Abraham Lincoln was born 208 years ago Sunday. A president who changed the United States forever, leading the country through the Civil War, he remains revered in the minds of Americans.
The 16th president, Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared all slaves should be free. He was assassinated April 15, 1865 soon after the war ended, but Lincoln's legacy has lived on. And while he is certainly one of the most well-known presidents, Lincoln led a fascinating life full of interesting twists and turns that many might not know. Listed below are 13 interesting facts about Lincoln:
1. He was the only U.S. president to hold a patent, according to the Civil War Trust. He patented a system that could keep a steamboat from running aground.
2. Lincoln was a prolific wrestler who, legend has it, was defeated just once in hundreds of matches, is enshrined in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. It's worth noting that President Donald Trump is enshrined in the WWE Hall of Fame, which is the soap-opera-esque faux wrestling popular with Americans nowadays.
3. Lincoln didn't drink, smoke or chew tobacco, according to the National Constitution Center.
4. The day he was assassinated, Lincoln signed legislation that would create the Secret Service but, at the time, the group was aimed at combating counterfeiting.
5. Lincoln established Thanksgiving as a holiday in 1864.
6. He ran for Senate twice and lost both times.
7. He served one term in the House of Representatives.
8. Lincoln actually came under fire from Confederate sharpshooters at the Battle of Fort Stevens near Silver Spring, Maryland.
9. He had a dog named Fido whom he obsessed over. When Lincoln was forced to leave Fido behind in Illinois he gave friends extremely specific rules for how the dog should be cared for, including dictating that the dog should not be scolded for bringing mud into the house.
10. His mother died after drinking milk tainted by a poisonous root.
11. His famous Gettysburg Address was just 272 words long.
12. Legend goes that First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln, and on at least one occasion Lincoln himself, participated in séances to attempt to communicate with their sons who died.
13. In a wild coincidence Lincoln's son, Robert Todd Lincoln, has his life saved by the brother of John Wilkes Booth, Lincoln's assassin. Edwin Booth pulled Robert Todd out of an open space between a platform and a moving train after Lincoln lost his footing. Less than a year later, John would kill Robert Todd's father just months later.