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Sarah Rickard
01-09-2013, 02:01 PM
Post: #1
Sarah Rickard
"And he was equally determined not to marry her (Mary Todd)
In fact, he was so dtermined that he proposed within a year to another girl. He was thirty two at the time, the girl he proposed to was half that age. She was Sarah Rickard, the little sister of Mrs. Butler, at whose house Lincoln had been boarding for four years."

from Lincloln the Unknown by Dale Carnegie. p63

The author seems to have borrowed a lot from William Hendon on the early life of Lincoln, so is there any truth to this?

So when is this "Old Enough To Know Better" supposed to kick in?
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01-09-2013, 02:31 PM
Post: #2
RE: Sarah Rickard
Gene, I do not know how accurate this is, but here's what I have in my files on Sarah Rickard:

Abraham Lincoln first met Sarah Rickard (1824-1911) when she was a young teen. He grew fond of her, and the couple was often seen in public. In 1840, when Sarah was 16, they went to the theater together in Springfield. Sarah liked Abraham but not in a romantic way. To her he was more of an older brother or just a good friend, not a suitor. Eventually he teasingly proposed marriage citing the Biblical Sarah who became Abraham's wife. Sarah was too young to take him seriously and wasn't in love with him and wasn't ready for marriage anyway. Later, she ended up marrying Richard F. Barrett, son of a well-known Springfield family.

There is a picture of her here.
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01-09-2013, 05:48 PM
Post: #3
RE: Sarah Rickard
I wonder what she thought about it after he became president? Did she regret that things hadn't worked out? But, alas, she had not been in love with him. Was Lincoln being "playful" with her? Maybe he was somewhat serious. Heck, many of my ancestors certainly got married young. Interesting bit of history. Yes, Carnegie borrowed much from Herndon.

Bill Nash
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01-09-2013, 06:15 PM
Post: #4
RE: Sarah Rickard
At about the same time (c.1840) Lincoln apparently had strong feelings for another teen, Matilda Edwards. She was 18, two years older than Sarah. I cannot recall where I read it, but I think I read that Mary Todd considered Matilda her chief rival.
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01-09-2013, 08:12 PM
Post: #5
RE: Sarah Rickard
Wasn't Matilda Edwards related to Mary Todd Lincoln?
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01-09-2013, 08:19 PM
Post: #6
RE: Sarah Rickard
(01-09-2013 08:12 PM)antiquefinder Wrote:  Wasn't Matilda Edwards related to Mary Todd Lincoln?

You're likely thinking of Elizabeth Edwards, who was MTL's sister and guardian when MTL first came to Springfield.

Best
Rob

Abraham Lincoln in the only man, dead or alive, with whom I could have spent five years without one hour of boredom.
--Ida M. Tarbell
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01-09-2013, 08:47 PM
Post: #7
RE: Sarah Rickard
I've always heard that Matilda was a relative of Ninian Edwards (Elizabeth's husband). She was like his cousin or something, and came to Springfield to visit family.
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01-10-2013, 04:49 AM
Post: #8
RE: Sarah Rickard
I think I once read that Matilda turned down something like 18 marriage proposals! Apparently most all the young men in Springfield were in love with this young woman. She broke a lot of mens' hearts.
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01-10-2013, 07:51 AM
Post: #9
RE: Sarah Rickard
Since she turned down so many proposals of marriage-she could have been called "waltzing Matilda?" bad joke, I know. Its early in the day.

Bill Nash
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01-10-2013, 08:49 AM
Post: #10
RE: Sarah Rickard
From Michael Burlingame's Abraham Lincoln: A Life:

The “very bright” Matilda Edwards was “something of a coquette” and “a most fascinating and handsome girl, tall, graceful, and rather reserved,” who “moved at ease among the social and refined classes at Alton.” Her “gentle temper, her conciliatory manners, and the sweetness of her heart made her dear to all who knew her.”

Lincoln was among the many young men who held her dear. In the winter of 1840-1841, she and Mary Todd “seemed to form the grand centre of attraction. Swarms of strangers who had little else to engage their attention hovered around them, to catch a passing smile.” (She received twenty-two offers of marriage before wedding Newton D. Strong in 1843.)

In January 1841, Jane D. Bell reported that Lincoln had declared “if he had it in his power he would not have one feature in her face altered, he thinks she is so perfect.” Mrs. Bell added that Lincoln and Joshua Speed “spent the most of their time at [the] Edwards [home] this winter” and that “Lincoln could never bear to leave Miss Edwards’ side in company” because “he fell desperately in love with her.” Yet he was too shy to approach the young beauty, who informed Elizabeth Edwards that Lincoln “never mentioned Such a Subject to me: he never even Stooped to pay me a Compliment.”
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01-11-2013, 04:46 PM
Post: #11
RE: Sarah Rickard
I have always questioned the Matalida Edwards story for a several reasons. If Lincoln never paid the woman a compliment, it is doubtful he had romantic feelings towards her.
Several compliments he spoke to Mary have been recorded. One of my favorite stories involves a conversation Abraham and Mary had regarding the existence of fairies. Lincoln said: "I am sure that one of them must have been your godmother. She fell in love with you in your cradle and showered you with all her choicest gifts. You must have been a prime favorite of that generous lady." (and that my dear gentlemen friends is how a man courts a lady.)

Another aspect that makes the story of a relationship between Abraham and Matilda questionable is Mary's friendship with Matilda afterwards. Since Mary was known to hold a grudge against friends and family, it is doubtful she would have maintained friendly relations with a woman she viewed as competition for her husband. Even in Washington, ML would often tell Abraham not to speak to this woman or that woman because of her own jealousy. Yet, in Washington, Mary is still sharing positive communication with Matilda.
People seem to ignore that of course Lincoln was at the Edwards home all the time. He was an active member of the coterie and was courting Mary.
Then there is the issue of Matilda's last name. Abraham had a difficult time courting Mary because Ninian Edwards thought he was an unsuitable suitor. Since Ninian found Abraham to be too rough of a character for his sister-in-law, it is highly unlikely he would have approved of a relationship with his niece.
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01-11-2013, 10:35 PM
Post: #12
RE: Sarah Rickard
That seems like a very logical answer. Mary Todd would never have tolerated any interaction with Matilda if that was a true story.
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01-12-2013, 05:05 AM
Post: #13
RE: Sarah Rickard
I agree. It's obvious she was a popular girl, but I wonder what the original source is for 22 marriage proposals. Is that number really accurate?
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01-15-2013, 12:50 PM
Post: #14
RE: Sarah Rickard
Matilda must have had enormous charm or else was one of the few eligible ladies in town in order to get that many proposals....
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01-15-2013, 06:50 PM
Post: #15
RE: Sarah Rickard
(01-15-2013 12:50 PM)Laurie Verge Wrote:  Matilda must have had enormous charm or else was one of the few eligible ladies in town in order to get that many proposals....

Laurie, that's the understatement of the year so far!

--Jim

Please visit my blog: http://jimsworldandwelcometoit.com/
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