Amos W. Barber: An Army Surgeon as Governor

Dr. Amos W. Barber (WSA Sub Neg 1384)

Dr. Amos W. Barber
(WSA Sub Neg 1384)

Amos W. Barber was born in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, April 26, 1861.  He graduated from the literary and medical departments of the University of Pennsylvania in 1883 and served as a staff physician at the Pennsylvania Hospital after he graduated.  In the spring of 1885 Barber was recruited to run the hospital at the site of Fort Fetterman.  A civilian community had sprung up around the fort, which was abandoned by the military in 1882.  The local hospital provided medical services for subscribers contributing $1.00 per month.

Dr. Amos Barber in front of his hospital at Ft. Fetterman. (WSA Sub Neg 21184)

Dr. Amos Barber in front of his hospital at Ft. Fetterman.
(WSA Sub Neg 21184)

At some point during his first year in Wyoming, Barber was appointed acting assistant surgeon in the U.S. Army, then joined General George Crook’s campaign against the Apache Indians in Arizona, which lasted from May 1885 through March 1886.   Exactly when Barber served with Crook during that period is unclear.  Upon returning to Wyoming he was assigned to Fort D.A. Russell near Cheyenne.  After brief service there he resigned from the Army and returned to Fort Fetterman.    In 1886 he moved to the new town of Douglas and began a private practice there.  He moved his practice to Cheyenne in 1889.

After Wyoming was granted statehood in 1890, Barber was nominated by the Republican Party for the position of Secretary of State and was elected on the same ticket as Governor Francis E. Warren.  A few weeks after taking office Warren was elected to the U.S. Senate by the state legislature, making the relatively inexperienced Barber Acting Governor of Wyoming.   He served in that capacity until January 1893.

The "disturbance" Governor Barber expected thankfully did not materialize.  (WSA Governor Barber  gubernatorial records, RG 0001.12, General Correspondence File)

The “disturbance” Governor Barber expected thankfully did not materialize.
(WSA Governor Barber gubernatorial records, RG 0001.12, General Correspondence File)

One of the most infamous events in Wyoming’s history occurred during Barber’s term.  The degree of the Acting Governor’s knowledge of the plans that precipitated the Johnson County War in April 1892 is unknown.  Though not a cattleman, he was certainly well acquainted with them.   What is known is that when informed by telegram of the developing conflict between 50 armed “Invaders” and Johnson County residents, Barber sent a rather vague telegram to President Harrison about “large bodies of armed men” engaged in battle.  He requested that federal troops stationed at nearby Fort McKinney be sent to quell the trouble.  The President complied and troops intervened where a siege had developed at the TA Ranch south of Buffalo.  Federal troops were also used during the following summer to help maintain order in area.

Letter from Charles Burritt to Governor Barber following the deaths of Tisdale and Jones.  (WSA Gov Barber records, RG 0001.12, Military and Indian Affairs file)

Letter from Charles Burritt to Governor Barber following the deaths of Tisdale and Jones.
(WSA Gov Barber records, RG 0001.12, Military and Indian Affairs file)

The Johnson County War figured prominently in the election campaign of 1892, with Democrats and Populists, newcomers on the Wyoming political map, trying to benefit from the fallout.  John E. Osborne of Rawlins, also a medical doctor, emerged as the Democratic candidate for governor.   The Republicans nominated Edward Ivinson, a Laramie banker.

Osborne was elected but was delayed in taking office.  In spite of reports from the counties giving Osborne a sizable lead, official confirmation did not come from Cheyenne for several weeks.  Acting Governor and Secretary of State Barber said they were waiting on returns from Fremont and Converse Counties.  Osborne finally had enough and went to Cheyenne to claim his prize.  A notary public took his oath of office and Osborne took up residence in the governor’s office on December 2.  He apparently spent the night there, afraid he might not be able to get back in if he left.  Republican reports that he crawled on a ledge to gain access through a window may have been partisan humor.  The State Canvassing Board made Osborne’s election official on December 8 and he was sworn in on January 2, giving his oath of office a second time.  Barber continued as Secretary of State for two more years.

Barber married Amelia Kent of Cheyenne in 1892. (WSA Sub Neg 581)

Barber married Amelia Kent of Cheyenne in 1892. She was the daughter of a prominent local businessman.
(WSA Sub Neg 581)

An event of great personal import for Dr. Barber also occurred in 1892 when he married Amelia Kent of Cheyenne.  When the United State went to War against Spain six years later, Barber joined the army as assistant surgeon.  After the War he continued his medical practice in Cheyenne until his death in 1915.

