“Writing is the greatest adventure in the world.” ~Abraham Lincoln

MarryingMinda Crop to Use

 Okay. I admit it. I’m reading Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter, the current bestseller by Seth Grahame-Smith. It sounds real LOL…excerpts of Lincoln’s “journals,” motivations for his blood quests including avenging his mother’s death by a vampire…but this is what I found out about Lincoln. No vampire hunting in sight.  

Born poor on February 12, in 1809 in Hardin County, Kentucky, Abe Lincoln was no slouch at writing despite spending barely a year in a one-room schoolhouse. As a young politician, he wrote speeches in the long, ornate manner popular in the day, but he eventually simplified his style in deference to ordinary people.

The glorious, unforgettable Gettysburg Address, delivered on November 19, 1863 at the dedication of Gettysburg National Cemetery, is less than 300 words in length. But some of his phrases changed America. “…a new nation dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” “This nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom….” “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Throughout his life, he read every single speech to his wife Mary before a public presentation of it. Mary’s wealthy parents had strongly opposed the marriage, and it’s claimed the union was tumultuous, but she is often considered one of Lincoln’s trusted advisers and confidants. Of the four sons born to them, only one survived into adulthood.

Although detractors considered Lincoln coarse and vulgar, referring to him as “the ape baboon of the prairie,” his rustic manner, wit and wisdom were highly regarded by the literary greats of his day, including Walt Whitman and Nathaniel Hawthorne. (If you haven’t yet read Whitman’s “O Captain, My Captain!” or “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d,” you’re in for something wonderful.)  Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of the ground-breaking novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin, claimed Lincoln’s writing deserved to be “inscribed in letters of gold.”

president-abraham-lincoln-abeIndeed,  Abe Lincoln has an important hand in enhancing the climate and culture of the 19th century, in addition to his role as the Great Emancipator. The Homestead Act he signed in 1862 “opened the West” and helped establish America’s heartland, even as it tragically displaced native tribes. Settlers could claim 65 hectares, 160 acres or a quarter-mile section, as their own as long as they farmed and improved the land for five years.  The Nebraskans in several of my books definitely have a homesteading heritage. 

WHen you carve your turkey on the last Thursday in November, you owe it to President Lincoln. He ordered government offices closed on November 28, 1861, for a local day of thanks. On that date, prominent magazine editor Sarah Josepha Hale wrote him a letter, urging him to make an official “national and fixed union festival” of Thanksgiving.

 His proclamation setting the last Thursday of November as a “day of Thanksgiving and praise” was dated October 3, 1863, perhaps an attempt to ease hearts and lift spirits after the horrific battle of Gettysburg a few months before. One year later, the proclamation letter written by Secretary of State William Seward was sold to benefit Union troops.president-lincoln-lying-state

I found out some fun facts about our 16th president in doing my homework for this blog.

1. He was the tallest president at 6’4″

2. He carried letters, bills, and notes in his signature stove pipe hat.

3. He was the first president to have a beard.

4. He patented a system to alter buoyancy of steamboats in 1849.

5. He created a national banking system in 1863, resulting in a standardized currency.

6. He loved animals and had horses, cats, dogs, and a turkey as pets. His beloved horse, Old Bob, was part of his funeral procession.

7. He was the first president assassinated.

Although President Lincoln suffered from deep depression, usually called melancholia at that time, he often invented jokes and funny sayings for family and friends. I’ll leave off with several of my favorites.

1. If I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one?

2. Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.

3. Whatever you are, be a good one.

Anything else you’d like to add about this great president? 

Website | + posts

A California beach girl, I love cowboys and happy-ever-afters. My firefighter hubby and I enjoy travel, our two little grandsons, country music, McDonald's iced coffee, and volunteering at the local horse rescue. I was thrilled last year to receive the CTRR Award at Coffeetime Romance for Sanctuary, my tribute to my cancer-survin' hubby!

23 thoughts on ““Writing is the greatest adventure in the world.” ~Abraham Lincoln”

  1. Tanya–last year, on a road trip, we stopped in Springfield, Illinois to tour Abe Lincoln’s home there. In the parlor is where a group met with him and asked him to run for President of the United States. The house is beautifully restored, and there are the architect’s drawings for the construction of the house. It sits in a restored neighborhood so visitors can walk up and down sidewalks–made of boards, as were the curbs–and see many beautiful old homes–all real ones, just like Abe’s. I still get chills thinking that I stood six feet away from where he was nominated, from the bed he slept in, and his desk, and the dining room where he ate with his family.Lovely old photos hang around. As a visitor walks through the house, you must stay on the red carpet. If you step too close on the green an alarm goes off. Well, out of the group, guess who made the alarm go off? I was so entranced by a ball gown spread out on a bed, I wanted to get a closer look. Everyone laughed at me–I was mortified!!! Thanks for a great post–I thoroughly enjoyed it. Celia

  2. Tanya–last year, on a road trip, we stopped in Springfield, Illinois to tour Abe Lincoln’s home there. In the parlor is where a group met with him and asked him to run for President of the United States. The house is beautifully restored, and there are the architect’s drawings for the construction of the house. It sits in a restored neighborhood so visitors can walk up and down sidewalks–made of boards, as were the curbs–and see many beautiful old homes–all real ones, just like Abe’s. I still get chills thinking that I stood six feet away from where he was nominated, from the bed he slept in, and his desk, and the dining room where he ate with his family.Lovely old photos hang around. As a visitor walks through the house, you must stay on the red carpet. If you step too close on the green an alarm goes off. Well, out of the group, guess who made the alarm go off? I was so entranced by a ball gown spread out on a bed, I wanted to get a closer look. Everyone laughed at me–I was mortified!!! Thanks for a great post–I thoroughly enjoyed it. Celia

  3. Thanks for featuring Old Abe. I was raised in the Land of Lincoln, that’s what it says on IL license plates. He was the man who to me portrayed such humility. What an example to all of us.

