Abraham and Mary Lincoln

Toy Soldier Tree

Lincoln Tree
click image for enlarged view

Christmas is not a topic that one often associates with our Civil War president. During the first Christmas of the war, Mrs. Lincoln arranged flowers, read books, helped serve meals, talked with the staff, and cared for the wounded at Campbell's and Douglas hospitals. She personally raised a thousand dollars for Christmas dinners and donated a similar amount for oranges and lemons when she heard that there was a threat of scurvy.

During the Christmas season of 1863, the Lincolns son, Tad, had accompanied his father on hospital visits and noticed the loneliness of the wounded soldiers. Deeply moved, the boy asked his father if he could send books and clothing to these men. The President agreed and packages signed "From Tad Lincoln" were sent to area hospitals that Christmas.

One Christmas Tad Lincoln befriended the turkey that was to become Christmas dinner. He interrupted a cabinet meeting to plead with his father to spare the bird. The President obliged by writing a formal pardon for the turkey named Jack!

There is no evidence that the Lincoln family ever decorated a Christmas tree during their years in the White House. Our Lincoln tree, therefore, is decorated to recall one of Lincoln's Christmas memories. The toy soldiers recall the many visits by Abraham and Tad Lincoln to Stuntz Toy Store in Washington. Father and son walked to the store and never left without one or two new additions for Tad's collection of toy soldiers!



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