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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

News of the Lincoln Assassanation

Back from the Northern Kentucky University Y.E.S. new play festival, where my suspense drama "One Good Turn" premiered. My gratitude and admiration goes to director Sandra Forman, and her terrific cast: Harli Cooper, Katie Berger, Caity Shipp, Seth Wallen, Stephanie Wallenfelsz, Jinkju Lim, Rex Martinez, Simon Powell, Lauren Hayes, and Hayley Powell. It was a great experience.

Now, back to New England, but with still a bit of a connection to the rest of the country -- and always a connection to the past -- as we remember the assassanation of President Abraham Lincoln this week.  The President was shot April 14, 1865, on Good Friday.   Below, we have the front page of the Springfield, Massachusetts Daily Union from the next day, April 15th, with the distressing news hot off the telegraph wires.  The columns are edged in black, a custom at that time to indicate mourning over a death.

Springfield had a connection with the events of that tragic day through laywer George Ashmun, a friend of Abraham Lincoln.  Mr. Ashmun was in Washington City that day and wanted to bring an associate to meet with Mr. Lincoln that evening.  He asked Lincoln to cancel his evening at Ford's Theater.   Lincoln decided to keep his plans to attend the play that night, but wrote a note for his staff:

"Allow Mr. Ashmun and friend to come in at 9 a.m. tomorrow."

We believe this was the last words Lincoln ever wrote.  That night, John Wilkes Booth pulled the trigger. 

Springfield, just as in many communities in New England and across the north, closed stores and businesses, and church bells sounded a requiem.  At the Springfield Armory, an 18-gun salute was fired at sunrise, and then a 36-gun salute was fired at sunset.

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