Mary Todd Lincoln, First Lady

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Mary Ann Lincoln (Todd)

Also Known As: "Molly", "16th President Of Usa Lincoln", "16th President Of Usa Todd"
Birthplace: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky, United States of America
Death: July 16, 1882 (63)
Springfield, Sangamon County, Illinois, United States (Stroke)
Place of Burial: Springfield, Sangamon County, Illinois, United States
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Brigadier General Robert Smith Todd and Ann Elizabeth Todd
Wife of Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the USA
Mother of Robert Todd Lincoln, U.S. Secretary of War; Edward Baker Lincoln; William Wallace Lincoln and Thomas "Tad" Lincoln
Sister of Elizabeth Porter Edwards; Robert Smith Todd, Jr.; Levi Oldham Todd; Frances Jane Wallace; Robert Parker Todd and 3 others
Half sister of Jonathan Todd; Robert Humphrey Todd; Margaret Kellogg; Samuel Brown Todd, CSA; David Humphreys Todd and 5 others

Occupation: First Lady of the United States during the Civil War, First Lady, Mother & Wife, First Lady to President Abraham Lincoln, First Lady (Abraham Lincoln)
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Mary Todd Lincoln, First Lady

Mary Ann Todd Lincoln (December 13, 1818 – July 16, 1882) was the First Lady of the United States when her husband, Abraham Lincoln, served as the sixteenth President, from 1861 until 1865.

Born in Lexington, Kentucky, she was the daughter of Robert Smith Todd and Eliza Parker, prominent residents of the city. They were slaveholders, as were most of her relatives. At the age of twenty, Mary Todd moved to Illinois where her sister Elizabeth was living. Elizabeth introduced Mary to the young lawyer who would later become her husband; she was also courted by Stephen A. Douglas. Abraham and Mary Lincoln were married on November 4, 1842.

Mary Todd Lincoln

Their children were:

  1. Robert Todd Lincoln : Springfield, Illinois August 1, 1843 – July 26, 1926 in Manchester, Vermont

2. Edward (Eddie) Baker Lincoln : Springfield March 10, 1846 – February 1 1850 in Springfield
3. William (Willie) Wallace Lincoln : Springfield December 21, 1850 – February 20, 1862 in Washington, D.C.
4. Thomas (Tad) Lincoln : Springfield April 4, 1853 – July 16, 1871 in Chicago, Illinois.
The assassination of Abraham Lincoln. From left to right: Henry Rathbone, Clara Harris, Mary Todd Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln and John Wilkes Booth.

The Lincolns deeply loved one another, but it was a troubled marriage at times. Of their four sons, only Robert and Tad survived into adulthood, and only Robert outlived his mother.

Mary Lincoln was well-educated and interested in public affairs, and shared her husband's fierce ambition. However, she was high-strung and touchy, and sometimes acted irrationally. She was almost instantly unpopular upon her arrival in the capital.

Newspapers at the time criticized her for using taxpayers' money to refurnish the White House (which had become quite worn and shabby) as well as to fund her personal shopping sprees. During the Civil War, there were persistent rumors that she was a Confederate sympathizer, and even a Confederate spy (several relatives served in the Confederate forces-three of her brothers died fighting for the South). Popular legend states that President Lincoln, upon hearing the rumors, personally vouched for her loyalty to the United States in a surprise appearance before the Committee on the Conduct of the War. Her visits with Union soldiers in the numerous hospitals in and around Washington went largely unnoticed by her contemporaries. [1]

After the President's assassination in April 1865, her reputation was further besmirched as former Lincoln aides and Cabinet members openly attacked her for being a spendthrift, difficult and arrogant (Lincoln's wartimes aides John Nicolay and John Hay privately referred to her as "the hell-cat").

In 1868, a former seamstress and confidante, Elizabeth Keckley, published Behind the Scenes, (or, Thirty years a slave, and four years in the White House). When the book proved controversial, Robert Todd Lincoln had it suppressed.

The deaths of her husband and her sons, Willie and Thomas (Tad), in time led to an overpowering sense of grief and the gradual onset of depression.

