As a history nut, this story is simply too good to be true. For decades, there has been a rumor that the pocket watch of Abraham Lincoln contained a secret message from the Civil War. The National Museum of American History finally decided to check the story out and carefully opened the back of the watch. The story proved to be true.
Squeezed between the gears and screws, the following inscription was found: “Jonathan Dillon April 13 – 1861. Fort Sumpter (sic) was attacked by the rebels on the above date. Thank God we have a government.”
The inscription was made by Jonathan Dillon, a watchmaker on Pennsylvania Avenue, who was working on Lincoln’s watch when he heard the first shots of the Civil War had been fired in South Carolina. Dillon’s family passed down the story until it appeared in an New York Times article in 1906.
Dillon’s great-great grandson, Doug Stiles, brought the story to the attention of the museum and the watch was opened by watchmaker George Thomas.
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