This week was a sad day in American History. William Wallace Lincoln, the eleven year old son, of President Abraham Lincoln died. He died of typhus fever, which was very common in disease-ridden Washington D.C. at the time. With the Civil War was raging on, death was everywhere, but the death of this little boy had great emotional resonance and impact.
Prayer © Stacy Renee Morrison
To make matters even more heartbreaking, Tad, Williams’s younger brother was also severely sick with the disease, although he would eventually recover. Robert the oldest son, was at Harvard College. He was ultimately the only child of the Lincoln’s that would survive his parents.
Composite of the Lincoln Family made from multiple photographs.
Mary Todd Lincoln was inconsolable.
President Abraham Lincoln was said to have uttered these words when he saw his dead son: 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!”
Below is a video of Lincoln speaking about this tragedy.
I love historical re-enactors. In a way, this is really what I wish to do…
Monday, February 17, 1862
Snowing. Did not go out. William came and spent the evening.
Tuesday, February 18, 1862
Went to the lower end stayed until 4 o’clock. Had a nice time talking with Mrs. Farley. William and I went to see Mrs. Poole in the evening.
Wednesday, February 19, 1862
Went to the Philharmonic rehearsal. Had a nice time. Sick for my dear William, might need (…) all the evening.
Thursday, February 20, 1862
Busy getting ready for the (… ). Had a very nice time. Saw several presents that I knew.
Friday, February 21, 1862
Went out to see Dora who is going to Hartford tomorrow and Jessie Dimock.
Saturday, February 22, 1862
William with us. Went to the Academy of Music to the L’enfants Perdon Animable.
Sunday, February 23, 1862
Went to Trinity Church in the morning. William came over to see me. We went to hear Agassiz at the Academy of Music.
Thoughts on Sylvia’s Week
Although, I have looked over Sylvia’s journals before and read for days that I know were significant in her life, this is the first time I am reading entry to entry, day to day. I do not skip ahead. I read each week at the time I am creating the post. It has become a bit of a game because when I form a hypothesis I sometimes learn the following week whether something I predicted was right or wrong.
Last week when I thought perhaps Sylvia was at a botany lecture, half in jest, it turns out she was actually at a biology lecture. In February of 1862, Louis Agassiz gave six lectures at Brooklyn Academy of Music on the structure of animal life.
What a lovely discovery!
When going back to the entry the week before, the word I could not make out was a squished and partially smeared “Agassiz”. As I predicated last week, Sylvia was both at the BAM and NYAM at the same time. Sylvia was everywhere in 1862. Sylvia has become 1862 for me.