FLASHBACK: Abraham Lincoln’s remarkable physicality.
You will often hear about his great speeches, wonderful quotes, witty little anecdotes here and there. Or insights into his complex marriage. His mental health issues and how he overcame them and carried on in spite of personal hardships. But what is every bit as interesting, to me, was the man’s physicality. Lincoln’s very body was the stuff of legends.
Everything you will ever read of Abraham Lincoln will tell you he was a man of great contrasts. For instance, his height of 6′4″ was impressive, but his shoulders were narrow and his body slim. His hands and arms were exceptionally strong and his voice rather shrill for a man his size. In his youth he was a wrestler, as well as a day-laborer known to easily do the work of three men. “No man could drive a nail deeper,” his old boss would admiringly say.
In his army volunteer days he wrestled hundreds of men, never losing until a particularly tough man known as one of the finest wrestlers in the nation got the better of him. Lincoln graciously admitted defeat. All this is made more impressive if you realize that even at his heaviest, the future president never weighed more than 190 pounds and would dip well below that in later life. During the civil war, Lincoln was not in the finest health. He’d still visit hospitals to boost morale and shake hundreds of hands. A soldier asked him: “Mister president, are you not tired shaking so many hands?”
“Not at all,” said Lincoln, and proceeded to walk to the door near the hospitals exit where a heavy axe was located. He held the axe by the end of the handle with one hand and held it horizontally in front of him with his arm stretched for several minutes. He asked some of the people around if they could repeat the feat, and none could do so. He then walked out into the yard and cut some wood to keep the wounded men warm in the dead of winter. Hitting the trunks so vigorously splinters flew everywhere and were “collected by onlookers as trophies”.
After his death, doctors remarked Lincoln’s “remarkable musculature” and said he had “not an ounce of surplus flesh”.
Totally unrelated: President Joe Biden falls off of unmoving bicycle.