Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Cleveland: Lincoln Funeral

150 years ago today, Friday, April 28, 1865, President Lincoln's funeral train stopped in Cleveland, it was a fortnight since the assassination.
Page 2 of The Cleveland Morning Leader, April 28, 1865.

The city was draped in mourning, most every dwelling, rich and poor alike, along with all businesses were "most mournfully expressively" decorated. By daybreak the thoroughfares of the city were thronged with vehicles of every description as crowds made their was to the Euclid Avenue - Willson Street station of the Cleveland & Pittsburgh Railroad. The train arrived at 7:20 AM and was greeted with a 36 gun salute. The coffin was unloaded and placed upon a hearse with was covered in white flowers and flags. The local pallbearers were: Former Governor Tod, R.P. Spalding, J.C. Diven, General E.P. Buckland, H.B. Payne, Judge H.V. Willson, J.A. Foot, William B. Castle, A. Everett, Amasa Stone Jr, Stillman Witt, and L.A. Pierce. The procession was led by the Camp Chase band, playing dirges, moved down Willson Street to Prospect Avenue where it was met by a civic honor guard, then doubled back to Euclid Avenue, where it slowly moved down the street. The procession was nearly two miles long, comprised with military units, followed by the general public. At Erie Street (East 9th) the procession turned north, then west on Superior to Monument Park (Public Square). A ceremony was held in the pavilion in the park once the procession arrived, shortly after 9 AM. After the lid of the coffin was removed, and the body prepared for viewing, various groups presented floral arrangements, The Soldier's Aid Society, The Colored Soldiers Aid Society, as well as from private citizens. Bishop Charles Petit McIlvaine read from the Episcopal burial book followed by The Lord's Prayer and a benediction. Honor guards then took their place and the pavilion was opened to the public. 
Photos from The Western Reserve Historical Society.

Few problems marked the public viewing, unlike other cities, where some had riots, the pavilion was arranged for easy entrance and exits. The viewing lasted until 10 PM and an estimated 65,000, and quite possibly more, viewed the remains. The crowds thinned out after 6 PM, although a number of people lingered to get a better view of the Great Emancipator. The coffin was resealed at 10 PM with the night an inky black and the rain falling in torrents and plans for an evening procession were scrapped. At 10:30 PM the cortege left the park and made it's way to Union Depot, at the foot of Vineyard Street, followed by a large crowd who despite the deluge wished to see the martyred leader off. Once the train departed for Columbus the crowd was led back up the hill by the Father Matthew Temperance Band which played a quickstep. The crowd then dispersed into the night.

President Lincoln was interred in his hometown of Springfield Illinois on May 4, 1865.

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