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Ann Rutledge

Rutledge, Ann, 1813?–1835, American historical figure, alleged fiancée of Abraham Lincoln. Her father kept the inn at New Salem, Ill., where Lincoln lived from 1831 to 1837. Ann's sudden death from brain fever on Aug. 25, 1835, grieved Lincoln deeply, and from this one known fact William H. Herndon, Lincoln's biographer, wove the story of Lincoln's alleged love for her. Lincoln's wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, insisted that the story was false, and most historians have found Herndon's evidence unconvincing. Actually, Ann was engaged to Lincoln's friend John McNamar. In 1890, Ann's remains were removed from the old Concord cemetery near New Salem and reinterred in Oakland cemetery near Petersburg, Ill. There in 1921 was erected a monument bearing a passage from Edgar Lee Masters's poem about her in Spoon River Anthology.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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