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Timeless Lincoln Memento Is Uncovered

I heard this on NPR. It’s great that they were able to open the watch to see if the folklore was true.

NYTimes.com

Confirming a rumor that has circulated for generations, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History opened a gold pocket watch that belonged to Abraham Lincoln on Tuesday and discovered a message secretly engraved there by a watchmaker who repaired it in 1861.

“Jonathan Dillon April 13- 1861 Fort Sumpter was attacked by the rebels on the above date. J Dillon,” the brass underside of the watch movement reads. It continues: “April 13- 1861 Washington thank God we have a government Jonth Dillon.” The back of the watch movement also bears two other inscriptions: “LE Grofs Sept 1864 Wash DC,” probably engraved by another repairer, and what appears to be “Jeff Davis.” Whether the latter was intended as a retort by another watchmaker to Dillon’s pro-Union sentiments is unknown.

“Jonathan Dillon April 13- 1861 Fort Sumpter was attacked by the rebels on the above date. J Dillon,” the brass underside of the watch movement reads.

The inscription continues: “April 13- 1861 Washington thank God we have a government Jonth Dillon.”

But, perhaps the best thing was the reaction by the great-great-grandson of the engraver:

“My goodness, that’s Lincoln’s watch,” he said later in wonderment. “My ancestor put graffiti on it.”

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