Abraham Lincoln Shot!

Witten by Genealogical Society volunteer, Beth Mitchell for the Wilmington News Journal – March 2024

This event occurred years after our country’s turmoil regarding slavery began. Late at night the telegraph wires, on April 15, 1865 hummed with the news that Abraham Lincoln had been shot. This sad event happened 159 years ago. The politics of that era were very toxic and slavery had been a very divisive issue in many areas from the establishment and colonization of America. The slavery existed long before we were the United States of America. One of the largest slave markets existed only a few blocks from the White House. When Abraham Lincoln ran for president in 1860 there was much controversy and it is documented that Lincoln’s name did not appear on the ballots of several states. Casting a ballot for Abraham Lincoln was not a choice in those states. Abraham Lincoln is seen as the president who eliminated slavery; yet slavery existed in some areas two years after the official end of the Civil War and was ended only after federal troops were sent to those areas. The Clinton County History Center and the Clinton County Genealogy Society have planned an event for April 18, 19, and 20. We will have on display items relevant to Lincoln’s presidency and slavery. There are militia rosters for all townships. We have the GAR (Grand Army of the Republic) records of the Morris McMillan Post. We have copies of the manumission documents of Clinton County, information on the routes of the Underground Railroad and Clinton County conductors of same. We have letters home and one from a Wilmington citizen who was in prison. Do you have a Civil War ancestor? Let us know. We are in possession of an original newspaper published in New York City on April 18, 1865. It publishes many of the “mournings” about the fallen president. This paper is 159 years old. We also have the Wilmington Journals published in 1861 – think Fort Sumter. These items will be on display. Clinton County passed a resolution regarding the assassination and copies of this document can be seen. Lincoln’s funeral train came to Columbus, Ohio, then West to Indianapolis and on to Springfield, Illinois. Articles will be displayed regarding documentation of many events – Morgan’s Raiders, the squirrel hunters who answered the call, articles about “Lil Gib” – the “boy soldier” from Port William, and other relevant information. Several Civil War reenactors for both the North and South will be present and will have a display including Civil War era guns. Whether you agree or disagree with the politics of that era it was a transformative time that altered the future history of America. We hope to see you April 18, 19, and 20. It will be a wonderful commemoration of our fallen president. If you have three hours per month to spare, become a volunteer in our library. We have many “easy” jobs. You do not have to know how to do research.