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.