— Curtis Greubel, State Imaging Center Supervisor

 

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April 23, 1865: A Sermon and A Pilgrimage

Today we conclude this month’s series of diary entries from Isabella Wunderly Campbell, who became Wyoming’s first lady in 1872. Isabella was a 19-year-old  living in Washington, D.C., during the eventful April of 1865. Her daily diary entries give insight into her experiences during the final days of the Civil War, which ended 150 years ago this month.

April 2-9
April 10
April 11
April 12
April 13
April 14
April 15
April 16

April 17

April 18

April 19

April 20

April 21

April 22

April 23, 1865 (WSA Isabella C. Wunderly diary, Campbell Collection, C-1049)

April 23, 1865
(WSA Isabella C. Wunderly diary, Campbell Collection, C-1049)

Sunday, April 23, 1865

Mother, Uncle and I went to church this morning. Found Dr. Gurley had gone with the funeral train and we had a stranger preach for us. Heard a very good sermon however and found a good dinner when we returned home. I know not how it happened but I am always more hungry on Sunday than any other day. In the evening we went to Trinity to hear a sermon on the removal of the late President. I liked it all pretty well until he made an appeal in behalf of Virginia which was to say the least very mal a propos. He surely must have been a severe leech at the beginning of the war if he is not at present.

As Isabella mentions, Dr. Phineas Gurley of  New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C, accompanied the funeral train to Springfield, Illinois.

May 9, 1865 (WSA Isabella C. Wunderly diary, Campbell Collection, C-1049)

May 9, 1865
(WSA Isabella C. Wunderly diary, Campbell Collection, C-1049)

Tuesday, May 9, 1865

Notwithstanding the dampness of the day, Aunt insisted upon going with me to the dressmakers. I had my dress fitted and after we returned I accompanied Aunt Lib to the Patent Office and several other places. Saw also the room in which President Lincoln breathed his last, where his great spirit took flight. Oh how sacred must this humble spot forever be made, where the great and good man suffered and died. How will it be remembered and handed down as a cherished spot to all the world. I cannot yet think of him as gone.

Almost as soon as President Lincoln died, his status as a tourist attraction began to grow. Crowds that had flocked to see him lying in state or to witness his funeral procession now made the pilgrimage to Ford’s Theatre and other sites associated with him. This practice has continued for 150 years and is still going strong. Many sites associated with Lincoln are now museums or historic sites, providing adoring fans a place to remember the lost president.

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April 22, 1865: Visiting the Wounded

We continue this month’s series of diary entries from Isabella Wunderly Campbell, who became Wyoming’s first lady in 1872. Isabella was a 19-year-old  living in Washington, D.C., during the eventful April of 1865. Her daily diary entries give insight into her experiences during the final days of the Civil War, which ended 150 years ago this month.

April 2-9
April 10
April 11
April 12
April 13
April 14
April 15
April 16

April 17

April 18

April 19

April 20

April 21

April 22, 1865 (WSA Isabella C. Wunderly diary, Campbell Collection, C-1049)

April 22, 1865
(WSA Isabella C. Wunderly diary, Campbell Collection, C-1049)

Saturday, April 22, 1865

After sewing a while I started for Alice and we went to the Hospital. I spent about an hour talking to the other men in the different wards and then proceeded to give my lesson in writing, my pupil did not seem very apt but I still have hope of teaching him. He appears anxious to learn though which is something in his favor. I came home and went to see Mrs. Smith. Had a pleasant little visit and got home feeling very tired. The day has been beautiful. Expected Aunt Lib and went with mother to the Depot but were doomed to disappointment. I know not what to think.

Today, Isabella returns to the hospital to help cheer wounded veterans, as she had done for some time in the previous years. Many young women had time on their hands and looking for useful occupation would visit the hospitals to talk to the men, often helping them write letters home.

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April 21, 1865: “He Has Now Left Washington For The Last Time”

We continue this month’s series of diary entries from Isabella Wunderly Campbell, who became Wyoming’s first lady in 1872. Isabella was a 19-year-old  living in Washington, D.C., during the eventful April of 1865. Her daily diary entries give insight into her experiences during the final days of the Civil War, which ended 150 years ago this month.

