Saturday, February 24, 2007

MAY 1865
From May 3rd to 4th, 1865, Abraham Lincoln’s body lay in state in the Illinois State House.

“For ten days a large number of men and women worked almost night and day in decorating the State House. The whole building was draped in mourning on the exterior…The ladies of Springfield bore their full share in these arduous labors. …About fifteen hundred yards of black and white goods were used in the decorations, exclusive of the catafalque.”[1]

“At …the State House—sometimes as many as a hundred and fifty men and women—some volunteers, others paid professionals—were working at the same time, swarming all over the big stone Capitol. This building was the throbbing heart of Springfield and Lincoln had known it since the first great blocks of yellow limestone were dragged from the quarry seven miles out of town to begin building in 1837. …The City Council had met on April nineteenth …to vote the allocation of twenty thousand dollars…to be spent on the funeral in Springfield.”[2]

[1] Abraham Lincoln His Life, Public Services, Death and Great Funeral Cortege, John Carroll Power, H. W. Rokker, Publisher, Chicago and Springfield, Illinois, 1869, p. 207. (Hereinafter “Power.”)
[2] Twenty Days, Dorothy Meserve Kunhardt and Philip B. Kunhardt, Jr., Castle Books, Secaucus, New Jersey, 1977, p. 253. (Hereinafter referred to as “Twenty Days.”)

“There was enough black to sheathe the entire copper dome of the State House but the columns below were twisted spirally with both white and black cloth, the white more prominent. The same thing was true of the festoons along the cornices of the building—an impression of white was given although black rosettes were numerous. There were black curtains at the windows with white steamers falling from the center top. From the window sills hung square black pieces of cloth edged in white which gave balance to the curtains above them. The great fluted columns were decorated with ropes of evergreen, cut in Michigan and brought to the Capitol by hay wagon.”[2]

“E. B. Hawley & Company on the south side of the Public Square sold the State of Illinois $221.30 worth of mourning goods to drape the State House.”

[1] The Lincoln Funeral: A Pictorial Record, The Abraham Lincoln Quarterly, March, 1941, The Abraham Lincoln Association, Springfield, Illinois, insert of photographs after page 272. (Hereinafter “The Lincoln Funeral.”)
[2] Twenty Days, p. 254.
[3] Illinois’ Fifth Capitol: The House That Lincoln Built And Caused To Be Rebuilt (1837-1865), Sunderine Wilson Temple and Wayne C. Temple, Phillips Brothers Printers, Springfield, Illinois, 1988, p. 198.

Photograph of the Illinois State House Draped in Mourning May 3-4, 1865[1]

Photograph of the North Side of the Public Square Showing the Arch Constructed for the Funeral and Mourners Waiting to Enter the North Door of the State House May 3-4, 1865[1]

“The first place any visitor to Springfield on that Wednesday of May third went was straight to the State House for the viewing. Long before the imposing procession arrived from the station, interminable motionless lines had stretched away form the north gate.”[2]

[1] The Lincoln Funeral.
[2] Twenty Days, p. 256.

Photograph of Mourners Waiting in Line to Enter the North Door of State House, May 3-4, 1865[1]

“From the time the coffin was opened, at ten o’clock on the morning of May third, there was no cessation of visitors. All through the still hours of the night, no human voices were heard except in subdued tones; but the tramp, tramp, of busy feet, as men and women filed through the State House, up one flight of stairs, through the hall, and down another stairway, testified the love and veneration for Abraham Lincoln in the hearts of his old friends and neighbors.”[2]

[1] The Lincoln Funeral.
[2] Power, p. 207.

Photograph of the South Side of the State Housewith Mourners Leaving After Viewing Lincoln’s Body May 3-4, 1865[1]

“Now passed those who had known him long. They were part of the seventy-five thousand who passed. They were awed, subdued, shaken, stony, strange. They came from Salem, Petersburg, Clary’s Grove, Alton, Charleston, Mattoon, the old Eighth Circuit towns and villages. There were clients for whom he had won or lost, lawyers who had tried cases with him and against, neighbors who had seen him milk a cow and curry his horse, friends who had heard his stories around a hot stove and listened to his surmises on politics and religion. “We,” wrote Bill Herndon, “who had known the illustrious dead in other days, and before the nation lay its claim upon him, moved sadly through and looked for the last time on the silent, upturned face of our departed friend.

“All day long and through the night the unbroken line moved, the home town having its farewell.”

[1] The Lincoln Funeral.
[2] Abraham Lincoln, The War Years, Volume 4, Carl Sandburg, Harcourt, Brace & Company, New York, 1939, p. 413. (Hereinafter referred to as “War Years.”)

Photograph of the East Side of the Public SquareShowing the Bunting-Draped Columns of the Sangamon County Court House May 3-4, 1865[1]

“To the right of the imposing Sangamon County Courthouse is Lincoln’s bank, the Marine Fire and Insurance Company, and the sliver of a building just to its right is Lincoln’s drugstore—Diller’s”[2]

[1] Twenty Days, p. 280.
[2] Twenty Days, p. 280.

“With General Hooker at its head, the long procession started towards Oak Ridge.”[1]

“And the night came with great quiet.
And there was rest.
The prairie years, the war years, were over.”[2]

[1] Here I Have Lived, p. 292.
[2] War Years, p. 413.


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