Mary Lincoln has been misunderstood and misjudged by many historians. Somewhere between the stories of a loving wife, a jealous woman, a bitter old widow, and a woman driven to madness, lies the truth. Mary Ann Todd was born the fourth child of Robert and Eliza Todd in Lexington, Kentucky. Her family ancestry included some of the most influential pioneer families of Kentucky. Her father was a wealthy businessman, a member of the Kentucky legislature, and a bank executive. Lexington was known as the "Athens of the West," complete with Federal brick homes and cobblestone streets. Lexington was home to many politicians, (including Henry Clay) lawyers, and doctors. It was known for its fine public library, and many schools. It was here that Mary grew to adulthood.
Mary began her education at the Shelby Female Academy and was later educated at Madame Mentelle's School for Young Ladies. There she received a classical education, learned French fluently, studied drama, and starred in several plays. When Mary was six years old, her mother died after giving birth to a baby boy - her seventh child. Sixteen months later, Robert Todd returned home from a business trip with a new bride, Elizabeth Humphreys Todd. The Todd household continued to grow; the new Mrs. Todd gave birth to nine more children.
As a young woman, Mary visited her older sister, Elizabeth Edwards, in Springfield, Illinois. It was there that Mary's life was to change forever. Mary met and fell in love with a poor, young lawyer from the backwoods of Kentucky and Indiana. She married this humble man against her family's wishes. Together, Mary and her husband, Abraham, lived in Springfield and raised their four sons. They shared an interest in politics, and Mary helped Mr. Lincoln obtain political information from around the country. They entertained lavishly; Mary was famous for her strawberry parties. Mary also maintained an interest in community development. She was an active member of the Presbyterian Church. After 17 years, Abraham and Mary left their Springfield home to live in the greatest house their country had to offer them: The White House.
Genealogy - The Family of Mary Lincoln
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