Ann Mayes Rutledge

Ann Mayes Rutledge

Original Name Anna Mayes
Henderson, Henderson County, Kentucky, USA
Death 25 Aug 1835 (aged 22)
Illinois, USA
Cenotaph Petersburg, Menard County, Illinois, USA

* This is the original burial site

Memorial ID 18472961 · View Source
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Abraham Lincoln’s First Love. Original gravesite (cenotaph) for Ann Mays Rutledge. Her death at the age of 22 led to Lincoln's first known severe depression. Born Ann Mayes Rutledge near Henderson, Kentucky, she was the third of ten children born to Mary and James Rutledge. In 1829, her father, along with John M. Cameron, founded New Salem, Illinois, building a dam, sawmill and gristmill. As their business expanded, James Rutledge decided to lay out a town and sell lots of land. After the town started becoming populated, James Rutledge constructed a tavern and inn for arriving settlers. Ann grew up, helping her parents in the tavern, eventually taking over the family business. In an age where frontier girls were often only home taught in sewing, cooking, and other housewife type skills, she became the first girl to attend Mentor Graham's New Salem School. She was described as bright and beautiful, with auburn hair, blue eyes, a fair complexion, height 5 feet, 3 inches tall, and 120 pounds. She had a positive character, and many people described her as sweet and angelic, beloved by nearly all who knew her. Her schoolteacher, Mentor Graham, described her as beautiful, amiable, kind, and an exceptionally good scholar. In 1832, young Abraham Lincoln boarded at the inn, where he got to meet her. She was then engaged to John MacNamar, who had started a General Store in town, and in the summer of 1832, he left to see his parents in New York, promising to marry Ann upon his return within a year. After leaving town, he disappeared, and despite many inquiries, no trace of him was ever found. Eventually, a relationship developed between Ann and young Abraham Lincoln, who was studying for his law degree. They appeared to be very genuinely in love, but in 1835, Ann contracted typhoid fever, and after a prolonged illness, she died that summer. After her death, Lincoln confided to Mentor Graham that he felt like committing suicide, but Mentor Graham reassured him that "God has another purpose for you." Ann died about five years before the invention of daguerreotype photography, so no photographs of her exist, nor were any drawings made of her. She was originally buried in here, and her body moved to its current resting place in Oakland Cemetery, Menard County, Illinois.

Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson



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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Charles W Brown
  • Added: 16 Mar 2007
  • Find a Grave Memorial 18472961
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Ann Mayes Rutledge (7 Jan 1813–25 Aug 1835), Find a Grave Memorial no. 18472961, citing Old Concord Cemetery, Petersburg, Menard County, Illinois, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .