Oak Ridge Cemetery renovation
The Exhumation Of Lincoln’s Body 1901

Stealing Lincoln

Lincoln-in-coffin
Abraham Lincoln Was Assassinated In 1865, His Final Burial Didn’t Come Until 1901- The Plot To Steal The Corpse Of Abraham Lincoln

A band of Chicago counterfeiters hatched a plot to steal the President’s body from its tomb outside Springfield, Illinois, and hold it for a ransom of $200,000. A paid informant told the newly formed Secret Service. When both the police and the criminals showed up at the cemetery on the appointed night, the scheme was foiled. The coffin was moved and stored in various discreet locations in the cemetery over the following years. Robert Todd Lincoln, the president’s son, decided to encase the president’s coffin in steel and concrete to prevent future disturbance.

Before the final interment, workers re-interring the president decided it was necessary to once again view Abraham Lincoln’s remains to prevent  rumors that the body was not Lincolns, in the soon to be permanent grave.

Two plumbers, Leon P. Hopkins and his nephew, Charles L. Willey, chiseled an oblong piece out of the top of the lead-lined coffin. The piece these two men cut out was just over Mr. Lincoln’s head and shoulders. When the casket was opened, a harsh, choking smell arose. 23 people slowly walked forward and peered down. Mr. Lincoln’s features were totally recognizable. His face had a melancholy expression, but his black chin whiskers hadn’t changed at all. The wart on his cheek and the coarse black hair were obvious characteristics of Mr. Lincoln’s. The biggest change was that the eyebrows had vanished. The president was wearing the same suit he wore at his second inauguration, but it was covered with yellow mold. Additionally there were some bits of red fabric (possibly the remnants of an American flag buried with Mr. Lincoln). All 23 people were unanimous in their agreement that the remains were indeed those of Abraham Lincoln.

The frequent embalming required for the deceased president’s seven-state funeral procession probably accounted for the impressive extent of the corpse’s preservation. Witnesses unanimously agreed that the coffin contained Lincoln’s remains.

The coffin was placed in a steel cage, buried 10 feet below the ground, and encased in concrete—permanently interred in a monument befitting Lincoln’s status. There Abraham Lincoln remains, at rest only after his coffin was moved 17 times and opened six. His final resting place, located in Oak Hill Cemetery, Springfield, Illinois, is and will continue to be one of the most sacred of historical landmarks in the United States.

Credit and original source: http://wafflesatnoon.com/abraham-lincoln-corpse-at-rest/

Credit and original source: http://rogerjnorton.com/Lincoln13.html

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