Abe Lincoln History

- Lincoln Memes
- Famous Quotes
- Leadership Quotes
- Religious Quotes
- Slavery Quotes

- Grace Bedell
- Letter to Mrs. Bixby

- Emancipation Proclamation

- Lyceum Address
- Peoria Speech
- Temperance Address
- House Divided Speech
- Cooper Union Address
- Farewell to Springfield
- Address at Independence Hall
- First Inaugural Address
- Second Inaugural Address
- Last Public Address
- The Gettysburg Address

- 5 Facts
- Abraham's Dream
- John Wilkes Booth
- Assassination Conspirators
- Assassination Timeline
- Assassination Summary
- Artifacts

- Mary Todd Lincoln
- Robert Todd Lincoln
- Tad Lincoln
- Willie Lincoln


Robert Todd Lincoln

Robert Todd Lincoln

Born: August 1, 1843, Springfield, IL
Died: July 26, 1926, Manchester, VT
Parents: Mary Todd Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln
Siblings: Tad Lincoln, William Wallace Lincoln, Edward Baker Lincoln
Children: Abraham Lincoln II, Jessie Harlan Lincoln, Mamie Lincoln
Spouse: Mary Eunice Harlan
Uncles: Thomas Lincoln

Fun Facts about Robert Todd Lincoln
  • Robert Todd Lincoln was the first son of President Abraham Lincoln and his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln.
  • Lincoln was not present at his father's assassination. He was at the White House, and rushed to be with his parents. The president was moved to Petersen House after the shooting, where Robert attended his father's deathbed. Lincoln was also present during the assassinations of James A. Garfield and William McKinley. He is the only man to have been present in the area where three US Presidents were assassinated.
  • Robert Todd Lincoln was the only one of Lincoln's four sons to live to adulthood (not including his brother Tad Lincoln who died shortly after his eighteenth birthday), and the only member of the Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln family to survive into the 1900s.
  • By 1875 Robert had become extremely concerned with his mother's mental state. He instigated an insanity hearing which led to her being committed to a sanitarium for a short time. Robert testified against his mother at the trial. Mary despised Robert's actions and accused him being after her money. This video talks about how a paper found that credits Robert Todd Lincoln with good intentions behind his action.

About Robert Todd Lincoln

Robert Todd Lincoln was an American lawyer and secretary of war best known as the first-born son of President Abraham Lincoln.

Born on August 1, 1843 in Springfield Illinois, United States Robert Todd Lincoln was the eldest son of President Abraham Lincoln. Being the eldest son, he had the most pressure from his father. Robert Todd Lincoln graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy in 1860, then studied at Harvard University from 1861 to 1865, where he was a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon. He the attended Harvard Law school but failed to graduate. After embarrassing his father, his mother wouldn't allow him to join the Union Army until shortly before the war ended. On February 11, 1865 he was commissioned as an assistant adjutant general with the rank of captain and served in the last weeks of the American Civil Was as part of General Ulysses S. Grant's immediate staff, a position which sharply minimized the likelihood that he would be involved in actual combat.

Lincoln had a distant relationship with his father, in part because Abraham Lincoln spent months on the judicial circuit during his formative years. Robert would later say his most vivid image of his father was of his packing his saddlebags to prepare for his travels though Illinois. Abraham Lincoln was proud of Robert and thought of him as bright, but also saw him as something of a competitor, and, someone once said, "he guessed Bob would not do better than he had." The two lacked the strong bond Lincoln had with his sons Willie and Tad, but Robert deeply admired his father and wept openly at his deathbed.

Following his father's assassination, in April 1865, Robert moved with his mother and his brother Tad to Chicago, where Robert completed his law studies at the Old University of Chicago. He was admitted to the bar on February 25, 1867. The following year he married Mary Harlan, the daughter of Senator James Harlan of Iowa, and established his own household.

In 1877 he turned down President Rutherford B. Hayes offer to appoint him Assistant Secretary accepted an appointment as President James Garfield's Secretary of War, serving from 1881 to 1885 under PResidents Garfield and Chester A. Arthur. During his term in office, the Cincinnati Riots of 1884 broke out over a case in which a jury gave a verdict of manslaughter rather than murder in a case that many suspected was rigged. Forty-five people died during three days of rioting before U.S. troops dispatched by Lincoln reestablished calm.

