Robert Lincoln’s Second Father

Presidential History Blog

Robert Lincoln was twenty-one when he became man of the family.

Young Mr. Lincoln

Young Robert Todd Lincoln.

Abraham Lincoln died intestate: he had not made a will. Thus, by law, his estate would be divided into thirds: a third to his widow, and a third to each of his two remaining sons.

Robert Todd Lincoln (1843-1926) was a Harvard graduate and had begun some law studies when he joined the Union Army toward the end of the Civil War. With his father’s approval, he planned to return to Harvard once he was discharged.

Abraham Lincoln’s assassination changed everything. The Army expedited his discharge so he could attend to his numerous family concerns. His mother, overwhelmed with shock and grief, was little help. His young brother Tad was twelve. He was no help. And Robert knew he needed help.

He asked (presumably with his mother’s agreement) Judge David Davis, one…

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