• Inside the Lincoln Sitting Room

    Lincoln Home

    National Historic Site Illinois

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  • Lincoln Home Tours During Busy Season

    Please be advised that tours of the Lincoln home fill rapidly during our busy summer season. We suggest that you visit the Lincoln Home National Historic Visitor Center early in the day for your best opportunity to receive a tour of the Lincoln home.

Courtship and Marriage

Their backgrounds could not have been more different. Abraham Lincoln was born and raised in a one-room log cabin; Mary Todd was born and raised in a fourteen-room house. Abraham received less than one year of formal schooling; Mary received education throughout her childhood. Despite these opposite backgrounds, they met one night at a dance in Springfield, Illinois. Abraham approached Mary, and told her that he wanted to dance with her "in the worst way." As she later related the story, she said he did just that - danced with her in the worst way. She overlooked his two left feet and they began courting. However, her eldest sister - Elizabeth - and Elizabeth's husband - Ninian - disapproved of the uncultured Mr. Lincoln. The young couple broke off their courtship on what Lincoln referred to as the "fatal first of January" 1841.

For over a year, Abraham and Mary avoided each other, until mutual friends brought them back together. They dated in secret. Mary did not tell Elizabeth until their wedding day, November 4, 1842, that the couple was courting again. Elizabeth apparently gave in, and permitted the wedding to be held in her house. Afterward, the couple went to the place where they spent their first year of marriage- a single room on the second floor of a rooming house. In those humble conditions, Mary gave birth to their first child - Robert Todd Lincoln. After renting a small house for a time, Abraham Lincoln purchased his first and only house. In May of 1844, Abraham, Mary, and Robert moved into a one-and-a-half-story cottage - a house which they eventually expanded into two stories, and a home where they lived as a family for the next seventeen years.

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Did You Know?

Thanksgiving

On October 3, 1863 Abraham Lincoln invited his fellow Americans "to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November.... as a day of Thanksgiving....." Lincoln Home National Historic Site, Illinois