Select Lincoln Miscellany

Here are some Lincoln stories and accounts over the years:

The Will of Thomas Lincolne of Tasburgh in Norfolk

In 1475 Thomas Lincolne left in his will a strip of land in Foulesboth Pytll to be sold for ďprayers to be said for my soul and those of my friends.Ē  He bequeathed two horses, land, and two bullocks to his widow Margery and his sons John and Thomas.

The Various Lincolns of Hingham, Massachusetts

Early in the 17th century the little town of Hingham in Norfolk was torn by the religious dissension.  Robert Peck, the rector of Hingham. was among the dissenters and he headed a group of which held prayer meetings in private houses.  It was his associate Peter Hobart who led a party of twenty nine to the new colony of Massachusetts where they founded the town of Hingham, Massachusetts in 1635. 

The following year lands were granted to the following Lincolns:

  • Thomas Lincoln the miller,
  • Thomas Lincoln the weaver,
  • and Thomas Lincoln the cooper. 
In 1637 land was also granted also to Samuel Lincoln, the brother of Thomas Lincoln the weaver. 

Another Thomas Lincoln of Hingham was a large landowner and he was known as Thomas Lincoln the husbandman, thus making him the fourth Thomas Lincoln who settled in Hingham.  This Thomas Lincoln had come from Wyndham in Norfolk in 1638 and married Margaret, the daughter of Richard Langer of Hingham, around 1642.  Two other Lincolns also settled in the region - Stephen Lincoln, brother to Thomas Lincoln the husbandman, and the young Sergeant Daniel Lincoln.  

Samuel Lincoln - who came over as a youthful servant/apprentice - seems to have been the most modest of all the Lincolns in point of property.  But it was this Samuel Lincoln who, by the irony of democracy, became the progenitor of President Abraham Lincoln.  

This proud connection for Hingham in Norfolk explains why the village hall there was named the Lincoln Hall and why the bust of Abraham Lincoln takes pride of place in the north aisle of St. Andrews church.  The memorial was bought by public subscription and unveiled by the American ambassador in 1919.

The General Benjamin Lincoln House in Hingham, Massachusetts

Family history places the initial construction of part of the house as early as 1637, soon after Thomas Lincolnís arrival in Hingham.  However, there is no visible architectural evidence to support this assertion. 

The various Benjamin Lincolns of this family were malsters and the family had become wealthy by the mid 18th century.  General Lincolnís father was one of the richest men in Suffolk county at that time.  It was he who probably gave the house its L-shaped appearance, later expanded upon by his son. 

The house still stands.  It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1972.  The original woodwork, mantelpieces, floors, fireplaces, unpainted intact clapboards from the 1715 addition preserved in the attic, and delft tiles installed around the parlor firebox have all remained in the house over the years.

When Abe Met Levi

In 1848, Abraham Lincoln, the then Congressman from Illinois, arrived in Worcester, Massachusetts by train with his wife and two children to attend a Whig political convention. 

They stayed at one of the best hotels in the area, the Worcester House, on the corner of Main and Elm Street.  Down Main Street, once lit by whale oil lamps, was the Meeting House then considered the center for local politics.  The hall was a rustic auditorium that uncomfortably held the thousand people that heard Lincolnís 90 minute speech. 

The next evening Lincoln and other delegates were invited to a dinner at Mayor Levi Lincolnís mansion, at the top of a steep hill on Elm Street.   The men were distant relatives and talked extensively about their family tree.  Levi was the cityís first mayor and had already served as Massachusetts Governor for nine years. 

The Lincoln mansion is no longer there.  But it has been saved.  Fearing its demolition when the family heirs sold the property for development, it was rescued by the trustees of Old Sturbridge Village, a living history museum.   In 1952 they moved the house thirty miles away to Sturbridge, near a bank and a pizza pad.

Abraham Lincoln and His Beard

When Abraham Lincoln, then President-elect, passed through Rochester, New York in February, 1861, en-route to Washington, his face was smooth-shaven.  It was said that in Rochester a little girl remarked to him: 

"Mr. Lincoln, your face would not seem so long and you would look better if you wore whiskers." 

The President laughed, thanked the young miss, and went on his way.  Thereafter he let his beard grow.

Abraham Lincoln's Descendants

Robert Todd Lincoln was the only one of Lincolnís four sons to live to adulthood.  He later served as Secretary of War under Presidents Garfield and Arthur.  He lived onto 1926, the last surviving member of the Garfield and Arthur Cabinets. 

Robert and his wife had three children, one son and two daughters.  Their son Jack died of blood poisoning at the age of sixteen.  Their two daughters, Jessie and Mamie, married and had children.  But the Lincoln line ended there.  The last person known to be of direct Lincoln lineage was Robert's grandson through Jessie, Bud Beckwith, who died in 1985. 

When Beckwith died, the three groups that were to inherit his millions - Iowa Wesleyan College, the American Red Cross and the First Church of Christ Scientist - were worried about his supposed son Timothy Beckwith, by then seventeen and living in the US with his remarried mother.  The groups made him an offer, some say of more than $1 million.  The teenager said yes and with that the Lincoln family tree withered into history.

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