Random Lincoln Facts
- Returning from New Orleans in 1828 by boat, Lincoln and a companion were attacked in their sleep by seven men, “with intent to kill and rob them.” As Lincoln emerged from a hatchway, an attacker “struck him a blow with a heavy stick … making a scar which he wore always”
- Stephen Douglas called Lincoln “two-faced.” Lincoln responded: “I leave it to my audience. If I had another face, do you think I would wear this one?”
- Lincoln had a high-pitched voice that could be heard over great distances. When excited, the pitch went higher still, and sometimes became unpleasant. Still, his voice was an asset because it could be heard by all the crowds that gathered outdoors to hear him speak. (Microphones did not yet exist.) For example, at least 15,000 people heard him give the Gettysburg Address and “acres of people” heard his first inaugural address
- A dentist broke off part of Lincoln’s jaw bone while pulling a tooth — without anesthesia. The extraction may have taken place in Louisville, KY in Sept. 1841
- Lincoln was several times the victim of domestic violence at the hands of his wife, Mary. (a) About 1860: Mary struck him “on [the] head with a piece of wood while reading paper in South Parlor — cut his nose — lawyers saw his face in Court next day but asked no questions” (b) Before 1861: Angry at his choice in meat for a guest, Mary “abused L. outrageously and finally was so mad she struck him in the face. Rubbing the blood off his face Lincoln and [the guest] left” (c) there are also records of Mary throwing coffee at him, throwing potatoes at him, chasing him down the street with a knife (once) or a broomstick (frequently), pulling out part of his beard, and of a strike to his face in his last weeks alive.
Sotos, John G. The Physical Lincoln Sourcebook. Mt. Vernon, VA: Mt. Vernon Book Systems, 2008
Boller, Paul F. Jr. Presidential Anecdotes. New York: Oxford University Press, 1981