Lincoln "Watch" Legend Confirmed 148 Years Later | NBC New York

Lincoln "Watch" Legend Confirmed 148 Years Later

Smithsonian finds secret Civil War message inside Lincoln's watch

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    The Smithsonian confirms a family's story about a secret message their ancestor left in a pocket watch for President Abraham Lincoln.

    WASHINGTON -- Curators at the National Museum of American History have settled a 148-year-old mystery once and for all.

    On Tuesday, they opened up a pocket watch that belonged to President Abraham Lincoln and discovered a hidden message long rumored to be inside.

    It read: "April 13, 1861. Fort Sumter was attacked by the rebels on the above date. J. Dillon." It then read: "April 13, 1861. Thank God we have a government. Jonathan Dillon."

    Dillon, a watchmaker who was repairing Lincoln's timepiece, reportedly said he was moved to write a message inside after the first shots of the Civil War were fired at Fort Sumter in South Carolina.

    The story has been passed down through the Dillon family and was reported in 1906 by The New York Times.