I’ve always enjoyed the story of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln: two star crossed lovers who had to fight against society’s pressures (her family) and fight their own demons (mostly his) to eventually get together.
Abraham and Mary met through her cousin who was a law mentor to Abraham. They were from two different backgrounds and they were an unusual fit. He was originally from the backwoods of Kentucky and we are all familiar on his story of being born in a log cabin. His mother died when he was a young boy and he was raised by his father and beloved step-mother. His father could barely read and write and it was his stepmother who encouraged his love of reading. They were very poor living on the frontier and when Abraham was of age, he left home and sought out a new life in Springfield, Illinois. It was in Springfield that he met Mary’s cousin and his new mentor who encouraged him to study law.
Mary Todd was born into affluence in Lexington, Kentucky. Her father, Robert Todd, was a wealthy banker and they lived in a large house with servants. She always had the nicest clothes, shoes and attended the finest schools.
They met at a social and Mary described his awkwardness when he said he wanted to dance “with her in the worst way” and then described how he did indeed dance in the worst way. She was being courted by Stephen Douglas (who would eventually famously debate Lincoln) at the time and soon began to seriously be courted by Abraham Lincoln.
They had much in common with their love of books and poetry and also their shared grief of losing a mother at young age (Mary’s mother died when Mary was a young child). They didn’t have much else in common though – especially with their family backgrounds. They became engaged but the engagement was broken by Abraham due to his either inability to commit to marriage and also his fear of not being able to provide a comfortable life for his beloved and his feelings of inadequacy.
After a long separation, they were married on November 4, 1842. They were married in her sister’s Springfield Home and it was a small gathering on a cold, rainy evening. He slipped a simple wedding band on her finger that was engraved with the words “love is eternal.”
Love is eternal
(the portraits above were done in the very early years of their marriage)
Today in American History…John Adams was born in 1735. Lawyer. Statesman. Founding Father. Assisted Thomas Jefferson with drafting the Declaration of Independence. He was also our very first Vice President and eventually our President (our 2nd!) He was famously married to Abigail Adams and was the father of our 6th President, John Quincy Adams.
Theodore Roosevelt was born today in 1858
Today in American History…Sarah Josepha Hale was born on October 24, 1788. She was an author and poet who wrote the poem, “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” She also famously campaigned for Thanksgiving to be a National Holiday (and after pursuing several Presidents – she finally got her wish when President Lincoln made it a Federal holiday in 1863)
We made Mary Todd Lincoln’s cake today at the bakery. It’s a very simple recipe to make (compared to something like Martha Washigton’s Great Cake!) and our customers really enjoy it. It’s so neat to be able to “taste history” and especially taste something that Abraham Lincoln enjoyed eating.
Here is the recipe:
Mary Todd Lincoln’s White Cake
(Recipe from Lincoln’s Table by Donna D. McCreary was adapted by Janice Cooke Newman)
1 cup blanched almonds, chopped in a food processor until they resemble a coarse flour
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
3 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup milk
6 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a Bundt cake pan.
Cream butter and sugar. Sift flour and baking powder 3 times. Add to creamed butter and sugar, alternating with milk. Stir in almonds and beat well.
Beat egg whites until stiff and fold into the batter. Stir in vanilla extract.
Pour into prepared pan and bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Turn out on a wire rack and cool. When cool, sift confectionary sugar over top
A basic white frosting sprinkled with almonds was also popular.
Recipe and more information can be found here
The official ribbon cutting ceremony will be on November 2, 2017 at 5:30PM. We would love to have you also come celebrate with us on Saturday, November 4th as we celebrate the grand opening of our bakery and cafe. This would not be possible without the love and support of my family and friends and I just wanted to celebrate this day with each of you ❤️🇺🇸