Will the Real Jack Kelso Please Stand Up?

by Mary Turner Well-educated, fat, lazy, reliable, utterly worthless, happy, and impractical genius—all of these words have been used in the literature on Abraham Lincoln to describe John “Jack” Kelso. Just exactly who was Jack Kelso and what kind of person was he? About the only thing all of the authors agree on is that … Read more

The First Slave Freed by Abraham Lincoln: A Biographical Sketch of Nance Legins (Cox-Cromwell) Costley, circa 1813 1873

by Carl M. Adams A “Negro girle named Nance” first attracted nationwide attention in 1866, about eighteen months after the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. Chapter three of Illinois Republican Congressman Isaac Newton Arnold’s book, The History of Abraham Lincoln and the Overthrow of Slavery (1866), is subtitled: “Pleads the Case of the Negro Girl … Read more

Beware the Ides of March

In Shakespeare’s play, “Julius Caesar,” a soothsayer warns Caesar of impending treachery declaring, “Beware the Ides of March.” Lincoln’s assassination by the treacherous hands of John Wilkes Booth was proceeded by similar warnings. The warnings were so numerous throughout his entire presidency that, to modern observers, it is easy to dismiss them as idle threats. … Read more

Abraham Lincoln, John Hay, and the Bixby Letter

Abraham Lincoln, John Hay, and the Bixby Letter by Michael Burlingame Most moviegoers are aware that Abraham Lincoln’s letter of condolence to Lydia Bixby, a widow who purportedly had lost five sons in the Civil War, looms large in Stephen Spielberg’s recent film, Saving Private Ryan. Dated November 21, 1864, the letter reads as follows: … Read more