Lincoln & Ann Rutledge: Who knows?

Lincoln & Ann Rutledge?

Lincoln & Ann Rutledge?

The posted picture above was once claimed to be a photograph at of young Abraham Lincoln and Ann Rutledge. It was easy to proclaim it a fake due largely to the fact that camera photography had not been invented yet. LOL…
I don’t know what the relationship was between Abraham Lincoln and Ann Rutledge. They certainly knew each other. They lived in the same frontier village. Were they anything more than aquaintances or friends? Were they lovers? Were they engaged to be married? Who knows?
Over the decades “experts” have made their cases about the relationship. Some of those even changed their opinions! It was Lincoln’s law partner William Herndon who basically started the story. After Lincoln’s death he made painstaking efforts at discovering the “real” Lincoln. He said he interviewed former New Salem residents who spoke of Lincoln and Rutledge and their love for each other. Herndon’s work overall has left us a great wealth of information. However, when it comes to the “love affair” story of Lincoln and Rutledge-much is left to be desired as far as “proving” the case for love.
Mary Todd Lincoln flatly denied the Rutledge love story. She claimed that she was Lincoln’s “true love.” Herndon and Mrs. Lincoln were pretty much enemies even before his claim about Abe and Ann. Mart Todd said Lincoln never mentioned her at all. Herndon also said he gathered information about Lincoln that he wouldn’t release to the public at large to protect Lincoln’s legacy. My question is why did Herndon tell about the Lincoln/Rutledge “love affair” knowing that it would hurt Lincoln’s wife? After all, Lincoln did love his wife. Did Herndon desire to hurt Mrs. Lincoln? Maybe he did. Another theory has Herndon using the story to help explain Lincoln’s sexual issues-possibly homosexual in nature. I don’t personally accept that one. Forgive me for the lack of elaboration.
My heart wants to believe that Lincoln was in love with Ann Rutledge and that he suffered terribly when she died having lost her. My head is not convinced of it. The testimony of the New Salem witnesses has many problems. At best, the case for the love affair is very weak from what I know. It’s a great story in that it has love and loss-the elements of every good love story. So when you read again somewhere about the Lincoln/Rutledge love story-take it with a grain of salt. I don’t think we’ll ever know the truth, but who knows?
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2 Responses to “Lincoln & Ann Rutledge: Who knows?”

  1. B. Nash says:

    Agree totally. I suppose the debate will forever continue…

  2. Kevin Lindsey says:

    Im of the same sentiment…I want to believe the story too since its a nice story, but doubt that it ever happened to the degree Herndon (or the movies) took it.

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