Mary Todd Lincoln's Crypt

Mrs. Lincoln's "spend-thrift" ways and eccentric behavior concerned her son Robert. To gain control of his mother's finances, Robert had her committed to an insane asylum in Batavia, Illinois in 1875, but she was free to move about the grounds and was released three months later. She never forgave her eldest son for what she regarded as his betrayal.

Mrs. Lincoln spent the next fours years abroad taking up residence in Pau, France. She spent much of this time travelling in Europe.

Mrs. Lincoln's late years were marked by declining health. In 1879, she suffered spinal cord injuries in a fall from a step ladder. On her return to the US aboard an ocean liner in 1880, actress Sarah Bernhardt prevented her from falling down a staircase and sustaining further injury. She also suffered from cataracts that severely affected her eyesight. This may have contributed to her falls.

Mrs. Lincoln died at the Springfield, Illinois home of her sister Elizabeth on July 16, 1882, aged 63. She was interred within the Lincoln Tomb in Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield.

Of Robert's children, Jessie Harlan Lincoln Beckwith (1875 - 1948) had two children (Mary Lincoln Beckwith ["Peggy," 1898 - 1975] and Robert ("Bud") Todd Lincoln Beckwith (1904 - 1985), neither of whom had children of their own. Robert's other daughter, Mary Todd Lincoln ("Mamie") (1869 - 1938) married Charles Bradley Isham in 1891. They had one son, Lincoln Isham (1892 - 1971). Lincoln Isham married Leahalma Correa in 1919, but died without children.

The last person known to be of direct Lincoln lineage, Robert's grandson "Bud" Beckwith, died in 1985. [2]


   * Her great uncle John Todd (Virginia) was killed in the last battle of the American Revolution-the Battle of Blue Licks.

* Her sister Elizabeth Todd was the daughter-in-law of Illinois Governor Ninian Edwards. Elizabeth's daughter Julia Edwards married Edward L. Baker, editor of the "Illinois State Journal" and son of Congressman David Jewett Baker.
* Her half sister Emilie Todd married CS General Benjamin Hardin Helm, son of Kentucky Governor John L. Helm. Governor Helm's wife was a 1st cousin 3 times removed of Colonel John Hardin who was related to three Kentucky congressman.
* A cousin was Kentucky Congressman/US General John Blair Smith Todd.
* Nancy Lincoln, an aunt of Abraham Lincoln was married to William Brumfield; reportedly William Brumfield was distantly related to one Susannah Brumfield who was the wife of Thomas Boone - cousin of Daniel Boone.
* Musician Sufjan Stevens, on his 2005 concept album inspired by the state of Illinois, dedicates a track to Lincoln, entitled "A Short Reprise For Mary Todd, Who Went Insane, But For Very Good Reasons."
Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:

Mary Todd Lincoln

External links

   * Mary Todd Lincoln House (National Park Service)

* Mary Todd Lincoln House (Official Home Page)
* Mary Todd Lincoln Research Site
* Mary Todd Lincoln in 1862 Harper's Weekly Newspaper
* Especially for students - An Overview of Mary Todd Lincoln's Life
* Mr. Lincoln's White House: Mary Todd Lincoln
* "Wet with Blood," Research Project on Mary Todd Lincoln's Cloak, Chicago History Museum (formerly Chicago Historical Society)

Their children, all born in Springfield were:

Robert Todd Lincoln (1843-1926) - lawyer, diplomat, businessman.

Edward Baker Lincoln known as "Eddie" (1846-1850)

William Wallace Lincoln known as "Willie" (1850-1862)

Thomas Lincoln known as "Tad" (1853-1871)

The following is excerpted from the National Park Service retrieved October 31, 2007 from

“Mary Ann Todd was born in Lexington, Kentucky on December 13, 1818, of a prominent and influential family whose ancestors had a distinguished record in the American Revolution.

“When she was about eight years old, Mary entered the Academy of Dr. John Ward, an Episcopal minister who was ahead of his time in running a coeducational school. Mary received more education than most women did at that time and, perhaps as a result, she sometimes expressed her opinions more freely than some of her contemporaries considered proper.

“Considering her wealthy and aristocratic family background, her attitude toward marriage was surprisingly free of snobbery. She said ‘I would rather marry a poor man - a man of mind - with a hope and bright prospects ahead for position, fame and power than to marry all the houses [of] gold.’

