Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith Biography
Died At Age: 81
Sun Sign: Cancer
Born in: Riverside, Illinois, United States
Famous as: Last Descendant of Abraham Lincoln
Spouse/Ex-: Annemarie Hoffman, Hazel Holland Wilson, Margaret Hogan Fristoe
father: Warren Wallace Beckwith
mother: Jessie Harlan Lincoln
siblings: Mary Lincoln Beckwith
children: Timothy Lincoln Beckwith
U.S. State: Illinois
education: New York Military Academy, Phillips Exeter Academy
Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith was an American gentleman farmer who is best known as the last known undisputed descendant of America’s most revered President Abraham Lincoln and his wife Mary Todd Lincoln. He was one of the last heirs of the Mary Harlan Lincoln Trust, established by his grandmother, and worked on the family farm that he had inherited. He married three times, but was childless like his sister Mary Lincoln Beckwith and his cousin Lincoln Isham. A court battle ensued to determine the bloodline of Timothy Lincoln Beckwith, the son of his second wife, Annemarie Hoffman. Annemarie had claimed that Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith was the father of the child. However, Robert maintained that it was highly unlikely as he had undergone a vasectomy a few years earlier and the court eventually ruled in his favor. With his death in 1985, the Lincoln bloodline ended officially. Historian Michael Beschloss, who wrote several books on the presidency, stated that he believed that towards the end of his life, Robert Beckwith regretted the fact that his bloodline was coming to an end.
- While Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith generally avoided the media, there have been reports about him in the news many times, including once with pictures of him after he was arrested for speeding in Omaha, Nebraska, when he was young. However, what brought him into media attention during the latter half of his life was a vicious court battle regarding the paternity of the child of his second wife Annemarie Hoffman, which was extensively covered in the media. In 1975, he came under the radar once more after he became the last undisputed descendant of Abraham Lincoln following the death of his sister Mary Lincoln Beckwith, who had no children.
- Annemarie Hoffman, the second wife of Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith, gave birth to a son in October 1968 and named him Timothy Lincoln Beckwith. While Robert Beckwith was listed as the boy's father, he was in the process of divorcing her with accusations of adultery. He denied paternity of the child, and when his wife refused to do any blood test for her or her child, his lawyers on their side provided as proof the fact that he had had a vasectomy with a prostatectomy six years earlier. By the time the boy was seven years old in 1976, court trial begun to determine his Lincoln lineage. In September that year, the ruling judge granted the divorce stating the child was the product of an "adulterous relationship”. However, it was stated that whether the boy would have any claim on the family fortune was to be decided in a separate case.
- After Robert Beckwith died in 1985, the inheritance issue made news headlines once again. He had divided his $3 million fortune among three charities: American Red Cross, Iowa Wesleyan College and the First Church of Christ, Scientist. However, the charities had to make sure no one claimed inheritance, and so they located a 17-year-old Timothy Lincoln Beckwith living with his mother, who married again. They reportedly offered him around $1 million, which he accepted.
- Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith was born on July 19, 1904 in Riverside, Illinois, to Jessie Harlan Lincoln and Warren Wallace Beckwith. His mother, the youngest daughter of Abraham Lincoln's son Robert Todd Lincoln and his wife Mary, had eloped with her classmate Warren in 1897. His father was a star football player at Iowa Wesleyan College. Robert was the younger of his parents’ two children, and had an elder sister named Mary Lincoln Beckwith. He, along with his sister Mary and cousin Lincoln Isham, was one of the three last descendants of Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd Lincoln.
- He attended a private school in Washington, D.C. and later enrolled into New York Military Academy in New York City. He also spent two years at the boarding school, Phillips Exeter Academy, in which his grandfather Robert Todd Lincoln had studied.
- He started working in the farm he inherited, not for profit, but as a hobby, and listed himself as a ‘gentleman farmer’.
- At the age of 25, Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith got married to an older widow named Hazel Holland Wilson, who already had two children. The couple was married for 35 years till her death, but had no children together.
- He married a 27-year-old German woman named Annemarie Hoffman when he was 63. While she gave birth to a boy a year later, it was later revealed that Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith was not the father of the child. After divorcing Hoffman, he married Margaret Hogan Fristoe in 1979.
- He died on December 24, 1985, and was survived by his wife.
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