A plaque at Westville commemorates the day in 1865 when the Abraham Lincoln
funeral train passed through northern Indiana on its way to Springfield,
Illinois. The train traveled 1666 miles from Washington, D. C., through
seven states and many cities and towns before reaching its destination.
Bill Warrick, of Ogden Dunes, well known retired radio and television
personality showed his video about the Lincoln Funeral Train for the
Duneland Historical Society at the Library Service Center on Thursday,
He told how he used still black and white photos from such places as the
National Archives and the Library of Congress, some of them by Matthew
Brady, along with film of reenactments to tell the story.
For his video, Warrick used music by the First Brigade Band and narration by
Lincoln scholar Dr. Wayne Wesolowski of Benedictine University.
By coincidence, the program was presented on the anniversary of the day
Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address.
It was Good Friday, April 14, 1865 when John Wilkes Booth shot Lincoln at
the Ford Theater in Washington. Lincoln died the next morning and Mrs.
Lincoln decided that he should be buried in their home city of Springfield,
A private railroad car which had been made for Lincoln but never used
carried the coffin. The military controlled the timetable and locomotives
were changed along the way. Eight other cars started the trip but only the
private car and a car for the honor guard made the entire trip.
The train began its journey at 8 a.m. on April 21 and reached Springfield on
May 3 just one hour late. Cities along the way included Baltimore,
Philadelphia, New York City, Albany, Buffalo, Cleveland, Columbus and
Indianapolis. Each city had its own ceremony and tried to outdo other
Huge crowds came out in spite of many rain storms. The train reached
Michigan City the morning of May 1, 1865 and a committee of dignitaries
from Chicago came to meet it. A whitefish breakfast was served and because
of the military timetable, the train left some of the people behind. Someone
in the audience said a story is told that they caught another train and
caught up with the funeral train in Porter.
In Chicago a triple arch had been constructed and 36 girls dressed in white
represented the 36 states. The crowd was so large that wooden sidewalks
On arrival in Springfield, the body was placed in the Illinois House of
Representatives and both black and white citizens paid their respects.
Duneland Historical Society officers were elected for 2010. They are:
president, Joan Costello; vice president, Eva Hopkins; vice president, Jane
Walsh-Brown; treasurer, Marilyn Cook; recording secretary; Dorothy Meyers;
corresponding secretary, Audrey Lipinski; directors, Betty Canright, Tory
Duhamell, Nancy Hokanson, Ken Keller, Bill Meyer, Rita Newman and Nancy
The next meeting of the society will be February 18, 2010.