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Speculating on Things Lincoln April 17, 2011

Posted by bobv451 in death, history, weird news, writing.

A new friend via FB, David, has some fabulous stuff to share about Abraham Lincoln. So much of this triggered the “isn’t that cool?” response in me that I had to pass it on. First off, I never knew that Lincoln wrote a mystery–and had it published. “The Trailor Murder Mystery” saw the light of published day April 15, 1846. He knew firsthand about the situation since he defended the Trailor brothers (it seems ironic that he was never paid for their defense but made a few dollars writing about the trial). The title was put on the story in 1952 when Ellery Queen Magazine reprinted it.

How many other presidents have (intentionally) written fiction? Let’s change that a bit more to genre fiction. Any sf writers? Lincoln was apparently a fan of Poe. Has any president written horror? Would you vote for anyone if it came out they wrote paranormal romance books under a pseudonym?

The other tidbit from David is a short video on places and things surrounding Lincoln’s assassination.
The item here that leaped out at me was that Lincoln had a Confederate $5 bill in his wallet. What’s the story behind that? The newspaper clippings are of interest. Why would a president carry clippings around? A different era, I know, but in his wallet? Things such as the clipping about the Emancipation Proclamation would better be on display in the White House, wouldn’t you think? Or were they and these were somehow more personal for him?

History isn’t about dates. It’s about the people and the strange, mysterious stuff they do and get involved with. (Was there a secret note written with invisible ink on that $5 bill? Conspiracy! Or warning?)

And here’s a bit of silliness.



1. David - April 17, 2011

Lincoln said that if history remembered him for anything, it would be the Emancipation Proclamation. It seems inevitable to us now, but on that Good Friday in 1865, I’m sure Lincoln was tracking its progress through clippings all over the Union and beyond.

To my knowledge all the items in his pockets were considered family property and passed down through living heirs until the set was auctioned in the 1930s to a private collector. I don’t remember the amount but it was several thousand dollars.

bobv451 - April 17, 2011

I still have to wonder about the $5 bill.

Thanks for showing me all this. I love the speculation and the story was as much an article as a mystery, though he did spell out a lot of the weirdness at the end. Sets my mind to other plot lines–why did the brother rat out the other two when the victim was still alive? That by itself makes a fine story.

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