Guide ABE AND MOLLY: The Lincoln Courtship

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The young couple broke off their courtship on what Lincoln referred to as the "fatal first of January" For over a year, Abraham and Mary avoided each other, until mutual friends brought them back together.


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They dated in secret. Mary did not tell Elizabeth until their wedding day, November 4, , that the couple was courting again. Elizabeth apparently gave in, and permitted the wedding to be held in her house. Afterward, the couple went to the place where they spent their first year of marriage- a single room on the second floor of a rooming house. In those humble conditions, Mary gave birth to their first child - Robert Todd Lincoln. After renting a small house for a time, Abraham Lincoln purchased his first and only house. In May of , Abraham, Mary, and Robert moved into a one-and-a-half-story cottage - a house which they eventually expanded into two stories, and a home where they lived as a family for the next seventeen years.

Explore This Park. Info Alerts Maps Calendar Reserve. But Herndon was not around at the time. Later scholarship has largely discredited his account. Mary's biographer Ruth Randall believes that Lincoln suffered a crisis of self-confidence. While the Edwardses had welcomed Lincoln to their home as a friend, she contends, they made it clear to him - once they saw the affection between him and Molly - that he was not fit to marry into the family. Lincoln had integrity and political savvy.

But he also had debts. He did not own a house; he lodged with friends. Although Springfield was only a small frontier city, Lincoln was still - despite his achievements - deeply aware of his limitations: his backwoods youth, his lack of social training, his poverty. According to Speed, she burst into tears and Lincoln reacted by taking her in his arms to comfort her. But he did not renounce his doubts. Randall believes that the Edwardses muscled in and got Mary to write a letter releasing Lincoln from any obligations to her, thus breaking the engagement. Lincoln's mind she wrote a letter to Mr.

Mary Todd Lincoln

L stating that she would release him from the engagement. Mary may have ended the engagement, but her love for Lincoln did not end. This lively, gossip-loving, sharp-tongued young woman said nothing rancorous about her former fianc'e. She kept her own counsel and she kept her poise. Meanwhile, Lincoln went completely off the deep end. If what I feel were equally distributed to the whole human family there would not be one cheerful face on the earth. But lovers have friends.

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It must have been clear to each that the attachment remained strong. The lovers began to meet secretly at the editor's home.

Abe Lincoln's Hat

Close observers of the two people must have suspected that something was afoot. Over the years nasty accusations have besmirched Mary Todd Lincoln's reputation.

Mary Todd Lincoln

When the Nov. The Edwardses insisted that the wedding take place in their home. Mary rounded up three bridesmaids, including her cousin Elizabeth who washed and ironed her best white dress for the occasion. Lincoln roused his friend Jim Matheny out of bed it was an eventful early morning for him!

The wedding took place in front of the Edwards' fireplace. A carriage took the newlyweds to the Globe Tavern. If the broken engagement sent Lincoln into a tailspin, he took the marriage easily in stride.

Lincoln’s Shame

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