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Eddie Lincoln
Edward Baker Lincoln, second son of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln, was born March 10, 1846.

Regarding Eddie's arrival, Abraham wrote to his friend, Joshua Speed, "We have another boy, born the 10th of March last. He is very much such a child as Bob was at his age - rather of a longer order." Eddie was named for Edward D. Baker, Abraham's friend and political associate.

Along with his older brother (Robert) and his parents, little Eddie set out for Washington, D.C. in October of 1847 because Abraham had been elected to the House of Representatives. In Washington the Lincoln family boarded at Mrs. Ann G. Sprigg's boardinghouse. In the spring of 1848 Mary and the boys left Washington to visit her family in Lexington, Kentucky.

One day during the stay in Lexington, young Robert brought home a kitten. Eddie was a tender boy, and when he saw the kitten, he immediately asked that it be brought water and fed it, himself. Mary Todd's stepmother, who didn't like cats, ordered a servant to throw the cat outside. Eddie screamed and protested long and loud. Eddie had loved the helpless kitten.

On April 16, 1848, while in Washington, in a letter to Mary, Abraham wrote, "I went yesterday to hunt the little plaid stockings, as you wished; but found that McKnight has quit business, and Allen had not a single pair of the description you give, and only one plaid pair of any sort that I thought would fit 'Eddy's dear little feet.' I have a notion to make another trial to-morrow morning. If I could get them, I have an excellent chance of sending them."
In December of 1849 Eddie became quite ill with what was thought to be diphtheria. Most likely the disease was really pulmonary tuberculosis. Mary rubbed his chest with balsam. However, after 52 days of acute illness, Eddie passed away on February 1, 1850. He wasn't even four years old. On the following Sunday, services were conducted by Reverend James Smith of the First Presbyterian Church. The little boy was buried in nearby Hutchinson's Cemetery a few blocks west of the Lincoln home. For the next 15 years, his remains lay under the headstone pictured to the right. (The photograph is from the Meserve/Kunhardt Collection.) Then in 1865 Eddie's remains were moved to a temporary tomb at Oak Ridge Cemetery. The remains of Abraham and his sons, Eddie and Willie, remained in the temporary tomb before being moved to the permanent tomb on September 19, 1871.

Eddie was an affectionate and deeply loved little boy. His loss left permanent scars in the hearts of his loving parents.

After Eddie's death a poem entitled Little Eddie was printed "by request" in the Illinois State Journal. Composed of four stanzas, the words are as follows:

Those midnight stars are sadly dimmed,
That late so brilliantly shone,
And the crimson tinge from cheek and lip,
With the heart's warm life has flown -
The angel of Death was hovering nigh,
And the lovely boy was called to die.

The silken waves of his glossy hair
Lie still over his marble brow,
And the pallid lip and pearly cheek
The presence of Death avow.
Pure little bud in kindness given,
In mercy taken to bloom in heaven.

Happier far is the angel child
With the harp and the crown of gold,
Who warbles now at the Savior's feet
The glories to us untold.
Eddie, meet blossom of heavenly love,
Dwells in the spirit-world above.

Angel Boy - fare thee well, farewell
Sweet Eddie, We bid thee adieu!
Affection's wail cannot reach thee now
Deep though it be, and true.
Bright is the home to him now given
For "of such is the Kingdom of Heaven."

Sources: Lincoln's Sons by Ruth Painter Randall and Mary Todd Lincoln: A Biography by Jean H. Baker. Source of the words of Little Eddie: the Spring 1999 edition of The Lincoln Herald, p. 8.

I was reminded of the 'little plaid stockings' and 'Eddy's dear little feet' while reading the excellent Lincoln Buff 2.

My friend, Joe Di Cola, let me know Eddie's original tombstone is on permanent display in the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum.

The daguerreotype at the top of the page was first published in 1998 in Lincoln's Photographs A Complete Album by Lloyd Ostendorf. Keya Morgan of the Keya Gallery in New York City owns the daguerreotype. For many years the image was overlooked in the collection of Herbert Wells Fay, an early custodian of the Lincoln Tomb in Springfield. I would like to thank Keya Morgan for sending me this scan and allowing me to use it on my website.
 

For additional information on Eddie, please see Tom Emery's excellent publication entitled Eddie: Lincoln's Forgotten Son (HISTORY IN PRINT, Carlinville, Illinois, 2002). A second edition was published in 2011. Eddie: Lincoln’s Forgotten Son may be ordered using PayPal (enter tomemery42@yahoo.com at www.paypal.com) or online at History in Print or AbeBooks (enter the author and title, hit “enter,” and look for Books on the Square). It may also be ordered with a Mastercard or Visa by phone at 217-854-3010 (8 a.m. - 9 p.m. CST), or by mail with check, money order, Mastercard, or Visa through History in Print. To order by mail, send your name, address, and payment of $5.99 (IL residents add .37 tax) to:

HISTORY IN PRINT
337 E. SECOND SOUTH
CARLINVILLE, IL 62626

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