American Urban Legend – A series of coincidences between assassinations of Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy

In 1964, a new urban legend was born, and this one was about the series of co-incidences between assassinations of presidents Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy.

The list of coincidences that follow appeared in the mainstream American press in 1964. Before appearance in the press, this list had appeared in the G.O.P. Congressional Committee Newsletter.

The List:

  • Both presidents were elected to the House of Representatives in ’46.
  • Both presidents were elected to the presidency in ’60.
  • Lincoln defeated incumbent Vice President John C. Breckenridge for the presidency in 1860; Kennedy defeated incumbent Vice President Richard M. Nixon for the presidency in 1960.
  • Both their predecessors left office in their seventies and retired to Pennsylvania. James Buchanan, whom Lincoln succeeded, retired to Lancaster Township; Dwight D. Eisenhower, whom Kennedy succeeded, retired to Gettysburg.
  • Both their Vice Presidents and successors were Southern Democrats named Johnson who were born in ’08.
  • Both presidents were concerned with the problems of black Americans and made their views strongly known in ’63. Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1862, which became law in 1863. In 1963, Kennedy presented his reports to Congress on Civil Rights, and the same year was the famous March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
  • Both presidents were shot in the head.
  • Both presidents were shot on a Friday in the presence of their wives.
  • Both presidents were accompanied by another couple.
  • The male companion of the other couple was wounded by the assassin.
  • Both presidents had a son die during their presidency.
  • Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth at Ford’s Theatre; Kennedy was shot by Lee Harvey Oswald in a Lincoln automobile, made by Ford.
  • Lincoln had a secretary named Kennedy who told him not to go to the theatre; Kennedy had a secretary named Evelyn Lincoln who warned him not to go to Dallas.
  • Both presidents’ last names have 7 letters.
  • Both presidents have five syllables in their full name (which counts Kennedy’s middle initial).
  • There are 6 letters in each Johnson’s first name.
  • Booth ran from a theatre to a warehouse; Oswald ran from a warehouse to a theatre.
  • Both Johnsons were succeeded as President in ’69 by Republicans whose mothers were named Hannah.

The catch: Just as in all legend, some of the items on the list are true, yet others are not.

For example –

  • The year in which presidents Lincoln and Kennedy were each elected president is true, but this is not unusual, as presidential elections are held every four years.
  • Both started their political careers 100 years apart.

And then the one of those which are not true:

  • There is no record to show that Lincoln had a secretary named Kennedy; Lincoln’s secretaries were John Hay and John G. Nicolay.


About Lincoln’s assassination

United States President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated on Good Friday, April 14, 1865. He was assassinated five days after the commander of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, General Robert E. Lee, surrendered to Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant and the Union Army of the Potomac. Lincoln was shot while watching the play ‘Our American Cousin’ with his wife at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C. on the night of April 14, 1865. He died early the next morning.

About Kennedy’s assassination

John F. Kennedy, 35th president of United States, was assassinated on Friday, November 23, 1963 while he was travelling wife, governor of Texas and his wife.


President John F. Kennedy before he was assassinated



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