One of the most familiar faces in United States history is honored with a statue in Western New York. 

It commemorates a moment that a former United States President had with a little girl. 

Grace Bedell, an 11 year old girl from Westfield, New York, wrote a letter to Abraham Lincoln before he was elected president. In the letter, Grace urged Lincoln to grow a beard “to help him get elected,” according to the Abraham Lincoln website

On October 19, 1860,  Abraham Lincoln wrote back to Grace Bedell, but he made no promises.

However, a month later, Lincoln allowed his beard to grow, and it became one of his staples. 

U.S. Presidential Portraits
Getty Images

Months later, Lincoln left his home in Springfield, Illinois to start his journey to Washington, D.C., and he was sporting a full beard. The trip took him by rail, and he made his way through New York state. While in New York, Lincoln stopped briefly in Westfield on February 16, 1861. 

Once at the train station, Lincoln called into the crowd for Grace. Several newspapers reported the special moment, including New York World, Philadelphia Inquirer, and more. 

According to the news outlets, this is what President Lincoln said:

“Some three months ago, I received a letter from a young lady here; it was a very pretty letter, and she advised me to let my whiskers grow, as it would improve my personal appearance; acting partly upon her suggestion, I have done so; and now, if she is here, I would like to see her.”

The two made their way to each other, and the President have her “several hearty kisses,” according to the Philadelphia Inquirer before he had to rush onto the train again. 

After the famous meeting in Bedell’s hometown of Westfield, New York, a statue was placed in the town to commemorate the special moment they shared.

It’s crazy to think that there is a statue still standing to honor something that happened 162 years ago. 

Did you know the history behind this famous statue?

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