Young Lincoln's death came at a time in the history of our nation when the strength and firm resolve of the President was needed more than ever.
Photo credit: Library of Congress
On the cold winter day of February 20, 1862, 11-year-old Willie Lincoln took his last breath, casting a pall over the White House that would linger for the remainder of his father’s presidency. The child, who is believed to have contracted typhoid fever from the mansion’s contaminated water supply, was clothed in usual everyday attire and placed in a plain metallic coffin in the East Room of the White House.
The weeks prior to his death were an agonizing stretch for the president and first lady, who, on the inside, died along with their son, plunging the couple into insurmountable sorrow. According to Elizabeth Keckley, a former slave who had become Mrs. Lincoln’s seamstress and confidante, President Lincoln’s grief “unnerved him, and made him a weak, passive child. I did not dream that his rugged nature could be so moved.” Mrs. Lincoln was inconsolable to the point that the president led her to a window and pointed toward St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, an insane asylum, stating, “Mother, do you see that large white building on the hill yonder? Try and control your grief, or it will drive you mad, and we may have to send you there.”
Following a long procession through unpaved streets, Willie’s remains were placed in a marble vault in Oak Hill Cemetery as a temporary resting place until the Lincoln family returned to Illinois. Even as he tried to hold the country together, the president consistently visited his son’s tomb until his assassination on April 15, 1865. In the end, the caskets of father and son were placed beside one another aboard the presidential funeral train for their journey home.
The strain of this time must have been almost unbearable, to say the least. I can't imagine what a loss of that kind would do to me. Thsi information came from the folks at Listverse.
Coffee out on the patio again. It's windy, but warm.