Edward Baker Lincoln

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Edward Baker Lincoln
Eddielincoln (cropped).jpg
Eddie Lincoln, age 3
Edward Baker Lincoln

(1846-03-10)March 10, 1846
DiedFebruary 1, 1850(1850-02-01) (aged 3)
Springfield, Illinois, U.S.
Resting placeHutchinson's Cemetery, Springfield, Illinois (originally)
Lincoln Tomb, Oak Ridge Cemetery
Other namesEddie
Parent(s)Abraham Lincoln
Mary Todd
RelativesSee Lincoln family tree, Robert Todd Lincoln (brother)

Edward Baker Lincoln (March 10, 1846 – February 1, 1850) was the second son of Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd Lincoln. He was named after Lincoln's friend Edward Dickinson Baker. The National Park Service uses "Eddie" as a nickname[1] and the name is also on his gravestone.

Early life[edit]

Little is known about the Lincolns' second son. A surviving story says that one day during a visit to Mary's family, Eddie's older brother, Robert Todd Lincoln, found a kitten and brought it to the house. Despite Mary's stepmother's dislike of cats and order to throw it out, Eddie screamed and protested.[2] He nursed and cared for the helpless kitten, which he loved.[3] Eddie was described by his parents as a tender-hearted, kind, and loving child.


Eddie died a month before his fourth birthday. Although census records list "chronic consumption" (tuberculosis) as the cause, cardiologist John Sotos has suggested that Eddie died of medullary thyroid cancer[4] given that: (a) "consumption" was a term then applied to many wasting diseases, (b) cancer is a wasting disease, (c) his father and two of his brothers had several features compatible with the genetic cancer syndrome multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2b (MEN2B), (d) Eddie's thick, asymmetric lower lip is a sign of MEN2B, and (e) 100% of persons with MEN2B develop medullary thyroid cancer, sometimes as early as the neonatal period.[5]

Eddie's funeral was held at the Lincoln home by the pastor of the First Presbyterian Church,[6] and his body was buried at the nearby Hutchinson's Cemetery in Springfield, Illinois.[7] Both parents were devastated. A week after Eddie's death, an unsigned poem entitled "Little Eddie" was printed in the Illinois Daily Journal.[6]

Those midnight stars are sadly dimmed,
  That late so brilliantly shone,
And the crimson tinge from cheek and lip,
  With the heart's warm life has flown—
    The angel death was hovering nigh,
    And the lovely boy was called to die.

The silken waves of his glossy hair
  Lie still over his marble brow,
And the pallid lip and pearly cheek
  The presence of Death avow.
    Pure little bud in kindness given,
    In mercy taken to bloom in heaven.

Happier far is the angel child
  With the harp and the crown of gold,
Who warbles now at the Saviour's feet
  The glories to us untold.
    Eddie, meet blossom of heavenly love,
    Dwells in the spirit-world above.

Angel boy—fare thee well, farewell
  Sweet Eddie, we bid thee adieu!
Affection's wail cannot reach thee now
  Deep though it be, and true.
    Bright is the home to him now given,
    For "of such is the Kingdom of Heaven."

Authorship of the poem was long a mystery with some supposing that Abraham and Mary Lincoln wrote it. In 2012, the Abraham Lincoln Association published an article in their journal that concludes neither parent wrote the poem, and that it was instead an early draft by a young poet from St. Louis.[6] The final line is on the boy's tombstone.

The next child of Abraham and Mary (Willie Lincoln) was born ten months after Eddie's death. After the death of President Lincoln, Eddie's remains were transferred to the Lincoln Tomb at Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Edward Baker "Eddie" Lincoln". National Park Service. Retrieved February 19, 2014.
  2. ^ Burlingame, Michael (2008). Abraham Lincoln: A Life. Vol. 1. Baltimore, Maryland: Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 239. ISBN 978-0-8018-8993-6.
  3. ^ Miller, Richard Lawrence (2008). Lincoln and His World. Vol. 2. Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania: Stackpole Books. p. 439. ISBN 978-0-8117-0392-5.
  4. ^ Sotos 2008.
  5. ^ Moyes, C.D.; Alexander, F.W. (August 1977). "Mucosal neuroma syndrome presenting in a neonate". Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology. London, England: Mac Keith Press. 19 (4): 518–534. doi:10.1111/j.1469-8749.1977.tb07947.x. PMID 892250. S2CID 22621934.
  6. ^ a b c Wheeler, Samuel P. (Summer 2012). "Solving a Lincoln Literary Mystery: 'Little Eddie'". Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association. Ann Arbor, Michigan: University of Michigan Press. 33 (2): 34–46. hdl:2027/spo.2629860.0033.205.
  7. ^ "Edwar Baker 'Eddie' Lincoln". Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation. Retrieved February 6, 2020.


External links[edit]