Timeline- Mary Todd Lincoln (1818-1882)



Mary Ann Todd is born on December 13 in Lexington, Kentucky. Her parents, Robert and Eliza Todd, three siblings, and three enslaved women live in a house on Short Street.


Mother Eliza Todd dies after giving birth to her seventh child.


Mary enters a school operated by Episcopalian minister John Ward. 

Father Robert marries Betsy Humphreys.


In May, Robert Todd buys the Main Street house to accommodate his growing family.

Mary becomes a boarder at a girls’ school operated by Charlotte Mentelle.


Mary travels to Springfield, Illinois, for a long visit with her married sister, Elizabeth Todd Edwards.


Mary and Abraham Lincoln are married in the home of Elizabeth Todd Edwards.


Son Robert Todd Lincoln is born.


Son Edward "Eddie" Baker Lincoln is born.


Son Eddie Lincoln dies in February.

Son William "Willie" Wallace Lincoln is born in December.


Son Thomas “Tad” Lincoln is born.


Abraham Lincoln is elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and the family visits Lexington on the way to Washington in 1847.


Father Robert dies in July, leading to the eventual sale of the Main Street house.


Abraham Lincoln is elected president.


Abraham Lincoln is inaugurated in March

Civil War begins in April.


Son Willie Lincoln dies in February.

Half brother Sam Todd dies at the Battle of Shiloh while serving in the Confederate Army.

Half brother Aleck Todd, also a Confederate soldier, dies in a friendly fire incident in Louisiana in August.

Abraham Lincoln announces his plans to issue the Emancipation Proclamation in September.


Benjamin Hardin Helm, the husband of Mary’s half sister Emilie and a Confederate Brigadier General, dies at the Battle of Chickamauga in September.

Abraham Lincoln delivers the Gettysburg Address in November.


Abraham Lincoln is elected to a second term.


John Wilkes Booth shoots Abraham Lincoln while he and Mary are watching a play at Ford’s Theatre on April 14.  Lincoln dies the next morning.

Mary and sons Robert and Tad move to Chicago in May.


As part of an effort to raise funds to pay her debts, Mary attempts to sell her White House wardrobe in a public sale that gets much negative publicity.

Lincoln’s estate is distributed between Mary, Robert, and Tad.


Mary and Tad travel to Europe, where they will remain for several years, living in Germany and England and traveling to attractions on the Continent and British Isles.


Congress passes a bill to provide Mary with an annual pension of $3,000.


Tad Lincoln dies in July shortly after he and Mary return from Europe.

For the next several years, Mary travels in the United States.


Traveling in Florida, Mary fears that her only remaining son Robert is ill and rushes to Chicago to find him well.

Concerned about his mother’s mental health, Robert initiates a sanity hearing in May and the jury rules that Mary is insane. She is placed in an asylum outside Chicago and Robert becomes the conservator of her finances.

In September Mary is released into the custody of her sister Elizabeth.


The jury of a second sanity hearing declares that Mary is “restored to reason” and she resumes control of her finances.

In the fall Mary travels to Pau, France, where she will live for the next few years.


Suffering from poor health, Mary returns to the U.S. and lives with her sister Elizabeth in Springfield.


Mary dies in July 16 and is buried in the Lincoln vault with Abraham, Eddie, Willie, and Tad.