“Quite a large number of our citizens visited Cleveland on Friday last, to look upon the remains of our lamented President, and a still larger number were at the depot in this place, at 2 o’clock, A. M., on Saturday, to catch a glimpse of the flying train which is conveying the remains to its final resting place. The large fires built about the depot grounds afforded sufficient light for all to see the beautiful train as it glided slowly past. We know of nothing else that would have induced so many men, women and children to have left their beds and gone through the drenching rain to the depot. These circumstances will be handed down to our children and children’s children, when the name of Abraham Lincoln, blended with that of George Washington, shall illuminate the bright page of American history, years after those who viewed them are sleeping in the dust” (The Lorain County News, 5-3-1865, pg. 3).
Next year marks the one-hundred-and-fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. Days after his tragic death, the slain leader was placed on a special train that carried him from Washington, D. C. to Springfield, Illinois for burial. Accompanying him on that final journey were the remains of his son, Willie, who had died in 1862 at the age of eleven, possibly of typhoid fever.
I was absolutely delighted to learn recently that a not-for-profit group is meticulously recreating the funeral train, with the intention of retracing the nearly 1,700 mile route next year. Lincoln’s train came through Wellington in the early morning hours of April 29, 1865 and the current plan calls for the replica train to pass through town around the same date.
To raise awareness of the event, and raise funds to underwrite its costs, the Leviathan 63, a replica of the engine that pulled the funeral train, will be coming to Wellington next month, April 2014. Details will be publicized very soon, but as I understand it, rides and photography opportunities will be offered for a nominal fee. If you are as keen to participate in these events as I am, keep an eye on these sites: the Lake Shore Railway Association; 2015 Lincoln Funeral Train Facebook page; 2015 Lincoln Funeral Train Twitter feed.