Lincoln's Grave Robbers
Grades 5 and up
An uncorrected proof provided by the publisher was used for this review.
Why did a few cony men, those who deal in counterfeit money, decide to steal Lincoln’s body?
Desperate to get him out of jail was James “Big Jim” Kennally, boss of counterfeiting around Chicago. Kennally's plan was to steal Lincoln’s body from his tomb in Springfield,IL and hold it as ransom until Boyd was released from prison and he got $200,000 in cash. Kennally and his gang decided that to stage the event on election night, November 7, 1876. This particular election, between Rutherford B. Hayes and Samuel J. Tilden, would go down in history as the most contentious election in American history. (that is until 2000.) Who would notice a trio of strangers in Springfield amidst all those who were there to vote. The Lincoln Monument would be deserted -- everyone would be in town, voting and then waiting for election results to come into the newspaper offices by telegraph. And later that night, as they sped off with Lincoln's casket, the roads would be conveniently busy. "A wagon going along the roads would not be noticed," Swegles later explained, "since those who saw it would think it contained farmers going home from the polls."
For a virtual tour of Lincoln's tomb, go here.