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.
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.
- Bedell’s original letter resides in the Detroit Public Library on permanent loan from an anonymous individual who paid a reported one million dollars for it.
- Nice concise outline and photos
- Grace Bedell – Wikipedia
- The Girl Who Grew Lincoln’s Beard
- Lincoln Exhibition Confirms a Family Myth
- Mr. Lincoln’s Whiskers – a children’s book
We would like to thank the following for helping us with this entry: