Lincoln’s Yarns and Stories

“And now the martyr is moving in triumphal march, mightier than
when alive. The nation rises up at every stage of his coming.
Cities and States are his pall-bearers, and the cannon speaks the
hours with solemn progression. Dead, dead, dead, he yet speaketh.

“Is Washington dead? Is Hampden dead? Is any man that was ever
fit to live dead? Disenthralled of flesh, risen to the
unobstructed sphere where passion never comes, he begins
his illimitable work. His life is now grafted upon the infinite,
and will be fruitful as no earthly life can be.

“Pass on, thou that hast overcome. Ye people, behold the martyr
whose blood, as so many articulate words, pleads for fidelity,
for law, for liberty.”

Abraham Lincoln was married on November 4, 1842, to Miss Mary
Todd, four sons being the issue of the union.

Robert Todd, born August 1, 1843, removed to Chicago after his
father’s death, practiced law, and became wealthy; in 1881 he was
appointed Secretary of War by President Garfield, and served
through President Arthur’s term; was made Minister to England in
1889, and served four years; became counsel for the Pullman
Palace Car Company, and succeeded to the presidency of that
corporation upon the death of George M. Pullman.

Edward Baker, born March 10, 1846, died in infancy.

William Wallace, born December 21, 1850, died in the White House
in February, 1862.

Thomas (known as “Tad”), born April 4, 1853, died in 1871.

Mrs. Lincoln died in her sixty-fourth year at the home of her
sister, Mrs. Ninian W. Edwards, at Springfield, Illinois, in
1882. She was the daughter of Robert S. Todd, of Kentucky. Her
great-uncle, John Todd, and her grandfather, Levi Todd,
accompanied General George Rogers Clark to Illinois, and were
present at the capture of Kaskaskia and Vincennes. In December,
1778, John Todd was appointed by Patrick Henry, Governor of
Virginia, to be lieutenant of the County of Illinois, then a part
of Virginia. Colonel John Todd was one of the original
proprietors of the town of Lexington, Kentucky. While encamped on
the site of the present city, he heard of the opening battle of
the Revolution, and named his infant settlement in its honor.

Mrs. Lincoln was a proud, ambitious woman, well-educated,
speaking French fluently, and familiar with the ways of the best
society in Lexington, Kentucky, where she was born December 13,
1818. She was a pupil of Madame Mantelli, whose celebrated
seminary in Lexington was directly opposite the residence of
Henry Clay. The conversation at the seminary was carried on
entirely in French.

She visited Springfield, Illinois, in 1837, remained three months
and then returned to her native State. In 1839 she made
Springfield her permanent home. She lived with her eldest sister,
Elizabeth, wife of Ninian W. Edwards, Lincoln’s colleague in the
Legislature, and it was not strange she and Lincoln should meet.
Stephen A. Douglas was also a friend of the Edwards family, and a
suitor for her hand, but she rejected him to accept the future
President. She was one of the belles of the town.

She is thus described at the time she made her home in

“She was of the average height, weighing about a hundred and
thirty pounds. She was rather compactly built, had a well rounded
face, rich dark-brown hair, and bluish-gray eyes. In her bearing
she was proud, but handsome and vivacious; she was a good
conversationalist, using with equal fluency the French and
English languages.

“When she used a pen, its point was sure to be sharp, and she
wrote with wit and ability. She not only had a quick intellect
but an intuitive judgment of men and their motives. Ordinarily
she was affable and even charming in her manners; but when
offended or antagonized she could be very bitter and sarcastic.

“In her figure and physical proportions, in education, bearing,
temperament, history–in everything she was the exact reverse of

That Mrs. Lincoln was very proud of her husband there is no
doubt; and it is probable that she married him largely from
motives of ambition. She knew Lincoln better than he knew
himself; she instinctively felt that he would occupy a proud
position some day, and it is a matter of record that she told
Ward Lamon, her husband’s law partner, that “Mr. Lincoln will yet
be President of the United States.”

