Westfield, New York
February 16, 1861
Later that day, Lincoln's train arrived in Westfield, New York. Normally, Lincoln would have passed through this small community with the same briefness as others of its size, but Westfield contained a special citizen named Grace Bedell. Grace Bedell had written to Lincoln on October 15 of the previous year suggesting that he grow a beard. Lincoln must have anticipated that Grace was in that Westfield crowd, because he told the audience of the letter and called out for her. The Philadelphia Enquirer reported what Lincoln said and what happened.
Some three months ago, I received a letter from a young lady here; it was a very pretty letter, and she advised me to let my whiskers grow, as it would improve my personal appearance; acting partly upon her suggestion, I have done so; and now, if she is here, I would like to see her; . . . A small boy, mounted on a post, with his mouth and eyes both wide open, cried out, ``there she is, Mr. LINCOLN,'' pointing to a beautiful girl, with black eyes, who was blushing all over her fair face.
The President left the car, and the crowd making way for him, he reached her, and gave her several hearty kisses, and amid the yells of delight from the excited crowd, he bade her good-bye.
Last updated: March 5, 2017