18 Rare Facts About Abraham Lincoln

POSTED BY Tayyab Khalil, UPDATED ON January 29th, 2024
Rare Facts About Abraham Lincoln

Down on his luck and born to a family that barely earned a dime, Lincoln was destined for greatness and didn’t let any criticism stop him. Preserving the Union, and strengthening the economy, Lincoln gave it all he had when the United States of America didn’t seem united at all. Apart from being the tallest American President and winning the Civil War, here are 18 rare facts about Abraham Lincoln: 


18. Abraham Lincoln Never Slept in Lincoln’s Bedroom

Lincoln never slept in Lincoln bedroom

During his Presidency, the 16th President of the United States, Lincoln might own a lot of rooms in the White House but it is interesting to know that he never slept in the finest room of all: The Lincoln Bedroom.

Situated in the southeast corner of the second floor as a part of the Lincoln Sitting Room, Lincoln solely used the room as his office where he held meetings with Cabinet members, wrote speeches – including the Emancipation Proclamation – and signed official documents.


17. Abraham Lincoln was Almost Shot During the Civil War

Lincoln was almost shot during civil war

As the Civil War reached a volatile state, causalities were inevitable. During his two-day visit to Fort Stevens in Washington, DC, Lincoln almost lost his life when the Confederate troops invaded the city.

When the troops came near the fort, they opened fire on the President. Fortunately, Colonel Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr, yelled, “Get down, you fool!” Lincoln knelt at the last second and managed to leave the battleground without any injuries.


16. Abraham Lincoln’s Love Life

Abraham Lincoln’s love life

A lot is known about the President’s political career but the same cannot be said about his personal life, particularly his romantic aspects. His first love was a woman named Ann Rutledge, who allegedly died due to typhoid fever.

Lincoln became engaged to a woman named Mary Owens but it was soon broken off. He tied the knot with Mary Todd and the couple had four sons.


15. Abraham Lincoln Took 17 Years to Pay Back a $1000 Loan

Lincoln took 17 years to pay $1000 loan

Lincoln was nicknamed “Honest Abe” for a reason and left many incidents to display his acts of honesty throughout his life. One of them involves him taking 17 long years to pay back every single penny of a $1000 loan he used to run a store.

He failed miserably as a store clerk and had to return the loan as he decided to call it a day and it took the future President 17 years to do so.


14. Abraham Lincoln’s Ghost Sightings

Lincoln’s ghost sightings

Among the claims by political figures witnessing ghastly creatures similar to deceased presidents, perhaps the most widespread is of Abraham Lincoln’s ghost.

Believed to haunt the White House, the most famous incident of the sightings happened in 1942 when Wilhelmina of the Netherlands answered a knock on her White House bedroom only to see Lincoln’s ghost wearing his trademark frock coat and top hap. She fainted instantly. Many have heard footsteps late at night in the hall next to the Lincoln Bedroom.


13. Abraham Lincoln is the Only President to Obtain a Patent 

Abraham Lincoln's patent

Lincoln’s diversity knows no bounds as apart from politics, he had a thing for engineering and machinery as well. While traveling on a steamboat that had to unload cargo, he conceptualized a way to maintain their flow by attaching vacant metallic air chambers on their sides.

Though the method seemed nearly impractical, he obtained Patent No. 6469 in 1849; an achievement that distinguishes Lincoln from other US Presidents.


12. Abraham Lincoln Dreamt His Funeral

Lincoln dreamt his funeral

Before his death, Lincoln dreamt at least twice about his death. He once narrated such dreams to his friend and biographer Ward Hill Lamon – one of them involving himself coming downstairs to the East Room of the White House and witnessing a group of soldiers mourning around a corpse.

When demanded to know the identity of the dead one, one of the soldiers replied:

“The President. He was killed by an assassin.”


11. Abraham Lincoln Used His Top Hat to Store Documents 

Lincoln used his top hat to store docs

The stovepipe top hat not only served as the 16th President’s most recognizable clothing piece but also served as a secondary pocket. Despite being a responsible lawyer, Lincoln found it troublesome to keep his notes safe so he utilized his top hat to store his letters, bills, notes, speeches, and many other political documents.

Due to the excessive use, the top hat is now the epitome of Lincoln’s image.


10. Abraham Lincoln Formed the Secret Service Moments Before Assassination 

Abraham Lincoln formed secret service

April 14, 1865 – the death of Abraham Lincoln and the birth of the United States Secret Service. Before the night of his assassination, the President signed legislation documents to form the Secret Service in the evening.

However, it was in 1901 that the Secret Service expanded its duties concerning counterfeiting currency to protect American political icons.


