Abraham Lincoln’s Family and Descendants


The sixteenth president of the United States of America, Abraham Lincoln was known as the man who abolished slaveryby signing the Emancipation Proclamation and keeping the union together.

His legacy still lives on and left a huge mark in American History. Find out what influenced Abraham Lincoln to become the man and a distinguished leader he was. Dig into Abraham Lincoln’s family background and family life.

Nancy Hanks and Thomas Lincoln

Nancy Hanks and Thomas Lincoln was the parents of Abraham Lincoln. They were married on June 12, 1806 in Washington County, Kentucky. The couple had their eldest daughter, Sarah, who was born on February 10, 1807, in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. Two years later, they had Abraham, born on February 12, 1809, in Hodgenville, Kentucky. He was named after Thomas’s father in honor of him. Tragically, their third child, Thomas, Jr. or Tommy died when he was only three days old. Another tragedy struck their family. When the family moved to Spencer County, Indiana, Nancy contracted an infected milk from a cow who was bitten by a white snakeroot, and died on October 5, 1818. It left young Sarah, who was only eleven to raise his young brother, Abraham who was only nine years old. They are severely depressed and have to do challenging and manual farm labor with their father. Sarah was left to do household chores, take care of her father, brother and also cousins who lived with them.

Sarah Bush Johnston portrait

Sarah Bush Johnston

A year after their Nancy’s death, Thomas brought home a widow from Elizabethtown, Kentucky. She is Sarah Bush Johnston. She had three children with her. Thomas and Sarah were married on December 2, 1819. Sarah became close to Sarah and Abraham, treating them as her own and earned Abraham’s love towards her. She nurtured Abraham’s interest in reading and writing.

The Lincoln family aside from Abraham attended Christian services in Little Pigeon Creek Baptist Church. It is in young Abe’s nature to be funny but it got him into trouble when he imitated the preacher’s sermon.

In 1828, Abe’s sister, Sarah, married Aaron Grigsby. She unexpectedly died while giving birth; shrouding Abraham grieving and depressed. He even blamed the Grigsby for not calling the doctor in time.

The family moved in Illinois couple of years after Sarah’s death. Abraham moved out of their house but would visit in a year or two. Thomas died in 1851 but Abe continued to support Sarah in 1869.

Abraham Lincoln’s family

Mary Todd Lincoln portrait

Mary Ann Todd Lincoln

Abraham met Mary Ann Todd in Springfield, Illinois. She was the daughter of Robert Smith Todd, who was a wealthy businessman in Lexington, Kentucky. In some accounts, Mary was courted by Abraham’s enduring political rival, Stephen A. Douglas; however, Abraham won Mary’s heart against him. The couple got engaged in 1840 despite her family’s objection to Abe’s poverty and political prospects. Their wedding ceremony was set on January 1, 1841, but uncertainty and cold feet cloaked Abraham, moving the ceremony on November 4, 1842. Mary was twenty-three years old while Abraham was thirty-three years old.

The newly wed resided in Springfield where all their four sons were born.

They were Robert, Edward known as Eddie, William Wallace with a nickname Willie and Thomas called asTad.

Lincoln’s children

Edward Lincoln portrait

Lincoln family’s Tribulation

Mary was very supportive with Abe’s political ambition. Although, her time in the White House was cloaked by tragedy when the couple lost their second son, Edward in 1850 due to tuberculosis then, William in 1862 due to typhoid fever.

She suffered severe headaches. She also manifests mood swings and public outbursts. It was believed that Mary suffered from bipolar disorder. Abraham devotedly took care of his wife and hired a private nurse to look after her. It took her a long time to recover and get out of her bed, but series of unfortunate events are yet to unfold.

Robert Lee surrendered marking the end of the Civil War. The couple watched Our American Cousin at Ford’s Theater on April 14, 1865. At 10:15 p.m. of that fateful night, her husband, Abraham Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth, who was a Confederate sympathizer. Abe fell into coma and died at 7:22 a.m. on April 15, 1865. Mary never fully recovered.

Mary Todd Lincoln after Abraham’s assassination

Mary fell into depression after Abraham’s death. Robert was left to look after his ill mother. Then, another tragedy beset after Robert’s remaining brother, Tad passed away in 1671. Mary was completely devastated and tipped her over the edge of insanity. Robert admitted Mary to a Psychiatric Hospital in Batavia, Illinois. He was left to manage his mother’s finances and other liabilities.

After Mary recovered in 1876, she was able to regain her properties from Robert. She moved overseas in the fear of getting institutionalized again. As she returned, she lived with her sister, Elizabeth in Springfield, Illinois.

She died at the age of 63 on July 16, 1882 due to stroke.

Robert Todd Lincoln Portrait

Robert Todd Lincoln

Abe and Mary’s eldest son, Robert, was born on August 1, 1843. He was named after Mary’s father, Robert Smith Todd. He was also their only son who outlived his parents.

He attempted to enter Harvard University in 1859, but he failed fifteen out of sixteen components. He then entered Phillips Exeter Academy ang graduated in 1860. He was able to attend Harvard ang graduated in 1864. He then continued his further studies, and enrolled in Harvard Law School from September 1864 to January 1865. Eventually, Robert joined the Union Army.

He served as a captain on the last weeks of the Civil War. Being part of Ulysses Grant’s immediate staff, it reduced his chances of being in the actual combat.

Robert expressed his distant relationship to his father, Abraham, because he was constantly away due to political agendas.

On the fateful night of April 15, 1865, he declined his parent’s invitation to Ford’s Theater indicating he was exhausted from the battlefront.

After his father’s assassination, Robert together with his mother Mary and younger brother Tad moved to Chicago. He continued law in Old University of Chicago and passed the bar examination in February1867.

Robert married Mary Eunice Harlan, daughter of Senator James Harlan on September 24, 1868. They had two daughters, Mary also called as “Mamie” and Jessie. They also had a son Abraham Lincoln II with Jack as his nickname.

He served as the Secretary of War from 1876 to 1877. Then, served as Minister to the United Kingdom from 1889 to 1893 during the time of President Benjamin Harrison.

Robert’s teenage son, Jack died due to sepsis.

Robert’s daughter, Jessie had two children Mary and Robert, while Mary, had a son, Lincoln Isham, who never married.

The great grandchildren of Abraham did not have any heir to carry on the family name. This marks the Lincoln family, who lived and worked for the United States of America for nine generations’ dead end.