Abraham Lincoln's 4th and Youngest Son
Born: April 4, 1853, Springfield, IL Died: July 15, 1871, Chicago, IL Siblings: Robert Todd Lincoln, William
Wallace Lincoln, Edward Baker Lincoln Parents: Mary Todd Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln Uncles: Thomas Lincoln Grandparents: Nancy Lincoln, Thomas Lincoln,
Robert Smith Todd, Elizabeth Parker
Lincoln Fun Fact
He was Abraham Lincolns fourth and youngest son and
died at the young age of 18.
"Tad" Lincoln III was the fourth and youngest
son of Abraham and Mary
Todd Lincoln. Thomas was named after his paternal grandfather,
but, Abraham gave the nickname "Tad", who found
him "as wiggly as a tadpole" when he was a baby.
Lincoln was known to be impulsive and unrestrained, and
he did not attend school during his father's lifetime.
Tad had a speech impediment, and likely had a learning disability.
This seemed to endear him to his parents all the more. Tad
was inventive in thinking up mischief and he became rather
famous for his pranks, which he often carried out with the
help of his older brother Willie. He had free run of the
White House, and there are stories of him interrupting Presidential
meetings, collecting animals, and charging visitors to see
Tad as he grew up proved to be a handful. Tad didn’t
live under many rules at all, at least up until the time
he left the White House. In an age where children were to
be seen and not heard, Lincoln’s parental philosophy
was "kids will be kids."
Famous Father-Son Portrait
a year after moving into the White House, Willie died.
Mr. Lincoln always said it was one of the most difficult
things he'd ever experienced. This drew Tad all the closer
to the Lincolns and made them all the more lenient with
him. Tad surely was the little devil Herdon said he was,
and yet, he obviously had his endearing moments.
of those moments was captured in the Brady studio and
the picture has since become one of the most popular father-son
portraits ever. I’m sure you’re quite familiar
with the picture, which was taken in February, 1864. Lincoln
is seated and Tad is standing at his side. They are both
reviewing a book.
The U.S. Postal Service used this picture on the 20 cent
stamp issued October 16, 1984, titled, "A Nation
not only tended to speak very rapidly, but had trouble
pronouncing his words clearly. As a result of a birth
defect he had a partially cleft palate. This caused him
to lisp and was a part of the problem. He was often very
frustrated with his inability to make himself understood.
The President, however, had no difficulty understanding
Tad. He also was very sympathetic to the boy's frustrations.
His mother at first took him to see a dentist. The dentist
prescribed a painful steel device intended to rearrange
his teeth. Not only was the devise painful, but it made
virtually impossible for Tad to be understood when he
spoke. Finally unable to bear Tad's complaints, Mrs Lincoln
decided to engage an elocution instructor. [R.T. Lincoln
letter, January 17, 1868.] Had the President been alive,
he probably would not have permitted it.
He died at the age of 18 on July 15, 1871, in Chicago
about six years after the assassination of his father.
His death was a great loss to his mother, because she
had depended upon him for love, companionship, and understanding
after Abraham's death.
The Chicago Tribune published an account of Tad’s
death the next day. It said, in part:
At 7:30 on
yesterday (Saturday) morning Tad Lincoln died at the Clifton
House on Wabash Avenue, where he had been staying since
his return from Europe. The cause of his death was dropsy
of the chest. The first symptoms showed themselves while
he was abroad, but it was not until his return, the middle
of May, that his condition became alarming. ...He was
convalescent at one time, but he got up one night slightly
clad and swooned. This was followed by a relapse, after
which he grew steadily worse.
Funeral services were held for Lincoln in his brother
Robert's home in Chicago. His body was transported to
Springfield and buried in the Lincoln Tomb at Oak Ridge
Cemetery, alongside his father and two of his brothers.
Robert accompanied the casket on the train, but Mary was
too distraught to make the trip.