Ann Mayes Rutledge (1813-1835) was a distant cousin of mine related to me through my Grandmother Nola Shannon Gower (1903-2004). Born in Kentucky in 1813, Ann's family migrated to Illinois and were among the founders of the little town of New Salem, Illinois, 20 miles northwest of Springfield. Shortly after the town's founding Ann's father built a tavern and an Inn with lodging for travelers.
|An Artist's Rendering of |
Abe Lincoln and Ann Rutledge
Called to Her Bedside. In 1835 Ann became very ill with Typhoid Fever. As her condition worsened and death drew near, Ann called for Lincoln who came to her bedside to console his dying friend. On Aug 25, 1835 Ann died at the age of just 22. It was a devastating experience for Abraham to have to deal with the death of his first love. He became depressed. Historians say this was the first of several severe bouts of depression. Some friends said he might have been suicidal.
Ann's sister Nancy Rutledge was heard to have said, "I can never forget how sad and broken-hearted Lincoln looked when he came out of the room from that last interview with Annie. No one knows what was said at that meeting, for they were alone together."
“I ran off the track,” said Lincoln years later. “It was my first. I loved the woman dearly and sacredly. She was a handsome girl. She would have made a good loving wife. I did honestly and truly love the girl and think often, often of her now.”
|Present Day Grave of Ann Rutledge |
in Oakland Cemetery, Petersburg, Illinois
- - -