(Photo courtesy of The Lehrman Institute)
Quoting a report in the Sacramento Union, the Humboldt Times asserted that Mary had usurped her husband’s presidential duty of appointing certain federal offices. According to the newspaper article, Mary sought to help her overwhelmed husband deal with his deluge of office-seekers. In doing so, she took it upon herself to appoint a complete stranger whom she had met on a train to any office he desired.
It seems this lucky fellow, identified as Mr. W.S. Wood, told Mary that he would like to be named the superintendent of public buildings. However, unbeknownst to her, President Lincoln had already named someone else to that position. In what may well pass for a mid-19th-century version of “fake news,” the article went on to state that when Mary found out that Mr. Wood had been denied the job, “she assaulted her husband with such a tempest about his ears that he was forced to give Wood the position and dismiss his own choice, a friend from his hometown of Springfield, Illinois.”
The article in the Humboldt Times didn’t stop there, but rather went on to imply that perhaps Mary “had been smitten with Mr. Wood’s handsome features, luxuriant whiskers and graceful carriage.” The reporter noted accounts of Mary “dancing with Wood many times at the Inauguration Ball … and that she had succumbed to his charm and flattery.”
Historians have never been able to substantiate this accusation of Mary’s flirtation with Wood. Gee. I wonder why? @JPK Huson 1863, you're probably very familiar with this story, but it was new to me. It seems Mary Todd Lincoln got accused of everything!