Today in 1835 Ann Rutledge died at Rutledge farm seven miles northwest of New Salem.
The young woman who was allegedly Abraham Lincoln’s first love was originally engaged to another man, a rather dubious character who would not give his real name to her and her family and who left New Salem, claiming to settle family affairs in New York but never returned.
Ann Rutledge met Lincoln and after several meetings she agreed to marry him - as soon as she was released from her original engagement.
In the summer of 1835 a wave of typhoid fever hit the area and Ann Rutledge, as did many people in New Salem, fell sick. After six weeks of illness she died, not having been able to severe the bond to her finance John MacNamar since he never returned from his trip, but able to speak to Abraham Lincoln one more time before her death.
Many years later - shortly after Abraham Lincoln was elected president - and old friend, Isaac Cogdal, inquired about the romance and ventured to ask whether it was true that Lincoln had fallen in love with Ann.
"It is true- true indeed I did," Lincoln replied, according to Cogdal. "I loved the woman dearly and soundly: she was a handsome girl- would have made a good loving wife…I did honestly and truly love the girl and think often-often of her now."