Friday, July 16, 2010

Wife, Mother, Hellcat

Mary Todd Lincoln the First Lady of the United States died July 16th 1882.

Mary Ann Todd Lincoln was born December 13th 1818, the daughter of Robert Smith and Elizabeth [Parker] Todd in Lexington Kentucky. Her mother died when she was seven and Mary’s father remarried in 1826 to Elizabeth Humphreys. Mary and her step-mother did not get along. She grew up with 14 siblings in an upper-class home in Lexington. She left home at a young age to attend a finishing school where she learned dance, French, and social graces. When Mary was twenty she went to live with her sister Elizabeth [Todd] Edwards where she became popular among Springfield Illinois’ young men; among them Stephen A Douglas. Mary was twenty-three when she married Abraham Lincoln November 4th 1842 at her sister’s home.

Mary supervised their growing family in Springfield Illinois in a several rent homes and a small cottage, alone quite often while Lincoln traveled Illinois as a circuit lawyer. All of the Lincoln children where born in Springfield, Robert Todd in 1843, Edward Baker in 1846, William Wallace in 1850, and Thomas “Tad” in 1853. By all accounts Mary was a indulgent, loving mother.

As First Lady, Mary found herself criticized in the newspapers as being plain and plump. She spoke her mind on political matters and the White House staff called her the “Hellcat”. Following the years after her husband’s death Mary traveled, and in 1875 was committed to an asylum by her oldest son. In the 1880’s Mary moved in with her sister Elizabeth again in Springfield, rarely leaving her room. She was sixty-three when she died there July 16th 1882. Mary is buried with her husband and children in Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield Illinois.

Another web site of interest on this subject First Lady Biography: Mary Lincoln

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