April 2-9
April 10
April 11
April 12
April 13
April 14
April 15
April 16

April 17

April 18

April 19

April 20

April 21, 1865 (WSA Isabella C. Wunderly diary, Campbell Collection, C-1049)

April 21, 1865
(WSA Isabella C. Wunderly diary, Campbell Collection, C-1049)

Friday, April 21, 1865

The mortal remains of Abraham Lincoln were this morning taken from the rotunda of the Capitol and the sad company began with him their homeward journey. He has now left Washington for the last time, never to return again. Can I think of it as real? Oh it is too fearful. Never was the loss of any one felt as this. God make his successor all that he should be. Remind him continually of the terrible tragedy which has thus invested him with the power of government, may he follow on the footsteps of the great departed and like him enjoy our confidence and love.

The railroad car that carried Lincoln's body from Washington, D.C. to Springfield, Illinois.  (Library of Congress image)

The railroad car that carried Lincoln’s body from Washington, D.C. to Springfield, Illinois.
(Library of Congress image)

The Lincoln Special carried President Lincoln home to Springfield, Illinois, for burial. Over the next two weeks, it traveled nearly 1,700 miles making stops for funeral processions and viewings in several cities along the way. The train carried 300 mourners, an honor guard and Willie’s coffin. Mrs. Lincoln remained in Washington, D.C. and Robert Lincoln only rode as far as Baltimore before returning to Washington.

Though the original train car was lost to fire in 1911, a replica of the train was built and will recreate the journey this year.

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April 20, 1865: Interment Plans

We continue this month’s series of diary entries from Isabella Wunderly Campbell, who became Wyoming’s first lady in 1872. Isabella was a 19-year-old  living in Washington, D.C., during the eventful April of 1865. Her daily diary entries give insight into her experiences during the final days of the Civil War, which ended 150 years ago this month.

April 2-9
April 10
April 11
April 12
April 13
April 14
April 15
April 16

April 17

April 18

April 19

April 20, 1865 (WSA Isabella C. Wunderly diary, Campbell Collection, C-1049)

April 20, 1865
(WSA Isabella C. Wunderly diary, Campbell Collection, C-1049)

Thursday, April 20, 1865

The rain has been coming down in torrents part of the day and still through it all, people have been pouring into the Capitol grounds to gaze for the last time on the features of their loved dead, having seen him yesterday I did not go again but regret very much that Aunt has not been able to go out at all and therefore has not seen him. The remains of little Willie are to be taken with those of his honored father to their home. Oh how can we school our hearts to this great affliction. Every moment brings it more vividly to our minds and makes the atrocious thing more heinous. I trust no early spot may be deemed secure enough to conceal the base assassin from the hand of justice.

Following the funeral procession from the Executive Mansion (White House) to the Capitol Building, Lincoln once again lay in state. As Isabella mentions, thousands filed by the coffin. It is no wonder that she declined to brave the rain and crowds to view the body for a second time.

Mrs. Lincoln agreed to bury her husband in Springfield, Illinois, after a promise was made to take the body of their son Willie along to be buried with him. 11 year old Willie had died in 1862. His coffin was removed from the Washington, D.C., cemetery to be re-interred in Springfield. As Isabella mentions, Booth was still at large. He was finally cornered and killed on April 26.

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April 19, 1865: “The Most Solemnly Grand Imposing Display “

We continue this month’s series of diary entries from Isabella Wunderly Campbell, who became Wyoming’s first lady in 1872. Isabella was a 19-year-old  living in Washington, D.C., during the eventful April of 1865. Her daily diary entries give insight into her experiences during the final days of the Civil War, which ended 150 years ago this month.

April 2-9
April 10
April 11
April 12
April 13
April 14
April 15
April 16

April 17

April 18

April 19, 1865 (WSA Isabella C. Wunderly diary, Campbell Collection, C-1049)

April 19, 1865
(WSA Isabella C. Wunderly diary, Campbell Collection, C-1049)

Wednesday, April 19, 1865

The funeral of our late Chief Magistrate took place this morning. It would be impossible to describe the scenes which surrounded it, at an early hour the throng on the streets was immense. [Pennsylvania] Ave being lined on either side with crowds of people. Aunt and Mother and myself went to a good point in the avenue to have a view of the procession. It was the most solemnly grand imposing display that could be conceived of and must have been several miles in length. The body was conducted to the Capitol where it will remain in state tomorrow and then be conducted through the principal cities of he Union to his last resting place, Lexingfield, Ill.

