Here are 16 things you may not know about Abraham — he had no middle name — Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States.
When Lincoln was 9, he was kicked in the head by a horse, knocking him out for hours.
Lincoln’s father, Thomas, earned 4 cents an hour in 1805 catching and whipping recalcitrant slaves in Kentucky.
Lincoln’s mother, Nancy Hanks Lincoln, died in 1818 when the family dairy cow ate poisonous roots and she drank the milk.
He is the only president with a patent — No. 6469 — for a device used to lift boats over sandbars.
John Wilkes Booth, Lincoln’s assassin, can be seen in a photograph taken at Lincoln’s second inaugural speech in March 1865. A month later, Booth and his co-conspirators hatched a plan to assassinate Lincoln, Vice President Andrew Johnson and Secretary of State William Seward on the same night. Seward was stabbed in the throat and face in his home but lived.
Lincoln was nominated by Republicans for his first run as president in 1860 at a meeting hall known as the Wigwam at the southeast corner of Lake and Wacker.
Actor Tom Hanks claims to be a distant relative of Nancy Hanks Lincoln.
Massachusetts Rep. Edward Everett delivered the main speech at Gettysburg in 1863, a 13,607-word oration that took more than two hours to deliver. Lincoln followed with an address of less than 300 words that he gave in about two minutes.
Lincoln, though he suffered from depression, liked to tell jokes, including this one: “If I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one?”
He was the tallest president, at 6 feet 4 inches. As an Illinois legislator in 1836-37, he was a member of a group pushing to move the state capital from Vandalia to Springfield called “The Long Nine” because all of the members were at least 6 feet tall.
Lincoln was assassinated on Good Friday.
In May 1875, a Cook County jury declared Lincoln’s widow, Mary Todd Lincoln, insane — her bizarre behavior included being found with $50,000 sewn inside her coat. She was sent to Bellevue Place, a sanitarium in Batavia.
In 1876, a band of criminals hatched a plot in a West Side tavern called the Hub to snatch Lincoln’s body from his Springfield tomb. Tipped to the plan, detectives interrupted the thieves, and some were captured and sentenced to a year’s hard labor.
Lincoln’s death bed, owned by the Chicago History Museum since 1920, is part of a phenomenon scholars call “the rubber room.” Paintings depicting Lincoln’s death grow more crowded with every interpretation. In one, there are a whopping 46 people around Lincoln as he lay dying.
Lincoln captured about 40 percent of the popular vote in 1860 against three challengers. He won 55 percent of the vote in 1864 against his main opponent, Gen. George B. McClellan.
When Lincoln died, the population of the United States was 36 million; today, it’s 306 million.
~ Excerpted from The Chicago Sun Times.