Saturday, February 08, 1862
Robert Todd Lincoln, the eldest son of President Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd Lincoln, visited Mount Vernon on February 8, 1862. His signature in the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association visitor guestbook appears above the signature of Lucy Lambert Hale, a socialite and friend of Robert Todd Lincoln.
Coincidentally, Hale is rumored to have been romantically linked at one time to John Wilkes Booth, who would assassinate President Lincoln three years after Hale and Lincoln's visit to Mount Vernon. In fact, after he was shot dead by his pursuers, Booth was found to be carrying the photographs of five women—one of which being a photograph of Hale.
Robert Todd Lincoln has the unfortunate legacy of being present or nearby when three presidential assassinations occurred. He was at the White House during his father’s assassination at Ford’s Theatre and rushed to his parents’ side upon hearing the news. He was an eyewitness to President James Garfield’s assassination in 1881, and he was outside the building in Buffalo, New York, where President William McKinley was shot in 1901.
Recognizing this trend, Lincoln is said to have refused a later presidential invitation with the response, "No, I'm not going, and they'd better not ask me, because there is a certain fatality about presidential functions when I am present."