Appendix A

Few events create more furor in Lincolnabilia than the rancorous debates that swarm around the legend saying Lincoln was secretly baptized. The rumors share various themes. He was baptized at night. A preacher came to town on a train to baptize him. He did it secretly to avoid Mary Todd’s wrath and to not become a spectacle. It happened in a river near Springfield between his election and inauguration.

Most historians scoff at the idea. Its best support is found in the oral history of Mariah Vance, Lincoln’s black housekeeper from 1850 to 1860. Her story is recorded in “Lincoln’s Unknown Private Life,” Hastings House Book Publishing, pages 263-274. A Google search of “Abraham Lincoln secret baptism” will produce a plethora (104,000 results) of opportunities to enter this historic whirlwind.