Below is an editorial that appeared in the April 21, 1865 issue of
the Geneseo Republic following Lincoln's assassination.
Editor, Geneseo Republic
Long ere these lines meet the eyes of our readers they will have
learned the terrible truth that Abraham Lincoln has fallen by the
bloody hands of the prowling assassin, nerved by the demon hate of a
They will have learned that the noblest and best of American citizens;
the purest and least selfish of American statement; the warmest and
truest of America’s friends, has been stricken down the black-souled
ruffian, and now sleeps the sleep that knows no waking, this side of
They will have learned that our noble President, to whom all eyes were
turned, in whom all hopes were centered, toward whom the affections of
a nation gushed forth, and for whom a nation’s prayers were offered
daily — he who carried this country through a struggle such as no
other nation ever experienced, and brought it forth to glorious
termination — he — Abraham Lincoln — has fallen victim to a hate, he
most cursed and devilish that ever burned in the beast of mortal man.
None but a fiend could have perpetuated the horrible crime; and none
but a traitorous hand could have dealt the murderous blow.
He, who can do more than simply announce the melancholy fact that
Abraham Lincoln is no more — that our President is dead — slain by an
assassin, gone, he who can do more than this at present, can not feel
nor appreciate the pangs that wring the hearts of American People.
He, who can write long essays, or deliver lengthy homilies while yet
the gaping wound is fresh, and bleeding; while yet the terrible weight
of our sorrows crush us down into the dust of the earth; while yet the
eye is red with weeping, and the cheek is wet with water from the
soul’s fountain — he, who can do these, is devoid of the finer
feelings, those delicate sensibilities — of that true heart-born
sympathy — which those who sorrow the deepest possess in the largest
True sorrow never makes a display of itself; genuine grief never
courts the gaze of the world — but shuns the wondering stare of men,
and retires to secret places where it may vent itself unseen and
unheard by mortal eye or ear.
Thus we feel as we pen these lines; thus would we mourn the death of
the great and good President Abraham Lincoln; thus do the people feel
over the great calamity which has befallen them.
Abraham Lincoln is no more. A nation mourns the loss of the noblest
man. Illinois weeps over the bier of her most cherished son. Let us
bow the knee in humblest submission to Him “who doeth all things well.”
Abraham Lincoln’s legacy in Geneseo is a juxtaposed mix of hearsay
and documented artifacts.
“There’s a home in Geneseo where Lincoln is said to have spent the
night,” said Geneseo Historical Museum curator Angie Snook. “It’s
also been said that Lincoln was suppose to speak in a pavilion near
the current city park, but was a no-show.”
While neither of those events can be definitively confirmed, Geneseo
does have genuine connections to the nation’s 16th president.
Included in the Geneseo Historical Museum's collection is a book of
personal reminiscences on Lincoln by George Shaw, a Tremont-area
attorney and grandfather of the late Amey Bush of Geneseo.
The museum also has a desk and two chairs from the Tremont law office
of George and Joseph Shaw. Lincoln would visit with the Shaws at their
office, and the artifacts donated by Bush are “well documented”
An original 1860 Lincoln election tally from Hanna Township is in the
museum’s collection as is a scrap of fabric from the Lincoln funeral
catafalque in Chicago.
The museum also has a dress worn by an attendee at one of Lincoln’s
inaugural balls. The dress has been donated to the museum by Sandra
Snook calls the Lincoln related artifacts the centerpiece of the
museum’s collection. “We’re very fortunate to have such a great
collection of Lincoln items,” she said, adding other museums,
including the Lincoln Museum in Springfield, have contacted Snook in
regard to the items.
“We’ve never loaned the items out, and we probably wouldn’t. I
feel they were left to our museum and it is our responsibility to
display and protect them,” she said.
A bust of Lincoln, located at the corner of State and Second streets
is another key item in the museum’s Lincoln collection.
Originally situated at the Chicago Union Stockyards, the statue was on
display for many years at the Atkinson stockyards.
In 1998, the family of Dr. Gifford Zimmerman donated the bust to the
museum. “It was a very generous gift and one of the best things for
the museum,” said Snook. At the time, both the mayor of Chicago and
the Illinois governor also wanted the statue.
The Geneseo Historical Museum is open from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1
p.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays.