Abraham Lincoln was one of the most celebrated and mysterious presidents in the in U.S. (maybe this is why he made such an excellent vampire hunter.) His assassination sent a nation into mourning, and was followed by a two week funeral tour by train car. But Lincoln’s body did not find rest at the end of this procession. Everyone from thieves to politicians tried to take control of the corpse — even decades after it was finally buried.
Here is the macabre tale of the journeys taken by Lincoln’s corpse over the decades before 1901, when at last it came to rest in a ten foot block made of cement and steel.
Lincoln’s body resides in a tomb at Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield, Illinois, per the decision of Mary Todd Lincoln, but not without several disturbances. On November 7th 1876, a busy election night, a band of counterfeiters attempted to exhume the corpse of Lincoln to hold it for ransom in return for $200,000 (a little over $4 million today) and the release of Benjamin Boyd, a crafty, but imprisoned, engraver of counterfeiting plates.
The group of counterfeiters-turned-grave robbers entered Lincoln’s tomb and removed the marble lid covering the coffin, but did not succeed in moving the coffin more than a few feet before a U.S. Secret Service member entrenched in the grave robbers’ party warned local law enforcement. Interestingly, Lincoln created the Secret Service in 1865 to combat counterfeiting, with the organization’s range extended to presidential security in 1901 after the assassination of President McKinley.
Several of the grave robbers escaped, but once captured, they received modest one-year sentences in Joliet State Prison. Lincoln’s coffin traveled to a number of secret locations in the following years, with the coffin opened to confirm that Lincoln’s body remained inside twice between 1876 and 1887.
More here The Adventures of Abraham Lincoln’s Corpse.