Tad Lincoln

Tad Lincoln

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Tad Lincoln'
Start a new discussion about 'Tad Lincoln'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
Thomas "Tad" Lincoln was the fourth and youngest son of Abraham
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 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:...

. The nickname "Tad" was given to him by his father who found Thomas "as wriggly as a tadpole" when he was a baby. Tad was known to be impulsive, unrestrained, and did not attend school. Tad had free run of the White House, and there are stories of him interrupting Presidential meetings, collecting animals, and charging visitors to see his father. He outlived his father, but died of heart failure at the age of 18 on July 15, 1871, in Chicago.

Early life


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
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:...

 were married on November 4, 1842. They soon had a budding family with the birth of 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...

 in 1843 and "Eddie"
Edward Baker Lincoln
Edward Baker "Eddie" Lincoln was the second son of Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd Lincoln. He was named after Lincoln's friend Edward Dickinson Baker, and the youngest Lincoln son to die....

 in 1846. Eleven months after the death of Eddie in 1850 their son "Willie"
William Wallace Lincoln
William Wallace "Willie" Lincoln was the third son of Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd Lincoln. He died at the age of 11. He was named after Mary's brother-in-law Dr. William Wallace.- Final illness and death :...

 was born followed by their fourth son Thomas, on April 4, 1853. Thomas was named after his grandfather Thomas Lincoln
Thomas Lincoln
Thomas Lincoln was an American farmer and father of President Abraham Lincoln.-Ancestors:Thomas Lincoln was descended from Samuel Lincoln, a Puritan from East Anglia who landed in Massachusetts in 1637...

 but soon nicknamed "Tad" by his father who found him to have a small body with a large head and that he wiggled like a tadpole
Tadpole
A tadpole or polliwog is the wholly aquatic larval stage in the life cycle of an amphibian, particularly that of a frog or toad.- Appellation :...

. Tad's first name has occasionally been erroneously recorded as Thaddeus.

Tad was born with a form of cleft lip and palate causing him speech problems throughout his life. He had a lisp
Lisp
A lisp is a speech impediment, historically also known as sigmatism. Stereotypically, people with a lisp are unable to pronounce sibilants , and replace them with interdentals , though there are actually several kinds of lisp...

 in his speech and also delivered his words rapidly and unintelligibly. Often only those close to Tad were able to understand him. For example he called his father's bodyguard, William H Crook, "Took" and called his father "Papa Day" instead of "Papa Dear". The cleft palate contributed to uneven teeth and he had difficulty chewing his food to the extent that his meals were specially prepared.

Tad and his brother Willie were considered "notorious hellions" during the period they lived in Springfield. They're recorded by Abraham's law partner William Herndon
William Herndon (lawyer)
William Henry Herndon was the law partner and biographer of Abraham Lincoln.-Biography:Born in Greensburg, Kentucky, Herndon and his family moved to Illinois in 1820, and they settled in Springfield when he was five. Herndon attended Illinois College from 1836-1837. In 1840 he married Mary J....

 for turning their law office upside down; pulling the books off the shelves while their father appeared oblivious to their behavior.

White House years



Upon their father's election as President both Tad and Willie moved into the White House and it became their new playground. At the request of Mrs. Lincoln, Julia Taft
Julia Taft Bayne
Julia Taft Bayne was an American author who wrote a memoir of the Lincoln White House entitled Tad Lincoln's Father.A daughter of Horatio Nelson Taft, an attorney and examiner in the U.S. Patent Office, Julia Bayne lived in Washington D.C. as a child and young woman...

 brought her younger brothers, 12-year-old "Bud" and 8-year-old "Holly" to the White House and they became playmates of Tad and Willie.

In February 1862 both Tad and Willie contracted typhoid
Typhoid fever
Typhoid fever, also known as Typhoid, is a common worldwide bacterial disease, transmitted by the ingestion of food or water contaminated with the feces of an infected person, which contain the bacterium Salmonella enterica, serovar Typhi...

 and both boys were bedridden. Willie died on the 21st of the month but Tad recovered. After Willie's death Abraham and Mary Lincoln became even more lenient towards Tad's behavior.

