Lincoln Gives His Dog to the Roll Family
Fido fl. 1860
Abraham Lincoln's Dog Fido1
Willie and Tad, Abraham Lincoln's two boys, had a dog named Fido when they lived in Springfield, Illinois. The dog belonged to the boys, but was always said to be Lincoln's dog. Fido had a carefree life with the boys that loved him.
But, when Lincoln was nominated for the presidency May 18, 1860, life changed forever for Fido. After the election, Lincoln took his family to Washington, giving the dog to Frank Palmer Roll (1852-1939) and John Linden Roll (1854-1943), sons of Lincoln's oldest friend in Springfield, John Eddy Roll (1814-1901) and Harriet Vandyke (1815-1880.)
John Eddy Roll
John Linden Roll and Frank Palmer Roll2
The Lincoln boys probably never saw Fido again, but they did have a photograph of him, as they had taken him to the photographer Ingmire on the Square before leaving for the capital.
Almost three years later Willie died in the White House. Less than a year after Lincoln was assasinated and laid to rest beside Willie in Springfield, Fido shared his former master's fate.
A few weeks before his death in 1943, John Linden Roll wrote about his beloved Fido, "We possessed the dog for a number of years when one day the dog, in a playful manner, put his dirty paws upon a drunken man sitting on the street curbing [who] in his drunken rage, thrust a knife into the body of poor old Fido. He was buried by loving hands. So Fido, just a poor yellow dog met the fate of his illustrious master - Assassination."3
1. Photograph: Illinois State Historical Library.
2. Photograph: Tarbell, Ida M. (Ida Minerva). The Early Life Of Abraham Lincoln. South Brunswick: A. S. Barnes 1974. 240 p. illus., 25 cm. Reprint of the 1896 ed. published by S. S. McClure, New York, with a new introd. Includes bibliographical references.
3. Kunhardt, Dorothy Meserve and Philip B. Twenty Days. a narrative in text and pictures of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the twenty days and nights that followed--the Nation in mourning, the long trip home to Springfield. Foreword by Bruce Catton. New York: Harper & Row 1965. 312 p. illus., facsim., ports. 31 cm.