Mary Todd Lincoln: A Biography

By Jean H. Baker | Go to book overview

III
Mary Todd's
Lexington

Even after a half century Lexington, the place that Mary Todd's grandfathers had founded and in which she grew up, remained a town set in the wilderness. Just beyond its periphery, where the most adventurous pioneers had built their homes, an impenetrable forest enclosed the community. For one resident Lexington was always "woods, woods, and more woods and an unpleasant climate." Where the forest receded, as it did to the north along the Maysville Pike, Lexington's unpaved connection to the outside world, a thick underbrush of canebrake, peavine, and pawpaw obscured the horizon. On the plateau to the east, large sycamores, maples, and wild cherries framed the grassy meadows for which Fayette County would soon become famous. "A dark and bloody land" the Cherokees had named the region, and so it stayed. Anything, Lexington's children supposed, could hide in these woods—from wild animals like buffalo, wolves, and the giant mammoths the bones of which had been discovered in nearby caverns to dangerous humans like runaway slaves, savage Indians, and the eerie phantoms of Kentucky folklore. With a dis

-53-

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Mary Todd Lincoln: A Biography
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Contents ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Introduction xiii
  • I - First Family: Parkers and Todds 3
  • II - A Second Family 25
  • III - Mary Todd's Lexington 53
  • IV - Springfield Courtship 74
  • V - Domestic Portrait: the Springfield Years 99
  • VI - The Politics of Marriage 130
  • VII - First Lady 163
  • VIII - A Vanishing Circle 208
  • IX - Mrs. Widow Lincoln: the First Years 244
  • X - Exile and Return 281
  • XI - Trial and Confinement 315
  • XII - Last Years 351
  • Notes 371
  • Index 413
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