraham Lincoln is well-known for generally wearing a top hat. While the hat always seems to look the same, he wore many different styles of top hats. Being the tallest United States President in history, Lincoln did not need the hat to make himself taller. He used the lid to keep essential documents that he needed. Many people who witnessed one of Abraham Lincoln’s speeches stated that before he started speaking, he would take off his hat, pull out a sheet of paper, and replace his hat.
26. Lincoln Nearly Took Part in a Duel… but scared his opponent off.
In 1842, Abraham Lincoln publicly shamed banker James Shields about not accepting paper money to pay off debts. Lincoln wrote a series of letters under the name “Rebecca” in the local newspaper. Shields eventually found out who “Rebecca” was and challenged Abraham Lincoln to a duel. On the day of the fight, Lincoln and Shields met in the chosen location, Bloody Island, Missouri, with the selected weapon by Lincoln, cavalry broadswords. Lincoln used his height as an advantage and cut off a tree branch to intimidate Shields. This worked as the men called a truce before the duel.
Abraham Lincoln was known to be a lover of all animals, but he especially enjoyed the company of cats. Lincoln was the first president to bring cats to the White House. The family’s cat, Tabby, would often be seen eating at the dinner table with the family. On top of this, Abraham Lincoln would often feed the cat with a gold fork. Mary Todd Lincoln, the wife of Abraham, often said that her husband had one hobby and that was cats.
24. Lincoln Was Shot At Nine Months Before He Died
Throughout his presidency, Lincoln and his family would vacation at a place known as the Soldier’s home. This place was relatively isolated, but it was well-known the family would stay there. One day, in August of 1864, Abraham Lincoln was riding a horse on the grounds of the Soldier’s properties when he heard the shot of a rifle. The horse got spooked and ran off, making Lincoln’s hat fall off. The next day, Lincoln went to look for his hat and upon finding it noticed a bullet hole.
On the night of February 10, 1864, Abraham Lincoln woke to see flames shooting out from the second story of the stable house. He ran outside, where a crowd had gathered and asked if the horses had been taken out. When Lincoln heard that the animals were still in the building, Lincoln ran and tried to open the doors to the stables in attempts to save the horses, goats, and ponies but the building was too full of fire, and the doors could not open. Unfortunately, all the animals inside the stable died in the fire.
Together, Mary and Abraham had four sons, one of whom, Willie, would die in 1862. After the death of Willie, Abraham fell into one of his darkest depressions, and both of them sought the help of spiritualists. They wanted to reach Willie after his death, which reportedly they did as Mary was quoted saying “Willie lives!” Lincoln was also known to contact mediums throughout his presidency when looking for advice on what steps to take, especially with the Civil War.
Abraham Lincoln did not grow up with slaves or servants. However, his wife, Mary, did and she requested servants in her home from the beginning. While Lincoln did not entirely approve of having servants to help care for his home and family, he agreed to make Mary happy. The servants were treated well but had many duties, such as caring for the children, cleaning the house, cooking, and whatever other help Mary needed.
20. Lincoln Grew His Beard Because Of An 11-Year-Old Girl
Not only was Abraham Lincoln the first President of the United States to have a beard but he also grew the beard because of a letter he received from an 11-year-old girl. Grace Bedell wrote the soon to be president a message in 1860 stating that he thought he would win the election if he grew a beard because he would then be more attractive to the ladies. Lincoln also write back to Grace thanking her for her advice. On top of this, once he won the presidency, he set up a meeting so he could meet Grace.
During his life, Abraham Lincoln was given many nicknames, especially from the southern slave-holding states. While he seemed not to mind most of the nicknames and answered to many things, he preferred that most people just called him Lincoln. Lincoln also did not mind being called, Mr. President. However, there were a couple of nicknames that Lincoln preferred not to use. One of these nicknames was “Honest Abe.” The other nickname was the more shortened version of that, “Abe.”
There are a few pictures of Abraham Lincoln taken on the battlefields of the Civil War. The photographer took these photos while he was meeting with generals and the soldiers who were fighting to help preserve the Union. Throughout the Civil War, Lincoln took the Civil War personally and did everything he could to support the Union troops, including risking his life. Lincoln did not have secret service and did not always use his bodyguards, which made his trips to the battlefields riskier.
Of course, by the time the Civil War started, Abraham Lincoln was too old to serve in the Union Army. However, this did not mean that the Union Army would not drift the president in a little more honorable way. In 1864, the president of the 3rd Ward Draft Club, Noble D. Larner, was given the task of finding a substitute to serve in the Civil War for Lincoln. John Summerfield Staples was this substitute, who not only met Lincoln but also paid $500.
During his early life, Lincoln did many interesting things including wrestling. While he was living in Salem, Illinois, Lincoln became known as one of the greatest wrestlers in the area. Of course, back in Lincoln’s time, wrestling was a lot different compared to what you will see on the television today or even in high school auditoriums. Nonetheless, when word got out about Lincoln’s wrestling days when he was aiming for a political seat, many people took notice. Some even voted for him because of his wrestling reputation.
Abraham Lincoln was always a religious man, especially during the days of the Civil War. He would often be caught praying to God during the Civil War. However, this did not mean that Abraham Lincoln ever became a member of an organized church. In fact, throughout his whole life, Lincoln was never part of any organized church. But, even so, this did not stop Lincoln from taking time every day to read the Bible, which is a habit Lincoln had from his days as a young boy.
