Mary Todd Lincoln, native of Kentucky, is often relegated to history as someone who suffered from mental illness, though in truth both herself and President Lincoln most likely suffered from depression. But, there are quite a few facts that most people don’t know about this First Lady.
10) Large Family
Mary was one of 16 children in her father’s blended family. He remarried after his first wife, Mary’s mother, passed away. Mary had a troubled relationship with her stepmother.
9) Some of Her Siblings Were Confederates
Raised in Kentucky, 8 of her siblings actually supported the Confederacy, which was not surprising considering her family’s background. Three of her half brothers fought for the Confederacy.
8) Mary Was Educated
As the daughter of a wealthy slave owner, Mary’s family had plenty of money. Mary was highly educated and spoke fluent French, a fact she would put to use in her later years as she traveled across Europe.
7) The Underground Railroad
Despite a family that benefitted from slavery, Mary was always a staunch abolitionist. Some say say this is because her grandmother ran a safe house on the Underground Railroad.
6) Mary Had Another Suitor
Mary was briefly courted by Stephen Douglas before she met Abraham Lincoln. The two men would later have a series of raucous debates in the 1858 race for the Illinois Senate race. To say that Mary was into politics would have been quite the understatement!