Quincy's Eliza Caldwell Browning and Abraham Lincoln first met in 1836. She was a new bride, and he had just received his law license. When Eliza discovered Lincoln's "great merits," the two established an easy rapport. Their nearly thirty-year friendship began when Eliza's husband Orville H. Browning, was elected to the Illinois Senate. Lincoln was a state representative. The friendship lasted until Lincoln's death in 1865. It was Lincoln's longest ongoing female relationship. In the early years, Lincoln became "very much attached" to Eliza, and she remained a part of his private and political world. Eliza, a genteel woman, and Lincoln, a self-educated man, shared intellectual interests, a love of storytelling, emotional trials, and political ideals. Over the years the Brownings, unlike any other friends, visited informally in the Lincoln home. When Lincoln's son, Willie, died in the White House in 1862, Senator Browning and Eliza stayed with Willie's body all night and "received" for the Lincolns in the Green room before the funeral. The Lincolns would "not consent" to Eliza leaving after the service. She spent a week caring for Tad and Lincoln's grieving wife Mary.
Eliza Browning welcomed Lincoln to the Browning Mansion after a parade-rally the morning of the Lincoln-Douglas
In 1838 Lincoln wrote a long, saucy letter to Eliza about an unsuccessful matchmaking agreement. At one point stating, "privately between you and me," this highly personal letter suggests a clear level of ease between Eliza and Lincoln. In witty fashion Lincoln described the events and ultimate refusal of his marriage proposal to a woman before his relationship with Mary Todd. Eliza believed for more than twenty years that the amusing letter was one of Lincoln's storytelling inventions. At the White House in 1862 Eliza asked Lincoln about it, learning there was "more truth in that letter" than she had assumed. Lincoln asked her to keep it in confidence. The Mary Owens letter was not published until 1872. Viewed as a letter written in confidence, Eliza kept it private for thirty-four years.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Looking for Lincoln marker series.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Warm, Sincere Friendship ( here, next to this marker); Augustine Tolton ( about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Lincoln's 1854 Visit ( approx. 0.2 miles away); Lincoln's Honored Friend ( approx. 0.2 miles away); Lincoln Correspondent ( approx. ¼ mile away); Lincoln Promoter ( approx. ¼ mile away); Political Campaigning in 1858 ( approx. 0.3 miles away); Lincoln-Douglas Debate ( approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Quincy.
Categories. • Politics •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 24, 2012, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page has been viewed 402 times since then and 38 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on August 24, 2012, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.