Think You Know American History? Five Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About Abraham Lincoln

The 16th president of the United States is well-known to all Americans. Abraham Lincoln is both one of the most revered and cherished Americans of all time, as well as one of the most tragic stories of our history. His speeches are studied and dissected time and again by linguists and rhetoricians; his language is lauded by accomplished statesman and fresh-faced debate-club enthusiasts alike. And the exceptional equanimity with which he wielded power is the gold standard for any politician. Lincoln provided the steady hand the nation needed to see it through its darkest hours.

But you already know all of that. So let’s talk about a few things you probably didn’t know about ol River Robber Lincoln. Aha! I found one already, didn’t I? I bet you didn’t know that in his youth, “Honest” Abe Lincoln was a bloodthirsty pirate who plagued travelers on the Skipjack River! And that’s permissible, because I made that fact up. There’s not even a Skipjack River in this country, as far as I know. But these things below? These are indeed facts!

5 Lincoln’s Son, Robert, Was Saved by the Brother of His Soon-to-be Assassin

And lastly, you may know this one, but it’s just too crazy to leave out: Lincoln’s son, Robert, was saved by the brother of his soon-to-be assassin. Edwin Booth, brother of the giant asshole John Wilkes Booth, pulled the young man off of some train tracks where he had fallen, saving the lads life. We still hate the Booths, though.

4 Mr. Lincoln’s Iconic Stovepipe Cap Was (And Remains) the Height of High Fashion

While obviously Mr. Lincoln’s iconic stovepipe cap was (and remains) the height of high fashion and a sign of superlative style, the president also used his famous headgear in a more practical way: he stored stuff in it. Usually Mr. Lincoln just kept various important papers up there close to their cerebral wellspring, but I’d like to assume he also kept a snack, a dueling pistol, and maybe some Spanish doubloons in the hat as well.

3 Did You Enjoy a Thanksgiving Feast Recently or Are You Looking Forward to One on the Horizon?

Not without Mr. Lincoln! Abraham Lincoln enshrined Thanksgiving Day into the American story in October of 1863, likely because he knew that meant serious eats in the coming month. Turkeys hate him, but turkeys can’t talk, so we will: Thanks, Lincoln. Thanksgiving is lovely. Though, if I’m being honest here, I would have made it a bit farther away from the other holidays. Oh well.

2 Abe Lincoln Was Not Only a Politician and Lawyer, but Also an Inventor!

At least inasmuch as one can be called an inventor for filing a single patent, which he did, under this title: A Device for Buoying Vessels Over Shoals. It was patent #6,469 and was filed in 1849. The idea was essentially for a series of sacks that could be pumped full of air to add buoyancy to a boat when it was crossing shallow areas, but in practice the device added as much weight as it displaced and was thus totally impractical. Abe showed his famous wisdom by abandoning the idea and the career of inventor, deciding President suited him better.

1 Lincoln’s Famous Height?

All in the legs, baby. When seated at a table, Abraham Lincoln appeared no taller than any ordinary sized man. At the time, that meant about 5 feet and 6 inches tall. When Lincoln rose, though, his tousled salt-and-pepper crown reached an at-the-time staggering 6’4”. That’s still tall today, of course, but then it was ManuteBol-like. And indeed it was all in the gams, which were disproportionately giraffe-ish in length.

Even our most revered historical figures can still surprise us sometimes. And there is much more to learn about Abraham “Pepper Lips” Lincoln! Just Google that nickname and you’ll be off and running! But getting nowhere, because again I just pulled that out of my proverbial stovepipe hat.

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