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Even his wife, Mary Todd, called him "Mr. Lincoln."Library of Congress
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One of Lincoln’s most distinguishing features is his beard, and you can thank a little girl for that. At the behest of Grace Bedell (pictured), an 11-year-old from Westfield, New York, Lincoln began to grow his signature beard.
She wrote Lincoln an unsolicited letter advising him that letting his “whiskers” grow would serve him well on the presidential campaign trail because his face was too thin. When Lincoln’s campaign trail made a stop in Westfield, the two of them actually met and the future president thanked Bedell for her advice.Wikimedia Commons
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Lincoln started a facial hair trend among American presidents. Over the next 48 years, only two presidents (Andrew Johnson and William McKinley) didn't have facial hair.
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Lincoln was the main figure responsible for making Thanksgiving a nationwide holiday, following an official proclamation in 1863.Wikimedia Commons
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Lincoln was asked only to give a few brief remarks following the two-hour speech of orator Edward Everett, the man whose speech was the main event, so to speak.
Lincoln spoke only 272 words, but they quickly attained iconic status.
"Four score and seven years ago..." Wikimedia Commons
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Lincoln was a fan of John Wilkes Booth (pictured). Nowadays, Booth is universally remembered as Lincoln’s assassin, but in his time, he was quite an acclaimed actor.Wikimedia Commons
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After Booth received rave reviews for an 1863 performance of The Marble Heart, Lincoln invited the actor to the White House. But, as a supporter of the Confederacy, Booth declined. He later stated that he “would rather have the applause of a Negro to that of the president!” Wikimedia Commons
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Edwin Booth (pictured), saved the life of Lincoln's son, Robert, just months before John Wilkes Booth assassinated the president. Robert was in New Jersey and fell from a train platform into the tight space between the platform and a moving train. Edwin was able to quickly pull him out.Wikimedia Commons
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The year before John Wilkes Booth succeeded in assassinating Lincoln, another man attempted to kill the president just outside of Washington, D.C. Lincoln's hat fell off in the commotion after the culprit fired at him with rifle. When two soldiers found the hat soon after, it had a bullet hole in it, revealing how close the shooter had come to hitting his target.Wikimedia Commons
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Before Lincoln battled the Confederacy, he was beating people up in the wrestling ring. One of his most famous matches took place in 1831 against an Illinois county champion and notorious bully named Jack Armstrong. Lincoln was able to defeat him with ease.Internet Archive Book Images/Flickr
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In fact, of approximately 300 wrestling matches, Lincoln only lost one. In 1992, he was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.Wikimedia Commons
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When he wasn’t busy beating opponents inside the ring, Lincoln wasn’t above a funny prank or two. He played one memorable prank on his stepmother, Sarah Bush Lincoln.
A teenager at the time, Lincoln was already as tall as a tree. His stepmother would often tease him about his height, saying that he’d better keep his head clean, otherwise she’d have to scrub the ceiling. While watching two children play barefoot in the mud while Sarah was out one day, Lincoln got an idea for a prank. He invited both kids in, picked them up, flipped them upside down and had them walk on the ceiling, covering it in mud. Luckily for Lincoln, his stepmother was amused. But not that much — she still made him repaint the ceiling.Wikimedia Commons
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Lincoln once made a political opponent cry. During an 1840 speech in Illinois, Lincoln began mimicking the voice and gestures of Democrat Jesse Thomas, causing him to flee the platform in tears.Wikimedia Commons
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Not all political opponents ran in tears from Lincoln, however. In 1842, he publicly criticized politician James Shields (pictured), causing him to challenge Lincoln to a duel.
Shields was an excellent marksman, which meant that Lincoln would need to tread carefully. But as the challenged party, Lincoln was allowed to choose the weapons.
Because of Lincoln's height and reach advantage over Shields, he chose swords. On the day of the duel, Shields realized that this put him at a fatal disadvantage and both men were persuaded to call the whole thing off. Wikimedia Commons
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The president was known to draw papers out of his hat and throw them down angrily in front of his Union Army generals to make a point. Library of Congress
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Lincoln was the co-owner
of a saloon (and store) called Berry and Lincoln in New Salem, Illinois.
