Skip to comments.Hidden Message Found in Lincoln Pocket Watch (Abraham Lincoln)
Posted on 03/10/2009 3:15:49 PM PDT by nickcarraway
For nearly 150 years, Abraham Lincoln's pocket watch has been rumored to carry a secret message, supposedly written by an Irish immigrant and watchmaker named Jonathan Dillon.
Dillon, working in a D.C. watch repair shop in 1861, told family members that he -- by incredible happenstance -- had been repairing Lincoln's watch when news came that Fort Sumter had been attacked in South Carolina. It was the opening salvo of what became the Civil War.
Dillon told his children (and, half a century later, a reporter for the New York Times) that he opened the watch's inner workings and scrawled his name, the date and a message for the ages: "The first gun is fired. Slavery is dead. Thank God we have a President who at least will try."
He then closed it up and sent it back to the White House. Lincoln never knew of the message. Dillon died in 1907.
The watch, meanwhile, was handed down and eventually given to the Smithsonian Institution in 1958. It didn't run anymore. No one had pried open the inner workings in ages. The old watchmaker's tale was just that.
And then Douglas Stiles, Dillon's great-great grandson, alerted Smithsonian officials to the family legend last month. He was a real-estate attorney in Waukegan, Ill., he explained. He'd heard the legend around the dinner table as a kid, but had just discovered a New York Times article from 1906, quoting Dillon as telling the story himself.
This morning, in a small conference room on the first floor of Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, officials decided to find out.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...
ping-Thanks for posting.
Quite a story. It also says a lot about how people remember things.
“dear 0bama:stop using my name in vain”
That was really interesting. Thanks.
General Tojo was hanged by US authorities, but before that his USN dentist drilled into his dentures in Morse Code, “Remember Pearl Harbor”.
He got hanged with that in his MOUTH..!
If the latter day defenders of Confederate secession are to be believed, the watchmaker should have inscribed a message about tariffs instead. But the overriding issue sparking the conflict was the fate of slavery and even an immigrant watchmaker knew it.
"Jonathan Dillon April 13, 1861. Fort Sumter was attacked by the rebels on the above date. Thank God we have a government."
You didn’t read the article did you?
Thanks for the interesting post! I’m going to print the article for my husband who always puts secret messages/photos in our walls, etc whenever we remodel (he thinks someone will be interested someday when they tear down our house!)
My husband was a carpenter/remodeller who loved to find old newspapers and other messages in walls.
What do you think a watchmaker would engrave inside Barry’s Jorg Gray 6500 Series Chronograph?
Even more remarkably, it was further determined that the stopped watch had been right exactly 100 more times than Obama has been right in the 50 days he has held the office of President. The stopped watch is right twice per day.
I helped a friend strip wallpaper from a house that dated from the early 1920s.
One wall had “not sized” written on it in large cursive letters.
I commented that we were looking at something written by someone who had passed away...
You didn’t read the article, did you?
One would have thought the Smithsonian would have opened it to clean it upon arrival in 1958.
I didn’t read the whole thread before I posted either; hate when that happens.
"Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery-- the greatest material interest of the world."
Isn’t it interesting to have a little tie to the folks of the past?
I have always tucked away something of ours and about us in the places we have lived.
I would love to see what has fallen in the cracks in our current home throughout the years. We live in a mid 19th century farmhouse, the upstairs flooring is from an older structure and has some cracks and gaps. There is a hollow space between the floor and the downstairs ceiling. I would love to know what is in there.
When we remodelled our house, we ripped out a built-in desk. In the back of the drawer a child had written “I hate homework”. I met the woman who is now in her 50’s.
None of that has anything to do with the thread, you didn’t read the article and made a stupid sounding post.
“story, and your partially correct”
I remember hearing a similar story, except that the child was named ODumbo and in the back of the drawer he had written, "I hate America". I hear that the guy is now President or something...
Again I admit I did not read the whole article the first time. I merely engaged in preemptive thread hijacking. Sort of like the Austrian Empire's decision to invade Serbia in 1914.
We live in a 40 yr. old house on 10 acres. Until we had the various holes and cracks patched up, there were mice everywhere. Most likely you would find a graveyard of tiny skeletons.
sometimes myths turn out to be more truth than fiction
Feeling silly yet?
I call BS. Lincoln may have had many things in mind at the beginning of the war, but even he stated that ending slavery was not one of them.
Better for me to be the first injector of silliness here prior to a decent into denunciations of “Dishonest Abe” and “Tyrant Lincoln”.
Time to show your Birth Certificate??
Almost Yes BUT ... here is a link to an active article about it and the Dentist, Dr. Jack Mallory. General Tojo, IJA, was imprisoned until he was hung on December 22, 1948.
The pertinent facts are quoted below ...
The military procedure for dental appliances was to engrave the name, rank, and serial number of the individual on the dentures themselves, Mallory explains. His colleagues pressured him instead to put the phrase Remember Pearl Harbor on the dentures.
After thinking it over, Mallory decided to go through with the prank, but to do it in a way that was less obvious and thereby saferby using Morse code to write the message. He carefully drilled the dots and dashes into the dentures, engraving them with an unforgettable slogan forever ingrained in the American peoples minds. Only his roommate, Foster, knew what he had done, however.
However the outcome was that when the story got out locally, upper command had Dr.Mallory grind the message off of the dentures. I do find it interesting that one of the most notorious and defamed leaders of Imperial Japan got dentures from the US Government for the last 6 months of his life. Thanks for bringing this piece of history to my attention.
In 1861, Lincoln only sought to preserve the Union and the secession was driven by a desire to protect and promote slavery. The evidence is clear on both counts.
Yes, I've come to understand that you are a firm believer in pre-emptive silliness, over time. Particularly where the War Between The States is concerned.
You beat me - I found the same story and got too deep in reading it! /smile
I hope his wish comes true someday and someone finds his messages. That would be fun for everyone.
Whenever I hear about this sort of thing, I'm always reminded of the Warner Bros. cartoon titled One Froggy Evening. A construction working finds a frog (Michigan J Frog, for trivia buffs), which sings show tunes... but only when the man around to hear and for no one else. It soon drives him to ruin.
One Froggy Evening(^) at YouTube.
That’s an awesome picture of Lincoln.
But the hidden message didn’t mention slavery.
In fact, what he did write hardly seems worth the trouble.
Reminded me of this Gif I had in my collection
Pretty cool story,
If it were my boyhood home, you'd find (really) old Playboys, an Aurora slot car that pissed me off, and perhaps a fossilized doobie or two...