August 4, 1918, Philadelphia Inquirer|
NEW LINCOLN RELICS STRANGELY FOUND
Special to the Inquirer
New interest has been added to the restoration of the village and the celebration through the discovery of a living sister of Ann Rutledge. She is Mrs. Sarah J. Saunders and she now resides in Sisquoe, California. She learned of the plan to restore the village through the newspapers and wrote a letter to the Old Salem Lincoln League, which is in charge of the celebration, offering a number of relics of the family.
The Rutledge Family Bible
When Lincoln first met her she was nineteen years old and she had many suitors. Among these was John McNeill, a young man who had recently arrived from New York. She became engaged to him, but because of her youth her marriage was postponed. McNeill soon afterwards returned to New York, promising to bring his parents back with him and settle down. But McNeill never returned, and it gradually developed that he was an imposter and that his real name was McNamar.
Naturally Ann was the object of village gossip and Lincoln felt sorry for her. Doubtless he had been strongly attracted to her before. At any rate, he declared his love to her, and in the spring of 1835 they became engaged. But Lincoln had nothing upon which to support a family, and Ann was anxious to go to school for another year. It was decided that she should go with her brother to Jacksonville and spend the winter there in an academy, while Lincoln spent the time in studying law. In the following spring they were to be married.
But Ann could not help worrying over her former lover. She feared that she had wronged him in believing him an imposter, and that she should have waited longer for his return. She became ill as a result of worry and was sick for a long time. Gradually her condition grew worse, and on August 25, 1835 she died, as Abraham Lincoln sat by her bedside.
The body of Ann Rutledge is buried in a little cemetery near New Salem Hill. A simple stone marks the grave, and many pilgrimages are made to Petersburg and to the little cemetery where she lies.
Contributed by Kristin Vaughn