How Abraham Lincoln's lineage ended

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    Where are Abraham Lincoln's offspring today?

    “Despite Americans’ supposed resistance to the trappings of European royalty, we have always yearned for political dynasties, hoping that the qualities admired in one leader will be replicated in the leader’s progeny,” famed presidential historian Michael R. Beschloss said in The New Yorker magazine in 1994 when he wrote the definitive recounting of Abe’s tragedy-plagued bloodline, “Last of the Lincolns,” which is a primary source for this story. It was in that article that Beschloss revealed the million-dollar payoff.

    “In no case could this hope have been stronger than in that of the greatest president in American history,” Beschloss wrote. But, he added, “history played a practical joke on the Lincolns,” generating a line of succession that wasn’t much of a dynasty at all, to say the least.

    The key player in the Tim Beckwith soap opera is Tim’s dad — if he is.

    Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith was the grandson of Robert Todd Lincoln, the only one of Abe’s four children to reach adulthood. Educated at Exeter and Harvard, Robert Todd Lincoln was a lawyer, a banker, and head of the Pullman Palace Car Company, the famed maker of train cars. He would be Secretary of War — forerunner of Defense Secretary — to presidents James Garfield and Chester Arthur and minister to Great Britain under Benjamin Harrison.

    In 1875, Robert Todd went to court to have his mother, Abe’s widow, Mary Todd, institutionalized. She was freed after just four months, but by 1882 she was dead at just 64 of a stroke, She left Robert, her only heir, and her perceived tormentor, 64 trunks of goods as well as an estate of more than $84,000 — about $2 million in today’s dollars.

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