1. Welcome to the CivilWarTalk, a forum for questions and discussions about the American Civil War! Become a member today for full access to all of our resources, it's fast, simple, and absolutely free! If you aren't ready for that, try posting your question or comment as a guest!

The Lincoln Children

Discussion in 'Abraham Lincoln' started by donna, Jan 18, 2011.

  1. donna

    donna Lt. Colonel Forum Host

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    Messages:
    11,594
    Location:
    Kentucky
    Abraham and Mary Lincoln had four children, all boys. They were: Robert Todd Lincoln, only one to live to adulthood, Edward "Eddie" Baker Lincoln, William "Willie" Lincoln and Thomas "Tad" Lincoln.

    Robert Lincoln was born on Aug. 1, 1843 in Springfield, Illinois. He was a lawyer, business man and served in government. He was Secretary of War from 1881 to 1885 under James Garfield and then Chester Arthur. Under Benjamin Harrison he was Minister to the Court of St. James ( 1889-1893). He was General Counsel for Pullman Palace Car Co. In 1911 he became Chairman of the Board of that Company. He was very interested in astronomy and had an observatory at his home in Manchester, Vermont.
    He and his wife, Mary Eunice Harlan had three children ( 2 daughters and a son). They were Mary "Mamie" Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln II called Jack who died while Robert Lincoln was Minister to St. James Court, and Jessie Harlan Lincoln.

    Robert certainly knew tragedy with death of his Father, death of three brothers, death of his own son Jack and the depression and commitment of his Mother.
     
    east tennessee roots likes this.

  2. (Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)
  3. donna

    donna Lt. Colonel Forum Host

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    Messages:
    11,594
    Location:
    Kentucky
    Edward "Eddie" Baker Lincoln was the second son born to Abraham and Mary Lincoln on March 10, 1846 in Springfield, Illinois. Eddie died on Feb. 1, 1850 just a month away from his fourth birthday. It has been written he died of chronic consumption. However, now historians believe he had medullary thyroid cancer. Both of his parents were devastated when he died. Some historians say Eddie's death began Mary Todd's journey to instability. It is written that the Lincolns composed a poem called "Little Eddie" on his death. The last line, "Bright is the home to him now given For of such is the Kingdom of Heaven", is on his tombstone. He is buried with his parents in Springfield, Illinois.
     
  4. donna

    donna Lt. Colonel Forum Host

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    Messages:
    11,594
    Location:
    Kentucky
    William "Willie" Lincoln was born on Dec. 21, 1850 in Springfield, Illinois. He died on Feb. 20, 1862 at the White House. Willie was born 10 months after the death of Eddie. He was named for the Doctor who nursed Eddie before Eddie died. The Lincolns were very fond of Willie. They spoiled him and his brother Tad. They ( Willie and Tad ) were allowed to run free all over the White House and also were allowed to keep all kinds of pets. Willie became ill in early 1862. It was diagnosed as typhoid fever. His parents were constantly by his bedside. When he died the parents were again grief stricken. Abraham Lincoln feared for his wife Mary, as she was so distraught. Little Tad was grief stricken too, as the brothers were so close. Willie was first buried in Washington D.C. However, he was moved to the Grave site of his Father, Abraham Lincoln in Springfield. Actually his coffin was on the Lincoln funeral train with his Father.
     
  5. donna

    donna Lt. Colonel Forum Host

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    Messages:
    11,594
    Location:
    Kentucky
    Thomas "Tad" Lincoln was born on April 4, 1853 in Springfield, Illinois. He died on July 15, 1871 in Chicago. Tad was named for Abraham Lincoln's father, Thomas Lincoln. Abe nicknamed Thomas "Tad" as he found him to be "as wriggly as a Tadpole". Tad was allowed to run free at the White House. Since he was impulsive and unrestrained, he did not attend school. He had numerous tutors who were known to quit in frustration.
    On April 14, 1865 (day Lincoln assassinated) Tad went to Grover's Theater to see "Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp". It was while his parents were at Ford Theatre seeing "Our American Cousin". The news of Lincoln being shot made its way to Grover Theater and the manager made an announcement to the entire audience that Lincoln had been shot. Tad began running and screaming "They killed Papa! They killed Papa". Mrs Lincoln tearfully requested that Tad be allowed to come to his Father's bedside but she was refused.
    After Lincoln's assassination the Lincolns, Mary, Robert and Tad moved to Chicago. Robert moved out on his own. Tad lived with his Mother to whom he was devoted, When Mary went to Europe for several years, Tad was with her. On July 15, 1871, Tad died at the age of 18. The cause of death was compression of the heart. He died in Chicago. He is buried in Springfield next to his parents and two brothers, Eddie and Willie.

