Monday, March 16, 2009

The Mystery of Lincoln's Watch

The Mystery of Lincoln's Watch

Many of you may have heard or read about the discovery of an inscription in Abraham Lincoln's gold pocket watch. The story emanated in the New York Times on March 11th. The version carried by the mass media daily newspapers and broadcasts left out a mysterious element of the story.

For years there has been a story circulating that a watchmaker in 1861 while working on Lincoln's watch made an inscription in the tiny working parts inside the watch.

As part of he Lincoln 200th Birthday Observance, the American Museum of History division of The Smithsonian Institute in Washington determined to hold a public opening of the watch and ascertain if the stories about the inscription were true.

The ceremony was attended by descendants of the Lincoln family, along with those of the watchmaker, public and museum officials and journalists.

The watch was carefully and meticulously opened and lo and behold, it did contain an inscription dated 1861. The inscription varied somewhat from the stories that had been circulating, but did refer to the firing on Fort Sumter. (misspelled as Sumpter)

There is more to the story than was generally released. Here it is.

There were two other inscriptions found inside the watch. One, dated 1864 with the initials of another watchmaker and the other, the words "Jeff Davis". Jefferson Davis was president of the Confederate States of America and the adversary of Abraham Lincoln.

The mystery surrounding the revelation of the Jeff Davis inscription is bound to bring on more discussion and speculation, some of which will most likely be added to the Lincoln myths which abound America.

How ironic it is the only name engraved in Lincoln's watch is that of Jeff Davis.
Just as ironic is another little known and seldom mentioned fact regarding the discovery made at the Smithsonian Institute. The Smithsonian was initially started under the sponsorship of Jefferson Davis who raised private funds for its beginning while Secretary of War under President Franklin Pierce.

The motto of the Confederacy, Deo Vindice, seems appropiate to conclude this story.

Contact Information:
Sons of Confederate Veterans Public Relations and Media Committee,
J. A. Davis, Chairman.
770 297-4788