Diary from Jan. 1, 1907

Alice Strickler Keyes diary entry

  • Full Title

    Alice Strickler Keyes diary entry

  • Description

    Alice Strickler Keyes eyewitness account of the day that Lincoln’s funeral train stopped in Columbus, Ohio, on its way to Springfield, Illinois, where the remains of the president and those of his son Willie would be buried. This account is an excerpt from the Alice Strickler Keyes diary passage in the Altrurian Club of Columbus, Ohio President's Book.

  • Transcription

    [Page 1]
    These grounds, at the head of State street, it was so far from the town and in such a swampy and unimproved district, that it too was dubbed “Swayne’s Folly.” Noah Swayne became most widely known as Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.

    His home at the head of State street was later occupied by J. Ewing Miller. Its site is now that of the Carnegie Library.

    Before the “Insane Asylum” burned, the terminus of all our walks eastward, was the great flat boulder, that still lies on the sidewalk in the east Broad street, east of Jefferson Avenue.

    A little farther east the Asylum Grounds ended, and not far beyond, lay “Riley’s Woods,” and the open country.

    In April, 1865, Columbus with the rest of The Nation was celebrating the “Fall of Fort Sumpter,” the surrender of General Lee, and the End of the “Civil War.” There was great rejoicing.

    April 14th was appointed by Governor Brough as a day of thanksgiving. On that day there were services in the churches in the morning;—in the afternoon

    [Page 2]
    and evening everything was done that is possible on such occasions to express the joy of the citizens. The town was lavishly decorated.

    The next morning, April 15th all this joy was turned to sorrow when the news of President Lincoln’s assassination reached the city. The emblems of Victory gave place to those of mourning for the fallen Chief.

    It was learned a few days later, that the funeral train on its way to Springfield, Illinois, would stop in Columbus, and that the body of the President would lie in state for one day, in the Rotunda of the Capitol.

    At school we were told that the city Fire Department would be in the procession to meet the train at the station, and that a number of young girls, dressed in deep mourning were wanted—one to stand beside each driver on the fire engines, and many others to ride on the large “Hook and Ladder” wagon, reconstructed for the occasion.

    [Page 3]
    This plan was carried out. Forty-two school girls of varying ages, of whom I was one, rode on this car, massed around one of our teachers (Miss Sarah Smith) who was heavily draped in black and represented “Columbia.”

    After the coffin of President Lincoln was placed on the splendid funeral car, the procession started back on its route through the streets of the city.

    At intervals the black robed girls on the float, led by their teacher, sang verses from dirge-like hymns.

    When the procession stopped at the gate of the Capitol, these girls left their float and were led into the building, and past the coffin of the President. It is said over fifty thousand people viewed “the remains” that day.

    The catalogue used to carry the body of President Lincoln had a canopy shaped like a pagoda. It was large, covered with black cloth, festooned, and trimmed with silver fringe. It was drawn by six white horses with large black plumes on their heads. The horses had a covering of black cloth edged with silver fringe, and each horse was led by a groom dressed in black.

    [Page 4]
    The silver fringe used to trim the funeral car of President Lincoln in Columbus, was afterward turned over to women of one of the church societies, to make into souvenirs to be sold, and I was able to secure a piece of it.

    The historian of the “Altrurian Club” (Mrs. Cope) has asked for a small portion of the fringe to be attached to this record of my recollections, and I am happy to give this tiny, precious relic to “Altrurian Club,” of which I am a charter member, and through all the years of its existence, without a break, a constant and loyal member.
    Alice S. Keyes
    (Mrs. Elias A. Keyes.)
    [piece of silver fringe attached]

    [Transcription by McCaela Michas]

  • Source

    Ohio History Connection

  • Rights

    Use of this item for research, teaching, and private study is permitted with proper citation and attribution, as Courtesy of the Ohio History Connection, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Collection . Reproduction of this item for publication, broadcast, or commercial use requires written permission. For permission, please see this web page.

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  • Cite this Item

    Keyes, Alice Strickler. "Alice Strickler Keyes diary entry". Remembering Lincoln. Web. Accessed April 22, 2024. https://rememberinglincoln.fords.org/node/282