    It is know wonder Mrs. Lincoln was depressed and upset during her life. She lived through losing three children who died at such early ages and the assassination of her beloved husband, Abraham. This is a lot for any one to bear. The worst thing in life for a parent is losing a child. Can one imagine losing three.
     
    shanniereb likes this.
  6. donna

    donna Lt. Colonel Forum Host

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    Messages:
    11,594
    Location:
    Kentucky
    If anyone wants to read more about the poem "Little Eddie" and whether written by Abraham Lincoln or Mary Lincoln, check out "Of such is the kingdom of heaven" The mystery of "Little Eddie" by Jason Emerson in the "Journal Of the Illinois State Historical Society, Autumn 1999.
     
  7. donna

    donna Lt. Colonel Forum Host

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    Messages:
    11,594
    Location:
    Kentucky
    Robert Todd Lincoln's nick names were "Bob" and "Prince of Rails". The nick name, "Prince of Rails" developed when President elect Lincoln was on his way to Washington after being elected. At the time, the Prince of Wales was touring the United States. President Lincoln had campaigned as "The Railsplitter" Thus, the Prince of Rails seemed appropriate for his son. Robert Lincoln always detested this name.

    Robert Lincoln had wanted to enlist in Civil War for some time. However both his parents were opposed. Mary Lincoln was much opposed because she still upset over losing son, Eddie. However, there was much criticism over Lincoln's son not being in the service of the Union. In 1865 Robert left Harvard Law School and enlisted. He was on General U.S. Grant's staff. Captain Lincoln's main duty was that of escorting visitors to various locations. He was at Appomattox when Lee surrendered to Grant. As far as historians know, he never was in battle.

    A good book on Robert Lincoln is John S. Goff's "Robert Lincoln: A Man In His Own Right".
     
  8. donna

    donna Lt. Colonel Forum Host

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    Messages:
    11,594
    Location:
    Kentucky
    There are many stories about Willie and Tad Lincoln at the White House. The two boys didn't have many rules. President Lincoln was actually amused by their shenanigans and frequently egged them on. He was oblivious to what others said was the chaos they would cause, such as taking their ponies and goats inside the White House. In an age when children were seen but not heard, Lincoln's parental philosophy was "kids will be kids".

    A great story is when Lincoln took Tad to the telegraph office in Washington. While Lincoln was reading dispatches, Tad went in next room and started drawing on a white marble table with black ink. The telegraph operator, Madison Buell, became very upset. He grabbed Tad by the collar and dragged him into room where Lincoln was. Buell was outraged and told Lincoln that Tad had ruined his table. Tad, who was always honest about what he did, held up his black fingers to show what he had done it. Lincoln lifted Tad into his arms and said, "Come, Tad, Buell is abusing you."

    Another great story is story of the Handsome soldier doll which was dressed in Zouave uniform. This was a gift from the Sanitary Commission of New York to Tad. The boys, Willie and Tad, named the soldier Jack. The boys frequently held court martial over Jack. They would execute him and than bury him in Major Watt's newly planted rosebushes. Major Watts was the White House gardener. One day they were burying him and Major Watts got all upset and than gave them idea to get Jack pardoned. The boys got all excited and went to their father, President Lincoln, for a pardon. Lincoln was very busy and John Hay tried to stop them going in to see their Father. They ran into room and begged their father for a pardon. Lincoln was very amused and listened to what the boys said about Jack and then wrote a pardon for Jack. Lincoln wrote on his Official paper" The Doll Jack is pardoned by order of the President. A. Lincoln".

    Another great book on the Lincoln children is Ruth Painter Randall's "Lincoln's Sons". These stories come from that book. I think it shows what a loving and compassionate Father, Abraham Lincoln was to his sons. One has to remember the boys were only about 8 and 10 years old when Lincoln entered the White House. As any one knows who has had boys, "boys will be boys".
     