  4. I’m a native Illinoisan, and anyone who has been to our state knows that we love Lincoln! I am no exception and have been to Springfield several times. One fun fact about Lincoln: did you know that Lincoln grew his beard at the request of a 13-year-old girl from New York named Grace Billings? She wrote Lincoln a letter during his campaign and told him that she basically thought whiskers would make his face look less gaunt. Lincoln wrote her back and indeed grew his beard.

  5. Tanya,

    Having grown up in Illinois, Abraham Lincoln has always been a hero to me. His strength through adversity, his willingness to make the tough decisions… He was a great president.

    Thanks for the reminder!

  6. Tanya,

    This was a very interesting post. I really enjoyed reading the facts about this President, some I did not know.

    Have a wonderful day

    Walk in harmony,
    Melinda

  7. Good morning, Celia! I am feeling those chills you felt, just reading about your experience. I hope to visit Lincoln’s stomping grounds someday. I’ve been to Chicago but that’s about it. Thanks so much for stopping by today!

  8. Hi Lyn, President Lincoln is indeed a terrific hero. While the novel if desperately fiction LOL, there are facts about his life that give a sense of wonder as to the times in which he grew up. I loved learning more about him for this blog.
    Thanks for posting.

  9. Hello Virginia, his humility is definitely something today’s “heroes” and “celebrities” (dang, how I tire of that word!) could definitely use in their own personalities. I love that such a great president had such a humble beginning and didn’t have to spend millions of dollars trying to impress people. (As you can probably tell, the governor’s race here in California has already wearied and disgusted me.) So good to have you here in the Junction today.

  10. Hello Kaitlin, wow, I did not know that wonderful fact about Lincoln’s beard! How interesting. I do think he looks more distinguished with it. I didn’t think to post a picture of him beardless so we could compare…but I think in this case, the beard does make the man! Thanks for stopping by.

  11. Somewhere along the way I got a book of Abe Lincoln’s writing. It was absolutely hilarious. I read his biography — which one I can’t remember, but in it they said he was always joking around. And they talked about his bouts of melancholia and said he seemed to have an almost physical need to break up dark periods (like awful news from the war) with laughter.
    So I read this book of his writings and I was amazed at how brilliant it was, funny, self-deprecating, wise.

    Lincoln didn’t want the Civil War and did everything he could to prevent it. But we think of him as a man who had greatness thrust upon him, more than a great man. But after reading his own words I’ve decided he really was an extraordinary man.

  12. Abraham Lincoln was truly an extraordinary man in so many ways. And we’re still learning from him which is amazing. He’d make a great hero in our books. Thanks for the interesting tidbits about him. I enjoyed it immensely.

  13. Hi Tracy, my filly sister. Yes he is such an inspiration. I definitely think Lincoln is the first president that comes to mind when anybody mentions the presidency. How noble he was in his simple hard-working way. I remember as a little girl, we got Lincoln’s Day off from school; no matter what day of the week, it was always February 12. (I don’t know what they did when the 12th was a weekend…LOL). oxoxoxoxx

  14. A lovely person, Abraham Lincoln! He seems to
    be someone we would have enjoyed knowing!

    Pat Cochran

  15. Great post! I so admire Lincoln. When we visited the presidential library in Springfield a few years ago, they displayed a wall full of political cartoons of his time. I was shocked by the viciousness of them. I guess I think of that as a more genteel time and I have a hard time understanding that he was not as loved in his own time as he is today. He bore so many personal tragedies and still had the strength to keep the country together. How in the world did he get up in the morning and face another day?

  16. Abraham Lincoln is such a fascinating president. I could have spent all day at the Ford’s Theater museum and to this day think that Irving Stone’s novel “Love is Eternal” about Mary Todd & Abe’s relationship is one of the greatest love stories.

  17. Tanya,
    What a great post. I love Lincoln–he’s my favorite president, and always has been ever since elementary school. I started reading Shelby Foote’s trilogy on the War Between the States, and he gives so many interesting “asides” in the telling of the facts that it makes it even more interesting than it already is. Some of the things he tells about Lincoln really help the reader seen him in such a human light. I got about 3/4 of the way through the first book (very very very thick)LOL and still haven’t finished it–not because I am not loving it, but because I just don’t seem to have the time to read anymore! Anyhow, wonderful post and I really enjoyed the facts you included.
    Hugs,
    Cheryl

  18. Hello everyone, I’ve been away from the computer this afternoon (climbing up a lighthouse…details later) so thanks for posting! President Lincoln truly was an admirable, amazing person…who lives on still in so many hearts and minds!

  19. The most surprising thing in the post is #4 – He patented a system to alter buoyancy of steamboats in 1849. I had no idea he was an inventor or had anything to do with steamboats.
    We have a local teacher who portrays Lincoln. He has the height and looks just like him. He tells wonderful anecdotal stories about Lincoln (first person of course). He is very good. Wish I could remember some of the childhood tales he told. The kids loved it.

  20. Tanya,
    Great post! I always learn something from you.
    When I was a teenager we visited Washington D.C. and my grandmother was with us. She got pretty tired from all the walking and the heat, and decided she could’t walk up all the stairs at the Lincoln Memorial. As we walked around the great man seated there, my grandma showed up. She said, “I came all this way, I’m gonna see Ole Abe!” I’ll never forget it. She was so happy to get her photo taken up there.

Comments are closed.