Many of us have heard the story about why he grew his beard and he has a beard in most of the pictures we see of him.
Tonight I will share an article from one of my Grandma’s Scrapbooks from 1961.
The title of the article is: A Little Girl Influenced Abe to Grow a Beard
Here is an excerpt from the article and the letter that 11 year old Grace Bedell wrote to Abraham Lincoln.
I … want you should be President of the United States very much so I hope you wont think me very bold to write to such a great man as you are… I have got 4 brother’s and part of them will vote for you any way and if you let your whiskers grow I will try and get the rest of them to vote for you.
“You would look a great deal better for your face is so thin. All the ladies like whiskers and they would tease their husband’s to vote for you and then you would be President….
I must not write any more. Answer this letter right off.
Goodby ….Grace Bedell
Within a month Abe began to grow a beard and the rest is History. This is now how we remember him.
As to the whiskers, having never worn any, do you not think people would call it a piece of silly affection if I were to begin it now?
The correspondence with Grace took place in October. In February on the way to Washington for his inauguration the train made a stop in Westfield, New York where Grace lived. He asked for Grace by name and spent a little bit of time with her and told her that he grew the whiskers for her.
There is a statue of Lincoln and Grace in Westfield, New York that commemorates their meeting.
Grace married George Newton Billings in 1867. George had served in the Civil War and was a Sergeant when he was discharged. Several years after they married they moved to Delphos, Kansas which is near Salina. Grace died there in 1936 at the age of 87.
I also found out that the best friend of George Newton Billings when he was growing up was George Coles Stebbins who was a noted Hymn writer. They also served together in the Civil War and kept in touch as adults.
George C. Stebbins arranged the music for some of my favorite hymns including:
- Have Thine Own Way, Lord
- I’ve Found a Friend, O Such a Friend
- Jesus is Tenderly Calling
- Out of My Bondage
- Take Time to Be Holy
- Throw Out the Lifeline
- True-Hearted, Whole-Hearted
- Ye Must Be Born Again
I know that I have strayed a bit from Lincoln’s Beard, but you know how my mind wanders. Perhaps I will write a post about George C. Stebbins someday.