The death of Robert Todd Lincoln - July 26, 1926


Forum Host
Oct 10, 2012
Mt. Jackson, Va
On this date in 1926, Robert Todd Lincoln dies six days before his 83rd birthday. He was the oldest of four boys born to #MaryToddLincoln and #AbrahamLincoln, and the only son to outlive both parents. Robert Todd had an extraordinary life that included positions in both the private and public sectors. He served under three U.S. presidents: as Secretary of War to James Garfield and Chester Arthur, and as U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom under Benjamin Harrison. Lincoln was also a successful attorney, working as legal counsel to the Pullman Palace Car Company, later becoming its president and the chairman of its board.
On the last day of his father’s life, Robert enjoyed a breakfast with his family where he provided a first-hand account of the surrender at Appomattox Court House National Historical Park. Robert served on the staff of General Ulysses S. Grant during the final months of the war and was present at the McLean House on April 9, 1865.
Robert declined an invitation to accompany his parents to #FordsTheatreNPS on the night of April 14, 1865, opting instead to stay at the White House. It was there that he received the news that his father had been shot by an assassin. Robert was an active presence throughout those terrible overnight hours at the Petersen House, tending the bedside of his dying father, while also attempting to provide some support to his inconsolable mother.
Robert married Mary Harlan in 1868 and they had three children. The successes of his productive life enabled many comforts, including a beautiful family estate in southern Vermont called “Hildene” (meaning “hill” and “valley”), which Robert built, and is where he died.


Jun 7, 2021
I've read that Robert felt people were interested in having his name, not necessarily himself, associated with their business endeavors, which is not hard to believe. His name brought him a comfortable life for sure, regardless of his abilities. He questioned his own value his whole life. How hard it must have been to be Abraham Lincoln's son. Robert became a bit of a recluse toward the end of his life. RIP


Sergeant Major
Member of the Month
Dec 5, 2019
After Robert's son, Abraham Lincoln II, passed away in 1890 it seems there was no one to carry on the Lincoln name.
Not in President Lincoln's direct line but there are plenty of Lincoln kindred here in New England. The President's ancestor, Samuel Lincoln of Hingham, Massachusetts--who was himself one of several Lincoln brothers--had 11 children. Other New England Lincoln kinsman include Levi Lincoln Sr. (who was a leading diplomat under Thomas Jefferson), Levi Lincoln Jr. (13th governor of Massachusetts and Enoch Lincoln (6th governor of Maine--called "the poet governor").