Mrs. Lincoln was decidedly pro-slavery in her views, but this
never disturbed Lincoln. In various ways they were unlike. Her
fearless, witty, and austere nature had nothing in common with
the calm, imperturbable, and simple ways of her thoughtful and
absent-minded husband. She was bright and sparkling in
conversation, and fit to grace any drawing-room. She well knew
that to marry Lincoln meant not a life of luxury and ease, for
Lincoln was not a man to accumulate wealth; but in him she saw
position in society, prominence in the world, and the grandest
social distinction. By that means her ambition was certainly
satisfied, for nineteen years after her marriage she was “the
first lady of the land,” and the mistress of the White House.

After his marriage, by dint of untiring efforts and the
recognition of influential friends, the couple managed through
rare frugality to move along.

In Lincoln’s struggles, both in the law and for political
advancement, his wife shared his sacrifices. She was a plucky
little woman, and in fact endowed with a more restless ambition
than he. She was gifted with a rare insight into the motives that
actuate mankind, and there is no doubt that much of Lincoln’s
success was in a measure attributable to her acuteness and the
stimulus of her influence.

His election to Congress within four years after their marriage
afforded her extreme gratification. She loved power and
prominence, and was inordinately proud of her tall and ungainly
husband. She saw in him bright prospects ahead, and his every
move was watched by her with the closest interest. If to other
persons he seemed homely, to her he was the embodiment of noble
manhood, and each succeeding day impressed upon her the wisdom of
her choice of Lincoln over Douglas–if in reality she ever
seriously accepted the latter’s attentions.

“Mr. Lincoln may not be as handsome a figure,” she said one day
in Lincoln’s law office during her husband’s absence, when the
conversation turned on Douglas, “but the people are perhaps not
aware that his heart is as large as his arms are long.”

The remains of Abraham Lincoln rest beneath a magnificent
monument in Oak Ridge Cemetery, Springfield, Ill. Before they
were deposited in their final resting place they were moved many

On May 4, 1865, all that was mortal of Abraham Lincoln was
deposited in the receiving vault at the cemetery, until a tomb
could be built. In 1876 thieves made an unsuccessful attempt to
steal the remains. From the tomb the body of the martyred
President was removed later to the monument.

A flight of iron steps, commencing about fifty yards east of the
vault, ascends in a curved line to the monument, an elevation of
more than fifty feet.

Excavation for this monument commenced September 9, 1869. It is
built of granite, from quarries at Biddeford, Maine. The rough
ashlers were shipped to Quincy, Massachusetts, where they were
dressed and numbered, thence shipped to Springfield. It is 721
feet from east to west, 119 1/2 feet from north to south, and l00
feet high. The total cost is about $230,000 to May 1, 1885. All
the statuary is orange-colored bronze. The whole monument was
designed by Larkin G. Mead; the statuary was modeled in plaster
by him in Florence, Italy, and cast by the Ames Manufacturing
Company, of Chicopee, Massachusetts. A statue of Lincoln and Coat
of Arms were first placed on the monument; the statue was
unveiled and the monument dedicated October 15, 1874. Infantry
and Naval Groups were put on in September, 1877, an Artillery
Group, April 13, 1882, and a Cavalry Group, March 13, 1883.

The principal front of the monument is on the south side, the
statue of Lincoln being on that side of the obelisk, over
Memorial Hall. On the east side are three tablets, upon which are
the letters U. S. A. To the right of that, and beginning with
Virginia, we find the the abbreviations of the original thirteen
States. Next comes Vermont, the first state admitted after the
Union was perfected, the States following in the order they were
admitted, ending with Nebraska on the east, thus forming the
cordon of thirty-seven States composing the United States of
America when the monument was erected. The new States admitted
since the monument was built have been added.

The statue of Lincoln is just above the Coat of Arms of the
United States. The grand climax is indicated by President
Lincoln, with his left hand holding out as a golden scepter the
emancipation Proclamation, while in his right he holds the pen
with which he has just written it. The right hand is resting on
another badge of authority, the American flag, thrown over the
fasces. At the foot of the fasces lies a wreath of laurel, with
which to crown the President as the victor over slavery and

On March 10, 1900, President Lincoln’s body was removed to a
temporary vault to permit of alterations to the monument. The
shaft was made twenty feet higher, and other changes were made
costing $100,000.

April 24, 1901. the body was again transferred to the monument
without public ceremony.
End of Etext of Lincoln’s Yarns and Stories by
Colonel Alexander K. McClure

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