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February 2, 2011     Times
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14 Mt. Pulaski Times Mt. Pulaski 175th Anniversary Historical Sketches #19 in a Series The First Of Two 1876 Plots To Steal Abraham Lincoln's Corpse The Logan County Plot By Phil Bertorli Two known bizarre plots to steal Abraham Lincoln's corpse were hatched in 1876. A local attempt-- one of "the most notorious crimes of the century"--was attempted in November 1876. In early 1876, this wacky scheme was planned by a group of Logan County pushers of counterfeit cur- rency. The gang was desperate to get their counterfeiter out of jail. Benjamin Boyd was regarded by aU--"crooks and cops alike"--as one of the best known engravers in the Midwest and elsewhere--he being the main source for this gang's supply of bogus bills. The gang's lucrative enter- prise had dried up and, hence, work began immediately and most desperately on a ploy to steal Abe's corpse and ransom it back for a large sum of cash and the release of Boyd from prison. It was known that the United States Department of the Treasury had paid Boyd the "ultimate tribute" by recalling all of its genuine five dollar bills from circula- tion--Boyd's five-plate was so expertly engraved that several hundreds of thousands of dol- lars in bogus fives were being circulated throughout the Mid- west and various parts of the country before his arrest. In February or March of 1876, James Kinealy or Ken- nally ("Big Jim") traveled to Lincoln, Illinois, to begin his planning of the "Mt. Pulaski or Logan County Plot." Big Jim was a known "counterfeiting entre- preneur," a sometime St. Louis livery stable operator who had fre- quently been engaged in crooked ruses. In fact, Kinealy had once served a five-year term in the Illinois State Penitentiary for pass- hag bogus fifty dollar notes in Peoria. Upon his release, he "kept his own hands clean of counterfeit bills" and instead, became a liaison between one group of counterfeiters and sev- eral groups of "shovers" (gangs that distributed the bogus money). It was believed that by 1865, nearly one-third of the United States currency was counter- feit. The United States Secret Service was commissioned (July 5, 1865) as the "Secret Service Division" of the United States Depart- ment of the Treasury with the main task of counterfeit-money sup- pression. The proposal for this new independent police force was on President Lincoln's desk the day he was assassinated. The city of Lincoln was the home base for one group of Kinealy's shov- ers. The leader of this Logan County gang was Thomas J. Sharp, a news- paperman who was editor of Sharp's Daily Statesman, a Democratic paper that obviously struggled amidst the 175th Anniversary Committee Celebrating __ Abraham Lincoln's Birthday -" Sat Feb 12 at Mt Pulaski Courthouse 2 pm Cast-iron Tombstone Case performed by Mt. Pulaski High School Drama Club - Donna Koehler, Director 3:30 pm Guy Fraker talks on mid-1800s Illinois 8th Judicial Circuit, of which Mt. Pulaski was the county seat (1848-I 855). 5 pill Cast-iron Tombstone Case performed by Mt. Pulaski High School Drama Club - Donna Koehler, Director 7 p.m. Chris Vallillo performs his mid-18O0s song lections 2 & 5:30 performances tickets are for addts $3 Children & Students are Free ]ickets on sale at Salt Creek Attic and At The Door Proceeds will be shared by Mt. Pulaski District #23 High School Drama Department and Mt. Pulaski Township Historical Museum. No tickets required for the 3:30 & 7 performances. Mary Todd Lincoln Cake Will Be Served at 6 pm February 5, 2011 Central Illinois Republican main- stream. The evening before the exploit, one of the plotters was feeling especially excited--"euphoric" as it has been written-- realizing that Boyd would soon be on his way to freedom and on his way back to healing their cash- flow situation. He celebrated his excitement by treating himself to a visit at a local brothel. He was "fairly well liquored up" as he unknowingly revealed the ploy to his attending hooker, a Springfield prostitute who had entertained him and his friends on prior occasions. Although she was far from being a prominent citizen, she evidently felt the betrayal towards her slain president and passed along the news of the scheme to "steal old Lin- coln's bones" to an acquaintance of hers--Abner Wilkinson Springfield's chief of police. Early next morning, Wilkin- son relayed this inauspicious news to J.C. Power, who in turn immediately began rounding up more assistance from the members of the Lin- coln Monument Association's executive committee. Mean- while, the untimely drunkard had recovered enough from his alcoholic stupor to realize his carelessness and told the boys what had happened. Kinealy immediately called it off and all of them hastily ducked out of town. Thus, this ended this Logan County gang's futile effort at the theft and subse- quent ransom of our assassi- nated president's corpse. [For more information and for the other names of the local members of this nefarious gang, consult Paul Beaver's Abraham Lincoln in Logan County, IL. 1834-1860] Mt. Pulaski 175 th [ 1836-2011] Anniversary Celebration Current Contributors Abraham Lincoln Level Frost Farms Stephanie Mazanowski Linda Okonowski Leroy & Berly Ramthun Gene Byrne Anonymous Casimir Pulaski Level Gerald & Gloria Goodman Dean & Doris Cares Jabez Capps Level Lyndat & Judy Emrick Waldo- & Rosalie Bertoni Ed GoodpaSter Frank & Cheri Hassebroek Betty H'iekev Tom &Cheryl Martin 175th Family Contributions 175th Club Level Deb & Dale Aper Carolyn Beatty Ralph &' Phyllis Beccue Phil & Gini Bertoni Waldo & Rosalie Bertoni Bob & Lisa Brown & Family Irma Jean Buckles Mange Calev Bill & Judy Cavestani Todd & Angie Cyrulik Dorothy Laatsch Fred & Patsy Lipp Mrs. Harry Martin, Jr. Earl & Delores Maxheimer Jerry & Joyce Maxheimer Mary Milligan Harry & Valera Milner & Family Wanda Peterson Mt Pulaski Rotary Club Allen & Shirley Schaal Tom & Waneta Stephens Florence Stoll Rev. Barbara Stroud-Borth 175th Family, Individual & Organization Contribution Levels: Abraham Lincoln $25 to $150 Cimir Pulaski $200 to $499 Jabez Capps $500+ 175th Club $175 175th Business & Corporate Contributions Contributor Level Johnson True Value Hardware Curtis Oil Wyffles Seed Co Abraham Lincoln Level Farmers Grain of Central Illinois Johnson's Food Center Vintage One, LTD Ag.Land F.S. Mt Pulaski Pharmacy Casimir Pulaski Level Hilltop Catering Jabez Capps Level Cross Brothers, Inc Danner Trust DPCM Insurance Elkhart Grain Farmers Bank Herrin Fertilizer, Ltd Salt Creek Attic Stahrs Furniture Tomlinson Trust 175th Business &Corporate Levels: Contributor Up to $249 Abraham Lincoln $250 to $499 Casimir Pulaski $500 to $999 Jabez Capps $1,000+ Please make all checks out to: 175th Committee Send to: Mt. Pulaski 175th / P.O. Box 82 / Mt. Pulaski, IL. 62548 Call: 217 416 0392