photo by philip-odegard
I’m fascinated by all things related to the presidency. I’m no history buff by any means and I can’t spout off useless presidential facts (you don’t want me on your Trivial Pursuit team), but the office of the POTUS is probably the most unique position anyone could ever be in. Heck, if I was married, had kids, was religious, had powerful connections, and was a millionaire, I’d even think about running for president one day. Now there’s a scary thought.
That said, it’s no surprise that I was fascinated by a recent article from WTOP that reveals that Abe Lincoln’s pocket watch, while under repair by watchmaker Jonathan Dillon, was inscribed or vandalized if you will. According to the article:
“Jonathan Dillon April 13 – 1861,” part of the inscription reads, “Fort Sumpter (sic) was attacked by the rebels on the above date.” Another part reads, “Thank God we have a government.”
The Pennsylvania Avenue watchmaker had Lincoln’s watch in his possession when the first shots of the Civil War were fired and decided to etch his thoughts into gold. Little did he know that he was creating a time capsule of sorts that would be later revealed to the world, offering a glimpse into what were obviously very different times.
I mean who would dare deface an item that belonged to the President of the United States? Luckily his inscription didn’t say something like, “Abe is ugly,” rather his message is one of hope and belief in our young nation. “Thank God we have a government.” Today, people have very few positive things to say about our government which is in some ways understandable since it has changed drastically since 1861. Maybe the lesson here is that we should be more thankful of our government, at least the government we once had which created a pretty decent Constitution and Bill of Rights, abolished slavery, and put a man on the moon amongst other things. Let’s pretend the past eight years didn’t happen and hope that the next eight years will be much better.
It’s a beautiful watch really and apparently one of the few outward signs of Lincoln’s success. I have to wonder, if President Obama’s watch is ever in need of repair, who would he send it to and would that person get away with inscribing some graffiti inside of it? Likely not.
Very interesting story – thanks for sharing it. I wonder what someone would inscribe in Obama’s watch. “Time for change”?