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You are here: Home Opinion Paula I. Bryant Coincidences?


It will be 50 years on Friday that an assassin’s bullets struck down President John F. Kennedy in the prime of life. 

The vibrant 46-year-old leader’s death was taken very personally by many who never met the man.

A half-century later, people still remain fascinated and intrigued by Kennedy and his untimely death that has been plagued with conspiracy theories.

The fascination with former U. S. Presidents who have lost their lives to assassination plots can be found in a list of similarities that circulated following Kennedy’s death.

The list of similarities point out meaningful patterns between the 35th president’s life and death and that of Abraham Lincoln, the country’s 16th president.

Much of the list has been debunked, and some entries have been proven to be outright falsehoods. 

But still the list remains.

Some urban folklorists postulate the following list provides a way for people to make sense of two tragic events in American history.

We are reprinting it for our readers to decide.


The list

Both presidents were elected to the House of Representatives in ‘46, Lincoln in 1846 and Kennedy in 1946.

 Both presidents were elected to the presidency in ‘60, Lincoln in 1860 and Kennedy in 1960.

 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 70s 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 (Andrew Johnson and Lyndon Johnson) who were born in ‘08.

 Both presidents were concerned with the problems of African-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.

Patrick Bouvier Kennedy was born by emergency caesarean section five and a half weeks early at the Otis Air Force Base Hospital in Bourne, Massachusetts. His birth weight of 4 pounds 10 1⁄2 ounces (2.11 kg) medically classified him as premature. Right after his birth, he was transferred to Boston Children’s Hospital where he died two days later of hyaline membrane disease, following treatment in a hyperbaric chamber.

William “Willie” Wallace Lincoln, the 11-year-old son of Abraham and Mary Lincoln, died in a huge carved rosewood bed, now known as the Lincoln Bed at 5 p.m. on Feb. 20, 1862. When the president gazed at him, he mourned, “My poor boy, he was too good for this earth. God has called him home. I know that he is much better off in heaven, but then we loved him so. It is hard, hard to have him die!”

 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.

 Both presidents’ last names have seven letters.

 Both presidents have five syllables in their full name (which counts Kennedy’s middle initial).

 There are six 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.