Union of Hearts

The Abraham Lincoln & Ann Rutledge story



Ann was making her way through the woods to the residence of Mr. and Mrs. Abell, when the bottom of the old basket she was carrying fell out, spilling the corn muffins and fruit she was bringing to the ailing Mr. Abell all over the country trail.  It was a beautiful spring day, and Ann had been enjoying her solitary walk.  The sun pierced through the trees in dazzling spears, the fresh blooming of the wildflowers coated the air dewey sweet.

She set down the basket, which was now two ragged pieces held together by a few wicker strands, retied her pale blue bonnet under he chin, which she had worn that day because it was a recent and not very subtle gift from her houseguest, Samantha Cutler.  She set about gathering the itinerant muffins.  She had not yet heard from McNeil, but that had not really surprised her.  She expected him sometime late summer or perhaps early....

She started as an enormous hand reached in front of her, picked up the pear she had been about to retrieve, dusted it off on a tattered homespun shirt, and offered it to her.  Abraham Lincoln had appeared out of nowhere.

“Afternoon, Miss Annie,” he said brightly.  “Looks like you could use a hand...or two.”  Ann took the pear, mouth agape, as Abe set about collecting the scattered goods.

She was aware she had been visibly startled; se felt a flush in her cheeks.  She pulled the bonnet from her head, took a deep breath and said, “Mr. Lincoln, you gave me an awful fright!  You should be ashamed of yourself!”  She immediately regretted he tone, however, and got down on the dirt to help him look.  They were both on all fours when their hands accidentally touched, causing Lincoln to jump back.  They looked at each other, and then both burst out laughing.

They laughed  along time, the two of them sitting in the dirt, surrounded by pieces of fruit.  Suddenly Abe spied the torn basket, walked over to it, picked it up.  He examined it intensely for a few moments, turning it over and over in his large hands.  He sat down on a stump and began repairing it, weaving the unraveled threads together with surprising deftness, all the while chatting amiably.  In short order the basket was, if not perfect, at least serviceable.

He held up his handiwork and peered at the bottom.  “That ought to hold, for a while anyway.  What do you think, Miss Annie?”  Ann suddenly realized that only her father had ever called her Annie.

“I think, Mr. Lincoln, that you are very good at fixing things,’ she said, recalling how he had freed the boat that had been stuck on the dam.

Lincoln nodded.  “Trouble is, if nothing’s broke, I’m good for nothing!”  he laughed heartily at his own joke, as was his want, and bid her good day.

When Ann arrived at the Abell’s, her cheeks were still flushed, a fact that Mrs. Abell noted but did not comment on.

The heartbreaking, true story of Abraham Lincoln’s doomed first love.