  9. jpeter

    jpeter 1st Lieutenant Retired Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2007
    Messages:
    4,469
    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    Robert always interested me. He never seemed to be a favorite of the dad.

    Abe Lincoln was gone on a travel circuit in Illinois during much of Robert's childhood and they didn't see much of each other then. You really don't read much about Robert... except at the end when he has to awkwardly deal with his mother towards the end of her life.
     
  10. donna

    donna Lt. Colonel Forum Host

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    Messages:
    11,594
    Location:
    Kentucky
    Robert Lincoln wrote that he had a distant relationship with his Father, when he was growing up. His Father spent months on the Judicial Circuit during that time. His Mother was one who raised him. Robert would later say that his most vivid memory of his Father was his packing his saddlebags to prepare for his travels through Illinois. He said he lacked the bond Lincoln had with Willie and Tad. However, Robert deeply admired his Father and openly wept at his deathbed. He was a good and strong son, as he had to take charge of both his Father's funeral and later his brother Tad's funeral. His Mother, Mary was so grief stricken she couldn't handle these events. i think his Father would have been very proud of him.

    I also think he loved his Mother very much and did what he thought best for her, even though this hurt their relationship and he was criticized by others. It had to be a difficult time for him. It is never easy to make difficult decisions but it takes a very strong character which I think Robert Lincoln had.
     
    Eagle eye and damYankee like this.
  11. donna

    donna Lt. Colonel Forum Host

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    Messages:
    11,594
    Location:
    Kentucky
    Could this be moved to the Lincoln forum?

    Thanks.

    Donna
     
    Lazy Bayou likes this.
  12. KeyserSoze

    KeyserSoze 1st Lieutenant Forum Host

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2011
    Messages:
    4,488
    Location:
    Kansas City
    He was also in Washington when his father was shot, at the train station in DC when Garfield was shot, and in Buffalo, New York when McKinley was shot.
     
    Yankeedave likes this.
  13. shanniereb

    shanniereb First Sergeant

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2012
    Messages:
    1,722
    Location:
    Mt. Croghan South Carolina
    I learned a lot in the articles, thanks Donna.
     
    donna likes this.
  14. east tennessee roots

    east tennessee roots Sergeant Major

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2010
    Messages:
    2,443
    Location:
    Kingsport, Tennessee
    Presidents, Taft. Harding and Robert Lincoln at the dedication of the Lincoln Memorial.


    [​IMG]
     
    donna likes this.
  15. east tennessee roots

    east tennessee roots Sergeant Major

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2010
    Messages:
    2,443
    Location:
    Kingsport, Tennessee
    Presidents, Taft, & Harding with Robert Lincoln.jpg
     
  16. Carronade

    Carronade Sergeant Major

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2011
    Messages:
    1,955
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Robert Lincoln was saved from injury or death by Edwin Booth, brother of John Wilkes Booth, in an incident on a train platform shortly before the assassination. As he told it some years later:

    The incident occurred while a group of passengers were late at night purchasing their sleeping car places from the conductor who stood on the station platform at the entrance of the car. The platform was about the height of the car floor, and there was of course a narrow space between the platform and the car body. There was some crowding, and I happened to be pressed by it against the car body while waiting my turn. In this situation the train began to move, and by the motion I was twisted off my feet, and had dropped somewhat, with feet downward, into the open space, and was personally helpless, when my coat collar was vigorously seized and I was quickly pulled up and out to a secure footing on the platform. Upon turning to thank my rescuer I saw it was Edwin Booth, whose face was of course well known to me, and I expressed my gratitude to him, and in doing so, called him by name.​
     
    John Olexa and donna like this.
  17. John Olexa

    John Olexa Private

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2012
    Messages:
    211
    Location:
    Maryland
    I always found this to be one of the more remarkable storys of the whole saga.
     
  18. donna

    donna Lt. Colonel Forum Host

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    Messages:
    11,594
    Location:
    Kentucky
    I saw trivia on Lincoln children and thought bring this thread up for those who hadn't seen it or just to reread.
     

(Membership has it privileges! To remove this ad: Register NOW!)

Share This Page