August 4, 1918, Philadelphia Inquirer

NEW LINCOLN RELICS STRANGELY FOUND
--------
Sister of Ann Rutledge, Living in California, Sends Family Bible
--------
Read in Papers of Illinois Centennial---Actual Facts About Ann's Death
-------

Special to the Inquirer
PETERSBURG, ILL. On New Salem Hill, where once stood the village of New Salem, made famous by the residence there of Abraham Lincoln, a score of log houses are rising to represent the village as it was in Lincoln's day. Two buildings in this restored village will attract particular attention of those who attend the Illinois centennial pageant, which is to be given on the hill on August 16 in honor of the centennial of the admission of Illinois into the Union. One is the Lincoln & Berry store, where Lincoln spent his time waiting on customers and reading law. The other is the Rutledge Inn, where Lincoln boarded and where he met and fell in love with Ann Rutledge, daughter of the innkeeper.

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
Among these relics, which will be installed in the inn, is the Rutledge family Bible. This Bible shows that James Rutledge married on January 23, 1808, Marry Ann Miller, and that ten children were born to them. Anne H. Rutledge, known in history as Ann, was born in Kentucky on January 7, 1813, and therefore was four years younger than Abraham Lincoln. The family came to New Salem in 1824.

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

Index

Home