“On November 4, 1842, Mary and Abraham were married. Because Lincoln came from a humble background, some members of Mary's family did not approve of her choice of a husband. In the course of their marriage, Mary sometimes lived under circumstances less luxurious than she was accustomed to, but she eventually became First Lady of the United States.

“Shortly after her husband's death, Mary wrote: ‘There never existed a more loving and devoted husband.’ Mary Todd Lincoln died in Springfield on July 16, 1882, having never returned to the home she shared with Abraham Lincoln.”

Generation Seven MARY ANN TODD (LINCOLN) – b. December 13, 1818 in Lexington, Kentucky – d. July 16. 1882 in Springfield, Illinois. She moved to Illinois in 1839. There she married Abraham Lincoln (16th president of the United States) on November 4, 1842. Their children were: A. Robert Todd Lincoln – b. August 1, 1843 in Springfield, Illinois – d. July 26, 1926 in Manchester, Vermont. B. Edward Baker Lincoln – b. March 10, 1846 in Springfield, Illinois –d. February 1, 1850 in Springfield, Illinois C. William Wallace Lincoln – b. December 21, 1850 in Springfield, Illinois – d. February 20, 1862 in Washington, D.C. D. Thomas Lincoln (Tad) – b. April 4, 1853 in Springfield, Illinois – d. July 16, 1871 in Chicago, Illinois.

Generation Eight Robert Todd Lincoln – b. August 1, 1843 in Springfield, Illinois – d. July 26, 1926 in Manchester, Vermont. On September 24, 1868, Robert married Mary Eunice Harlan in Washington D.C. Mary (1846 – March 31, 1937) was the daughter of Senator James Harlan and Ann Eliza Peck of Mount Pleasant, Iowa. Robert was a Captain under General Grant, a corporation lawyer, Secretary of War under presidents Garfield and Arthur, Minister to Great Britain, President of the Pullman Company, and a gentleman farmer. He and his wife Mary had the following descendants: A. Mary Lincoln – b. October 15, 1869 – d. November 21, 1938. She married Charles Isham (July 20, 1853 – June 8, 1919) on September 2, 1891. They had one son: 1. Lincoln Isham – (June 8, 1892 – September 1971). He married Telhoma Correa on August 20, 1919.). There were no children. B. Abraham Lincoln, Jr. (Jack) – b August 14, 1873 - d. March 5, 1890. He died of blood poisoning in London, England. C. Jessie Lincoln – b. November 6, 1875 – d. January 4, 1948. She married 1) Warren Beckwith 2). Frank Edward Johnson 3). Robert J. Randolf. Jessie and Warren Beckwith had the following children:: 1. Mary Lincoln Beckwith (Peggy) – (August 22, 1898 – 1975) Never married. 2. Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith – (July 19, 1904 – December 24, 1985) He married: 1) Mrs. Hazel Holland Wilson 2) Annamarie Hoffman 3) Margaret Fristoe There were no children.

During the Civil War, Mary Todd Lincoln worked tirelessly as a nurse, tending wounded soldiers.

Maintained by: Find A Grave Record added: Jan 01, 2001

Find A Grave Memorial# 1341


Was Mary Todd Lincoln Driven ‘Mad’ by a Vitamin Deficiency? By DENISE GRADYJULY 8, 2016



  • Religion: Baptists
  • Residence: Lexington
  • Residence: Dist No 16 City Of Springfield, Sangamon, Illinois, United States - 1860
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Mary Todd Lincoln, First Lady's Timeline

December 13, 1818
Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky, United States of America
August 1, 1843
Springfield, Sangamon, Illinois, United States
March 10, 1846
Springfield, Sangamon County, Illinois, United States
November 7, 1850
Age 41
Springfield, Sangamon, llinois
December 21, 1850
Springfield, Sangamon County, Illinois, United States of America
April 4, 1853
Springfield, Sangamon, Illinois, United States
July 14, 1860
Age 51
Springfield, Sangamon, Illinois
April 15, 1865
Age 56
Peterson's Boarding House, 516 10th St., NW, Washington, District of Columbia, United States