Replica of Lincoln’s coffin displayed in Wallingford

Replica of Lincoln’s coffin displayed in Wallingford

Record-Journal


WALLINGFORD — To honor the 152nd anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, a local funeral home displayed a replica of Lincoln’s coffin at the Wallingford Senior Center on Thursday.

An audience of about 50 listened to Matt Bailey, president of B.C. Bailey Funeral Home, talk about the coffin, the assassination and Lincoln’s legacy.

The replica coffin, reportedly one of five in the country, is decorated with sterling silver handles and studs extending the entire length of its sides. The coffin was built based on the only known photograph of Lincoln laying in it.

“Someone said to me it looks more like Johnny Cash’s coffin,” Bailey told the audience.

Bailey said the coffin is austere compared to today, but it was the most elaborate of that time. The actual coffin was six and a half feet long and made of solid walnut.

“It was much more elaborate than I thought it would be,” audience member Nancy Ryan said of the replica.

Bailey told the audience that Lincoln’s assassination on April 14, 1865 triggered the beginning of modern day funeral services. Lincoln was the first public figure to be embalmed and his body was on view for almost three weeks. The coffin was taken to funeral services in several cities across the Northeast and Midwest and it is estimated that a million people viewed the body before it was buried. Grave robbers tried to steal Lincoln’s body in 1876, but were caught by lawmen as they were carrying the body out of Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield, Illinois.

“The presentation was very informative,” Joan Ginter said. “There were several things I learned that I didn’t know.”

Four of the replicas travel the country for display at funeral homes and the other is at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois. Each replica was created 24 years ago by the Batesville Casket Company in Indiana, which allowed Bailey to display the replica for a few days.

The funeral home, established in 1879, is considered the town’s longest continually operating business. Bailey said the funeral home holds regular presentations for the community.

The next will be on famous grave robbers at the senior center on Halloween.

mzabierek@record-journal.com 203-317-2279 Twitter: @MatthewZabierek


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