Friday, May 7, 2010


MARY LINCOLN: The wife of the sixteenth president of the United States.
  I've wondered where to begin with Mrs. Lincoln so I think I'll give my readers a brief overview of her early life before she married Abraham, who truly was devoted to her. They were like night and day. In their case, opposites did attract.
   Mary was from an elite family. Her father, Robert Smith Todd, was an established banker, earning enough money to send not just his sons to school but also his daughters. Mary had twelve years of an education, which is unheard of in her day. Mary grew up mingling with powerful politicians such as Senator Henry Clay. Mary was vivacious, very bright, very interested in politics, very sociable. She became Abraham's intelligent and trustworthy informant about political issues. She knew just about everyone and had a wonderful sense of a person's character, if only her temper wouldn't get in the way. She had the Todd temper. One day she was gracious and kind, the next horrible.


    However, I believe, that Mary had good reason to be temperamental, but she did like the drama and carried her temper too far in a lot of cases. That being said, who could blame her? She had to deal with a husband that had homespun humor, and she was quite the refined woman. Besides having her husband shot, and who was sitting right beside her, she'd also lost two children by that time, and later her beloved, Tad. With the death of three children and one husband, all she had left was Robert, who committed her to a mental hospital. From what I've read, they were always estranged. Robert never understood his mother. She was neurotic with mild dementia plus eccentric. Abraham was gone most of the time, leaving her the parental duties plus taking care of the house. At home in Springfield, this meant milking the cows, etc, plus cooking. They were poor. Mr. Todd purchased their house for them.
   As you can see, my heart really does go out to Mary. I think history judges her too harsh and hopefully I can change the readers opinion about her, even if it's just a little bit.

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Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Washington Monument


Washington Monument Dusk Jan 2006.jpg

Dolley on the far right at monument celebration.

As we all know, Dolley was the first First Lady to open the White House to the public, to let everyone see the President's House, thus began her road to fame. After James' death, Dolley personified the, 'old' guard, the relic of the Revolution. She knew everyone and everyone loved her, and she loved them. She returned to Washington after James's death where her fame increased overnight. She was the 'queen' of Washington, usurping all First Ladies living in the White House.
    When building the Washington Monument, they knew who to turn to for support, our Dolley. She had the qualities needed to raise the money, and advertisers focused on her graciousness and luster as a woman. She was genuine. She presented to Washington Society all that was good. Money was raised through fairs, fundraisers and other solicitations.
    Ladies from the Revolution were given homage. Beside her was the widow of Alexander Hamilton, she'd never remarried after husband was killed in that famous duel with Aaron Burr. John Quincy Adams' widow also attended. The two former First Ladies plus Mrs. Hamilton stood right out front as the parades marched, bands played and speeches were made, but all eyes were on one particular lady, Dolley. By now she was almost destitute, dressed in black from an earlier age but still looking as regal and beautiful as ever before, was Dolley. By now, the slave who had helped her save the Washington portrait, was giving her money for food.
    Railroad and coach fares were reduced for this event. People streamed in from far and wide to Washington to see what was happening and to witness Dolley laying the cornerstone of the monument. A 'delicious freshness' in the air captured Dolley as she smiled at them all. This beautiful eighty year old woman with the kind and gracious, gentle and forthright personality, had served, hosted, been invited, and enjoyed the company of everyone since the day of her birth and was loved by all.
    I like to think that she went home, poured a glass of wine, and said, 'Here's to ya, old girl! You done good!" She also would've had a twinkle in her eye.

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