LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 21, 2012) — The Mary Todd Lincoln House will observe Memorial Day by establishing a discounted admission fee for members of the United States armed forces. Beginning May 28, active duty, National Guard and Reserve personnel will be offered two adult admissions for the price of one. The museum also invites visitors to pick up a brochure for a self-guided walking tour of Union and Confederate soldiers interred at Lexington Cemetery.
Several members of the Todd and Lincoln families served in the Civil War armies. Abraham and Mary Lincoln’s oldest son, Robert, joined the Union army at the end of the war and served on General Ulysses S. Grant’s staff. Of Mary Lincoln’s five brothers and half brothers, four joined the Confederate Army.
Three years after the Civil War ended, an organization of Union veterans established Decoration Day as a time to place flowers on the graves of those who died in wars. The custom was already popular in many places, and northern and southern cities claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day. At her death in 1874, Mary Lincoln’s stepmother Betsy Todd left money for a monument in the Lexington Cemetery to honor to her Confederate sons.
David Todd, a half brother of Mary Lincoln, gained notoriety while stationed at a Confederate prison in Virginia and later served at the Battle of Shiloh and sieges of Vicksburg. Sam and Aleck, also half brothers, gave their lives for the Confederate cause. Sam died at Shiloh in April 1862 and Aleck died in a friendly fire incident near Baton Rouge in August 1862. Mary Lincoln’s full brother George, although not mentioned on the monument, served as a surgeon in various Confederate army hospitals.
The monument, along with other Todd graves and those of Union and Confederate figures buried in the Lexington Cemetery are featured in a walking tour brochure developed by the Mary Todd Lincoln House. The brochure is available at the House or can be downloaded from www.mtlhouse.org.
The Mary Todd Lincoln House is located at 578 West Main Street in downtown Lexington. Free parking is available directly behind the house. The museum offer tours from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday-Saturday, and will be open on Memorial Day, May 28.
The Mary Todd Lincoln House is the girlhood home of Mrs. Lincoln. The museum is operated by Kentucky Mansions Preservation Foundation, a private non-profit organization dedicated to protecting and promoting historic properties.