10 Facts About the Other Abe – Abraham Lincoln’s 200th Birthday
The 16th president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln was born 200 years ago tomorrow, on February 12, 1809.
Here are Ten Fun facts About Lincoln.
10. Lincoln under-utilized his pockets
Lincoln’s stovepipe top hat served as more than fashionable headwear. He used it to store and carry notes, letters, even bills. Why do they call it a stovepipe hat? Well, the rise is so tall and straight up and down with no flair that it resembles a length of pipe. They’re hard to come by nowadays, the traditional top hat being much more current, but still pretty “retro”. Best you go to a custom haberdashery to get one made just for you.
9. Lincoln was really tall
That stovepipe hat just made a tall guy a whole lot taller. Lincoln was 6’4”, making him our country’s tallest president. That of course begs the question, who was our shortest president? 4th president James Madison stood a stately 5’4”, making him an entire foot shorter than Honest Abe – even without his hat!
8. Lincoln has no living heirs
Despite the fact that the marriage between Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd Lincoln yielded 4 sons, there are no living heirs. Three of the four sons died before their 20th birthdays: Edward died at 4 years of age, Willie at 12 years, at Tad at 18. Robert was the only child who lived into adulthood and his last descendent died sometime in the 1980’s.
7. Lincoln’s son Robert was a death-magnet
Speaking of Robert, he was sort of a magnet for tragedy. More specifically, presidential assassination tragedy. While he was not present when his dad was killed, he was an eyewitness to Garfield’s assassination, and at the same World’s Fair where McKinley was assassinated. Another interesting fact about Robert, he was saved from a train accident by Edwin Booth, the brother of his father’s killer, John Wilkes Booth.
6. Lincoln Liked to Tinker
Lincoln really liked machines and gadgets. He liked to take them apart to see how they worked and try to put them together again. He even tried his hand at inventing, and in 1849 had a patent issued for “A Device for Buoying Vessels Over Shoals”. The machine never made it, but the patent was a new thing for a president, and no president has held a patent since.
5. Lincoln & Kennedy
You didn’t think we’d leave it out, did you? There are some pretty bizarre coincidences between Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy. Here are a couple:
Both were shot in the head with one bullet on a Friday.
Lincoln was elected to Congress in 1846, Kennedy in 1946.
Lincoln’s successor (named Johnson) was born in 1808. Kennedy’s successor (also named Johnson) was born in 1908.
Lincoln’s assassin (who went by three names: John Wilkes Booth) was born in 1839.
Kenney’s assassin (who also went by three names: Lee Harvey Oswald) was born in 1939.
4. Lincoln was kind of psychic
In the weeks before his death, Lincoln was extremely melancholy. He had seen portents of his own death, and had been dreaming of death as well. On one occasion looked in the mirror and saw a double reflection, one image much paler and blurrier than the other. He told his wife that he thought it meant that he had survived his first term, but wouldn’t survive his second. The week prior to his death, Lincoln had a dream of hearing crying in a distant room of the White House. He sought out the room and found that it had a coffin in it. He asked the weeping person who had died and the person responded that it was the President. In his dream, Lincoln looked into the coffin and saw himself. Read more in The Psychic Life of Abraham Lincoln
3. Lincoln dabbled in the occult
Not only did he get premonitions, he also believed in the occult. Well, if he didn’t believe then he was at least willing to go along with it. Because he and Mary had lost little Edward and Willie at such young ages, they actually held seances in the White House trying to contact their dearly departed. Mrs. Lincoln also attended seances at the homes of famous mediums of the day. Whether or not they made contact is unknown.
2. Lincoln was spiritual, not religious
Despite the last two facts, Lincoln said he was still a Christian. He didn’t, however, feel it necessary to subscribe to a particular brand of Christianity. Though many different sects try to claim him, Lincoln was 100% non-denominational. He never joined a church, didn’t say grace before meals, and spoke on a more spiritual level, rather than religious. He did read the Bible quite often, and did have a highly developed spiritual governance. When asked if he thought the Lord was on the side of the North in the Civil War, Lincoln responded, “I am not at all concerned about that…But it is my constant anxiety and prayer that I and this nation should be on the Lord’s side.”
1. Lincoln had a way with words
Not only was Lincoln spiritual and intelligent, he was also a heck of a speech writer. He wrote his own speeches, and it is said that his famous Gettysburg Address wasn’t even the best one! Rumor has it that the speech Lincoln made to the Illinois Republican Convention on May 29, 1856 was his best, but it was either so enthralling that nobody remembered to take notes, or it was so controversial that nobody was allowed to print them. Either way, no record of it exists.
Want to learn more about Abraham Lincoln on his 200th birthday? Check out our Abraham Lincoln feature with little known facts, some good gossip, and of course, great books to read and collect.