Abraham Lincoln : Laid to Rest (May 4th, 1865)

Buckeye Bill

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The body of the President Abraham Lincoln rested in this vault from May 4th to December 21st, 1865. It was then moved to another temporary vault that no longer exists today. His body was kept there until another vault was completed in 1874, only to be moved yet again in 1876. Why so many moves? Grave robbers! Body-snatching was a major problem in the 19th-century, mainly because it was so lucrative. Bodies were stolen from cemeteries and sold to hospitals for experimentation, or if the deceased was well known, the body could be held for ransom. Yes, many attempts were made to snatch the body of Abraham Lincoln in the hopes of holding his remains for ransom. One group of criminals managed so far as to saw off the bottom portion of Lincoln’s sarcophagus before being apprehended. Eventually the body of the president was moved once again and buried under 10 feet of cement at Oak Ridge, where it is still located today. The original receiving vault can still be viewed with a little walk through the cemetery, down some steps, and around the bottom side of a hill. It is an interesting site to see, and reflect on the strange journey of the famous president’s remains.

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Lincoln56

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Thank you for posting these pictures, I realize it has been three years since you did but I missed the original thread and want to express my appreciation. I've not had the good fortune to visit the site so these photos are much appreciated.

As an aside, and not sure if true, I've read (Lloyd Lewis, perhaps?) that before his final internment under the concrete they drilled a small hole in the casket and shown a light in, more out of curiosity than to prove it was he. Reportedly his facial features were still clearly identifiable.
 
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Tom Hughes

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I saw a documentary on this awhile back. They said that before they moved him the final time they opened the coffin facing for one last look at the president. His body and face were perfectly preserved, having been embalmed. But they noticed on his chest was a colorized conglomeration of red, white, and blue. This turned out to be the remains of the American flag that had been folded and placed on his chest when they sealed the casket. It had apparently disintegrated. The body, however, was pristine.
 

mofederal

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The last person alive to see Lincoln's body was Fleetwood Lindley of Springfield, Ill., who was 13 at the time of the final sealing of Lincoln's coffin with concrete in 1901. His father brought him with him to be a witness to the final pouring of the concrete. At the last minute it was decided to see if Lincoln was still in the coffin, so it was opened. Over 20 prominent citizens from Springfield were present. The last of them to pass was Fleetwood, who died at the age of 75 in 1963.
 

shooter too

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The body of the President Abraham Lincoln rested in this vault from May 4th to December 21st, 1865. It was then moved to another temporary vault that no longer exists today. His body was kept there until another vault was completed in 1874, only to be moved yet again in 1876. Why so many moves? Grave robbers! Body-snatching was a major problem in the 19th-century, mainly because it was so lucrative. Bodies were stolen from cemeteries and sold to hospitals for experimentation, or if the deceased was well known, the body could be held for ransom. Yes, many attempts were made to snatch the body of Abraham Lincoln in the hopes of holding his remains for ransom. One group of criminals managed so far as to saw off the bottom portion of Lincoln’s sarcophagus before being apprehended. Eventually the body of the president was moved once again and buried under 10 feet of cement at Oak Ridge, where it is still located today. The original receiving vault can still be viewed with a little walk through the cemetery, down some steps, and around the bottom side of a hill. It is an interesting site to see, and reflect on the strange journey of the famous president’s remains.

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I have been there and "rubbed his nose" for Luck. :wink:
 
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Dec 12, 2020
I am a docent at the Tinker Cottage in Rockford IL. I went on a tour with the executive director. She pointed out this picture in the bedroom. She said Mary Dorr Tinker was a huge Lincoln fan. She visited his tomb in Springfield IL and chunked a piece off it in the photo on the left. She also brought home the leaf. The statue miniature is their tomb in Greenwood cemetery.
It was rather appalling that she would do that but illustrates the reason they had to move him around.

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shooter too

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I am a docent at the Tinker Cottage in Rockford IL. I went on a tour with the executive director. She pointed out this picture in the bedroom. She said Mary Dorr Tinker was a huge Lincoln fan. She visited his tomb in Springfield IL and chunked a piece off it in the photo on the left. She also brought home the leaf. The statue miniature is their tomb in Greenwood cemetery.
It was rather appalling that she would do that but illustrates the reason they had to move him around.

