Friday, February 20, 2009

My Poor Boy

It was a devastating day in the Lincoln White House. On February 20th 1862, the beloved son of President and Mrs. Lincoln; Willie, passed away.

William Wallace “Willie” Lincoln was the third son of Abraham and Mary Lincoln. He was born December 21st 1850, about ten months after the death of his brother Eddie, and was named after the doctor who had nursed Eddie in his last days. Lincoln had an extra soft spot when it came to Willie, who was considered by those who knew him to be intelligent, generous and mature for his age. The American people weren’t used to having children in the White House, and the boys were showered with gifts, including a pony to which Willie was committed.

Willie became ill in early 1862, must likely from typhoid fever. His condition went up a down from day to day, but he gradually became sicker. With his parents spending much of thier time by his bed side, he died about 5pm on Thursday February 20, 1862. He was eleven. His father said "My poor boy. He was too good for this earth. God has called him home. I know that he is much better off in heaven, but then we loved him so. It is hard, hard to have him die!" The family was distraught. Willie’s little brother Tad cried for almost of month, Lincoln stopped official correspondence for four days, and he worried that Mary’s grief was effecting her sanity.

Willie was buried first in Georgetown’s Oak Hill Cemetery, but after his father was assassinated, his casket was exhumed and placed in a temporary tomb. On September 19th 1871 his remains were placed to rest with his father and brother Eddie in the Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield, IL.

Some other reading
Abraham Lincoln Research Site

Willie speaks out!: The psychic world of Abraham Lincoln

Mr. Lincoln's Boys

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