|Feature: Centre grad changed Lincoln's life
Future president set on being blacksmith before friend stepped in
RELEASED: July 18, 2001
DANVILLE, KYWhen Abraham Lincoln was a 23-year-old he had little formal education and seriously considered becoming a blacksmith.
If not for Centre alum John Todd Stuart (Class of 1826), Lincoln might not have become the 16th president of the United States. He might never have led our country through its most difficult time.
According to an autobiographical sketch Lincoln prepared in 1860, Lincoln's good friend Stuart loaned him a set of books and urged him to study law. After Lincoln was admitted to the Bar in 1837, Stuart became Lincoln's first law partner in Springfield, Ill. They remained partners for five years.
The Kentucky natives first met in 1832 when they fought in the same battalion during the Black Hawk War (Stuart as a major and Lincoln as a captain). After their military service, both ran for the Illinois General Assembly, although only Stuart won a seat in 1832. Two years later, Lincoln joined Stuart in the state legislature.
Another tie between the two was that Lincoln married Stuart's cousin, Mary Todd of Lexington.
Interestingly, they often disagreed on issues of the day.
The two remained close friends until Lincoln's death in 1865. Stuart then headed the National Lincoln Monument Association, which built a monument to the fallen president in Springfield, Ill.
Stuart received his Centre degree in 1826. The law practice he established in 1828 survived until 1928.
Stuart died in November of 1885.
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