I was watching an old PBS special about the Civil War in the United States. They covered the shooting of Abraham Lincoln by John Wilkes Booth at the theater, showing old photos and the present day historic site. Also they described what happened after the President was shot, saying that they took him across the street from the theater and placed him in a randomly chosen boarding house room on the first floor. They laid him out on the bed diagonally because he was too tall for the small bed. There he lay being attended to by doctors who had none of today's technology to really give him any hope of survival.
They didn't ask permission of the man who had rented the room and since he was gone at the time, I am sure he was surprised to find the government officials had taken over his room when he returned to the room. From my memory of things Abraham Lincoln didn't die from his wounds until a day later.
The thing that jumped out at me was the chair that was sitting in the boarding house on the right side of the bed. It had a caned seat. I own a chair like that one in the photo, at least I thought so.
It is the same style of chair. This chair did have a cane seat in it originally and it is the same shape. I looked at other views of the chair in other pictures of the bedroom and it is from the same family of chairs but it is not the exact same kind of chair.
I paid six dollars for it which was not a high price at the time in 1974. I assume that the crowd really were looking for more modern furniture. I also bought some Wedgewood pieces at that sale for three or four dollars a piece. The auctioneer was not much with selling all the small items so he let me bid the per item bid and then said I could take as many as I wanted. There was an ashtray that I didn't take at the time but someone else certain grabbed it. The chair seemed like a wonderful item and would make a great desk chair to an antique desk.
Just for fun I am showing you an artist rendition of what he thought it might have looked like while Mr. Lincoln lay dying. The artist has taken artistic license on the looks of the chair in the illustration. I assume the artist would not think that people could someday get on the internet and view that actual chair in 1865. As small as the room was I really doubt that there could have been that many people in the room.
I probably will continue my research about the whole history of the company that made the chair. I have found numerous sites that show the room which has been kept as a museum. It was a very small room and the shooting or our president was a sad part of our history that will always be remembered.
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