Little Known Facts About Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln was a man of enormous magnitude and complexity. Most Americans learn about his humble beginnings, lack of schooling, and exceptional intelligence in elementary school. Despite his popularity and historical transparency, there are many aspects of his life and personality that are not so well known. Here are a few interesting facts about the Great Emancipator you may not have learned in school.

Always fascinated with machinery and how it works, Lincoln invented a device that was a major contribution to the transportation technology of his day. It was a flotation system device designed to free steamboats that ran aground by keeping them afloat over shallow shoals. Patent number 6469 was issued on May 22, 1849 and no president before, or since, has ever held a patent for an invention.

Many Americans do not know Abraham Lincoln was involved in a duel that was called off at the last moment on September 22, 1842. The incident involved a confrontation between Lincoln and James Shields, attorney and auditor of the State of Illinois. The matter concerned some insulting anonymous letters published in a Springfield journal that spoke unkindly of Shields.

It is not known whether Lincoln or Mary Todd, his future wife, or a few suspected others wrote the letters, but it was Lincoln who received the blame. Lincoln chose the weapons, a pair of broad swords. After Shields observed his opponent use the sword to swiftly chop off the heavy branch of a tree, he
decided he was no match for him and called off the duel. The two men later became friends.

Despite being a hunter at some periods in his early life, Abraham Lincoln loved animals, especially cats. One of his cats, Tabby, was known to eat at the White House dinner table with the family. Mrs. Lincoln did not share his love for animals and once asked her husband, “Don’t you think it’s shameful to feed Tabby with a gold fork?” Lincoln was said to have replied, “If the gold fork was good enough for former President James Buchanan, I think it is good enough for Tabby.”

Lincoln was also a champion wrestler in his youth and he was enshrined in the Wrestling Hall of Fame, having lost just once in 300 matches. According to Ronald C. White Jr., author of Lincoln: A Biography, Lincoln did a lot of wrestling as a young man between the ages of nine and 21 while living in Salem, Illinois.

The Great Emancipator was a man of many endearing qualities. He was not an organized soul and cared little for his own appearance, but he was bighearted, gentle, and kind with a few secrets as we all have. In short, he was a fallible and very tall human being in more ways than one.


If you had a chance to go back into time and ask Lincoln a question, what would it be? Would you have voted for Lincoln if you had been alive when he was running for president?

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M. Dee Dubroff
M. Dee Dubroff
My name is Marjorie Dorfman and I am also known as M Dee Dubroff. I am a freelance writer and former teacher originally from Brooklyn, New York. A graduate of New York University, I taught in New York City schools for a few years before finding my true calling as a writer. I now live in Doylestown, PA with one cat named Mr. Biscuit and my significant other, a graphics artist and former designer of postage stamps, both of whom keep me on my toes at all times.