Mary Lincoln's Ring

Mary Lincoln's Ring (HMWYN)

Location: Springfield, IL 62701 Sangamon County
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Country: United States of America
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N 39° 48.051', W 89° 38.965'

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"Love is Eternal" were the words engraved in the plain gold band that Abraham Lincoln slipped on Mary's finger at their wedding in Springfield on November 4, 1842. The inscription reflected the ideal of "romantic love" that swept America in the 1800s—-the sentiment that marriage should be a romantic pairing based on mutual attraction rather than a mere economic partnership. Not everyone in frontier Illinois was married with "ring and book." Many couldn't afford it and some churches forbid "the putting on of gold or costly apparel." Lincoln, however, would have felt compelled to give his bride a ring to help demonstrate that he was worthy to marry into her family's higher social class. Mary's wedding band was still on her finger when she was buried in the Lincoln Tomb in 1882. Abraham Lincoln apparently never had a wedding ring; it was not yet customary. None of his pictures show him wearing a ring.

Close-up from Mary's earliest photograph (1846) showing her wedding band—-a rare view since she usually wore gloves for photographs.

Chatterton's Jewelry store was a fixture on the west side of the public square in Lincoln's Springfield. Tradition holds this is where Lincoln bought Mary's wedding ring. In 1842 Charles and George Chatterton—-natives of Ithaca, New York—-were young men in their twenties. They became prosperous merchants. George built a "castle cottage" home with towers and embattlements on "Aristocracy Hill" on the south side of town. A fire destroyed the store in 1853, but George rebuilt it, installing a sundial in the back so that townspeople could correctly set their timepieces. By the time Lincoln was elected president in 1860, Chatterton's was also selling sheet music, pianos, melodeons, and other instruments, as well as jewelry and watches. During the Civil War Lincoln appointed Charles as Indian Agent for the Cherokees.

Series This marker is part of the Illinois: Looking for Lincoln series
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Thursday, October 23rd, 2014 at 12:36pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)16S E 273176 N 4409012
Decimal Degrees39.80085000, -89.64941667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 48.051', W 89° 38.965'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 48' 3.06" N, 89° 38' 57.90" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)217
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 101-199 SW Old State Capitol Plaza, Springfield IL 62701, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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