RAILCAR GOLD Chapter 9 . . Lincoln . . Part 6
RAILCAR GOLD is a historically accurate multi-generational fictional tale of hidden treasure, primarily set in York County, Pennsylvania during the latter half of the Nineteenth Century. This is Part 6 of Chapter 9 . . . Lincoln. A new part will be posted every Thursday. Recent chapters stand alone, starting here; however new readers may want to start at the beginning.
CHAPTER 9 . . . LINCOLN . . . Part 6
The longtime home of Abraham Lincoln, Springfield, Illinois, was chosen as the final resting place for the slain President. York, Pennsylvania was a stop on the lengthy funeral train route between Washington, D.C. and Springfield.
The early Friday morning April 21st 1865 posted PROCLAMATION!! handbills throughout York proclaimed:
The remains of our late lamented President will reach York at six o’clock this evening, en route for Springfield, Ill. In order to render proper respect to the Funeral Cortege, the following order will be observed by the citizens:
1. All places of business will be closed from four o’clock, this evening, and under the Proclamation of the Governor of the State, will continue closed while the remains are within the limits of the State.
2. At five o’clock, P. M., the military and citizens will assemble in Centre Square, where a procession will be formed, and will march to the Railway Station. All citizens are expected to unite with the procession.
3. At the Rail-road a line will be formed, the right resting in front of the Station-house, and extending along the Rail-road in the direction of Baltimore. During the passing of the train the line will remain uncovered.
4. The citizens are requested to take their flags and drapery of mourning to Water Street, and suspend the same along the buildings on the line of the Rail-road.
5. The bells will be tolled while the remains are within the Borough limits.
6. Col. J. A. Stahle will act as Chief Marshal on the part of the citizens.
Dan and George were hanging around the railroad station Friday morning as preparations were underway. Later in the morning the official Northern Central Railway Special Schedule for The President’s Funeral Train was posted. It proclaimed that a Pilot Engine, carrying Flags for the Special Funeral Train will precede the Funeral Train by 10-minutes. The schedule had the Pilot Engine arriving in York at 6:30 P.M., with the Funeral Train arriving at 6:40 P.M.
Dan and George and the rest of the Billmeyer family were at the forefront in the crowd witnessing the Funeral Train arrival at 6:40 P.M. A brass band from York’s United States Army Hospital played a mournful dirge during the 10-minute memorial service, as the locomotive took on water.
Several ladies were permitted to enter the funeral car to place a very large wreath bearing the inscription “From the ladies at York, Pa.” onto Lincoln’s coffin. York community leader, Aquilla Howard, a black man, on behalf of the City of York, placed a second wreath on the late President’s coffin. It was a solemn moment when the train pulled out, with the bells throughout York continuing to toll, apparently even louder.
Following the memorial service, the Billmeyer’s stopped by the home of David E. Small. They got a first hand account of the interior of Lincoln’s Funeral Car from Mary Small, David’s wife; she being one of the ladies permitted to enter the car.
Mary Small told those gathered in her home, “the interior appeared to originally be upholstered in red and green however was elaborately draped in black cloth, with silver bullion fringe, silver spangled stars and large silver tassels about nine inches long and three inches in diameter. There were also many black tassels used about the bier on which the coffin of Abraham Lincoln rested. Two heavily upholstered armchairs sat next to the coffin and a magnificent chandelier hung from the ceiling. Even with York’s bells ringing and band softly playing mournful strains of dirges outside, the silence of death pervaded the interior of the car.”
Go to Chapter 10, Part 1