5 Things You Didn't Know About Abraham Lincoln

On February 12, 1809, Abraham Lincoln was born in a one-room log cabin in Hodgenville, Kentucky. To celebrate the anniversary of Lincoln's birth, here are 5 things you probably didn't know about one of America’s most admired presidents...

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The Secret Service Was Created the Same Day as Lincoln’s Assassination Mere hours before he was assassinated at Ford’s Theater, Lincoln signed the legislation that created the Secret Service. It wouldn’t have stopped the assassination anyway because the Secret Service was originally set up to combat the counterfeiting of currency. Secret Service protection wasn’t assigned to guard the president until after the death of President William McKinley in 1901.

He is The Only U.S. President to Receive a Patent The U.S. Patent Office holds a patent obtained by Abraham Lincoln in 1849, making him the only person holding the highest office in the land with this distinction. On May 22, 1849, Abraham Lincoln received Patent No. 6469 for a device to lift boats over shoals, an invention which was never manufactured. Part of his patent application reads, "Be it known that I, Abraham Lincoln, of Springfield, in the county of Sangamon, in the state of Illinois, have invented a new and improved manner of combining adjustable buoyant air chambers with a steam boat or other vessel for the purpose of enabling their draught of water to be readily lessened to enable them to pass over bars, or through shallow water, without discharging their cargoes..." 

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John Wilkes Booth’s Brother Saved The Life of Lincoln’s Son Several months before Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth, the president’s son was standing on the platform at a train station in New Jersey when he fell off the platform as a train was approaching. The person who reached forward and pulled the boy to safety was actor Edwin Booth, the brother of Lincoln’s assassin. Coincidentally, the day of the funeral for Edwin Booth, June 9, 1893, was the same day the third floor of Ford’s Theater collapsed, killing 22 federal workers.

Grave Robbers Tried to Steal Lincoln’s Body A gang of counterfeiters led by James "Big Jim" Kennally in Chicago tried to steal Lincoln’s body in 1876 with the thought of holding it for $200,000 ransom and getting a cohort of theirs released from prison. However, they made the mistake of hiring Lewis Swegles, a supposed grave robber who turned out to be a paid informer for the Secret Service. Additionally, the counterfeiters couldn’t have moved the coffin anyway because it was partially made of lead and weighed around 500 pounds. Lincoln’s body was moved to a secret hiding place and eventually placed inside a steel cage and buried safely underneath tons of concrete at Oak Ridge Cemetery.

Lincoln Never Slept in the Lincoln Bedroom What is now the Lincoln bedroom in the White House served as Lincoln’s office during his term as president, not as his bedroom. It was here that he signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. However, the furniture in the room that became known as the Lincoln bedroom was purchased in 1861 by Mary Todd Lincoln, including the eight-foot by nine-foot rosewood bed.