Wednesday, February 23, 2005

833 Anniversary of Lincoln's first assassination attempt

Today is the 144th anniversary of the first assassination attempt on President Lincoln. Most people don't know that it was an Ohio librarian who saved his life.

Colonel William T. Coggeshall, State Librarian of Ohio for 6 years, 1856-1862, was only 42 when he died in 1867. He wrote Poets and Poetry of the West, (Columbus, OH: Follett, Foster And Company, 1860). At the time, Ohio was considered “the West.” He died in Ecuador where he had gone as Ambassador after the Civil War ended. Coggeshall had been hired as a bodyguard and secret agent for President Lincoln, and saved his life shortly before his inauguration by intercepting a grenade thrown on the train. This was not revealed until 1908, long after the deaths of both Lincoln and Coggeshall. The incident is reported in Colonel Coggeshall, the man who saved Lincoln, by Freda Postle Koch.

One other example of his devotion to Lincoln, is that the Coggeshalls had a daughter born on September 20, 1862, the day Coggeshall received a telegram from Washington that Lincoln had a final draft of the emancipation proclamation. He decided to name the baby girl, "Emancipation Proclamation Coggeshall," but not until Richmond fell. Richmond didn't fall until April 3, 1865, so she was called "Girlie" for two and a half years, and then named Emancipation Proclamation. When she got to school, a teacher nicknamed her Prockie, which she was called the rest of her life (she died at 51). Her grave marker says E. Prockie, but her family continued to call her "Girlie."

The State Library of Ohio now has a room named for Coggeshall.


Anonymous said...

That was a wonderful post, thank you. Cheers, David Coggeshall (Los Angeles, CA)

Anonymous said...

Norma, how do you know about WTCoggeshall? FredaPKoch, who deciphered his letters & researched his life, & wrote 2 books about them, was my mother. How did you get on to her & them? Katharine Koch

Anonymous said...

I used to listen to her on the radio, maybe in the 1970s, and I think I heard about it there. Don't recall now where I bought the book. Nice to meet you Katharine--I think it's a fascinating story.