Newspaper from Feb. 19, 1928

Peace & Joy Turns to Great Tragedy

  • Full Title

    Peace & Joy Turns to Great Tragedy

  • Description

    This article explains how a tree planted to commemorate the end of the war was changed to a memorial for President Lincoln after his assassination.

  • Transcription

    La Crosse Tribune
    February. 19, 1928

    Tree Planted At McGregor to Commemmorate End of Civil War Became Monument to Abe Lincoln

    PRAIRIE DU CHIEN, Wis.— (Special)—At McGregor, Iowa opposite Prairie du Chien, there is a tree commemorative of “the saddest day in American history.”
    It rears its great trunk and spreads its branches on Main street beside one of the oldest houses in the town.
    In Civil War days John Jarrett, a prominent young merchant of McGregor, lived in the house with his wife. April 9, 1865 had come and gone, making the world glad with its great tidings of the end of the war. Mr. and Mrs. Jarrett, to give expression to their joy decided to plant a peace tree beside their home. An elm sapling was secured and on April 15, Mr. Jarrett set to work with his spade.
    There was no telegraph on the west side of the Mississippi in those days, and Prairie du Chien was looked to for early information of news. The ferry “Allamakee” which ran between Prairie du Chien and McGregor, was seen by the people of the Iowa town coming around the island in the Mississippi with her flag at half mast. A crowd gathered at the dock.
    When within hailing distance the captain shouted President Lincoln had been shot the night before and was dead. “A groan of horror went up from the crowd, and then too stunned to talk,” as one of the number told the story afterwards, “we slowly separated to realize the awfulness of the calamanity.”
    The word spread up Main street and reached John Jarrett just as he was tapping down the last dirt about his tree.
    So the elm intended to commemorate peace and joy, became a monument to a great tragedy instead. It is one of the largest, most beautiful trees in McGregor today.

    [Transcription by: Ricarda H., Dr. Susan Corbesero’s Class, Ellis School, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania]

  • Source

    Wisconsin Historical Society

  • Rights

    This item is in the public domain and may be reproduced and used for any purpose, including research, teaching, private study, publication, broadcast or commercial use, with proper citation and attribution.

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  • Cite this Item

    La Crosse Tribune. "Peace & Joy Turns to Great Tragedy". Remembering Lincoln. Web. Accessed September 19, 2021.