President’s Son Willie Dies

February 20, 1862

About 5 P.M., the Lincoln’s beloved son Willie succumbed to typhoid after an illness of more than two weeks. Attorney General Edward Bates write: “A fine boy of 11 yrs., too much idolized by his parents.”   The president considered Willie to be the son who most emulated and resembled him.

“The same routine to-day – the President very much worn and exhausted,” wrote presidential aide John G. Nicolay. “At about five o’clock this afternoon I was lying half asleep on the sofa in my office when his entrance roused me.   ‘Well, Nicolay,’ said he, choking with emotion, ‘my boy is gone — he is actually gone!’ and, bursting into tears, turned and went into his own office.”  Nicolay wrote that Illinois Senator Orville H. “Browning came in soon after, bringing some enrolled bills from the Senate, to whom I told the news of Willie’s death.  He went and saw Mrs. Lincoln and promised at once to bring Mrs. Browning,” who had only arrived in Washington two days earlier.   The Brownings had known the Lincolns for about 25 years.  Nicolay wrote: “Later I went to see the Prest, who had lain down to quiet T[ad], and asked him if should charge Browning with the direction of the funeral. ‘Consult with Browning,’ said he.”

Published in: on February 20, 2012 at 12:01 pm  Leave a Comment  

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