Library of Congress
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Actor Tom Hanks is a third cousin of Lincoln's, four times removed.Wikimedia Commons
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Grave robbers attempted to steal Lincoln's coffin (replica pictured here) and hold it for ransom in 1876 — but they were foiled.Wikimedia Commons
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In part to combat plots like these, Lincoln's coffin was moved 17 times, with many of the operations conducted in secret, between 1865 and 1901.
Pictured: One of the final moves of Lincoln's coffin, in 1901.Library of Congress
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When Lincoln's coffin reached its final resting place in 1901, it was placed inside a steel cage and embedded in concrete ten feet under the floor of the tomb (pictured).Wikimedia Commons
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In 1860, Lincoln became the first president to have a portrait taken of his dog (Fido, pictured), kicking off a presidential tradition that continues to this day.Wikimedia Commons
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The president had two cats, Tabby and Dixie. He once fed Tabby at the table during a formal dinner at the White House to the annoyance of Mary Lincoln. But the president said: "If the gold fork was good enough for former President James Buchanan, I think it is good enough for Tabby.”Pexels
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A well-known animal lover, Lincoln also kept several other pets in the White House, including rabbits, turkeys, horses, and two goats named Nanny and Nanko.Wikimedia Commons
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The night Lincoln was assassinated at Ford's Theatre, Union Army general Ulysses S. Grant was supposed to be his guest. But Grant canceled at the last minute — possibly saving his life.
Grant would eventually become president of the United States in 1869. Wikimedia Commons
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Mary Lincoln had an infamous temper and had clashed with Grant's wife, Julia. When the Lincolns invited the Grants to Ford's Theatre, Julia begged her husband to decline.
Ulysses S. Grant offered his regrets, quipping that he “now had a command from Mrs. Grant.” Lincoln understood, saying, “Of course…Mrs. Grant’s instincts should be considered before my request.”Wikimedia Commons
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The legislation creating the Secret Service was sitting on Lincoln's desk on the night of his assassination. This might sound like incredibly bad timing, but at the time, the Secret Service was devised to fight counterfeiting and investigate certain other crimes, not to protect the President. Here, officers are pictured in 1905. Library of Congress
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Lincoln was prone to "melancholy" during his life. Many writers and scholars now believe that the president suffered from clinical depression and anxiety.Library of Congress
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To this day, Lincoln remains the only U.S. president to register a patent (original drawing pictured). He invented a device for “buoying vessels over shoals” — basically an expandable bellows fitted to the sides of a boat in order to raise it over shoals or other obstructions.Wikimedia Commons
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Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809, near Hodgenville Kentucky, in a one-room log cabin.Wikimedia Commons
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Despite being one of the most famous rooms in the White House, it wasn’t actually Lincoln’s bedroom; during his presidency, it was an office. In fact, it only became known as the Lincoln Bedroom during the Truman administration. Though renovated, the room still features a few furniture pieces from Lincoln’s time.Wikimedia Commons
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He lost five elections at various levels before winning the presidency in 1860.Wikimedia Commons
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Abraham Lincoln was self-educated. He read borrowed law books, passed the bar, and became a lawyer in 1836. Wikimedia Commons
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No direct descendants of Lincoln's line are alive today, however. The last such relative, Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith, died in 1985.Wikimedia Commons
33 Abraham Lincoln Facts That Show The Man Behind The Myth
Be it the Gettysburg Address or his tragic assassination at Ford's Theatre, the key events of the 16th president's life have secured their place in the history books. But there remain some facts about Abraham Lincoln that demonstrate that there is more to the man than what we all learned in high school.
From his hall-of-fame wrestling career to the reason he grew his beard, these lesser-known Abraham Lincoln facts are fascinating — and some of them are downright bizarre.
