Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Words in Lincoln's Watch

Jonathan Dillon was employed at a jewelry shop near the White House in 1861. According to family legend, he was working on President Lincoln's pocket watch at the moment he heard that Fort Sumter had been attacked.

Dillon told his family (and, four decades later, a reporter for the New York Times) that he opened the watch's inner workings, etched his name, the date and a message for the ages: "The first gun is fired. Slavery is dead. Thank God we have a President who at least will try."

He then closed it up and sent it back to the White House.
Yesterday at the Smithsonian Institution, the watch was finally pried open.
The audience, watching on a monitor, gasped.

Split into three different sections to get around the tiny gears was this razor-thin etching: "Jonathan Dillon April 13-1861. Fort Sumpter [sic] was attacked by the rebels on the above date thank God we have a government." He added "Washington" and his name again. [Link]

Andy E. Wold

Could you imagine the uproar if some RIM technician repairing President Obama's Blackberry scratched some graffiti inside the case, and returned it to the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES?!

Kinda puts a different light on "historical" items.


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