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Four Facts You May Not Know About President Lincoln

This is a guest post by Darby Lanpher, Harper CE Instructor Services Specialist

Winter is my second favorite season, Fall being my first. I love snow, skiing, hot chocolate, sweaters and reading by the fireplace. Winter brings back fond memories of trips to Europe to ski. If you have a bucket list, put Zermatt, Switzerland on it. It is a magical place to visit in the winter or spring. Besides the beautiful scenery, there are no cars. The food, shopping, hospitality and accommodations are excellent.

There’s never a shortage of things to do in the wintertime. This year may be a little more challenging due to Covid, but you can still enjoy the beauty of the season:

  • Holidays
  • Snowboarding and skiing
  • Skating and Hiking
  • Building snow forts and snowmen
  • Shopping
  • Sledding
  • Football, Hockey and Basketball
  • Winter sunrises are the best! It might get dark earlier during the wintertime, but the breathtaking sunrises during the season totally make up for it.
  • You have the perfect excuse to stay inside and do nothing
  • Watch movies and tv shows:
    • The Undoing (Netflix)
    • The Flight Attendant (HBO Max)
    • The Crown (Netflix)
    • The Queen’s Gambit (Netflix)
    • Bridgerton (Netflix)
    • Schitt’s Creek (Netflix)

This week we celebrate two holidays: Valentine’s Day and Lincoln’s Birthday.

We all aware of Valentine’s Day, but here are a few facts about Abraham Lincoln as we celebrate his birthday on Friday, February 12th:

1. Abraham Lincoln’s birthday is a state holiday in California, Connecticut, Missouri, and  Illinois, falling on February 12th, regardless of the day of the week.

2. Lincoln is the only president to obtain a patent.

Lincoln, who loved tinkering with machines, designed a method for keeping vessels afloat when traversing shallow waters through the use of empty metal air chambers attached to their sides.

3. Lincoln created the Secret Service hours before his assassination.

On April 14th, 1865, Lincoln signed legislation creating the U.S. Secret Service. Even if the Secret Service had been established earlier, it wouldn’t have saved Lincoln. The original mission of the law enforcement agency was to combat widespread currency counterfeiting. It was not until 1901, after the killing of two other presidents, that the Secret Service was formally assigned to protect the Commander-in-Chief.

4. Grave robbers attempted to steal Lincoln’s corpse.

Secret Service did come to Lincoln’s protection, but only in death. In 1876 a gang of Chicago counterfeiters attempted to snatch Lincoln’s body from his tomb, which was protected by a single padlock, in Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield, Illinois. Their scheme was to hold the corpse for a ransom of $200,000 and obtain the release of the gang’s best counterfeiter from prison. Secret Service agents infiltrated the gang and were lying in wait to disrupt the operation. Lincoln’s body was quickly moved to an unmarked grave and eventually encased in a steel cage and entombed under 10 feet of concrete.

Darby is the Instructor Services Specialist at Harper College, where she has worked for 23 years in the Community Education Division. She graduated with a BS in Business from Plymouth State College in New Hampshire. Darby’s passion is to help others succeed and her philosophy is to always be kind, as you never know what someone is going through.


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