He hated being called "Abe."Library of Congress
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
After taking Bedell's advice, Lincoln became the first U.S. president with a beard.Wikimedia Commons
Lincoln was the main figure responsible for making Thanksgiving a nationwide holiday, following an official proclamation in 1863.Wikimedia Commons
Lincoln was not the keynote speaker at Gettysburg (pictured, with Lincoln identified by red arrow). He 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.Wikimedia Commons
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
Lincoln even invited Booth to the White House after the latter received rave reviews for an 1863 performance of "The Marble Heart." 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
Booth's brother, Edwin (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, however, was able to quickly pull him out.Wikimedia Commons
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
Before Lincoln fought 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. Abe was able to defeat him with ease.Internet Archive Book Images/Flickr
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
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
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
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
Lincoln often kept important documents inside his trademark hat.Library of Congress
He was a licensed bartender and the owner of a saloon in Illinois.Library of Congress
Lincoln is fourth cousins, four times removed, with actor Tom Hanks.Wikimedia Commons
Grave robbers attempted to steal Lincoln's coffin (replica pictured here) and hold it for ransom in 1876 — but they were foiled.Wikimedia Commons
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
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
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
Lincoln loved both his dog and his cats, one of which, Tabby, sometimes ate at the White House dinner table.Pexels
A well-known animal lover, Lincoln also kept several other pets in the White House, some of them unusual, including two goats named Nanny and Nanko.Wikimedia Commons
When Lincoln was assassinated at Ford's Theatre, his guest was set to be Ulysses S. Grant (pictured), who canceled at the last second and would soon himself become president of the United States.Wikimedia Commons
The reason that Grant canceled was reported because his wife did not get along with Lincoln's wife, Mary Todd (pictured). Wikimedia Commons
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.Wikimedia Commons
Many writers and scholars now believe that Lincoln suffered from clinical depression and anxiety throughout his life.Library of Congress
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
Lincoln was the first president born in a state not among the original 13.Wikimedia Commons
Lincoln never slept in the Lincoln Bedroom (pictured). 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
He lost five elections at various levels before winning the presidency in 1860.Wikimedia Commons
He started out as a practicing lawyer despite the fact that he never actually went to law school.Wikimedia Commons
No direct descendants of Lincoln's line are alive today, however. The last such relative, Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith, died in 1985.Wikimedia Commons