Lincoln Burial Site & Monument
Springfield, Illinois



Favorite literature: Shakespeare, Robert Burns, the bible, Mortality, by William Knox and The Last Leaf by Oliver Wendell Holmes. While a frontier shop-owner in New Salem village near Springfield Lincoln was among the few who could read. He enjoyed reading the newspaper and sharing it with fellow villagers while discussing current events and politics.

Favorite foods: Mary Todd Lincoln's white cake, made with vanilla and crushed almonds was among his favorites. The recipe was created by Monsieur Giron, a French baker who lived in Mary's hometown (Lexington, Kentucky). Mary baked the cake for Abraham Lincoln in the time before they were married and during their days in Springfield and in the White House.

Mary's elegant "strawberry parties," held at their Springfield, Ill., home were another specialty appreciated by Abe and their guests.

Accounts vary as to his tastes in food and appetite. Mary reportedly had to remind him to eat. However, according to authors of the Presidents' Cookbook, Abe's bodyguard wrote that Lincoln was "a healthy eater." He enjoyed fresh fruit, especially apples, and also liked bacon and hot coffee. Fricasseed Chicken was another favorite, as was fresh apple pie. Leonard Sweet, a friend and associate, wrote that "I never in the 10 years of circuit life I knew him heard him complain of a hard bed or a bad meal victuals."

As a young man living and working in the village of New Salem west of Springfield, Ill., he likely appreciated typical basic home-cooked fare such as wild-game stew and fire-roasted cornbread.

Pets: Fido, the family dog, was a loyal walking companion and often waited outside while Abe visited local merchants or the barber shop. The dog was a mixed breed with golden yellow coloring. The family had both typical and atypical pets. In addition to cats and dogs, beloved pets included Jack the (presidentially pardoned) turkey, goats named Nanko and Nanny, ponies, a pig and a rabbit.

Entertainment: Abe and Mary enjoyed spending time with their children as well as friends and associates. Lincoln loved to read and talk politics. He and Mary also appreciated the theater. They were sitting in the presidential box at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C. enjoying the play, "Our American Cousin" when Lincoln was assassinated.

Last moments: Lincoln was assassinated on April 14, 1865. The assassin, John Wilkes Booth, was a well-known actor and anti-abolitionist who bemoaned the Southern Confederate loss in the Civil War. He was angered by President Lincoln's plan to extend voting rights to emancipated slaves.

Because Booth was familiar with the theater and the play, he planned the lethal gunshot to Lincoln precisely during a moment when he knew there would be just one person on stage. It was just after a line that typically drew a loud laugh from the crowd.

Afterward, Booth leaped from the box onto the stage, injuring himself during the escape. He was later hunted down and killed in Maryland by Union soldiers. Other co-conspirators were tried and convicted.





  copyright 2009 Michleen Collins,