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Stealing Lincolns Body

Updated on February 18, 2009

Two Of The Men Who Tried To Steal Lincolns Body

Grave Robber Terrence Mullen One of the men who tried to steal President Abraham Lincolns body.
Grave Robber Terrence Mullen One of the men who tried to steal President Abraham Lincolns body.
Grave Robber John Hughes One of the men who tried to steal President Abraham Lincolns body.
Grave Robber John Hughes One of the men who tried to steal President Abraham Lincolns body.
Lincoln's Tomb In Springfield Illinois
Lincoln's Tomb In Springfield Illinois
Only Photo Known To Exist Of Lincolns Body Laying At State In His Coffin
Only Photo Known To Exist Of Lincolns Body Laying At State In His Coffin
President Abraham Lincoln
President Abraham Lincoln
John Wilkes Booth Wanted Poster
John Wilkes Booth Wanted Poster

President Lincolns Body Almost Stolen

In 1870 a group of counterfeiters in Illinois ran up on hard times when their engraver for the money was imprisoned and their supply of counterfeit money ran out. Believe it or not but they came up with the ideal of stealing President Lincolns body and holding it for ransom. They intended to demand $200.000 in gold and the release from prison of their associate Ben Boyd who was also the engraver of their counterfeit money.

Unfortunately however one of the members of the gang got drunk one night in Springfield Illinois and told a woman about the plot to steal Lincolns body. The news of the plot spread quickly and the members of the gang fled in fear of arrest.

The robbers however did not give up and they moved their headquarters to Chicago and kept up their plans and plot to steal Lincolns body. A man named Lewis G. Swegles joined the gang in Chicago but what the gang did not know was the fact that Swegles was in fact a US Secret Service Agent sent to spy on the group.

Plans were made and the group planned to put Lincolns body in a sack and then transport it to northern Indiania where it was to be hidden in the sand dunes there. The group planned to hide Lincolns body very well and then demand the ransom.

The group decided on a date for the robbery and they picked November 7th 1876 which was election day because they felt they would get by with the robbery more easily that day. The gang went to the cemetery and sawed the lock off the door of Lincolns tomb, pried the lid off of Lincolns sarcophagus and attempted to lift out the heavy wooden coffin but they could not lift it. They told Swegles to go get the horse and wagon and bring it up to the tomb.

But Swegles signaled to the detectives that were hiding and they attempted to run in and arrest the gang but the men ran out the other side and got away.

However they were rounded up and arrested a few days later in Chicago. Robert Lincoln the son of President Abraham Lincoln hired a group of lawyers to prosecute the gang of grave robbers. The robbers were all found guilty  and sentenced to one year in the Illinois State Penitentiary at Joliet Illinois.

One reason the gang of grave robbers had been so bold was that they knew under Illinois Law they could only be given a year for robbing graves. After the attempted theft of President Lincolns body the law was changed to 10 years but the gang of grave robbers only had to serve 1 year for their attempted theft of President Lincolns body.  

The Assassination Of President Abraham Lincoln
The Assassination Of President Abraham Lincoln

Coincidence? You be the judge

Coincidence? You be the judge
Coincidence? You be the judge

Similarities Between the Assassinations of Kennedy and Lincoln

Have you ever read about the amazing similarities between President Lincoln and President Kennedy who were both assassinated while in office. Don't you think these are simply amazing similarities.

1. Kennedy was elected to Congress in 1946 and Lincoln was elected to Congress in 1846.

2. Lincoln was elected President in 1860 and Kennedy was elected in 1960.

3. Both Lincoln and Kennedy lost a child while living in the White House.

4. Both men were deeply concerned with the Civil Rights issues.

5. Lincoln had a Secretary named Kennedy who told him not to go to the theater. Kennedy had a Secretary named Lincoln who told him not to go to Dallas Texas.

6. Both men were shot in the back of the head in the presence of their wife's.

7. President Lincoln was shot in the Ford Theater. President Kennedy was shot in a Lincoln made by Ford.

8. Both men were shot on a Friday.

9. John Wilkes Booth shot Lincoln in a Theater and fled to a warehouse. Oswald shot Kennedy from a warehouse and fled to a theater.

10. Both Oswald and Booth were killed before coming to trial.

11. Both Oswald and Booth were believed to be a part of a much bigger conspiracy.

12. Lincoln was replaced by Andrew Johnson born in 1808. And Kennedy was replaced by Lyndon Johnson born in 1908.

And if those are not strange enough think about these. Lincolns son had a pet turkey named Jack. Kennedy's son John John had a pet turkey named Abe.

Apparently both Lincoln and Kennedy had a dream shortly before their assassination and told their wife's about it. Lincoln told his wife that he saw himself in a casket. Kennedy told his wife he saw his flag draped coffin and long lines of people walking by his coffin. It is something else indeed that both men apparently got a glimpse into the future before their assassinations.

