Besides Frank Sinatra, Abraham Lincoln was probably one of the most influential people in my life. Of course I didn’t know him personally, but my deep desire to learn everything I could about this mysterious man shaped my life in ways I never thought possible.
It was my love of Lincoln that motivated me to watch a 90’s made-for-TV movie called Tad, starring Kris Kristofferson as Abraham Lincoln, Jane Curtin as Mary Todd, and a very young Bug Hall as Lincoln’s son, Tad. At the beginning of the movie, there is a solo trumpet playing “Hail to the Chief”. It was that rendition that inspired my 10-year-old self to take up trumpet…an instrument that would stay a part of my life throughout my entire education and beyond. It became my goal to one day play “Hail to the Chief” for the President one day…still workin’ on that one 😉
My love of Lincoln also got me interested in history education and The Civil War, an educational path I almost took in college before switching to literature. He got me interested in presidential history and the history of my own home state. And, as an added little how do ya do, the most recent Lincoln movie starring Daniel Day Lewis hit theaters on my birthday. Ka-wink-ee-dink? I think not.
For as famous and well-known as Lincoln is today, he was a very secluded man, prone to depression and large bouts of sadness. He was instrumental in shaping several of today’s laws and government organizations, and has been named several times as one of the best presidents the US has ever had.
He holds the record for many strange accolades, including being the tallest president, the president with the biggest feet, the only president to hold a patent, the first president to be photographed at his inauguration, the first president to be added to the US currency, the first president with a beard, and was the first president to be born outside the original 13 colonies.
He fought for women’s rights…he fought for equal rights…he fought against slavery and he fought for the common man. He honored education, loved his children dearly, and served his country not just as the President, but in local government as well. A few days ago we celebrated Lincoln’s 208th birthday…and as a little celebration, here are 29 Fascinating Facts about our 16th President, Abraham Lincoln.
29 Fun Facts about Abraham Lincoln
- Abraham Lincoln was a licensed bartender.
- Abraham’s son, Robert, was saved from a train accident by Edwin Booth, brother of his father’s killer, John Wilkes Booth.
- Robert was also the only son of Abe Lincoln to live to adulthood.
- About 60 years ahead of his time, Abe was a firm believer that women should have the right to vote.
- Abe is among a large assortment of brilliant minds that do not own a college degree. Others include Walt Disney, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison and Steve Jobs.
- Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin were born on the same day.
- According to his own journals, Abraham Lincoln dreamt of his assassination before it happened…as did Martin Luther King, Jr.
- When he was running for president, Abe received a letter from a young 11-year-old girl named Grace Greenwood. In the letter, she told Abe that he would look much more dignified and presidential with a beard. He took her advice…and won.
- Abraham Lincoln has no confirmed living descendants. The last known one, a great-grandson, died in 1985.
- So far, Lincoln is the tallest US president, standing at 6 foot 4 inches. He also has the biggest feet of any US President, wearing a size 14 shoe.
- Lincoln did indeed hold important documents and speech notes inside his tall black hat.
- After being shot, Lincoln remained in a coma for 9 hours before succumbing to his injuries.
- Though today his views would be considered more democratic, Lincoln was actually the first Republican elected to the US Presidency.
- Abe was also the first US President to be born outside one of the original 13 colonies.
- Lincoln was the first President to be photographed at his inauguration.
- He was also the first to appear on a US coin.
- Lincoln was a huge fan of Shakespeare and quoted him often. John Wilkes Booth, the man who killed Lincoln, was a famous Shakespearean actor and a personal favorite of Lincoln’s.
- Lincoln is the only President to hold a patent. He invented a device to free steamboats that ran aground.
- He was also a man of simple tastes. He didn’t drink, smoke, or chew tobacco…and he never drank inside The White House.
- It was Honest Abe himself who officially established Thanksgiving as a national holiday.
- Lincoln loved cats. His own cat, Tabby, had a place at The White House dinner table. He also had a dog named Fido.
- Defeated only once in about 300 matches, Lincoln was an accomplished wrestler in his day. He’s enshrined as an “Outstanding American” in the Wrestling Hall of Fame.
- The last piece of legislation Lincoln signed before his assassination was the creation of the Secret Service.
- Illinois may be known as “The Land of Lincoln”, but he didn’t move here until he was 21. He was born in Kentucky and spent time in Indiana before eventually settling in Illinois.
- The Lincoln Bedroom in The White House was never really Lincoln’s bedroom. He used the space as his personal office, meeting with Cabinet members and signing documents, including The Emancipation Proclamation.
- There are more books written about Abraham Lincoln than any other American to date.
- Tom Hanks is a descendent of Lincoln’s mother, Nancy Hanks. Abe and Tom are very, very, very distant cousins.
- Lincoln’s heterosexuality has been disputed on numerous occasions, as various biographers have claimed that Lincoln may have been homosexual or bisexual. There are several stories about Lincoln sleeping in the same bed as some of his mail friends, though no actual concrete proof of Lincoln’s preferences have been unearthed as of yet.
- There are SEVERAL weird coincidences between Abe Lincoln and later President, John F. Kennedy. Both were shot in the head on a Friday, both were elected to Congress exactly 100 years apart (1846/1946), both were elected to the presidency 100 years apart (1860/1960), both men’s successors were named Johnson (Andrew Johnson/Lyndon Johnson), both Johnson’s were born 100 years apart (1808/1908), both Lincoln and Kennedy were shot by a man with thee known names (John Wilkes Booth/Lee Harvey Oswald), both Lincoln and Kennedy contain seven letters, the names of both their assassins contain 15 letters, and Lincoln was shot in the Ford Theatre while Kennedy was shot in a Lincoln town car, made by Ford.
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