5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Honest Abe

On November 6, 1860, Abraham Lincoln was elected as the 16th president of the United States. See if you know these five lesser-known facts about the 16th President of the United States...

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He Towered Over Everyone Else Those who are elected president of the United States are often tall, but Lincoln ties with Lyndon Johnson as the tallest at 6’4”. Lincoln almost always wore his stovepipe hat, which was between 7” and 8” high, so fully dressed, he would have appeared to be about seven feet tall. Since the average man during the period of the Civil war was between 5’6” and 5’7”, Lincoln would have appeared to be a towering presence in comparison.

A Medium Warned Lincoln About the Assassination Charles J. Colchester worked as a medium and held seances for Mary Lincoln, who was grieving for the loss of Lincoln’s son, Willie, who died of typhoid fever in 1862 at age 11. Colchester warned the president of an assassination attempt even though Lincoln barely knew the man. This warning may have been given because the medium was a friend of John Wilkes Booth. By April 1865, Booth had abandoned plans to kidnap Lincoln and decided to kill him, which he announced to some of his friends. Perhaps Colchester was one of the people who learned of the plot.

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Those Who Enjoy Celebrating Thanksgiving Should Thank Abraham Lincoln It was President George Washington who announced that November 26, 1789, a Thursday, would be a day of public thanksgiving and prayer. However, in 1863, Abraham Lincoln was the president who made it a federal holiday. The new federal holiday was to be celebrated the last Thursday in the month of November.

Grave Robbers Attempted to Steal His Body A group of counterfeiters in the 1870s had problems when their master engraver, Ben Boyd, was caught and sent to prison. They devised a scheme to steal Lincoln’s body and hold it for ransom until Boyd was freed and they were paid $200,000. Their plans were foiled when one of the counterfeiters let the plot slip to someone, so they fled to Chicago where they decided to try again. Unfortunately for them, a new recruit brought in on the kidnapping scheme was a secret service agent, and they were sentenced to prison.

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.