This site came about as the result of a historical photograph purchased by Gary Kersey who is a dedicated historian of Abraham Lincoln. The photograph shows the Congressional Funeral Delegation standing in front of Abraham Lincoln’s Springfield, Illinois home.
THE F. W. INGMIRE PHOTOGRAPH OF THE CONGRESSIONAL FUNERAL DELEGATION
The historic photograph was originally made by F.W.Ingmire on May 3, 1865, one day previous to the funeral of Abraham Lincoln. In pencil is written on the photo “This picture was made by my father, T.E. Sexton in 1865 Mr. Ida J. Bill. At the bottom right, in pencil, is written T. E. Sexton Successor to F. W. Ingmire.
Frederick Ingmire had a photographic studio in Springfield, Illinois in the 1860′s. Ingmire’s photograph of the Lincoln’s dog, Fido, is his most famous. Another of the most important photographs is of the caskets of Abraham Lincoln and his son, Willie, at Oak Ridge Cemetery before Lincoln’s funeral. Another is of Lincoln’s horse draped in black. The subject photograph is of the Congressional Delegation – appointed members of Congress designated to attend the many funerals conducted across the nation.
Frederick Ingmire was also a minister. Ingmire eventually closed his studo and tried other lines of work in Springfield. His eventual death is a mystery. He died of an overdose of laudanum. One Springfield newspaper reported the death as accidental – the other paper a suicide. No one knows. In any event Ingmire died pennyless and was buried in a pauper’s grave at the Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield. His wife was buried apart from him in her family’s plot. There is no record that the Ingmire marriage ended in divorce.
One thing is for certain – the details of the Lincoln Funeral are well documented by Ingmire’s photos. His contribution to history is significant to all Americans and especially to Lincoln Historians.
Mr. Kersey had commissioned Charles Lakatos to build to scale a replica of Lincoln’s home in Springfield in 1998. In 2005 Mr. Kersey commissioned Donald K. Mertz to carve each of the people pictured in the historic photo.
Mr. Kersey has written in 2008 a biographical sketch of each person depicted in the photo of each individual carving found by name under the “Congressional Funeral Delegation” section. Additional historical bits of interests will be added from time to time to add to the growing story of Abraham Lincoln.
The photograph at top left shows the scale replica of the Springfield, Illinois home of Abraham Lincoln with front walls removed and the carvings of the Congressional Funeral Delegation standing in front of the house.
The photo at top right shows the house along with Donald K. Mertz, the carver standing next to the house. Charles Lakatos who build the house is next and Gary Kersey, the historian is on the right.
The center photograph is of a bronze sculpture by Rick Harney, an artist from Illinois. Additional public sculptures of Abraham Lincoln may be viewed at the following site: http://showcase.netins.net/web/creative/lincoln/art/bench.htm
THE LINCOLN CONGRESSIONAL FUNERAL DELEGATION
Congress was not in session when President Lincoln was assassinated. Congressional members that were in Washington met and worked with the war department on making plans for funerals and transportation. Once the funeral agenda was known, all members of Congress were notified so that they could attend services. The official congressional delegation was to ride on the Lincoln Funeral train and attend as many services as they could. A few of the members attended services in all the cities. The services for President Lincoln started in the White House – then a procession to the US Capital Building – then a procession to the Washington railroad terminal. The funeral train consisted of 9 cars (passenger and baggage) plus the locomotive. Total passengers – 300. A pilot engine, tender, and passenger car preceded the funeral train. This was a precaution in case of track, telegraph, or sabotage problems.
The funeral train route was 1650 miles total. From Washington DC the route taken was Baltimore, Harrisburg, Philadelphia, New York, Albany, Buffalo, Cleveland, Columbus, Indianapolis, Chicago, and finally to Springfield. Cleveland was the only location to have the viewing out of doors, but protected by a pagoda type of structure. Each city decorated the route of the funeral procession. Thousands viewed the remains of Lincoln – thousands more stood in silence along the railroad tracks when the funeral train passed by. The stories are amazing.