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Interesting US History
A Website Devoted to Interesting Events in U.S. History





November 4, 1842

Abraham Lincoln Marries Mary Todd

On this day in 1842, Abraham Lincoln married Mary Anne Todd in Springfield, Illinois. Mary Todd, born December 13, 1818, was the daughter of banker Robert Smith Todd. As a child in Lexington, Kentucky, she lived in a 14-room upper-class home, attended the finest schools, and became quite popular due to her personality. Although originally courted by Stephen A. Douglas who would be come Abraham Lincoln’s political nemesis, Mary Todd took a liking to the gangly Abraham over the protests of her father. Robert Smith Todd was not particularly impressed with Lincoln’s political prospects at the time.

After their marriage in 1842, things went well for them by all accounts. They had four children (although only two would survive into adulthood), and they were considered kind and loving parents but as the pressures of public life increased, her often erratic behavior and abrasive personality made her increasingly unpopular. When their 11-year-old son Willie died of typhoid fever in February of 1862, Mary’s grief seemed to push her beyond the breaking point.

As the Civil War came to an end in April of 1865, it appeared that things might be looking up for the First Lady but President Lincoln’s assassination put an end to that. After the death of her third son, Thomas, in 1871, she sank into a depression from which she never fully recovered. In 1875 she was committed to a mental institution for three months. After traveling Europe in the late 1870’s, Mary returned to Springfield, Illinois and lived with her sister Elizabeth Edwards where she died on July 16, 1882.

November 4, 1842

Iranian Extremists Seize the US Embassy in Tehran

On this day in 1979, an estimated 3,000 extremists storm the U.S. Embassy in Tehran taking 66 U.S. diplomats hostage. After failing to negotiate a release, on April 24, 1980 the U.S. military attempted a rescue operation which resulted in the crash of a RH-53 Sea Stallion helicopter and a C-130 Hercules transport. Eight American servicemen died in the attempt. Thirteen of the hostages were released by July 11, 1980 and the remaining 52 were finally released January 20, 1981, the same day Ronald Reagan was inaugurated to his first term in office.