Lincoln's funeral down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. (Library of Congress image)

Lincoln’s funeral down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C.
(Library of Congress image)

There are a couple of inaccuracies in today’s diary entry. Lincoln was not technically our Chief Magistrate as that title is usually reserved for judges and he was to be buried in Springfield, Illinois.

Isabella was not the only person with Wyoming connections to watch the funeral, Alonzo Richards was there too. Richards was a 2nd lieutenant stationed with the U.S. Signal Corps in the Washington, D.C., area and would later help survey Wyoming Territory’s southern and western borders. His brother, William A., who was also part of the survey party, would be elected governor of Wyoming in 1894. Following the funeral, Alonzo wrote a lengthy letter to his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Truman P. Richards, who were living in Hazel Green, Wisconsin. According to the letter, he enclosed a piece of crepe torn from the funeral carriage to “deposit with our other relics.”

H82-61_65-1, Alonzo V Richards letter 4-20-1865

First page of the letter from Alonzo V. Richards to his parents describing President Lincoln’s funeral. There are 3 pages, written front and back.
(WSA H82-61/65-1)

 

Signal Station
Ft. Sumner, Md.
April 20th, 1865

Dear Parents,

With varied emotions of joy and sorrow I seat myself again to write you – Truly the Poet says, “God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform” – Sad and unexpected as was the awful message I referred to in my last letter, it was true in part – Our good President whom we all loved so well is now numbered among the cold and silent sleepers that only the Angels trump can call back to life.

Just as he was bringing this terrible war to a speedy close and in his leniency, was ready to pardon almost any and all of the vile factions that caused it, he is cowardly murdered in cold blood by a man not having courage enough to go into the rebel ranks and fight with his brothers. Well may our nation say “Ours is a greater loss than ever was felt by a country before.” But while we mourn his loss, we must remember that “God’s will must be done” and that all men must die. We must try to think it all for the best, though this seems hard to believe indeed. One good, will or has resulted from it already. Every spark of sympathy that was felt for the rebel cause will by this dastardly act be extinguished except in the breasts of such men as the one who did the deed.

They have slain their best friend, and in his stead have got a man who has felt the horrors of this war and will no doubt show them sooner than they desire, that he has not forgotten the treatment he as well as thousands of others have rec’d and they will learn I think also that men with such large hearts and forgiving dispositions as President Lincoln had, are not to be found in such stations very often. The country at large have as much faith in Johnson as we did in Lincoln when he was elected the first time. If he proves as true to his trust – Which may God grant – we may still hope for an early peace. But Oh!

If they had only spared him, how easily would every thing have been adjusted. A kind feeling was growing up north and south. The north were ready to take their late enemies by the hand and overlook their past deeds – i.e. all but the leaders – and they in turn saw plainly that they were in the wrong and were glad of a chance to stop. Now, though the fighting is about over, there never can be that good feeling between the North and south that there would have been. For their own sakes, I hope the Rebel authorities can clear their skirts of this foul deed but am afraid they can not.

The funeral ceremonies took place yesterday and were very imposing indeed. The procession was the largest I ever witnessed and in addition the pavements, housetops, windows, doorways, and every accessible place from 17th Street to the Capitol were literally packed with people. I do not hesitate to say there was 100,000 people on the Avenue beside the procession.

The military display was grand indeed. And all the different orders, associations, societies, etc. were out in their respective uniforms and regalias. Everything was orderly and still hardly a word spoken as the cortège moved up the avenue to the slow time of the solemn dirge.

The funeral car was a magnificent affair and towered far above everything else so that all could see the coffin. The car was surmounted by a beautiful eagle in bronze, with wings extended and draped in solemn mourning. Every house and tenement of every kind – negro shanties and all – exhibited something to show their respect. It was the most solemn looking city I ever saw and I never wish to see another such sight. The bells were all slowly tolling and three different batteries were firing minute guns. As soon as we arrived at the Capitol we dispersed and I came home. The whole nation was ample in its exhibitions of respect as every state was represented. I hope I may never have to attend at another such occasion.

