The Short Sweet Life of Willie Lincoln

Presidential History Blog

  Despite the fact that Willie Lincoln died before his 12th birthday, he was arguably the happiest of the Lincoln family.

Willie Lincoln in Springfield, IL

William Wallace Lincoln (1850-1862) was named for his uncle-by-marriage. Dr. William Wallace, married to Mary Lincoln’s sister Frances, had been devoted to caring for little Eddy Lincoln, a sickly boy, who died, shortly before his fourth birthday, only a few months before Willie was born.

willieandtad Willie and Tad Lincoln were playmates from the start.

Willie was a healthy baby and thrived. His older brother Robert, was seven years his senior, and by the time Willie was old enough to play, Robert was in prep school with other interests. But by the time Willie was old enough to have memory, he had a baby brother to play with. Thomas, called Tad from birth, was two years younger.

Mary Lincoln, the boys’ mother, was a pleasant…

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