Stealing Lincoln
This week in the Civil War for January 15, 1865

The Exhumation Of Lincoln’s Body 1901

 

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The Exhumation Of Lincoln’s Body 1901

Remembering the 1876 incident where a gang of men tried to steal his fathers body, Robert Lincoln wanted to ensure that no one would ever be able to disturb the resting place of his father. So he ordered that the coffin be placed in a cage some ten feet below ground and encased in concrete. The body was exhumed in 1901…This is the recounting of what happened…

In 1928, one of the witnesses who viewed the body, J. C. Thompson, said: “As I came up I saw that top-knot of Mr. Lincoln’s, his hair was coarse and thick, like a horse’s, he used to say, and it stood up high in front. When I saw that, I knew that it was Mr. Lincoln. Anyone who had ever seen his pictures would have known it was him. His features had not decayed. He looked just like a statue of himself lying there.” Another witness, Fleetwood Lindley, who was just thirteen when he saw the body, was the last of the twenty-three witnesses to pass away. Just before his death in 1963, he said in an interview: “Yes, his face was chalky white. His clothes were mildewed. And I was allowed to hold one of the leather straps as we lowered the casket for the concrete to be poured. I was not scared at the time, but I slept with Lincoln for the next six months.”

Credit for the condition of Lincoln’s body must go to undertaker Dr. Charles D. Brown, of the firm Brown and Alexander. Assisted by Harry P. Cattell, Brown embalmed the president’s body, first draining Lincoln’s blood through his jugular vein. Then, an incision was made in his thigh and the embalming fluids were pumped in, hardening the body like marble. Brown and Cattell then shaved the president’s face, leaving behind a tuft on the chin. They set the mouth in a slight smile and arched his eyebrows. They then dressed the president in his suit. The condition of Lincoln’s body supported the claims made in a Brown and Alexander advertising flyer, which touted the benefits of their patented embalming procedure over other methods of preserving bodies: “…the mortal remains will be kept in the most perfect and natural preservation, and that cherished countenance looked at once more, by those who may be led to remember and repeat these holy words of consolation: ‘He is not dead but sleepeth,’ until we meet again in a better world.”

http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3448300346.html

Photo Credit : http://rogerjnorton.com/Lincoln13.html

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