Nineteenth-century History

Message found hidden in Lincoln’s pocketwatch

Message in Lincoln's Pocketwatch

Message in Lincoln's Pocketwatch

I found a really interesting news article on CNN about a message left to President Lincoln on the inside of his pocketwatch by a watchmaker who was repairing it at the time Fort Sumter was attacked. Here is the article:

A long-hidden message has been discovered inside Abraham Lincoln’s pocket watch, the Smithsonian’s Museum of American History announced Tuesday.

The message in the watch differs slightly from what the watchmaker later said he wrote.

The message in the watch differs slightly from what the watchmaker later said he wrote.

Watchmaker Jonathan Dillon was repairing Lincoln’s watch in April 1861 when he heard about the attack on Fort Sumter, South Carolina, and wrote a short message on the metal inside the watch, the Smithsonian said.

There it remained, unseen for almost 150 years, it said.

In a 1906 interview with The New York Times, Dillon reported that as soon as he heard the news about the first shots of the Civil War, he unscrewed the dial of the watch and wrote on the metal, “The first gun is fired. Slavery is dead. Thank God we have a President who at least will try.”

The actual message that the museum found differs from the watchmaker’s recollection. It says, “Jonathan Dillon, April 13-1861, Fort Sumpter [sic] was attacked by the rebels on the above date J Dillon, April 13-1861, Washington, thank God we have a government, Jonth Dillon.”

According to the Smithsonian, it was not unusual for professional watchmakers to record their work inside a watch.

“Lincoln never knew of the message he carried in his pocket,” said Brent D. Glass, director of the National Museum of American History.

The museum decided to open the watch after being contacted by the watchmaker’s great-great-grandson, Doug Stiles, who had heard about the message Dillon said he had inscribed and wanted to see if it was really there.

Post a Comment

Your email is kept private. Required fields are marked *

*
*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Explore History Rhymes
Random Featured Articles
Houses in Fin-de-Siècle Britain: The Interior in Fin-de-Siècle Britain

Houses in Fin-de-Siècle Britain: The Interior in Fin-de-Siècle Britain

Middle class families, like their upper-class peers, took the interior of their houses very seriously. It was the primary means with which they could put their financial and social status on display for the world to see. As such, interior design was arguably the quickest developing part of the house...
Nineteenth Century German History: Revolution in Nineteenth Century Germany (1848-1849)

Nineteenth Century German History: Revolution in Nineteenth Century Germany (1848-1849)

By the end of the fifth decade of the nineteenth century, the prevailing atmosphere in Germany was that of extreme change. The people were tired of oppression, censorship and of the ruling class thinking of themselves as immune to these issues. Hans Joachim Hahn sums it up nicely when he writes that...
Life in Nineteenth Century Mining Towns

Life in Nineteenth Century Mining Towns

One of my biggest fascinations with the Old West is with what life in a Rocky Mountain mining town in nineteenth century would have been like. It would have been a life full of filth, rough characters and hard work combined with drinking, fighting and gambling as pastimes. Of course these are stereo...
The Death of Doc Holliday

The Death of Doc Holliday

The year is 1887. Winter is beginning to grip its icy grip on the small mountain town of Glenwood Springs, Colorado. You’ve just arrived after a long journey by horse from Denver. Running inside from the chilly November air outside, you seek warmth in the lobby of the fashionable Hotel Glenwoo...