By SUSAN O’CONNOR DAVISDuring the hot summer of 1865 the widow Lincoln did much of nothing. She chose the Hyde Park House as a place of refuge following her husband’s assassination, spending her days contemplating the waves of Lake Michigan and walking through the nearby park. Mary Todd Lincoln saw almost no one, and remarked she did not have “sufficient courage, to receive but very few,” of her friends.
On April 21 of that year, the train carrying the coffin of President Abraham Lincoln left Washington, D.C. The shattering news of the president’s death a week earlier spread across the country via telegrams and newspapers, and many clamored for a final glimpse. As the Civil War finally ground to an end, it was hard to believe the man who was to guide America through its aftermath was truly gone.