Saturday, October 15, 2011

This Day in History October 15, 1860


Hon A B Lincoln Westfield Chatauque Co

Dear Sir, Oct 15. 1860

My father has just home from the fair and brought home your picture and Mr. Hamlin's. I am a little girl only eleven years old, but want you should be President of the United States very much so I hope you wont think me very bold to write to such a great man as you are. Have you any little girls about as large as I am if so give them my love and tell her to write to me if you cannot answer this letter. I have got 4 brother's and part of them will vote for you any way and if you will let your whiskers grow I will try and get the rest of them to vote for you you would look a great deal better for your face is so thin. All the ladies like whiskers and they would tease their husband's to vote for you and then you would be President. My father is a going to vote for you and if I was a man I would vote for you to but I will try and get every one to vote for you that I can I think that rail fence around your picture makes it look very pretty I have got a little baby sister she is nine weeks old and is just as cunning as can be. When you direct your letter dir[e]ct to Grace Bedell Westfield Chatauque County New York

I must not write any more answer this letter right off Good bye

Grace Bedell


Ever read this letter?  Ever heard of Grace Bedell?  Maybe I have, but I have to admit I forgot her name, and I don't think I have ever read her full letter until I read it here.  But I had heard the story surrounding this day in history.

On this day in 1860, Grace Bedell (who was 11 at the time) send Abraham Lincoln this letter (written above).

She was the little girl who suggested that Abraham Lincoln run for president, and she also suggested her grow whiskers.  I didn't realize that she wrote to him again when she was 14 to inquire about a job in his treasury department.  When she was 17, she married a former teacher and Civil War Union war veteran.  She and her husband moved to Kansas and raised one son.  And they lived through the typical "Wild West" adventures.  

I remember learning about this girl (though I don't remember ever hearing her name) when I was growing up in school.  I doubt she is ever mentioned in American history now.  Unfortunately, the majority of students don't know a thing about Abraham Lincoln.  Indeed, he is my favorite president in spite of any mistakes or issues there might have been.  No one can deny his historical significance in our country.  And had it not been for Grace Bedell, he may never have been president.  

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