Friday, December 5, 2008

The Abe-ster

When Anne and I went to Springfield last month (and took a picture of the Capital Building which really wasn't the Capital Building), we made our usual purchases at the Abraham Lincoln Museum Gift Shop. This usually consists of some combination of books, doo-dads, and tee-shirts. With the 200th anniversary of Abe's birth coming up in February of 2009, there was a lot merchandise because of the bi-centennial. I purchased an enormous book that was first written during Abraham's life and presidency, revised after his death and again for the bi-centennial. It is a tough read as it is strictly a period piece written in the style of the time. People in the early 1800's wrote nothing like we do today. So it the Chaucer principle. You get into the flow and just go with it.

But I did get one little book written in a form I could understand quickly (no, it wasn't "Abraham Lincoln For Dummies"), but 101 Things You Didn't Know About Abe. In reviewing the book, there were only several that neither Anne nor myself knew. But here, for your reading and historical pleasure are a couple of things you might not have known about our 16th President.

1. Abraham Lincoln was named after his paternal grandfather who was a wealthy landowner in Virginia. He eventually moved his family to Kentucky and was killed by an Indian attack. Neither our president nor his paternal grandfather had a middle name.

2. Lincoln is the only U.S. President to be awarded a patent. It was for a manner of applying adjustable bouyant air chambers to stream boats so they could easily pass over shallow water or sand bars.

3. In a strange turn of events, Robert Lincoln was standing beside a railroad track when he was shoved downward onto the rails by the push of the crowd. A man behind him yanked him up by his coat collar and saved his life. The man's name was Edwin Booth. His brother, John Wilkes Booth, would kill Robert's father 2 years later.

And of course, #4 -- was Ann Rutledge the true love of Lincoln's life?

Yes. Absolutely. I don't know what the book says about it, but Ann and Abe were star-crossed lovers whose passion never came to fruition.

Like Abe, Anne (the other one) and I love a good story.


Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Sorry to drop in like this, but Blogger's locked me out of my blog. So I moved everything.

come on over and check it out -- and be sure to update your feed and links and stuff. I'm glad to see you in action again!

Anonymous said...

I have recently researched another of Abe's love affairs. The one with Fido. He reluctantly gave the family dog to neighbors before leaving for the White House. (Fido didn't like loud noises, sudden noises, and especially trains, and since the trip would be days-long and by train, Abe decided it would be mean to subject Fido to it.) Here were Abe's rules for Fido: never scold Fido for coming indoors with muddy paws, do not tie Fido up and leave him alone outside, let him back in whenever he scratches at the door, and everyone at the table should expect to share their food with Fido. In short -- Fido was a member of the family, not a mere pet. I admire that. I know you do, too.