Some people have gone as far as to wonder why did history repeat its self. Were the two men actually the same man reincarnated. How indeed did these strange similarities take place.  

The Strange Events That Occurred After President Lincolns Assassination

Below are the strange, unusual and bizarre events that occurred after the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.

1. John Wilkes Booth's brother, Edwin Boothe passed away on June 7th 1893. Two days later at exactly the same time that his coffin was being carried to be buried all three floors of Ford's Theater collapsed killing 22 people and injuring many more. At that time Ford Theater was being used to store US War Department records.

2. Boston Corbett the soldier who had shot John Wilkes Booth went berserk during a meeting of the Kansas State Legislature shoving people and saying the devil had came for him. He was subdued and placed in a mental hospital but he escaped a year later and was never seen again.

3. The young couple who attended the theater the night Lincoln was killed were Henry Rathbone and Clara Harris. They got married and Rathbone was appointed the ambassador to Germany. On December 23 1883 Rathbone went totally crazy shooting and stabbing his wife to death and tried to kill the couples children. He said people lived inside the walls and that was who killed his wife and stabbed his children. Rathbone was placed in a mental hospital in Germany where he lived until August 14th 1911. They said he died screaming saying that Lincoln had come for him.

4. In May of 1875 there was a insanity trial for Mary Todd Lincoln and the court said that she was clearly insane. She claimed like Rathbone that people that lived in the walls talked to her. Mary spent several months in a Mental Hospital that time and also on several other occasions. She always insisted the people who lived in the walls were the ones to blame for her troubles.

5. Robert Lincoln President Lincolns son was at the White House when his father was shot. When President James Garfield was shot by assassin Charles J. Guiteau Robert Lincoln was there with President Garfield. When President William McKinley was shot by assassin Leon F. Czolgosz once again Robert Lincoln was there by his side.

6. Ann Surratt was Mary Surratt's daughter and Mary Surratt was sentenced to be hung for her part in the conspiracy to kill President Lincoln. She tried to see President Johnson to beg for her mothers life but a man named Preston King who was an ex senator stopped Ann Surratt from seeing President Johnson. Only a short time later Preston wrote a suicide note and tied a bag of bullets around his neck and jumped off a River Ferry Boat drowning himself. In his suicide note you guessed it he claimed he hear people inside the walls talking to him.

7. Another man who prevented Ann Surratt from seeing President Johnson was Senator James H. Lane. Senator Lane did not leave a suicide note but he shot himself to death on July 11th 1866.

Why did all these strange things happen to these people. What caused it. Was their some type of hidden conspiracy that has never seen the light of day. Or was it all just simply coincidence. Really makes one wonder doesn't it.  

What Do You Think About The Gang Of Grave Robbers Almost Stealing Lincolns Body. What About The Strange Events That Happened Afterwards.

The Men And Women Who Were Hung For Their Part In The Lincoln Assassination.
The Men And Women Who Were Hung For Their Part In The Lincoln Assassination.

Just Click On The Green Share It Button And Then Digg And Stumble This Hub Page

Just Click On The Green Share It Button And Then Digg And Stumble This Hub Page
Just Click On The Green Share It Button And Then Digg And Stumble This Hub Page

So What Do You Think About The Plan To Steal Lincolns Body And All The Really Strange Things. Post Your Comment Now.

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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I need help!!!

      I am doing this project for school and I am trying to find facts on Stealing Abraham Lincoln's body and I just so happened to come across this website. I have to fill a lot of things out for my sources for the facts. I have to find the Contributors, Publisher / Sponsor, and when the site was electronically published but i can't seem to find it... If anyone knows the answers the these questions just please tell me!

    • profile image

      pigeon target  

      9 years ago

      i heard that the gangboss who was involved in it never actually got caught he was in chicago when it was going down

    • profile image

      elizabeth Balderaz 

      11 years ago

      it's werid how people sek to find the comparsons to lincon and Kenndy but . i learned new thing today so it okay

    • profile image


      11 years ago


    • bgpappa profile image


      11 years ago from Sacramento, California

      Good Hub. The History Channel Did A Great Piece On Stealing Lincoln's Body. But your piece has a lot of great information.

    • The Lost Dutchman profile image

      Patrick Bernauw 

      11 years ago from Flanders (Belgium)

      I love All Things Haunted (Strange, Unexplained, Paranormal)... and this is a great piece!

    • crazyhorsesghost profile imageAUTHOR

      Thomas Byers 

      11 years ago from East Coast , United States

      Yes they really would and I have always been interested in Abraham Lincoln. There's a lot about him that a lot of people do not know. And I have done a lot of research over the years to try to find it all.

    • Julie-Ann Amos profile image

      Julie-Ann Amos 

      11 years ago from Gloucestershire, UK

      Hi - I'm not commenting on them all but I'm really enjoying this series of hubs. They'd actually make a good "Did You Know" type of book!


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