Mary Lincoln's Family
Looking for Lincoln
These four Todd sisters each married a Springfield man and established households within a few blocks of each other, Elizabeth was the oldest and became Mary's surrogate mother." Frances lived closest to Mary (across the street where the Grace Lutheran church now stands) and was described by some as "taciturn, cold and reserved." Mary was thought by her sisters to be impossible. She caused a rift by marrying a commoner without refinement or family pedigree. Ann Marie was the youngest. Mary resented surrendering her double name "Mary Ann," when her younger sister was born.
Mary first visited Springfield in the Spring of 1835.
She and her sisters were reared in Lexington, Kentucky, members of a prominent Kentucky family. Their mother died when Mary was six. One by one the four oldest Todd sisters left home, refugees from a difficult stepmother. Mary's oldest sister, Elizabeth, married Ninian W. Edwards, the son of an Illinois governor, and settled in Springfield. Elizabeth invited each younger sister to join her, in turn, assuming the role of matchmaker. The four Todd sisters, their uncle Dr. John Todd, and their cousin,
By most accounts, Mary was warmer and more personable than her sisters. None shared her interest in public affairs. They all opposed her marriage to Abraham Lincoln, thinking she was marrying beneath herself.
Elizabeth's matchmaking was more successful for her other sisters. The second oldest, Frances, married William Wallace, a physician and druggist who became the Lincolns' doctor. The youngest, Ann Marie, married Clark M. Smith, a leading Springfield merchant.
Mary had three sisters, an uncle and a cousin who lived within a few blocks of her in Springfield. The sisters formed a female support network during their early years of marriage and child raising. They could be jealous and competitive and would sometimes quarrel. Relations were strained during the Civil War when the Todd family's Kentucky roots created political difficulties for the First Lady and her husband. the rift widened when a conflict arose with Elizabeth's husband over a government position. Nevertheless, family bonds were strong. Elizabeth went to Washington to be with Mary after Willie Lincoln died. In the last years of Mary's life, Elizabeth became her advocate, welcoming Mary back to Springfield to spend her last days in the Edwards' home.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Women. In addition, it is included in the Looking for Lincoln series list.
Location. 39° 47.906′ N, 89° 38.779′ W. Marker is in Springfield, Illinois, in Sangamon County. Marker is at the intersection of E. Capitol Avenue and 7th Street on E. Capitol Avenue. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Springfield IL 62701, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Children's Lincoln (here, next to this marker); Lincoln's Horse (within shouting distance of this marker); Lincoln's Carriage Maker (within shouting distance of this marker); William Beedle House (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); What Did Abraham Lincoln Eat? (about 400 feet away); Daily Life in 1860 (about 400 feet away); Henson Lyon House (about 400 feet away); Animal Problems (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Springfield.
Credits. This page was last revised on October 7, 2019. It was originally submitted on October 20, 2011, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page has been viewed 573 times since then and 4 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on October 20, 2011, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.