tv Tour of Springfield IL CSPAN February 17, 2019 8:27pm-8:41pm EST
rivalries, presidents" historik america's best and worst executives. announcer: this weekend,o american history tv is joining our comcast cable partners to showcase the history of springfield, and -- springfield, illinois. to learn more, visit c-span.org/cities tour. we continue now with our look at the history of springfield. was a lot of misunderstanding of mary. mary made her own rules.
i always say, she was the first hillary clinton. she was outspoken, she took the bull by the horns, and she loved it. politics was her life. announcer: while in springfield, we took a driving tour of the city with mary tom lincoln presenter, ham brown. >> thank you so much for joining us today. >> thank you for having me with you today. >> what do you have in the box? >> i brought something so you would be dressed with us. >> ok. >> i'm wearing my favorite bonnet. it is more of a christmas monitor. it is a joyful bonnet. >> now that we are in our historically accurate clothing, you wear this outfit a lot, right? what year does this date back to? >> this would be 1864. 1865. >> how long have you been portraying mary lincoln? >> i started in 2006, so this will be year 13.
>> what are we going to be seeing in springfield today? >> let's first stop at the lincoln office. then down the road, we will drive by the old state capitol. toward the end of this road at the corner of jefferson and six street is a parking lot. we can pull in there and talk about that house that would have been standing there. >> let's get going. let's see mary lincoln's springfield. mary was not from here. where was she from and how did she end up here? >> she moved here from lexington, kentucky. elizabeth, had married a man who was the son of a past governor. they moved to springfield, his father built him a wonderful house.
theythey have this extra bedroo. she brought to one sister at a time back from lexington appear because this is when the state government had moved to springfield. there was a lot of single legislators running around this town. mary had our receptor sites on mr. lincoln when she came to visit in 1837. when she gets in 1839, she finds out he is still single. want toover and said, i dance with you in the worst way, and later that evening, she told her cousin, elizabeth grimsley that she presidents" historiansr in the worst way. she and lincoln laughed about that forever. that was one of their private jokes. >> >> what significance does this have? >> this is where lincoln would .ave practiced law he was in the legislature here in this building. mary came into the building two very important times for me.
they were at a cotillion and they were dancing. he made the mistake of saying she glided around the dance floor like a serpent. was a very biblical person so the phrase's serpent had a whole different connotation to her, and she was very put off right back, so she never had any interest in him whatsoever after that moment. but lincoln really came to admire her. and then he was a wonderful researcher. lincoln loved herndon because lincoln was so thorough in his research when they would do trial cases. >> now, what does mary not liking herndon, does that cause any friction amongst the law practice here? >> it did not cause any friction between lincoln and herndon. it did cause friction between mary and lincoln because i think there was a jealousy between herndon and mary. i think herndon was jealous of lincoln's relationship with mary and of course mary was jealous of herndon because lincoln spent
so much time with him. he was gone from early morning to almost late evening. to do law. >> we coming upon the old state capitol to the left. >> in this place, of course, mr. lincoln practiced law. he was in the legislature here in this building. mary came into the building two very important times for me. one was when she watched him give the house divided speech. but the most important time was when she watched him give up votes to mr. turnbull for the legislature to go to the u.s. congress and he turned over some votes, to him, that were given to mr. lincoln, and mary was very disheartened he would give up a legislative post to another man as opposed to asking him to turn over his votes to him. so, mary was very hard on mr. lincoln about that and if you turn into this parking lot right here to the left. >> right here?
>> yep. and this would have been where elijah francis' house would have been sitting in this vicinity of 6th and jefferson street. >> and who were they? >> elijah and simeon. simeon was the editor of the newspaper. eliza was his wife, and when mr. lincoln and mary broke up for the first engagement, broke up -- their first engagement broke up? >> yeah. there's a lot of controversy about that breakup, if they broke up because of he got cold feet, or did he just feel like he was inadequate for mary? i think a lot of it was the pressure from her sisters because they always felt like he wasn't good enough for mary to marry because mary was a todd. so we don't know what really broke them up, but we know
that they broke up right after new year's eve and they were miserable, both of them. so eliza and simeon, each one of them invited the other. them to dinner one night, not knowing the other one was going to be there. and they sat and talked that evening like they'd never been apart for each other and it had been like nine months and after that initial meeting, they started coming here secretly and meeting and courting here at their home in secret because she didn't want her sisters to butt in yet again. >> you mentioned mary todd's sisters did not think that abraham lincoln, one of our greatest historical figures, was good enough. so give me a little perspective on who were the todds and who was mary? >> they were very wealthy people. they were aristocracy of lexington. robert was a merchant, also a politician. so, you know he was very , prominent in the city of lexington. henry clay lived down the street from them.
