Historians have a hard time pinning down where Bixby lived -- in at least five locations across Boston -- but they know the origin of her historical significance was at Beacon Hill. Bixby went to the State House and said she lost five sons in the Civil War, which prompted a letter from Abraham Lincoln.
She reportedly tore up the letter after receiving it. Many questioned if she really did lose five sons to the war. Regardless, she experienced loss, as did many women of the Civil War era.