Lincoln's Sense Of Humor And Exploits In The Wrestling Ring
Wikimedia CommonsAbraham Lincoln, about a year before his first inauguration in 1861.
One of many interesting facts about Abraham Lincoln centers around his birth. Lincoln was born on Feb. 12, 1809, in Kentucky — which makes him the first president born outside the original 13 Colonies.
As a young man, he pursued distinctly unpresidential activities. Lincoln liked to wrestle. In fact, over a twelve-year period of wrestling, Lincoln lost only one match — out of 300.
Listen above to the History Uncovered podcast, episode 44: The Secret Lives of Presidents, also available on Apple and Spotify.
He also had a sense of humor not immediately associated with the glum countenance of the president overseeing the Civil War. Lincoln liked playing practical jokes on his stepmother as a young man and carried his playfulness into the presidency.
As president, he was able to keep his sense of humor even in the darkest days of the war. His friend Justice David Davis noted that Lincoln's funny stories "were done to whistle off sadness" that came with being commander-in-chief.
Lincoln's humor could be cutting, however. In 1840, he even reduced a political rival to tears. But the future president was not mean-spirited. Afterward, he "felt that he had gone too far [and] made ample apology."
Heartwarming Facts About Abraham Lincoln
Another of the more fun facts about Abraham Lincoln is that he loved animals. He's the first president to take a presidential portrait of his dog, Fido. And Lincoln loved having two cats at the White House: Tabby and Dixie.
An official in the Treasury Department, Mansell B. Field, even mentioned Lincoln's love of cats in his memoirs. "[Lincoln] was fond of dumb animals, especially cats," Field wrote. "I have seen him fondle one for an hour."
Lincoln's friend Caleb Carman likewise recalled that Lincoln would pluck one of the cats from the ground and "talk to it for half an hour at a time."
When Tabby jumped up on the table during a formal dinner, Mary Lincoln was horrified to see the president feed the cat with his fork. But Abraham Lincoln didn't care. "If the gold fork was good enough for former President James Buchanan, I think it is good enough for Tabby," he said.
At the White House, the Lincolns had many pets including rabbits, turkeys, horses, and two goats named Nanny and Nanko. Lincoln had a hard time saying no to his children when they wanted to add a new animal to the family.
The Strange Circumstances Of Lincoln's Assassination
Wikimedia CommonsJohn Wilkes Booth, left, with his brothers Edwin and Junius, performing Shakespeare's Julius Caesar in 1864.
Lincoln was assassinated on April 14, 1865, at Ford's Theatre. However, several little-known facts about Abraham Lincoln's assassination involve the multiple coincidences surrounding that fateful night.
First of all, Lincoln loved the theatre. He thoroughly enjoyed a performance of The Marble Heart featuring his future assassin, an actor named John Wilkes Booth.
Lincoln replied: "He does talk very sharp at me, doesn't he?"
Following the performance, Lincoln even invited Booth to the White House. But Booth declined. An infamous racist, Booth later stated that he "would rather have the applause of a Negro to that of the president!"
Strangely, Booth's brother would save the Lincoln family from another tragedy. Edwin Booth once rescued Lincoln's son, Robert Todd Lincoln, when the young man fell on the tracks.
Other coincidences can be found among the guests in Lincoln's theater box on April 14. Lincoln had originally invited Ulysses S. Grant, the top Union Army general.
But Grant's wife, Julia, disliked Mary Lincoln. When Julia first met Mary, Mary flew into a jealous rage and accused Grant of coveting the presidency.
Julia asked her husband to cancel, and, fatefully, Grant agreed.
The general offered his regrets, noting that he "now had a command from Mrs. Grant." Lincoln understood, saying, "Of course ... Mrs. Grant's instincts should be considered before my request."
But the public believed that Grant would join Lincoln — and so did Booth.
Instead, Mary Lincoln invited a young couple named Henry Rathbone and Clara Harris — both of whom would be scarred by what they witnessed that night.
What could have happened if Grant had attended the play? That's one fact about Abraham Lincoln we'll never know.
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society of history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.