Today is Eddie Lincoln’s birthday.
We don’t know very much about Eddie. When his father went to Washington to participate in Congress, two-year-old Eddie told his mother that father was “gone tapila.” We also know that Eddie liked cats and had quite a quarrel with his grandmother when she refused to let him keep one of his favorites in her house.
In addition to those meager details, we also know that he was a sickly little boy. He battled an extended illness in 1848 and again the following year. However, toward the end of 1849, Eddie's condition worsened. He came down with a high fever, brutal coughing fits, and overall exhaustion. Doctors initially thought he had a case of diphtheria, but Eddie probably had a more chronic condition called pulmonary tuberculosis. Commonly called consumption, it killed more Americans in 1850 than any other disease.
A decade later, when President-elect Lincoln bid Springfield “an affectionate farewell,” he referred to his son Eddie. “Here I have passed from a young man to an old man,” Lincoln told the crowd, “Here my children have been born, and one is buried.”
While in the White House, the Lincolns lost another son, Willie.
Today, Abraham and Mary Lincoln are buried in Springfield, alongside three of their children, Eddie, Willie, and Tad. Lincoln’s oldest son, Robert, is buried in Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.