• Inside the Lincoln Sitting Room

    Lincoln Home

    National Historic Site Illinois

Lincoln Facts

  • Abraham Lincoln lost the first time he ran for public office. He finished eighth of thirteen candidates.
  • Lincoln was to participate in a duel with James Shields on September 22, 1842, until it was called off at the last minute by friends on both sides.
  • Lincoln applied for a patent for his "new and improved manner of combining adjustable buoyant chambers with steam boats or other vessels." The patent (#6469) was granted on May 22, 1849. He is the only President to hold a patent.
  • Lincoln's largest collected legal fee was $5000, which he received for successfully defending the Illinois Central Railroad. Unfortunately for Lincoln, the Railroad did not want to pay him, and he had to sue to collect his fee.
  • Lincoln did not receive the nickname "Rail Splitter" until the Illinois Republican Convention held in Decatur on May 9-10, 1860.
  • Abraham Lincoln established the US Department of Agriculture on May 15, 1862.
  • Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday, the first one being celebrated on November 26, 1863.
  • The Lincoln Home has almost burned down two times since its construction in 1839. The first fire occurred over the Christmas/New Years holiday of 1854/1855. This fire may have encourage the Lincolns to add the full second floor. The second fire was the result of a lightning strike, which burned the roof near the north chimney.
  • Gas lighting was installed in the home by the second tenant, George Harlow.
  • The first telephone was installed in the Lincoln Home between 1878 and 1879.
  • Electricity was first used to light the home in 1899.
  • A caretaker lived in the Lincoln Home until December 1, 1953.
  • President Richard Nixon signed the legislation authorizing the establishment of the Lincoln Home as a National Historic Site at the Old State Capitol, using the same desk Lincoln used to write his first inaugural address.

Did You Know?

Decendents of Lincoln, including R.T.L. Beckwith

The last Lincoln decendent was Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith (1904-1985), the great grandson of Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln Home National Historic Site, Illinois