Robert Todd Lincoln was the sole surviving child of President Abraham Lincoln and a major political force during the 1870s through the early 20th century.
After graduating from Harvard University and earning his law degree, he had served in the US Union Army during the early months of 1865 as part of General U.S. Grant’s staff. Robert was present at Appomattox Courthouse with General Grant when General Robert E. Lee surrendered.
Robert was by his father's bed when he died. After President Lincoln's assassination in April 1865, Robert moved with his mother, Mary Todd Lincoln and brother, Tad, to Chicago where Robert earned his law degree in 1867. By September 1868, Robert married Mary Eunice Harlan (Sept. 25, 1846 to March 31, 1937.)
They had three children: Mary Lincoln (October 15, 1869 - November 21, 1938), Abraham Lincoln II called ‘Jack’ (August 14, 1873 - March 5, 1890) and Jessie Harlan Lincoln (November 6, 1875 - January 4, 1948).
In 1871, his younger brother, Tad Lincoln, died of tuberculosis in Chicago.
In 1871 under President Hayes, Robert was offered the position of Secretary of State, which he turned down.
Under President Garfield, he did accept the position of Secretary of War, serving from 1881 to 1885 (which included serving with President Chester Arthur after Garfield's death). Robert Lincoln was present at the scene when Garfield was assassinated on July 2, 1881.
Back in Illinois around 1887, he helped establish the Illinois Industrial Training School for Boys in Norwood Park, for neglected boys. The school was later expanded to include girls.
Under President Benjamin Harrison, Robert served as the U.S. Minister (ambassador) to Great Britain from 1889 to 1893. While in London, England, in March 1890, Robert’s only son, Jack, died of blood poisoning at the age of 16.
After living in England, Robert returned to Illinois to practice law. In the mid-1890s, he was general law counsel and later President and then Chairman of the Board in 1911 for the Pullman Palace Car Company.
On September 6, 1901, Robert was present in Buffalo, NY when President William McKinley was assassinated.
He and his family had their home in Vermont in 1911, leaving Chicago. In May 1922, Robert was present for the dedication of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, with President Warren Harding.
In spite of serving in the US Government at different times, Robert Todd Lincoln had no interest in ever running or becoming US President.
Robert Todd Lincoln’s two surviving daughters did marry. Jessie Harlan Lincoln Beckwith had two children ( a son and daughter). Neither of these two grandchildren ever had children of their own. The other daughter, Mary Lincoln had one son, who married but never had children.
After 1985 with the death of the last grandchild of Robert Todd Lincoln, there were no descendants of Robert Lincoln or his father, President Abraham Lincoln.
Robert Todd Lincoln made his own history and mark in American history and not just in the shadow of his great father.
On 11 Feb 2014 M. (Stewart) H. wrote:
Robert's father Abraham came from a poor family who originated in KY. Where is the documentation of where this crest came from?
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