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Gifts poured into the White House after the Lincolns moved in. Two of the favorite ones were goats named Nanny and Nanko. The president's sons hitched Nanny and Nanko to carts or kitchen chairs and drove them through the main floor of the White House. One time Tad harnessed Nanko to a chair and drove through the East Room during a White House reception. Dignified women pulled up their hoop skirts as Tad drove around the room and out the door again.

Tad Lincoln and his father

Willie Lincoln

Nanko once got out and dug up the bulbs planted by John Watt (White House gardener). The president, who loved activities with his sons, sometimes played with the boys and goats on the grounds of the White House. Nanny was taken to the Soldiers' Home but caused such destruction to the flowers that she was returned to the White House. One day she was discovered lying in the middle of Tad's bed and chewing her cud. After that she disappeared. On August 8, 1863, Mr. Lincoln wrote a letter to his vacationing wife. In it he said,
"Tell dear Tad, poor 'Nanny Goat', is lost; and Mrs. Cuthbert & I are in distress about it. The day you left Nanny was found resting herself, and chewing her little cud, on the middle of Tad's bed. But now she's gone! The gardener kept complaining that she destroyed the flowers, till it was concluded to bring her down to the White House. This was done, and the second day she had disappeared, and has not been heard of since. This is the last we know of poor 'Nanny'."

President Lincoln's Cottage at the Soldiers' Home Where Nanny Destroyed the Flowers
SOURCES: p. 309 and p. 449 of David Herbert Donald's Lincoln and p. 59 of LaVere Anderson's Mary Todd Lincoln: President's Wife.

In 2008 Ellen Jackson's Abe Lincoln Loved Animals was published. Ellen's attractive book is non-fiction, and it's intended for young readers. The book is about the animals in Abraham Lincoln's life and is beautifully illustrated by Doris Ettlinger. If you are interested in purchasing Abe Lincoln Loved Animals please CLICK HERE.

The sketch at the top of the page is the work of James Warner. James Warner lives in Cadillac, Michigan and enjoys illustrating, woodcarving and antique collecting. To contact Mr. Warner for artwork please call (231) 577-4207 or send e-mails to: jameltrib@yahoo.com. Please type "Lincoln" in the subject line of your e-mail. Mr. Warner always enjoys hearing from people. However, all mail without the name "Lincoln" in the subject line will NOT be answered. Sorry for the inconvenience. ARTWORK NOT TO BE REPRODUCED FOR USE ON ANY OTHER SITE WITHOUT PERMISSION!


Abraham Lincoln and the Three Kittens

Fido - the Lincolns' Dog

Young Tad Lincoln Saved the Life of Jack, the White House Turkey

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