Two nights ago, I gave a lecture about the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. I hesitate to include anything in this blog about myself, because after all, it’s The Abraham Lincoln Blog and not the “Lincoln and Geoff Elliott Blog.”
I was surprised this past February when a church group asked me to give a presentation about Lincoln at their monthly gathering. The group didn’t give me any specific guidelines so I was stumped about what to present. I couldn’t decide whether to talk about his life in general, his religious beliefs (or lack thereof), his presidency, his actions in war time, or about the man behind the myths. Then a series of snowstorms here on the Ohio tundra hit right around the presentation date and my talk was postponed until May.
I suppose it was fate, somehow, which led to my Lincoln lecture being held May 18, 2010. That day just happened to be the 150th anniversary of Lincoln receiving the Republican nomination for President Of The United States, May 18, 1860. Pretty remarkable, at least to me.
As regular readers of this blog know, I recently completed an ambitious series of posts commemorating the 145th anniversary of Lincoln’s assassination and long funeral train journey back to Springfield. So I thought those two topics would be perfect for my talk.
I covered all the highlights in the lecture: the assassination; Booth; the conspirators and their fates; and then information about each of the thirteen funerals held for Lincoln. I spoke for around an hour and then opened the floor to questions.
I was amazed at how many questions I received, and not just about the assassination or funerals. People asked questions such as: why Lincoln grew his beard; if Mary and Abraham were Christians; what Lincoln might think of today’s political situation in the U.S.; how old he was when he died; and so on. By the time the questions were asked (and answered), nearly another hour had gone by.
It was heartening to me to see the avid interest in Mr. Lincoln. He still matters to us today.
Thank you to the Dover Alliance church in Dover, Ohio for the warm welcome the folks there gave me. It was a thrill to be asked to speak about Lincoln, especially considering that I am only an “amateur historian.” I hope this wasn’t the last opportunity to share my passion with others about our country’s greatest president. Only time will tell.