Abraham Lincoln's Funeral Train Stops in San Pierre

posted Apr 23, 2015, 9:29 AM by North Judson-Wayne Township Public Library   [ updated Apr 23, 2015, 9:31 AM ]
The President has been shot!
150 years ago, on April 15, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln died as a result of a gunshot wound to the head.
The President’s funeral train traveled through many cities on its way to Springfield, Illinois, the President’s home.  It stopped in San Pierre, Indiana on May 1, 1865 at 6:15 in the morning.  The Starke County Historical Society will commemorate the historic event of 150 years ago.
Saturday, May 2 at 2:00 PM CDT on the grounds of the Little Company of Mary Hospital just south of San Pierre in Starke County.

  Ed Hasnerl, Peg Brettin and Alice Dolezal have arranged for the following participants:
  • The Living History Club from Culver Military Academy will appear in Civil War dress and the The Culver "Pipes & Drums" from the Culver Military Academy will perform.
  • A North Judson high school student, Jacob Dessauer will recite the Gettysburg Address.
  • A story of the young man who “hitched” a ride from San Pierre to Springfield on the train will be read.
  • Alan Selge will appear in Civil War civilian attire.
  • State Representative Douglas Gutwein, serving the people of District 16, and Senator Ed Charbonneau, District 2, and Tom Dermody, District 20 have been invited, as well as the Starke County Officials.
  • Light refreshments will be available at the nearby pavilion.
  • Ed will serve as the Master of Ceremonies and be attired appropriately.
Come, be part of Starke County History.

Teachers may find more on the events of 150 years ago at the following site:  http://lincolnfuneraltrain.org/pdfs/Teacher_Resource.pdf

A little history of what happened that night at the Ford Theater.

President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination is one of the saddest events in American history. Yet on the morning of April 14, 1865, the President awoke in an uncommonly good mood. One day less than a week before, on Palm Sunday, April 9, Robert E. Lee, the commander of what remained of the Confederate States’ Army, surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant, the commanding General of the Union. The truce reached at the Appomattox, Virginia, Court House signaled the end of the nation’s most destructive chapter, the Civil War.
To celebrate, Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln decided to attend the hit farce comedy “Our American Cousin,” which was playing at Ford’s Theatre. The Lincolns invited Gen. Grant and his wife to attend the play with them. At a cabinet meeting later that morning, however, Gen. Grant informed President Lincoln that they would not be able to join the first couple and, instead, would be visiting their children in New Jersey.

Lithograph of the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln. From left to right: Henry Rathbone, Clara Harris, Mary Todd Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln, and John Wilkes Booth. Rathbone is depicted as spotting Booth before he shot Lincoln and trying to stop him as Booth fired his weapon. Rathbone actually was unaware of Booth’s approach, and reacted after the shot was fired. While Lincoln is depicted clutching the flag after being shot, it is also possible that he just simply pushed the flag aside to watch the performance. From the Library of Congress

Even more ominous, the ornery Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton, pleaded with the President not to go out that evening for fear of a potential assassination. Stanton was hardly the only presidential advisor against the outing. Mrs. Lincoln almost begged off, complaining of one of her all too frequent headaches. And even President Lincoln moaned about feeling exhausted as a result of his heavy presidential duties. Nevertheless, he insisted that an evening of comedy was just the tonic he and his wife required. Mr. Lincoln, confident that his bodyguards would protect him from any potential harm, shrugged off the warnings and invited Maj. Henry Rathbone and his fiancée, Clara Harris, to join them for a night at the theater.

Lithograph of the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln. From left to right: Henry Rathbone, Clara Harris, Mary Todd Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln and John Wilkes Booth. Rathbone is depicted as spotting Booth before he shot Lincoln and trying to stop him as Booth fired his weapon. From the Library of Congress

Jim Shilling
Starke County Historical Society