Robert Todd Lincoln’s home in Manchester, Vermont, has made it onto the Vermont African American Heritage Trail, the 10-stop tour around the state of sites significant in African American history. It is noteworthy not just for its ties to the great emancipator, but also because Robert
Lincoln was president and chairman of the Pullman Palace Car Company, a sizable and significant employer of African Americans. Lincoln, who was the president’s only child to survive beyond age 18, built the home, Hildene, in 1905, long after he emancipated his mother’s sizable fortune from her control. The house is now a museum.
The last two Lincoln descendants died in 1978 and 1985. The last Lincoln to live at the house was Mary Lincoln Beckwith, apparently a lesbian who lived a somewhat reclusive lifestyle. She passed away in 1975. Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith, her brother, died in 1985. Though Beckwith was sterile, one of his wives startled the world with the miraculous news that he had fathered a child and the Lincoln genes would live on. After some money was spread around, it was generally acknowledged the president’s gene pool officially snuffed out in Vermont.