Grace Bedell was born November 4, 1848. Bedell grew up in Westfield, New York and on October 15, 1860 she wrote a letter to Abraham Lincoln encouraging him to grow a beard in order to gain more votes. On October 19, 1860, Lincoln responded that he would consider her advice but would not make any promises. However, after Lincoln was elected President he made a stop in Westfield on February 16, 1861 to meet Bedell and show her his new whiskers.
Bedell married civil war veteran George Newton Billings when she was 17 and together they moved to Delphos, Kansas, where the couple later had one child. Bedell died November 2, 1936 in Delphos, Kansas. A memorial was dedicated in the town square on August 8, 1966. In 1999, a monument of Lincoln and Bedell was erected in Westfield, New York.
Entry: Bedell, Grace
Author: Kansas Historical Society
Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.
Date Created: June 2012
Date Modified: July 2016
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