One of my favorite stories from Hometown Heroines: True Stories of Bravery, Daring, and Adventure, is that of eleven-year-old Grace Bedell. Her story remained a secret for many years, but once it came to light her fame has spread. What did she do?
She wrote a letter in 1860 to Abraham Lincoln when he was a presidential candidate. In part, she said:
“I have got 4 brothers and part of them will vote for you any way and if you will let your whiskers grow I will try and get the rest of them to vote for you you would look a great deal better for your face is so thin. All the ladies like whiskers and they would tease their husbands to vote for you and then you would be President.”
Not only do we know that Lincoln indeed grew a beard, he also responded to her letter. In part, he said:
“As to the whiskers, having never worn any, do you not think people would call it a piece of silly affect[at]ion if I were to begin it now?”
Today, two statues commemorate her actions. One is a granite monument bearing copper reproductions of both letters which stands in the Delphos, Kansas, town square. The other is the statue pictured here that I took while visiting in Westfield, New York, where the two correspondents met when Lincoln traveled by train through the town in February 1861.
Can you imagine? This little girl had the gumption to pen a suggestion to Abraham Lincoln, a man she did not know and who had no real reason to respond. Yet he did both respond and agree with her suggestion. Then he made a point of meeting her when he went through her town. No wonder so many people find the story compelling! The rest, as they say, is history.
If you’d like to see more pictures related to Hometown Heroines, you can find them on my Pinterest board.
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Interested in your own copy of Hometown Heroines: True Stories of Bravery, Daring, and Adventure? You can find it in ebook and/or paperback at the following sites:
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