9. Abraham Lincoln’s Corpse was Almost Stolen 

Lincoln’s corpse was almost stolen

11 years after the assassination, Chicago-based counterfeiters attempted to steal the President’s corpse from his tomb which was sealed by just one padlock. They planned to hold the body for a ransom of $200,000 and demanded the release of their gang’s finest counterfeiter from prison.

Fortunately, the United States Secret Service foiled the gang’s plans; allowing Lincoln to finally rest in peace. To prevent similar incidents in the future, Lincoln’s corpse was later covered in a steel cage guarded by concrete 10 feet underground.


8. Abraham Lincoln and the Occult

Abraham Lincoln and the Occult

Due to depression, he suffered from the loss of his sons Edward Baker “Eddie” and William Wallace “Willie” Lincoln – who died at the age of 3 and 11, respectively – Lincoln and his wife Mary Todd tried to contact their loved ones by indulging in séances in the White House and even going to the homes of renowned mediums to do so.

However, the couple never revealed whether they were able to contact them or not.


7. Abraham Lincoln Test-Fired Rifles Outside the White House 

Abraham Lincoln test fired rifles

Intrigued by the artillery guns utilized by the Union soldiers during the Civil War, Lincoln used to personally test-fire rifles and muskets around the White House.

Despite many firing restrictions in the District of Columbia, Lincoln continued to test – or maybe even thrill himself – the weapon on the grounds of the White House – now known as the National Mall and the Eclipse.


6. Abraham Lincoln was Against Hunting and Fishing

Lincoln was against hunting and fishing

Apart from being heavily against slavery, Lincoln was also against hunting and fishing, even for food. Possibly an animal lover, his distaste towards the killing of animals deemed him to be considered unmanly, lazy, and even gutless by the men during his early age of hardships.

Little did they know that the boy had a heart of gold.


5. Abraham Lincoln Only Had 18 Months of Formal Education

Lincoln only had 18 months of education

Despite having a reputation as the best orator and storyteller of his time, it is nearly impossible to believe that a speaker such as Lincoln only had 18 months of formal education.

An avid reader and having an appetite for knowledge, Lincoln climbed the mountains of awareness as he self-taught himself, eventually becoming a lawyer and ultimately becoming the President; cementing his rightful place in American history.


4. Abraham Lincoln Almost Engaged in a Duel 

Lincoln almost engaged in a duel

Lincoln was once challenged to a fight over a letter his wife wrote. Though the 6’4 President confidentially accepted, the duel never took place as his comparatively smaller opponent felt at a disadvantage due to Lincoln’s weapon of choice: a broadsword.

Feeling uneasy due to Lincoln’s magnetism, the opponent wisely backed off and decided to settle it by words; a department where Lincoln was at its peak.


3. Abraham Lincoln and Religion 

Abraham Lincoln religion

The religious perspectives of Lincoln’s beliefs are perhaps the most debatable subject in American history. Though he was a skeptic when young and occasionally quoted the Bible, he never went to Church but made few indications of his possible belief in Christianity; further adding the mystique to Lincoln’s religious beliefs.

It is interesting to note that the expression, “In God We Trust” on US coins was initialized during Lincoln’s reign as the President. When asked about his religion, Lincoln promptly quoted,

“When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That’s my religion.”


2. John Wilkes Booth Attended Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address 

John Wilkes Booth attended Lincoln’s address

Out of the hundreds of people who witnessed Lincoln as he delivered his speech for the second inauguration as the President of the United States, his future assassin John Wilkes Booth was present as a spectator.

To add the icing to the cake, it is amazing to know that George Atzerodt, David Herold, John Surratt, Edmund Spangler, Lewis Paine, and other accomplices involved in the President’s assassination were also present at his second inaugural address.


1. Abraham Lincoln is in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame

Abraham Lincoln in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame

Lincoln is undoubtedly the most multi-talented, if not the greatest, American President of all time. Before his political career, Lincoln was an amazing wrestler due to his gigantic size and long limbs. Wrestling fans will be amazed to know that he lost just one match in a total of nearly 300 matches.

Carl Sandburg recalls in his biography about Lincoln that after defeating an opponent, he once challenged the entire crowd saying:

“I’m the big buck of this lick. If any of you want to try it, come on and whet your horns.”

Lincoln’s impressive wrestling maneuvers blessed him with an “Outstanding American” honor in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

Share with us some rare facts about Abraham Lincoln in the comments section below!

Title Image Courtesy: Flickr/Gage Skidmore


  1. John B. Egan says:

    Derp! Thanks! ;-)

  2. John B. Egan says:

    One thing I’ve seen, but can find no real confirmation for is that Lincoln owned slaves, as in this article, which states that, but never substantiates it:

    It begins : McLEAN, VA – Abraham Lincoln has inspired Americans for generations, but it was just revealed that he was a slave owner.

    It was my understanding that Lincoln was raised poor and performed his own labor and never really owned an estate that would require slave labor.

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