Lincoln impersonator makes U honest

at the Weisman Art Museum.

Most history buffs appreciate what Abraham Lincoln accomplished during his presidency, but that doesnâÄôt mean they don a black frock coat and top hat, grow a beard and stand in front of a crowd reciting the Gettysburg Address. But Larry Elliot is no average history buff. Elliot was at the Weisman Art Museum on Thursday, portraying Lincoln in front of a modest group of spectators. In authentic Lincoln attire, he recited tidbits of the Gettysburg Address and LincolnâÄôs second inaugural speech. He also spent time highlighting what made Lincoln an incredible person. ElliotâÄôs interest in Lincoln started during childhood. He has family in Hodgenville, Ky ., the same town where Lincoln was born, and all through his childhood Elliot admired the 16th president of the United States. A few years ago, ElliotâÄôs wife signed him up for a Lincoln look-alike contest, and he took first place over 3,000 other Lincoln wannabes. His victory was well deserved. Elliot is 6âÄô4âÄù and wears a size 14 shoe, just like Lincoln. He also sports a dark black beard and has a long, wiry build. But the similarities go deeper than looks. ElliotâÄôs wife is named Mary, just like LincolnâÄôs was, he has four sons just like Lincoln did and he is a Republican, just like Lincoln. Elliot said after he learned that his great-grandmother, fourth removed, was the midwife who delivered Lincoln, he knew he was meant to portray the man on the face of the penny, he said. âÄúThatâÄôs when I knew this was going to be for me,âÄù Elliot said. He still works his commercial insurance job, but now he regularly moonlights as Honest Abe. He mostly visits schools, encouraging more people to hop on the Lincoln bandwagon. The majority of college students donâÄôt truly know LincolnâÄôs history, Elliot said. âÄúIâÄôm surprised by the number of college kids who really donâÄôt know anything about Abraham Lincoln,âÄù Elliot said. âÄúThey just think that Abraham Lincoln went into the war to end slavery.âÄù Lincoln actually was forced to go to war to save the Union, Elliot said. Mary Elliot is also beginning to get in on the act. She portrays Mary Todd Lincoln, Abraham LincolnâÄôs wife. âÄúWhen he first started this whole Lincoln thing, I didnâÄôt want to do Mary,âÄù Mary Elliot said. âÄúI said, âÄòHoney this is your thing.âÄô âÄù But after Mary Elliot started reading about Mary Todd Lincoln she decided to perform with her husband. âÄúI thought her story needs to be told,âÄù Mary Elliot said. âÄúShe had a lot of bad publicity and I just want to give the true story.âÄù After LincolnâÄôs assassination Mary Todd Lincoln spent time in a mental institution, and because she had family members fighting for the south, she was accused of being a confederate spy during the Civil War. Even though Larry ElliotâÄôs wife is on board, not all of his family and friends are as amused with the Lincoln act. âÄúThey think IâÄôm nuts,âÄù Larry Elliot said. âÄúBut they see I have a passion for it, and if IâÄôm happy doing what IâÄôm doing then theyâÄôre happy for me.âÄù Communication studies senior Julie Swenson said she enjoyed Larry ElliotâÄôs presentation, but she did not know much about Lincoln going into it. âÄúI knew very little about Abraham Lincoln, so seeing this type of format makes learning about him more enjoyable,âÄù she said.