Did Abraham Lincoln spend time at Silver Spring Mansion with the Blairs?
Lincoln and the Blairs were close. The Blairs already had a strong family friendship with the Lincolns in Kentucky. Francis Preston Blair Sr. had advised U.S. presidents before Lincoln, which means that Lincoln and Blair Sr. would most likely have had at least a close work relationship. The two families were clearly political allies since Lincoln made Montgomery Blair, Blair Sr.’s son, the administration’s postmaster general.
With both Montgomery Blair’s mansion, Falkland, and Silver Spring Mansion only 7 miles outside of Washington, it’s likely that Lincoln could have spent time on the Blairs’ estates.
Though there aren’t any historical documents linking the 16th President to Silver Spring, there are two accounts that claim Lincoln spent time there. Jerry A. McCoy, founder of the Silver Spring Historical Society, found these memories tucked away in biographies on Lincoln.
One anecdote is from the grandchild of Blair Sr., Francis Preston Blair III, who recalled how as a young boy he saw his grandfather and Lincoln spend time with each other at Silver Spring Mansion. Later in 1899, Blair III wrote about his memory of Lincoln playing “town ball” in Silver Spring for McClure’s Magazine.
Photo courtesy of the Official White House website.