Centre alumnus at the bedside of Lincoln in the president’s final hours
As an institution nearly two centuries old, Centre College offers a rich history highlighted by unique ties to America’s storied past. One enduring reminder is the College’s statue of Abraham Lincoln, an impressive tribute to the Kentuckian’s rise to greatness that signifies many important connections to our nation’s 16th president.
Standing 16-feet tall at the entrance to Crounse Hall, the statue commemorates Lincoln’s association with alumnus John Todd Stuart, Centre Class of 1826. Stuart served with Lincoln in the Blackhawk War, encouraged him to study law and was eventually the president’s first law partner.
Other historical ties to Lincoln include two of Mary Todd Lincoln’s brothers who attended Centre, in addition to other distinguished alumni, such as John C. Breckenridge, Lincoln’s opponent in the 1860 Presidential debate, and Joseph Holt, the prosecutor who tried and convicted the Lincoln assassination conspirators.
Now, marking the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s assassination, Centre recognizes another significant alumni connection. Lyman Beecher Todd, M.D., a cousin to Mary Todd Lincoln and noted companion of the Lincoln family, was at the bedside of the president in his final hours at the Petersen House across from Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C. The prominent Lexingon physician also participated in Lincoln’s autopsy. Todd graduated from Centre in 1851.
by Amy Wise