Edward Baker Lincoln

Edward Baker Lincoln

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Edward Baker "Eddie" Lincoln (March 10, 1846 – February 1, 1850) was the second son of Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led his country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and...

 and Mary Todd Lincoln
Mary Todd Lincoln
Mary Ann Lincoln was the wife of the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, and was First Lady of the United States from 1861 to 1865.-Life before the White House:...

. He was named after Lincoln's friend Edward Dickinson Baker
Edward Dickinson Baker
Edward Dickinson Baker was an English-born American politician, lawyer, military leader. In his political career, Baker served in the U.S. House of Representatives from Illinois and later as a U.S. Senator from Oregon. A long-time close friend of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, Baker served as U.S...

, and the youngest Lincoln son to die.

His mother spelled his name "Eddie," while his father spelled it "Eddy."

Early life

Little is known about the Lincolns' second boy, but there's a surviving story that says one day during a visit to Mary's family, Eddie's older brother, Robert
Robert Todd Lincoln
Robert Todd Lincoln was an American lawyer and Secretary of War, and the first son of President Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd Lincoln...

, found a kitten and brought it to the house. Despite Mary’s stepmother's dislike of cats and order to throw it out, Eddie screamed and protested. He nursed and cared for the helpless kitten, which he loved. Eddie was described by his parents as a tender-hearted, kind, and loving child.


Eddie died one month short of his fourth birthday. Although census records list "chronic consumption" as the cause of death, it has been suggested that Eddie died of medullary thyroid cancer
Medullary thyroid cancer
Medullary thyroid cancer is a form of thyroid carcinoma which originates from the parafollicular cells , which produce the hormone calcitonin....

 as his father and two of his brothers may have shared part of the genetic cancer syndrome multiple endocrine neoplasia
Multiple endocrine neoplasia
The term multiple endocrine neoplasia encompasses several distinct syndromes featuring tumors of endocrine glands, each with its own characteristic pattern. In some cases, the tumors are malignant, in others, benign...

, type 2B.

Eddie's remains are buried at Lincoln tomb at Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield, Illinois, USA. Both parents were devastated. Some historians believe Eddie's death began Mary Todd's journey to instability. A week after Eddie's death, Mary and Abraham wrote a poem (though authorship is sometimes questioned) entitled "Little Eddie." It was printed in the Illinois State Journal (a newspaper).

Those midnight stars are sadly dimmed,

That late so brilliantly shone,

And the crimson tinge from cheek and lip,

With the heart's warm life has flown -

The angel of Death was hovering nigh,

And the lovely boy was called to die.

The silken waves of his glossy hair

Lie still over his marble brow,

And the pallid lip and pearly cheek

The presence of Death avow.

Pure little bud in kindness given,

In mercy taken to bloom in heaven.

Happier far is the angel child

With the harp and the crown of gold,

Who warbles now at the Savior's feet

The glories to us untold.

Eddie, meet blossom of heavenly love,

Dwells in the spirit-world above.

Angel Boy - fare thee well, farewell

Sweet Eddie, We bid thee adieu!

Affection's wail cannot reach thee now

Deep though it be, and true.

Bright is the home to him now given

For "of such is the Kingdom of Heaven."'

The final line is on the boy's tombstone. The next child of Abraham and Mary (Willie Lincoln) was born ten months after Eddie's death.

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