Happy Anniversary! On this date, November 4, 1842, Abraham Lincoln married Mary Todd. They would remain married for more than 22 years until that fateful day our 16th President was assassinated in Ford’s Theater, his wife at his side. They had four sons, only one of whom, Robert, lived to adulthood.
From the beginning they were an odd pair. At 6’4″ in height and only about 180 pounds he was the spindle to her 5’2″ short – and in her post-childbirth years tending to plumpness – presence. He grew up poor while she grew up in wealthy elite family. And where he was self-educated “by littles,” she was well-schooled and could converse on many interesting topics in either English or French. Her family was against her marrying someone of a lower social caste, and encouraged her to give in to another suitor of the time – Stephen A. Douglas (who was closer to her in both height and education).
Mary Todd and Abraham had a marriage that everyone else seemed to always have an opinion on, and mostly not a positive one. But they remained together through the tragedies of two sons dying young, a long period of non-political life in Springfield, and then a war that pitted brother against brother. In a bit of supreme irony Abraham’s life was snatched away just as the war was ending and the two were planning for both his second term and their post-presidency life back in Illinois.
On this 170th anniversary of their marriage let us remember how they stood together through the good times and the bad. While others may find many faults with their relationship, it seemed to work for them. And that is all that matters.
More on my Abraham Lincoln page.