Ann was beautiful, with long, auburn hair and fair skin. She was kind-hearted, a soft whisper of a pioneer woman, like her name. She was 16 in 1829 when she traveled from Kentucky with her parents, James and Mary Ann Rutledge, and her nine siblings, to the open prairie of Illinois. There, the family settled along a bend in the Sangamon River where Mr. Rutledge helped to found the village of New Salem.
Ann’s life was quiet but fulfilling until 1831, when a gangly young man with dark hair and eyes came along on a flat boat that ran aground at New Salem. While the local villagers watched, he managed to free the boat so it could journey on to its destination at New Orleans. On his return trip, the young man was offered a job in the little village of New Salem. He chose to make it his home. He couldn’t help but take notice of the eighteen-year-old Ann who always had a ready smile and a sweet nature.
The story of a love affair between Abraham Lincoln and Ann Rutledge beckons the hearer to embrace it, with its narrative of love lost. Whole books have been written on the belief that it was just a lovely myth, while other authors have gathered stories apparently from the mouths of family and friends alike that say “all true.”
Whether there was a blossoming love between the man who would become president of the United States and the lovely prairie girl named Ann or whether it was nothing more than a story will never be known because of Ann Rutledge’s untimely death at the age of 22 in August of 1835. Ann was a victim of the Typhoid fever epidemic that swept her village that rainy summer.
A romantic story of young love lost forever is tragic, pulling readers in with its details. Many today still listen with interest to the story and read books on the mystery lost so many years ago on the windswept prairie.
There are many people today that believe the bible to be nothing more than an interesting story of history, of wars, of loves and tragedies, and of a great prophet and teacher. But it is a book that lives on the breath of God and changes the course of one’s life:
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Hebrews 4:12-13
God penned every word of the bible through the hands of men. It is for me and for you. When you need answers or direction for life, they are found in its pages. No book is more timeless than the bible, and it is much more than a book of stories, it is living and active and has the power to change our lives forever.