Levi Lincoln’s Wayward Son – Daniel Waldo Lincoln
Being the son of an ambitious politician has never been easy. Just ask Charles Adams, William Franklin, or Hunter Biden. That was certainly true when Daniel Waldo Lincoln, son of Levi Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson’s first attorney general and in 1808 acting governor of Massachusetts, drank himself to death. Dying of an alcohol-related illness in the early nineteenth century was hardly uncommon. Nor was the stress that comes with shouldering a reputable family name. But documenting the struggle, failure, loneliness, and isolation, through his own discordant, entitled personality, was unusual. In over 250 private letters, Daniel Lincoln recorded it all, not for posterity or as a morality lesson for public edification, but as a plea for familial understanding that was not, to his great sadness, so forthcoming.