Lincoln served as the U.S. minister to the United Kingdom from 1889 to 1893 under President Benjamin Harrison. Afterwards, he returned to private business as a lawyer.

Robert Todd Lincoln died in his sleep at Hildene, his Vermont home, on July 26, 1926. He was 82. The cause of death was given by his physician as a "cerebral hemorrhage induced by arteriosclerosis".

View of Robert Todd Lincoln's sarcophagus in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia, USA.
View of Robert Todd Lincoln's sarcophagus in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia, USA.
Personal details
Resting place
Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington County, Virginia

Political party

Alma mater
Harvard University
Union College of Law


Military service

Union Army

Years of service


American Civil War

Robert Todd Lincoln Timeline


AUGUST 1, 1843
Born in Springfield, Illinois, to Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln.

MARCH 10, 1846
His brother, Edward Baker Lincoln, is born at home in Springfield.

OCTOBER 25, 1847
Travels with his parents and brother enroute Washington, DC, where his father will serve one Congressional term.

JULY 17, 1849
His maternal grandfather and namesake, Robert Todd, dies at age 58 in Lexington, Kentucky.

FEBRUARY 1, 1850
His brother Edward dies at age 3 years and 11 months in Springfield.

DECEMBER 21, 1850
His brother, William Wallace Lincoln, is born at home in Springfield.

JANUARY 17, 1851
His paternal grandfather, Thomas Lincoln, dies at age 73 in Coles County, Illinois.

APRIL 4, 1853
His brother Thomas (Tad) Lincoln is born at home in Springfield.

SEPTEMBER 15, 1859
Enters Phillips Exeter Academy, in Exeter, New Hampshire, to prepare for Harvard.

JULY 1860
Enters Harvard College in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

MARCH 4, 1861
Attends his father's first presidential inauguration in Washington, DC.

AUGUST 3, 1861
Attends a White House dinner for Prince Napoleon of France.

FEBRUARY 20, 1862
His 11-year-old brother Willie dies in the White House; he attends the funeral on February 24.

JULY 20, 1864
Graduates from Harvard College and hears Edward Everett speak.

Enters Harvard Law School and studies for a semester.

FEBRUARY 11, 1865
Receives Army commission as captain and assistant adjutant to the staff of General Ulysses S. Grant.

MARCH 4, 1865
Attends his father's second inauguration in Washington; on March 6 he escorts Mary Eunice Harlan to the inaugural ball.

APRIL 9, 1865
Witnesses General Robert E. Lee's surrender to General Grant at Appommatox Court House, Virginia.

APRIL 15, 1865
Watches his 56-year-old father die of a gunshot wound in Washington; four days later attends his father's White House funeral and the service afterward at the U.S. Capitol.

APRIL 22, 1865
Resigns his U.S. Army commission, which is completed on June 10.

MAY 4, 1865
Attends his father's burial service at Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield.

MAY 22, 1865
Leaves Washington with his mother and brother enroute Chicago, Illinois.

Studies law at the University of Chicago; works with Scammon, McCagg & Fuller of Chicago.

FEBRUARY 25, 1867
Passes the bar examination, allowing him to practice law in Illinois.

NOVEMBER 13, 1867
Inherits $36,991.54 at the settlement of his father's estate.

SEPTEMBER 24, 1868
Marries Mary Eunice Harlan at her home in Washington.

APRIL 12, 1869
His step-grandmother, Sarah Johnston Lincoln, dies at age 80 in Coles County, Illinois.

OCTOBER 15, 1869
Becomes a father when his first daughter, Mary (Mamie) Lincoln, is born.

JULY 16, 1871
Holds a funeral service in his Chicago home for his 18-year-old brother Tad, who died the day before. Attends Tad's Springfield funeral on July 17.

Forms law partnership in Chicago with Edward S. Isham.

AUGUST 14, 1873
Becomes a father again when Abraham Lincoln II (Jack) is born.

FEBRUARY 16, 1874
His step-grandmother, Elizabeth Humphreys Todd, dies at age 74 in Kentucky.

MAY 27, 1874
Instrumental in forming the Chicago Bar Association.

