Born in Henderson, KY, the legendary Ann Rutledge supposedly had a romantic relationship with the young Abraham Lincoln. As the legend has it, Ann died at 22 from Typhoid Fever, and Abe went into a deep depression over her passing. This was once generally held as factual by historians, but in recent years some are starting to reassess the story.
In his book Lincoln the President, James G. Randall expresses doubts about their love affair in the chapter "Sifting the Ann Rutledge Evidence".
At the Abbeville Institute conference on "Re-Thinking Lincoln", maverick historian Clyde Wilson mentioned Ann in the course of his revisionist debunking frenzy:
"At times his wife drove him from the house in a rage, and she ended up in an insane asylum suffering mental and physical deterioration that have been described as resembling advanced syphilis. On the record, Lincoln was no poster boy for son, husband, or father. According to the fable Lincoln suffered greatly from the tragic early death of his first love. There is no evidence whatsoever for the Ann Rutledge story. However, we do know that Lincoln cold-bloodedly jilted one lady when he found another of higher status. Even then, he stood up the new fiance at the altar the first time."
Then again, the Abbeville Institute's motives in trashing Lincoln are more than a little suspicious.
But according to Wikipedia:
"After Lincoln's assassination in 1865, his friend and law partner William Herndon first revealed the story of the supposed romance between Rutledge and Lincoln, much to Mary Todd Lincoln's anger and dismay. Abraham Lincoln's surviving son Robert Todd Lincoln was also upset by this claim. Most of Herndon's sources came from interviews with Lincoln's early friends in New Salem and Ann's relatives. The story was later repeated by Herndon in several lectures and books."
Ann's grave has a peculiar bit of free verse inscribed on it, which reads in part:
I am Ann Rutledge who sleeps beneath these weeds
Beloved of Abraham Lincoln
Wedded not to him, not through union
But through seperation.