Wednesday, August 10, 2022

The April 16, 1865 Indignation Meeting in Bloomington, Illinois, after President Lincoln's Assassination.

News of the assassination hit Bloomington, Illinois, particularly hard since residents viewed Lincoln as one of their own. Religious leaders.

On April 16, the Sunday after the assassination, religious leaders called for an "Indignation (righteous anger) Meeting" on Courthouse Square. A crowd estimated at 8,000 gathered to mourn Lincoln's death. 
The only known photograph of the indignation meeting in Bloomington, Illinois, was likely taken by Bloomington photographers Joe Scibird or brother John Scibird. Local religious leaders organized the meeting on Sunday, April 16, 1865.

Jesse Fell, Bloomington's first lawyer, presided over the meeting, and Asahel Gridley and Leonard Swett each delivered several speeches. The Pantagraph's news columns were edged in black (traditional mourning stationery).

On May 3, 1865, Lincoln's funeral train came into Bloomington on its long deliberate passage from Washington, D.C. to Springfield, Illinois. Scheduled to arrive at 3 am, it was two hours late. Over 8,000 people showed up to see the train. Neighbors near and far came to pay their last respects to their revered, now martyred friend.

NOTE: With Abraham Lincoln as counsel, Asahel Gridley won an important Illinois Supreme Court case, giving him control of the local gas company, one of the state's first.

Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.

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