As the funeral car passed Gen. Angus Hd. Qrs. a limb of one of those trees in front caught and tore the crape off the eagle. This was when it passed in the grounds to receive the coffin. I had a great desire to possess that piece of crape. While I was trying to think of some way to get it, an officer sent a cavalryman with a whip and he got a part of it – a piece still remained. I found a piece of board 2 in. wide and long enough to reach – drove a nail in the end for a hook, rode out in the Avenue and stopped under the limb. There were thousands of people looking at me and it was still as a church. I reached several times and at last succeeded in getting the coveted relic. Several voices behind me said as it came down “he’s got it.” I shall send you a piece of it to deposit with our other relics. Take good care of it and under no considerations divide it with anyone. I will keep a piece and to those that want it who are worthy I will send a piece but do not promise anyone certain that you will give them a piece.

Friday. 11 o.c. PM

Rec’d your good letters of the 17th. The sad news had reached you when you wrote. I do not think President Lincoln was to be blamed for being at the Theatre since he went wholly on account of it being advertised and because the people wanted to see him. He went to gratify the public. You will be glad to learn that no fears are being entertained of Mr. Seward’s recovery. The other members of the Cabinet keep very close. President Johnson and Gen. Grant were on the Avenue yesterday on food, and unattended by any one, which I think is wrong.

I am sorry – ashamed to hear that the loyal citizens of the Green would allow any such creatures to live – or at least to remain in town, after exalting over this awful calamity – as Frank Chandler – A man on 6th St. made about the same remark to a sentry and the next instant an ounce of cold lead crashed through his brain from the sentry’s musket and his soul winged its way – straight to Hell. It was right, too. Serve them all so. If a man tells me in earnest that it is a “good job” that Booth done, I’ll do a better one the next minute. Not only is it a great calamity, but henceforth and forever, as long as an American lives on the Earth, he has to remember that he had a President murdered! Just think of it – Talk about Mexicans and barbarians. They are no worse than we are – Abraham Lincoln – the best President we ever had, murdered. I can’t help thinking of it. Moreover, the assassin is still at large, and when we do catch him, we are not able to punish him according to his deserts.

But it is late and I will close for tonight – Good night.

Saturday – Beautiful day – Well Pa! I am agreeable in regard to the 7.30 Bonds. Expect we will be paid again in ten days or two weeks and then I will forward by express what I can spare. No Mother I was not at the Theatre that night, because I did not see the notice that the distinguished party was to be there. If I had I should have gone there to see them. Now I would like to have been there and had it in my power to stop that miserable demon. Kerr is ready to start so will bid you adieu for this time. As ever Love

P.S. I shall send you some papers – preserve them – Enclosed find crape above mentioned A.V.R.

Much obliged for your letters Autie [brother Austin C.?] I can not answer them separately. Am always glad to hear from you. So Willie [brother William A.] likes it at O.M.’s. OK. Every one to their taste. Suppose he does not care for the way Orson has used the rest of us.

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April 18, 1865: A Leader Lies in State

We continue this month’s series of diary entries from Isabella Wunderly Campbell, who became Wyoming’s first lady in 1872. Isabella was a 19-year-old  living in Washington, D.C., during the eventful April of 1865. Her daily diary entries give insight into her experiences during the final days of the Civil War, which ended 150 years ago this month.

April 2-9
April 10
April 11
April 12
April 13
April 14
April 15
April 16
April 17

April 18, 1865 (WSA Isabella C. Wunderly diary, Campbell Collection, C-1049)

April 18, 1865
(WSA Isabella C. Wunderly diary, Campbell Collection, C-1049)

Tuesday, April 18, 1865

Today the remains of the lamented dead have been lying in state in the Executive Mansion. The crowd has been terrific. Mother, Mrs. Bonsall, and myself started to see him and strange to say succeeded in getting in. Never in my life shall I forget the awful solemnity which enshrouded the place the moment you crossed the threshold it came upon you. The most solemn stillness reigned throughout the house. The soft and shadowy light falling so gently on the placid features of the dead while the habiliment of mourning which invested the various apartments lately so radiant with bright and festive throngs caused me to think as I have never before.

Lincoln's funeral in the White House on April 19, 1865, illustration in Harper's Weekly newspaper. (Library of Congress image)

Lincoln’s funeral in the White House on April 19, 1865, illustration in Harper’s Weekly newspaper.
(Library of Congress image)

Isabella, her mother and their friend, Mrs. Bonsall, were three of the thousands of people filing through the East Room of the White House on April 18th.

 

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This Day in US History… 1865: The Search for Booth

We continue this month’s series of diary entries from Isabella Wunderly Campbell, who became Wyoming’s first lady in 1872. Isabella was a 19-year-old  living in Washington, D.C., during the eventful April of 1865. Her daily diary entries give insight into her experiences during the final days of the Civil War, which ended 150 years ago this month.