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They are buried under 6 feet of concrete and encased in a steel cage IRCC, after the the attempt to steal his body and hold it for ransom.

https://www.americanheritage.com/plot-steal-lincolns-body
 
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They are buried under 6 feet of concrete and encased in a steel cage IRCC, after the the attempt to steal his body and hold it for ransom.

https://www.americanheritage.com/plot-steal-lincolns-body
I don't know what she broke this piece off off. Maybe it was a tree nearby. But it certainly shows the fervor of people to get a "piece" of the poor guy. It was just kind of shocking to hear about someone doing this and then saving the souvenir.
 

Buckeye Bill

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Thank you for posting these pictures, I realize it has been three years since you did but I missed the original thread and want to express my appreciation. I've not had the good fortune to visit the site so these photos are much appreciated.

As an aside, and not sure if true, I've read (Lloyd Lewis, perhaps?) that before his final internment under the concrete they drilled a small hole in the casket and shown a light in, more out of curiosity than to prove it was he. Reportedly his facial features were still clearly identifiable.

Your post warms my heart and soul! You are more than welcome....

God bless,
Bill
 

shooter too

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Joined
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I saw a documentary on this awhile back. They said that before they moved him the final time they opened the coffin facing for one last look at the president. His body and face were perfectly preserved, having been embalmed. But they noticed on his chest was a colorized conglomeration of red, white, and blue. This turned out to be the remains of the American flag that had been folded and placed on his chest when they sealed the casket. It had apparently disintegrated. The body, however, was pristine.


https://rogerjnorton.com/Lincoln13.html
 

Lincoln56

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Texas
Another interesting link you've posted! Thanks!

I've thought all my life that there was only the one photograph of "Lincoln in death" which is the one taken in New York showing him in his casket. This photograph avoided the intended destruction of any and all photographic images as mandated by Secretary Stanton.

Yet the article from the above link shows "Lincoln in death, Ostendorf Collection, from ‘Lincoln’s Photographs, A Complete Album’ by Lloyd Ostendorf, copyright 1998." Lloyd Ostendorf being a giant in the study of Abraham Lincoln and particularly photographs, this must be considered a creditable image.

So I guess I'm asking, perhaps naively, if this has been confirmed and accepted as truly another "death photograph" of Mr. Lincoln (it certainly appears to be to me). If so, why has the New York photograph been advertised as the only one of Lincoln in death* in all the books or publications I've perused referring to post-mortem photos. Perhaps the description of the New York photo should be "is the LAST known photograph of Lincoln in death"?

*excepting the recent discussion on this forum about the validity of the recent Discovery Channel "Lincoln in death" photograph, the
details of which I will not go into here.
 

shooter too

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So I guess I'm asking, perhaps naively, if this has been confirmed and accepted as truly another "death photograph" of Mr. Lincoln (it certainly appears to be to me). If so, why has the New York photograph been advertised as the only one of Lincoln in death* in all the books or publications I've perused referring to post-mortem photos. Perhaps the description of the New York photo should be "is the LAST known photograph of Lincoln in death"?

I have no definitive truth. But it looks good to me.

https://abcnews.go.com/Entertainmen...y-prove-existence-dead-lincoln-photo-73365560
 

2nd Dragoon

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Stealing Lincoln's Body is well worth reading

On the night of the presidential election in 1876, a gang of counterfeiters out of Chicago attempted to steal the entombed embalmed body of Abraham Lincoln and hold it for ransom. The custodian of the tomb was so shaken by the incident that he willingly dedicated the rest of his life to protecting the president's corpse.

In a lively and dramatic narrative, Thomas J. Craughwell returns to this bizarre, and largely forgotten, event with the first book to place the grave robbery in historical context. He takes us through the planning and execution of the crime and the outcome of the investigation. He describes the reactions of Mary Todd Lincoln and Robert Todd Lincoln to the theft—and the peculiar silence of a nation. He follows the unlikely tale of what happened to Lincoln's remains after the attempted robbery, and details the plan devised by the Lincoln Guard of Honor to prevent a similar abominable recurrence.

Along the way, Craughwell offers entertaining sidelights on the rise of counterfeiting in America and the establishment of the Secret Service to combat it; the prevalence of grave robberies; the art of nineteenth-century embalming; and the emergence among Irish immigrants of an ambitious middle class—and a criminal underclass.

This rousing story of hapless con men, intrepid federal agents, and ordinary Springfield citizens who honored their native son by keeping a valuable, burdensome secret for decades offers a riveting glimpse into late-nineteenth-century America, and underscores that truth really is sometimes stranger than fiction.
 

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