William Wallace Lincoln

William Wallace Lincoln

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William Wallace "Willie" Lincoln (December 21, 1850 – February 20, 1862) was the third 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 died at the age of 11. He was named after Mary's brother-in-law Dr. William Wallace.

Final illness and death

Willie became ill in early 1862, and his condition fluctuated from day to day. The most likely cause of the illness was typhoid fever
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...

, contracted from contaminated drinking water. Gradually Willie weakened, and both parents spent much time at his bedside. Finally, on Thursday, February 20, 1862, at 5:00 p.m., Willie died. Abraham said, "My poor boy. He was too good for this earth. God has called him home. I know that he is much better off in heaven, but then we loved him so. It is hard, hard to have him die!" Both parents were deeply affected. Willie's younger brother, Tad, cried for nearly a month because he and Willie were very close brothers. Lincoln generated no official correspondence for four days. Mary was so distraught that Lincoln feared for her sanity. Tad was sick with the same illness at the same time, though he survived.

Willie was buried in Oak Hill Cemetery in Georgetown. After his father's assassination
Abraham Lincoln assassination
The assassination of United States President Abraham Lincoln took place on Good Friday, April 14, 1865, as the American Civil War was drawing to a close. The assassination occurred five days after the commanding General of the Army of Northern Virginia, Robert E. Lee, and his battered Army of...

 in 1865, Willie's casket was exhumed and he was moved to a temporary tomb. He was reinterred 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...

 in Springfield, Illinois
Springfield, Illinois
Springfield is the third and current capital of the US state of Illinois and the county seat of Sangamon County with a population of 117,400 , making it the sixth most populated city in the state and the second most populated Illinois city outside of the Chicago Metropolitan Area...

, on September 19, 1871 alongside the remains of his father, mother and his brothers, Tad
Tad Lincoln
Thomas "Tad" Lincoln was the fourth and youngest son of Abraham and Mary Lincoln. 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...

 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....

holding a blue handkerchief (Willie).

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