April 2-9
April 10
April 11
April 12
April 13
April 14
April 15
April 16

April 17, 1865 (WSA Isabella C. Wunderly diary, Campbell Collection, C-1049)

April 17, 1865
(WSA Isabella C. Wunderly diary, Campbell Collection, C-1049)

Monday, April 17, 1865

All is excitement. I feel unable to do anything but read the dispatches and reports as they are brought in to us. The papers hum with the dreadful news. We are well nigh paralyzed by the awful accounts which force themselves in upon our minds – Every moment brings out new and more startling developments. We know the man whom we so much loved and whom the nation loved is dead. This bitter cup is ours God holds it to our lips and bids us drink it up. Arrangements are being perfected for the burial of the President and I suppose the whole affair will be one of much grandeur and solemnity.

By this time, the newspapers and dispatches were saturated with sensational accounts of the events at Ford’s Theatre, the president’s last moments, and the continued search for John Wilkes Booth and his accomplices. Add to that the gossip swirling around Washington, D.C., and preparations for the grand funeral for Lincoln and  you can imagine the city was nearly bursting with drama, excitement and anticipation.

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This Day in US History… 1865: A Somber Easter Sunday

We continue this month’s series of diary entries from Isabella Wunderly Campbell, who became Wyoming’s first lady in 1872. Isabella was a 19-year-old  living in Washington, D.C., during the eventful April of 1865. Her daily diary entries give insight into her experiences during the final days of the Civil War, which ended 150 years ago this month.

April 2-9
April 10
April 11
April 12
April 13
April 14
April 15

April 16, 1865 (WSA Isabella C. Wunderly diary, Campbell Collection, C-1049)

April 16, 1865
(WSA Isabella C. Wunderly diary, Campbell Collection, C-1049)

Sunday, April 16, 1865

Such a Sabbath has never before dawned on this nation. Grief pervades every heart. Our whole city is clad in mourning. The shock to the whole community, the whole country, has been fearful. It seems greater than we are able to bear. Dr. Gurley spoke most beautifully of the departed. The church was draped in the deepest black also the President’s pew. Oh how can I realize the truths which for the past day have been crowding upon us. Another has taken his place, everything accomplished in the twinkling of an eye. Oh Father in Heaven, wilt thou not kindly temper this severe affliction for the dear ones upon whose hearts if falls so heavily. A nation mourns. Lord help us for the faithful fails from among the children of men.

Easter Sunday must have looked more like Good Friday at the church. Though the Lincolns were not members, they did hold a pew at the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C. At the time, pews were rented and reserved for families. Rev. Dr. Phineas Gurley was well acquainted with President Lincoln. In addition to his post as chaplain of the US Senate, Gurley was Lincoln’s spiritual adviser and often visited the White House. Dr. Gurley was also present at the president’s death bed the morning of the 15th and would give the funeral sermon on the 19th.

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This Day in US History… 1865: “Ring the Alarm Bells, Murder and Treason”

We continue this month’s series of diary entries from Isabella Wunderly Campbell, who became Wyoming’s first lady in 1872. Isabella was a 19 year old  living in Washington, D.C., during the eventful April of 1865. Her daily diary entries give insight into her experiences during the final days of the Civil War, which ended 150 years ago this month.

April 2-9
April 10
April 11
April 12
April 13

April 14

April 15, 1865 (WSA Isabella C. Wunderly diary, Campbell Collection, C-1049)

April 15, 1865
(WSA Isabella C. Wunderly diary, Campbell Collection, C-1049)

Saturday, April 15, 1865

“Ring the alarm bells, murder and treason” We are terror stricken, horrified, stand helpless as children. What can we do – Last night the President was shot at the Theatre and died at 7-22 this morning. Our President the great and good man has fallen by the hand of a base assassin. Was ever sorrow like unto this? Oh Father could not this bitter cup have been spared us. We know thou doest all things well. Thou too hast ordered this. The most intense excitement pervades the city. Every house is draped in mourning. The contrast is appalling and chills the warmest stoutest heart. I am almost beside myself and everybody seems to be insane. As yet the assassin has not been captured. Almighty God, do not permit him to escape the hand of law and justice.

Following the excitement and festive air of the Grand Illumination only two days earlier, the city turns black with mourning upon the news of President Lincoln’s death.

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