461: Ann Rutledge

Abraham Lincoln’s First Love (Reportedly)

Born: 7 January 1813, Henderson, Kentucky, United States of America

Died: 25 August 1835, New Salem, Illinois, United States of America

Ann's untimely death led to what some believe to be Lincoln’s famous melancholy from which he never fully recovered.

Ann was known to be very studious and loved to read. Abraham lived with her family for a time in New Salem, Illinois, long before he became President of the United States.

When Ann and Abraham met, Ann was already engaged to another man, however it is likely she did not want to marry him. The man in question had bought her family's property and allowed them to continue living there once the Rutledge's fell on hard times, but he left Illinois for a few years to attend to his ailing father. Once Ann and Abraham decided to marry, they wrote Ann's fiance, asking for him to release Ann from her vow, though he never wrote back. By the time he returned to Illinois, Ann was dead.

Ann makes an appearance in the novel Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter—as one of the victims of the vampires.

There are no known photographs or drawings of Ann in existence today (despite what Google Images would have you believe).

She has two gravesites (both marked on Find a Grave).

To this day, historians debate the depth of Ann and Abraham's relationship. Some claim the evidence is irrefutable, that Ann and Abraham were deeply in love. I am one of those believers. However, other scholars believe the relationship was not so profound, if it existed beyond friendship at all. Either way, Ann was a person. She was a sister, daughter, and friend, and she deserves to be remembered as such.

Badges Earned:

Find a Grave Marked

Located In My Personal Library:

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith (Historical Fiction)

Affairs of State: The Untold History of Presidential Love, Sex, and Scandal (1789-1900) by Robert Watson