MAY 19, 1875
Commits his mother to a mental institution in Batavia, Illinois, after a public trial declares her insane.

NOVEMBER 6, 1875
Becomes a father again when Jessie Harlan Lincoln is born.

OCTOBER 10, 1877
Declines Rutherford B. Hayes' offer to become Assistant Secretary of State

DECEMBER 30, 1878
Joins the Board of Trustees of the Second Presbyterian Church in Chicago.

MARCH 5, 1881
Becomes Secretary of War under President James Garfield; after his assassination, serves under President Chester Arthur.

JULY 2, 1881
Witnesses the shooting of President Garfield in Washington, DC.

JULY 19, 1882
Attends his mother's funeral in Springfield, Illinois, who died at age 63 on July 16.

His mother-in-law, Ann Peck Harlan dies at age 60 in Fort Monroe, Virginia.

NOVEMBER 6, 1884
Inherits $84,035 as executor and sole heir of his mother's estate.

JULY 3, 1885
Returns to law practice in Chicago.

JUNE 29, 1885
Serves as pallbearer at the funeral of David Davis, a close friend of his father from Bloomington, Illinois.

JUNE 16, 1887
Deeds his parents' Springfield house to the State of Illinois.

MARCH 30, 1889
Appointed by President Benjamin Harrison as minister to England.

MAY 25, 1889
Presented to Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle.

MARCH 7, 1890
Attends the funeral of his 16-year-old son Abraham Lincoln II (Jack), who died in London on March 5.

NOVEMBER 8, 1890
Buries his son "Jack" at the Lincoln family tomb in Springfield, Illinois.

Attends the wedding of his daughter Mary (Mamie) to Charles Bradford Isham, in London, England.

JUNE 8, 1892
Becomes a grandfather when Lincoln Isham is born in New York to his daughter Mary and her husband.

MARCH 25, 1893
Resigns his diplomatic position after President Harrison's defeat and prepares to return to Chicago and practice law.

JUNE 23, 1893
Receives an honorary degree (L.L.D.) from Harvard University.

OCTOBER 7, 1896
Speaks at Knox College, Galesburg, Illinois, at the 38th anniversary of the Lincoln-Douglas debates.

Becomes president of the Pullman Palace Car Company after George Pullman's death.

NOVEMBER 10, 1897
His daughter Jessie elopes with Warren Beckwith in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

AUGUST 22, 1898
Becomes a grandfather again when Mary Lincoln Beckwith (Peggy) is born to his daughter Jessie and her husband.

OCTOBER 5, 1899
His father-in-law James Harlan dies at age 79 in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa.

JULY 19, 1904
Becomes a grandfather again when Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith is born to his daughter Jessie and her husband.

JUNE 20, 1905
Moves into Hildene, his country estate in Manchester, Vermont.

FEBRUARY 12, 1909
Attends centennial celebration of his father's birth held in Springfield.

MAY 1911
Resigns as the Pullman Company president and becomes chairman of the board.

Sells his Chicago house and buys a house at 3014 N Street in Washington, DC.

JUNE 9, 1919
His son-in-law, Charles Isham, dies at age 65 in New York.

JANUARY 14, 1922
Retires as the Pullman Company chairman of the board.

MAY 30, 1922
Attends the dedication of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC.

JULY 26, 1926
Dies at age 82 at his summer estate in Manchester, Vermont.

MARCH 14, 1928
Buried privately at Arlington Cemetery at his widow's direction, despite wanting to be buried in the Lincoln family tomb.

MAY 27, 1930
His widow has their son Abraham Lincoln II reburied at Arlington Cemetery.

MARCH 31, 1937
His widow dies at age 90 in Washington, D.C.

NOVEMBER 21, 1938
His daughter Mary Lincoln Isham, dies at age 69 in New York.

JANUARY 4, 1948
His daughter, Jessie Lincoln Beckwith, dies at age 72 in Rutland, Vermont.

His grandson, Lincoln Isham, dies at age 79 in Dorset, Vermont.

JULY 10, 1975
His granddaughter, Mary Lincoln Beckwith (Peggy), dies at age 76 in Rutland, Vermont.

DECEMBER 24, 1985
His grandson and last known descendant, Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith, dies at age 81 in Saluda, Virginia.

Abe Lincoln History