Mary Todd was a Southern Belle from a prominent, founding family of Fayette county, Kentucky. According to the Kentucky Office in Lexington:
Hemp was introduced at an early date [in Fayette]. Nathan Burrowes, a county resident, invented a machine for cleaning it [in 1796]. The soil produced fine hemp and in 1870 the county grew 4.3 million pounds. The crop declined in the 1890s because of increased demand for tobacco and competition from imported hemp from the Philippines. In 1941, when the federal government saw a possible shortage of manila rope from the Philippines, farmers were encouraged to grow hemp once again for use in World War II. The crop declined again in 1945.
On November 5, 1849, President Lincoln wrote a letter to William B. Preston, Secretary of the Navy, recommending Mary Todd's uncle, Dr. John T. Parker, for the Hemp Agency of Kentucky. He wrote,
Dear Sir: Being here in Kentucky on private business, I have learned that the name of Dr. John T. Parker is before you as an applicant for the Hemp Agency of the State. I understand that his name has been presented in accordance with the wish of the hemp-growers, rather than his own. I personally know him to be a gentleman of high character, of excellent general information, and, withal, an experienced hemp grower himself.
|Lincoln with her sons Willie and Tad in 1860.|
Thus as with her contemporary Queen Victoria, we know that doctors who treated her prescribed cannabis, but don't have specific proof that she was given the treatment. The oft-repeated quote supposedly from Abraham Lincoln saying he liked to sit on his porch, smoke a hemp pipe, and play a harmonica has largely been debunked, although Lincoln did play a harmonica.