|Birth: ||Oct., 1807|
|Death: ||Jan. 23, 1885|
Friend of Abraham Lincoln. Eliza Caldwell married Orville Hickman Browning in 1836 and moved to Quincy, Illinois where her husband practiced law and where she would live for most of the next forty-nine years. The friendship between Eliza and Abraham Lincoln began in 1837 and lasted until Lincoln's death in 1865. Lincoln had served with Orville H. Browning during the Black Hawk War. They both served in the Illinois state legislature in Vandalia in the 1830's and boarded in the same rooming house. Browning brought his wife to the rooming house when he arrived in 1837 and they quickly became friends of Lincoln. Lincoln spent much of his free time with Eliza. They were both intellectual and shared a love for poetry, humor, and wit. While Lincoln was generally uncomfortable and awkward around ladies, he was very much at ease with Eliza. She played a special role in Lincoln's early adulthood as a representative of a higher social class with whom he could converse and feel at ease. In an 1838 letter to Eliza, Lincoln satirized an unsuccessful courtship with Mary Owens in which he concluded "Others have been made fools of by the girls; but this can never be with truth said of me. I most emphatically, in this instance, made a fool of myself. I have now come to the conclusion never again to think of marrying; and for this reason; I can never be satisfied with any one who would be block-head enough to have me." A year later, Lincoln met Mary Todd, and they were married on November 4, 1842. The Lincolns and Brownings were friends through Abraham Lincoln's marriage and into his Presidency. In June of 1861, The Brownings joined the Lincolns in Washington when Orville was appointed to the U. S. Senate to fill the seat of the deceased Stephen Douglas. The Brownings were frequent visitors to the White House discussing political affairs as well as reading poetry and having meals. Historian David H. Donald in his biography of Abraham Lincoln wrote "Lincoln was obviously delighted to have the Brownings in Washington, old friends whom he could absolutely trust. He knew that the Illinois senator would never betray a confidence, never leak information to his colleagues or to the press, never even hint that he had inside information." When The Lincolns' son Willie died of typhoid fever in February of 1862, the Brownings were summoned to the White House. Orville helped make the funeral arrangements and Eliza stayed on for a week at Lincoln's request to care for Mary and young Tad. As indicated on her relatively new tombstone, the close relationship between Abraham Lincoln and Eliza Caldwell Browning was the longest female relationship in Lincoln's life. All evidence points to a purely platonic and intellectual relationship that contributed to Lincoln's development as a person.
Created by: Thomas Fisher
Record added: May 15, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 52416145