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Article by Guy Fraker dated 12-01-21 from Lincoln Lore

(05-07-2022 09:29 AM)Gene C Wrote: [ -> ]Article by Guy Fraker dated 12-01-21 from Lincoln Lore


Lincoln made frequent visits to the Rutledge home where he and Ann spent many hours walking the landscape of Sandridge together. Lincoln’s law partner and early biographer, William Herndon, in interviewing a number of one-time New Salem residents, uncovered the story of a romance between the two. His lectures and writings about the interviews brought attention to the relationship. Some scholars in the mid-twentieth century displayed substantial skepticism about this romance. This skepticism was erased and generally disappeared because of the exceptional scholarship in the second-half of the twentieth century by Douglas L. Wilson and others. Wilson combed the Herndon interviews of New Salem residents. He compiled a score card with three questions about the relationship. The first question was whether Lincoln loved or courted Ann. Twenty-two witnesses said, “Yes.” The second question was whether Lincoln “grieved exceptionally at her death.” There were seventeen that said “yes,” and zero said “no.” Seven had no opinion. The third question was, “If they had an understanding about marriage?” There the count was fifteen “yes” and two said “no.” Seven had no opinion.

The budding romance between Ann and Lincoln blossomed fully after the family moved to Sandridge. Lincoln made frequent visits to Ann, which further tightened the bond between them. The tragedy of Ann’s death from typhoid in August of 1835 devastated Lincoln. When it became clear that she would not survive her disease, he was summoned to her bedside at the Rutledge home in Sandridge. They were left alone for that final visit, as Lincoln saw her for the last time. He emerged grief-stricken from the cabin and staggered over to a nearby oak tree, sobbing beneath it. Ann was buried a few days later in Old Concord Cemetery, a service that was attended by Lincoln. Many local contemporaries told of the smothering grief that engulfed Lincoln. He would frequently trudge the four miles from New Salem to the cemetery alone with his thoughts, as he mourned his inconsolable loss. It is said that, years later, he went there one more time before he left for Washington.
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