you know mile and a half down , the road. mary's known to ride her pony over there on many occasions to visit with mr. clay. she admired him greatly because of his political stature and who he was politically. she was very engrossed in politics. she found it fascinating. now, lincoln was a -- he was nobody. he was poor. he was a back woodsman, and the toddes didn't think he measured -- todds didn't think he measured up to who they thought a todd should marry. mary married for love. mary did not mary for money -- marry for money. she knew what she saw in the man and she had a childhood dream of becoming mrs. president, but she knew she had to marry the right person. >> after they broke up and had that courtship here, they did get back to together and get married. >> they did. in between 3rd and 4th street, that's where the globe tavern would have sat.
>> what was that? >> the globe tavern was very first home that mary and abraham lived in. young newlyweds, they carried in a few personal items and lived in a 12 foot by 14-foot room. a day or two after they were married, he went off on the road. he had to go work. he was practicing law. they spent six months a year away from each other. >> so we're on our way to abraham lincoln's tomb. >> there's the monument in front of us. it's a beautiful monument, and as you can see, it is in a park-like setting, which was mary's desire for him because that's what he wanted. she fought hard for this because the city wanted to have him in the center of the city, where the bustle of the town and the tourists could come, but she said he didn't want that. he did not want that. he wanted to be buried in quietness. so when she told the city planners that you either give me my way for my husband or he's
going to be buried in washington, and they prepared a spot for him right next to george washington, in the capital, just in case that is what they needed to do, but she won the battle. >> abraham lincoln is buried here. is mary also here? >> mary is here. willy is here, eddy is here, and tad is here, or thomas. robert is not here. he is the only son who is not buried here. he is buried in arlington cemetery. so stop right here, and this is an actual three-quarter reproduction of the edwards and elizabeth home. 's,s was her sister, edward home. but this house that mary lived in when she first moved to springfield, the house they were married in, it and will be the house that mary died in. >> and what year did mary die? >> she died in 1882, at the age
of 63.5 years old. >> what did she die of? >> i always say broken heart, but she suffered a lot of illness. they think that she probably had diabetes. mary lincoln lived her life every day, i believe -- this is just my own personal opinion -- waiting to die to be with mr. lincoln. every day was the next day. maybe today. maybe today. i think she lived 17 years waiting for that day. >> we know so much about president lincoln. why do you think it's important to know about mary lincoln as a historic figure as well? >> well, my personal believe, that we need to know her, because if it had not been for mary lincoln and her aspirations to be mrs. president lincoln, you never would have had a president lincoln, because when he was invited to the republican
nominee for president in 1860, he had to think about it and she twisted his arm for three full days before he caved. they had a son that was buried here, and it was very hard for him to think about leaving his son, even though it would only be for four years. they had a home here they just rebuilt and refinished and added on that second story and there was just so much that he wanted to accomplish here, but there was so much she wanted to do as well. so i kind of pat mary on the back for saying -- and a lot of people might argue with that, that he might have done it anyway, but i don't know that he had these presidential aspirations as much as she did. but she saw something in him that a lot of people did not see. she saw greatness. for takingu so much us around and showing us springfield. >> it's been wonderful fun. our staff recently traveled
to springfield, illinois, to learn about its rich history. learn more about springfield and other stops in our two or -- tour. you're watching american history tv, all weekend, every weekend, on c-span3. >> next, on american history tv, owe flow discusses -- keith l talks about what we can learn from conflicting historic interpretations. he is the author of "the fear and the freedom: how the second us." war changed this talk was part of a three-day conference hosted by the national world war ii museum in new orleans. speaker's latest book could not have been released at a more appropriate time for the museum's purposes. as we continue the design on our last pavilion, the liberation pavilion, our