Lincoln’s Beard

Thursday is Lincoln’s Birthday, so I am thinking about President Lincoln again tonight.

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.

Lincoln's Beard, President Lincoln, Lincoln's Birthday, Beards, Growing a beard

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.

Abraham Lincoln, Beard, Grace Bedell, Lincoln's BeardAbraham Lincoln responded to Grace and I will give the excerpt that is in the article here:

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.

Lincoln's Beard, Grace Bedell, Westfield, New York, Lincoln's InaugurationOf course my mind wandered to what happened to Grace Bedell.

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.


This entry was posted in Culture, History and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Lincoln’s Beard

  1. I loved this post a lot!

  2. What a great historical story! I didn’t know this.

  3. Glenda McDougal says:

    Loved this post …

  4. Pingback: Presidents’ Day | Braman's Wanderings

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