During the time his father lived, Tad was impulsive, unrestrained, and did not attend school. John Hay
John Hay
John Milton Hay was an American statesman, diplomat, author, journalist, and private secretary and assistant to Abraham Lincoln.-Early life:...

 wrote that Tad's numerous tutors in the White House usually quit in frustration. Tad had free run of the White House, and there are stories of him interrupting Presidential meetings, collecting animals, charging visitors to see his father, and more.

On April 14, 1865, Tad went to Grover's Theater to see Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp while his parents attended Our American Cousin
Our American Cousin
Our American Cousin is an 1858 play in three acts by English playwright Tom Taylor. The play is a farce whose plot is based on the introduction of an awkward, boorish but honest American, Asa Trenchard, to his aristocratic English relatives when he goes to England to claim the family estate...

at Ford's Theater. The same night, his father was assassinated and when the news spread to Grover's Theater the manager made an announcement to the entire audience. Tad began running and screaming, "They killed Papa! They killed Papa!" Tad was escorted back to the White House while his mother pleaded to have Tad brought to his father's deathbed at the Petersen House
Petersen House
The Petersen House is a 19th-century federal style rowhouse located at 516 10th Street NW in Washington, D.C. On April 15, 1865, United States President Abraham Lincoln died there after being shot the previous evening at Ford's Theater, which was located across the street. The house was built in...

. "Bring Tad—he will speak to Tad—he loves him so." Late that night an inconsolable Tad was put to bed by a White House doorman. As to the death of his father Tad said:
"Pa is dead. I can hardly believe that I shall never see him again. I must learn to take care of myself now. Yes, Pa is dead, and I am only Tad Lincoln now, little Tad, like other little boys. I am not a president's son now. I won't have many presents anymore. Well, I will try and be a good boy, and will hope to go someday to Pa and brother Willie, in heaven."

1866–1871


After the assassination, the surviving Lincolns (Mary, Tad, Robert) lived together in Chicago. Tad's older brother, Robert, moved out after a short time.

After his father's assassination, Tad lived with his mother, to whom he was devoted. In 1868, they left Chicago and lived in Europe for two and a half years.

Tad's social history is poorly known; it is not clear that he ever had any good friends, although there is a report he did fancy a girl in Chicago. He was sometimes called "Stuttering Tad" because of a speech impediment (which was more of a lisp than a stutter) possibly related to a cleft lip or palate. The lisp later resolved.

Death and medical diagnoses


On Saturday morning, July 15, 1871, Tad died at the age of 18. The cause of death was "dropsy of the heart" (which today would be known as congestive heart failure
Congestive heart failure
Heart failure often called congestive heart failure is generally defined as the inability of the heart to supply sufficient blood flow to meet the needs of the body. Heart failure can cause a number of symptoms including shortness of breath, leg swelling, and exercise intolerance. The condition...

). Tad's death occurred at the Clifton House in Chicago. In a touching obituary, John Hay affectionately referred to him as "Little Tad".

Funeral


Funeral services were held for Tad in Robert Lincoln's home in Chicago. Tad's remains were transported to Springfield and buried in the Lincoln Tomb
Lincoln Tomb
Lincoln's Tomb in Oak Ridge Cemetery, Springfield, Illinois, is the final resting place of the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, and three of their four sons. The monument is owned and administered by the State of Illinois as Lincoln Tomb State...

 at Oak Ridge Cemetery
Oak Ridge Cemetery
Oak Ridge Cemetery is a cemetery located in Springfield, Illinois in the United States.Lincoln's Tomb, which serves as the final resting place of Abraham Lincoln, his wife and all but one of his children, is located at Oak Ridge...

, alongside his father and two of his brothers. Robert accompanied the casket on the train, but Mary was too distraught to make the trip.

External links