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Abraham Lincoln: Pardoner of Turkeys, Lover of Cats

Posted by RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX on Sun, Jan 03, 2016 @ 11:00 AM

Abraham Lincoln 

ABRAHAM LINCOLN (1809-1865)
OUR 16TH PRESIDENT (1861-1865)  

This past Thanksgiving, the President of the United States once again pardoned a turkey, saving the bird forever from becoming part of our nation’s annual feast. Did you know that tradition started with President Abraham Lincoln?

As President, in 1863 Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday in November a national “day of Thanksgiving and Praise.” He received a turkey as a special dinner gift for this new holiday, but his son Tad stepped in to ask that his father spare the bird.

Obama pardoning a turkeyPRESIDENT OBAMA PERFORMING THE ANNUAL THANKSGIVING TRADITION OF PARDONING A TURKEY 

An historical anecdote relates that after shooting a turkey as a youth, Lincoln was so upset at what he had done he vowed never to hunt animals again. That was an exceptionally unusual decision, given that Lincoln grew up on the frontier. Nonetheless, Lincoln overtly loved all animals and believed they should be treated with the same care and compassion as people. “I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights,” he said. “That is the way of a whole human being.”

Lincoln once backtracked a half-mile because he’d seen a pig stuck in a bog and wanted to help it out.

abraham-lincoln-white-house-china-1.jpg

A STUNNING 9.25" STATE DINNER PLATE FROM THE WHITE HOUSE COLLECTION OF ABRAHAM AND MARY TODD LINCOLN - STILL IN PRISTINE CONDITION. NOW IN THE COLLECTION OF RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX.

While practicing as a lawyer in Springfield, Illinois, Lincoln adopted a mutt as a pet – another unheard of practice on the frontier. He named the dog Fido, Latin for “fidelity,” and it went everywhere with him including to the dining table where Lincoln petted the dog and shared his meals with him. However, when it was time for the newly elected President and his family to move from Illinois to Washington, DC, they worried the long trip and confusion would upset their beloved Fido.

Instead they left the dog with a neighbor, extracting a long list of promises regarding the dog’s care and treatment. They even left behind Fido’s favorite horsehair sofa so he’d have a familiar place to sleep.

After settling in at the White House, the Lincolns acquired a new dog, named Jip. This dog also shared meals and cuddling at the table with his master. Besides the dog, the Lincoln White House included rabbits and two pet goats, Nanny and Nanko. Allowed to wander grounds and house, the goats were the bane of housekeeping staff, chewing flowers and furniture alike. But the President adored those goats. The Lincoln sons Tad and Willie also adored the goats, hitching them to carts or the kitchen chairs for a ride.

lincoln white house china

FROM THE COLLECTION OF RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX: ONE OF ONLY FOUR SERVING PIECES IN LINCOLN'S ORIGINAL "BUFF" WHITE HOUSE CHINA ORDER, THIS RARE AND PRISTINE 10" WHITE SERVING DISH DISPLAYS CLASSIC GOLD AND BUFF ACCENTS.

But our sixteenth president was most devoted to cats, so much so that his wife once claimed cats were her husband’s hobby. Secretary of State William Seward bestowed two kittens on Lincoln as a White House gift. The President loved to spend hours petting the cats and talking to them. And, as he did with Jip, he fed his kitties at the table. One time he used a gold fork to do that, which was too much for Mrs. Lincoln. His response? “If a gold fork was good enough for former President Buchanan, it’s good enough for Tabby.”

lincoln old bob statue

A LIFE SIZE BRONZE STATUE OF LINCOLN AND HIS HORSE "OLD BOB" - CREATED BY IVAN SCHWARTZ AND FEATURED IN THE GARDENS OF LINCOLN'S COTTAGE IN WASHINGTON D.C.

As befitted a lifelong animal lover, Abraham Lincoln’s beloved horse Old Bob served as the rider-less horse in his master’s funeral following Lincoln’s assassination in 1865.

RALEIGH DEGEER AMYX|JEFFERSON CHINA|PRESIDENTIAL CHINA|WHITE HOUSE CHINA|

RALEIGH DeGEER AMYX - HISTORIAN AND COLLECTOR 

World renowned collector Raleigh DeGeer Amyx has acquired a remarkable number of scarce or rare pieces of official White House China. Mr. Amyx’s passion for American historical artifacts has been his sole focus for more than 35 years. Mr. Amyx's collection is the largest privately-owned collection of extremely high-quality, as well as the rarest, Official White House China and Presidential China in the world. If you would like to engage in a discussion with Mr. Amyx about White House China, please contact him through the button below.

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