Today, it is normal for people to have a middle name. In fact, many people are given two, and sometimes more, middle names. Abraham Lincoln’s name was just that. He did not have a middle name as his parents, Thomas and Nancy never gave their son a middle name. But this does not mean Lincoln’s name did not have meaning. His first name, Abraham, came from his paternal grandfather, who was killed by Native Americans.
Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809, which was the exact day and year as Charles Darwin, biologist and contributor to the Theory of Evolution. On this date, Lincoln was born to a poor farm family in Kentucky, while Darwin was born on a grand Georgian estate in Shrewsbury, England overlooking the river. However, no matter what their backgrounds were, both of these men grew up to live amazing lives and mark their spot in history.
Abraham Lincoln was a fan of the actor, and his assassin, John Wilkes Booth. During his later life, Lincoln saw Booth perform a few times and believed he was a great actor. In fact, Lincoln saw Booth perform at the Ford’s Theatre in 1863. At the time, Booth was in the stage play called the Marble Heart, a role where Booth received excellent reviews. Lincoln liked Booth’s performance so much that he sent a note to Booth inviting him to the White House. Booth never took Lincoln up on his visit.
There are several White House ghost stories, but one of the most common and popular ghost stories are the ones that detail the ghost of Abraham Lincoln. In fact, Lincoln’s spirit has been given the name the “White House Ghost” and sighted since his death in 1865. On top of this, there are several past residents of the White House, including presidents, who have stated they have seen the ghost of Abraham Lincoln. A few of these people are Winston Churchill, Theodore Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Henry Turman.
10. Lincoln Died In The Petersen House, Not Ford’s Theater
While John Wilkes Booth Shot Abraham Lincoln at the Ford’s Theater on April 14, 1865, he actually died the next morning at the Petersen House, which was across the street from the Ford’s Theater; brought to a bedroom, where he had to lay at an angle because he was too long for the bed. He laid in a coma for nearly ten hours before he actually passed away. Doctors tried to save him through surgery, but it was not possible.
Thomas Lincoln, Abraham’s father, passed away on January 17, 1851, in Coles County, Illinois. The funeral was to be a few days later, and while Lincoln heard, he refused to attend. Furthermore, Lincoln would not help pay for a headstone for his father nor did he see Thomas was he was on his deathbed. While some people believe Lincoln did not attend his father’s funeral because of their strained relationship, others feel it was because Lincoln was dealing with severe depression at the time and could not bring himself to go to the funeral.
Abraham Lincoln was not only the tallest President of the United States of America in its history, but he is also the president with the biggest shoe size. Lincoln’s shoe size was a size 14. About a year before he died, Abraham Lincoln went to Kahler to get shoes specially made for him. In the drawing, it shows that Lincoln had a size 14 shoe. On top of that, there is a pair of goat slippers worn by Lincoln that is sometimes on display at the President Lincoln Cottage.
Abraham Lincoln was known to be a straightforward man throughout his whole life, even once he became president and resided in the White House. Lincoln often chose quiet nights, where the family would sit and read or play games. Lincoln was also known to be a simple man in he never drank alcohol at the White House, and possibly stopped drinking completely later in life. On top of this, Lincoln also did not smoke or chew tobacco.
As stated before, Abraham Lincoln was a simple man, and this style followed him to his choices of food. While Mary, Lincoln’s wife, often said that she had trouble getting him to remember to eat, the meals she learned he loved were always around, no matter where he was living. His favorite food was known to be fruit. However, Lincoln also had many other favorite foods, such as oysters, cheese, crackers, biscuits, apple pie, and Chicken Fricassee.
5. Grave Robbers Tried To Steal Lincoln’s Body In 1876
On November 7, 1876, Big Jim” Kinealy and his crew decided to act out a plan where they would break into Lincoln’s tomb and steal his corpse. Of course, the vault securely locked, so the men had to use many tools to break in. They were going to take the coffin away in a horse and buggy. When Kinealy told one of his men, Swegles, to bring the horse and buggy, Swegles alerted the police instead. The police arrested the men and Lincoln’s only surviving son, Robert, hired the best lawyer to try the men and then buried his father.
Abraham Lincoln was known to be a very mild-tempered and easy-going man. He often enjoyed making other people laugh, especially during tough times, such as the Civil War. For Lincoln, it did not matter what was going on in the world; if Lincoln could tell a joke and make someone laugh, he would. On top of this, Lincoln was known to be a great storyteller, and whether he asked someone to visit him in the White House or he met someone on the street, he would often tell at least one story.
3. Lincoln Would Test Rifles Outside Of The White House
President Abraham Lincoln took his Commander in Chief role seriously throughout the Civil War. Not only would he often visit the generals and soldiers on the battlefields and give speeches, but he would also test-fire the rifles which were going out to the soldiers. Lincoln took great care in the artillery that the Union troops would use and spent many hours discussing the firing weapons with professionals. On top of this, he would shoot off the rifles outside on the White House grounds, even though this was illegal in Washington, D.C.
Abraham Lincoln was only nine years old when his mother, Nancy Lincoln, passed away. She died on October 5, 1818, from what was called a mysterious milk illness. However, Nancy was not the only person to die due to this mysterious illness as this same sickness killed several others in the area. Years later, people would learn that what really killed Nancy was tainted milk from a cow which had ingested poisonous white snakeroot.
Today, one of the most notable rooms in the White House is the Lincoln Bedroom. Decorated with a rosewood bed, simply called the “Lincoln Bed” which is believed to have been bought by Mrs. Lincoln when the family moved to the White House. However, Lincoln never actually slept in this room. What is now called the Lincoln Bedroom was Lincoln’s personal office, where he met with cabinet members, wrote the Emancipation Proclamation, and signed many vital documents.
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