Most people know the story of Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, his efforts to end slavery and his fierce leadership during the Civil War, but not many people know much about his son,
Thomas. Thomas, who was the youngest of Lincoln’s children, was born on April 4, 1853, and was named after President Lincoln’s father. It is said that, at his birth, his father looked at him and thought he resembled a tadpole, which gained him the lifelong nickname of “Tad.” Tad is said to have been a rambunctious and spontaneous child who was one of his father’s favorite children. Tad also had some type of speech impediment, which some people now think to have been a cleft palate of some sort. Many people who were around him wrote that he had his own way of speaking and developed his own names for people.
When his father became President, Tad is said to have been his father’s biggest supporter and, at times, a bit of a distraction. Certain officials wrote of Tad spontaneously bursting into the room while important business was going on and throwing himself upon his father for a hug, which President Lincoln was said to have gladly welcomed.
After his father was shot in 1865, he became a source of great strength and encouragement for his mother. However, in 1871, at the age of 18, Tad died of an illness (possibly tuberculosis or pneumonia) which absolutely devastated his mother, who had already experienced much loss in her lifetime.