(Editor's Note: This is the conclusion of an article that was published in last week's issue of the Newcomerstown News.)
In 1932, now deceased, former Port Washington resident Phillip Lamneck wrote his memory of Abraham Lincoln's stop at Port Washington that wintery day in February 1861. Lamneck was a youth at the time of Lincoln's visit and provides a vivid recollection.
Lamneck recalled that when it became known that Lincoln would be passing through the area there was much excitement among the residents of the Village of Port Washington. Much preparation was still completed by Port's residents even though they were fully aware that they may not even catch a glimpse of Lincoln himself. They speculated the train would be briefly stopping at nearly every railroad depot along the way to Washington D.C. as the train's boiler required frequent fillings of coal and water to keep the train moving.
The procession of Port Washington's citizens began gathering in the public square, near the village's small depot building, about 9 o'clock that morning. The village's band played to keep the citizens entertained, and to show Lincoln their appreciation and admiration if the train stopped and he emerged from the train. Among the gathered citizens were James and Christian Hammersley, who were leaders of the village at that time, as well as Col. John Knight, who founded the Village of Port Washington. The exact arrival time of Lincoln's train was not known. There was no knowledge of when Lincoln's train would have even left Newcomerstown to give Port Washington's citizens any warning that he was on his way. Remember, this was 1861, there were no cell phones, no radios, no television. The exchange of information was either by word of mouth, or sent by letter or post card.
After waiting about two hours, the train was sighted in the distance. The band played their greeting as the crowd cheered Lincoln's arrival. The train consisted of a baggage car, passenger car, the engine and the tender.
As soon as the train stopped, the anxious citizens gathered around the last train car eagerly looking for Lincoln. Just then a tall, slender man dressed in black, looking exactly as his pictures, emerged and stepped out onto the train's platform. He bowed to the people, and addressed them saying, "Ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to see so many pleasant faces here. I am sorry I am not prepared with a speech for you."
He then laughed and said, "I am like the man who was out hunting all day and found nothing. On his way home, he said to himself that it was well that he did not shoot anything for he had no pot to cook it in. So if I had prepared a speech for you, I would have no time to deliver it."
About that time, the train once again started up. Lincoln then wished the crowd well and thanked the citizens for the honor they had shown him. As the train pulled away, Lincoln stood on the platform waving good-bye as the train headed east towards it's destination.
Four years later, Lincoln's train passed through the area again. This time, it was not a joyous occasion, but rather one of somber and sadness. It was Lincoln's funeral train which was heading west to Springfield, Ill.
Lincoln had been assassinated by John Wilkes-Booth on April 14, 1865.