Several months ago we announced a contest on our website regarding the true identity of a woman buried in Oakwood Cemetery back in November of 1854. Various family members had claimed that Lolly Todd Childs, a local Niagara Falls resident, was actually the niece of the president’s wife, Mary Todd Lincoln. After years of exhaustive research leading to dead ends we decided to have some fun with this and to see if any other researchers might have any luck. Two individuals tried their hand at our Lolly Todd Childs Mystery and we will be publishing their conclusions on our website. There are a few more days left if you would be interested in attempting to solve this mystery yourself.
Please read the story from Oakwood’s website, “Is she, or isn’t she…a relative of Mary Todd Lincoln?” from May 19, 2013, and send us your research and conclusion by November 25th. Whoever can successfully prove to us-- through evidence (or lack of)--that Mrs. Childs IS or IS NOT the aunt of Mary Todd Lincoln will receive a copy of the DVD, Lincoln.
Over the past few months I did delve into the mystery a little more. There is always more to discover. I found the notice of Mrs. Child’s death in the records of the 1st Presbyterian Church in Niagara Falls and noted that she was referred to as “Lola Childs” in these pages. We usually had seen her referred to as Lolly (Loly) or Lowly.
Also, after finding reference to a possible marriage for Stephen and Lolly in Fairfield, Vermont, I contacted the local clerk to check it out. Unfortunately she found no mention of the occasion. I also ordered microfilm from Fairfield, Vermont, hoping to go back page by page, to find any reference even to anyone by the name of CHILDS or TODD. I struck out, once again. Then, a descendant happened to visit Oakwood Cemetery. He left us a wonderful family tree of the Tufford and Elsheimer Line of the Childs Family. This family tree reveals children born to Lolly and Stephen Childs: Franklin, Orson, Aaron, Harriet, Juliet and Eliza. It has the Mary Todd Lincoln connection but there are no sources from which we could back up the claims.
I like to think there is usually some little glimmer of truth to every family legend. So, perhaps, maybe one day we will find that golden thread that connects our Mrs. Lolly Childs to Presidents Lincon’s wife. But for now, all that we truly know, is that there is a woman named Lolly Todd Childs that died on November 26, 1854, and that she rests eternally in Oakwood Cemetery.
Please send any research to Michelle at email@example.com
UPDATE: Well, it appears the answer is in. This is an unbiased look at the current facts. Feel free to read the conclusions.