A man caught trying to burn down the home of former First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln was arrested last week, according to The Daily Wire. The arsonist was identified as 29-year-old Santosh Sharma after a Lexington, Kentucky, police officer reportedly spotted him pouring gasoline on the back of Lincoln’s home.
Sharma was also discovered with a lighter in his hand and more gasoline in the backpack he was wearing. As the officer approached, Sharma reportedly brandished a hammer but, in the citation, the officer did not claim any conflict between the two of them, only noting that he feared for his safety.
The home is now a museum dedicated to the former first lady. Sharma allegedly gained access to the rear of the home by going in through a gated area. While his motivation is not yet clear, he is being held at the Fayette County Detention Center charged with second-degree arson, second-degree criminal trespassing, and menacing.
The home was reportedly built from 1803 to 1806 and was originally an inn called “The Sign of the Green Tree.” Mrs. Lincoln, born in 1818, moved into the home with her family in 1832 when she was fourteen. She lived there until 1839 when, at the age of 21, she moved to Springfield, Illinois to live with her sister, according to the National Park Service. It was there, three years later, that she would meet her future husband Abraham Lincoln.
Her family lived in the home until 1849. Lincoln visited the home in 1837. But since Todd moved out, the home became a grocery store, a brothel, and a boarding house. By the 1950s, it began to deteriorate. Now a museum, the home is used to tell Todd’s story, displaying portraits and furnishings from both the Todd and Lincoln families.