Betsy B. Smith of Cynthiana, who portrays Emilie Todd Helm, will present the Kentucky Chautauqua performance 7 p.m. Jan. 27 at a dinner meeting of the Danville-Boyle County Historical Society meeting at Toy Box Deli Catering, 312 W. Main St. The performance is free and open to the public.
The dinner will begin at 6 p.m. Call Dick McGuire at (859) 236-5799 to make reservations for the dinner, which costs $15.
Emilie Todd Helm (1836-1930), half-sister of Mary Todd Lincoln and the wife of Confederate Gen. Benjamin Hardin Helm, had a front-row view of history during the Civil War era. Emilie was 18 years younger than her sister Mary, who married Abraham Lincoln in 1842. In 1856, Emilie married Benjamin Helm, a West Point graduate who had become a lawyer in Elizabethtown.
The Helms and the Lincolns became very close. Despite their different political views - Helm was a Southern Democrat, Lincoln a Republican - the new brothers-in-law were fast friends. In April 1861, with war imminent, Lincoln offered Helm the position of paymaster of the Union Army with the rank of major. Helm rejected the offer. Instead accepting appointment as a Confederate colonel.