Abe Lincoln’s Whiskers

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350 West State Street
Albion, New York
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Childhood home of Grace Bedell 1848 – 1936.  In 1860 she wrote A. Lincoln suggesting he would look better with a beard.  He responded & took her advice


By the Orleans County Historical Society and County Department of History — Date unknown

What was there

Grace Bedell lived in this home during her childhood, with the exception of (less than) 2 years when she lived in Westfield, NY.  She resided in Westfield at the time she first wrote to Mr. Lincoln.  Much that has been written about this story does not even mention Albion.

What is there now

Same structure which is a private residence on a quiet village street.

More information

…the Bedell family was only resident in Westfield for less than two years, their hometown being Albion, NY, where they lived for over 40 years, except for 1859-1861. Grace’s father, Norman Bedell, had partnered with Richard Berry in a stove-making company, producing 20 cast-iron cooking ranges per day in their foundry next to the Erie Canal, in 1851. By the mid 1850s, the railroads, some distant from the canal, started providing a faster means of shipping products, especially to the west, so the company expanded and involved several of Norman’s sons.

The 1850s were a time of national political turmoil, particularly regarding the slavery issue. Norman Bedell was a staunch abolitionist, so Grace Bedell, born in 1848, was exposed to heated political discussions in the large family as she was growing up. (Grace’s parents produced a total of 11 children, one of whom died in infancy before Grace was born, and two born after her.) The political controversy extended even into the churches, and the Albion Methodist Episcopal Church, which the Bedell family attended, was split into two separate churches by the turmoil by 1859, causing disharmony within the Bedell household. About this time, father Norman Bedell was offered a new opportunity to extend his stove-making knowledge and experience, to assist a large stove works on the banks of Chautauqua Creek in Westfield. This provided an opportunity to get out of the family dilemma, so Norman left an older son, and son-in-law in charge of the Albion company, rented out their Albion house, packed up, and moved his wife, Grace, five of her siblings, and one sibling’s wife and baby to Westfield in October of 1859, just before Grace’s 11th birthday.

Marybelle Beigh, Dunkirk Observer, October 15, 2010

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We would like to thank the following for helping us with this entry:
Kelly Lucero

+1 Comment
  1. ALEX says:

    The story of this historic marker is extremely interesting and I enjoyed so much.

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