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Elizabeth Keckly was born a slave in Virginia. When she was a teen-ager she suffered many lashings as her master's son with whom she was living tried to subdue what they called her "stubborn pride". She had a son whom she called George. She went to live with a Mr. Garland She, at the age of seventeen began sewing fine dresses for the rich ladies in St. Louis. She did so well she was able to support seventeen people for 2 1/2 years with her work. She longed to gain her freedom. She would need to raise $1200. Several years passed and she still had not raised the necessary money. She married another slave, Mr. Keckly. She thought of going to New York to raise the money, but one of her patrons came to her rescue and raised the money. She left her husband who was an alcoholic, and she and George went to Baltimore and then she went on to Washington D.C. There she met Mrs. Davis, the wife of Senator Jefferson Davis, and became her modiste or dressmaker. She began to make dresses for Mrs. Abraham Lincoln which pleased the First Lady so well she hired her to become her dressmaker. Mrs. Lincoln confided in her. Mary once told her about debts she had incurred. At that time she owed about $27,000, but at the time of the President's death she had store bills of $70,000. When President Lincoln was assassinated Mrs. Lincoln immediately called for her confidante, Elizabeth, to come to be with her. Within a few weeks Mrs. Lincoln moved to Chicago and insisted her friend go with her. Mary Lincoln would have to sell the beautiful dresses Elizabeth had made for her. She didn't have enough money to live. Elizabeth wrote a book which created such a furor that Mrs. Lincoln's son had it removed from publication. At the end of her life she was very poor and lived out her days in a house for destitute women. She was 88 years old when she died.