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The Plot to Steal Lincoln's Body
"During his presidency, Abraham Lincoln was a target of numerous conspiracies -- but the plotting didn't stop after he died! He had been in his tomb eleven years when a plan was hatched to snatch his body. Test your knowledge of this bizarre event."
15 Points Per Correct Answer - No time limit
In 1865, just after the end of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated -- and the people he had led through the war erupted in grief. Thousands lined up outside the U.S. Capitol Building, where he lay in state, to pay their respects; hundreds of thousands paid homage along the route of his funeral train to its final destination. In what city was Lincoln finally laid to rest, three weeks after his death?
Although it was meant to be a place of peace, Lincoln's tomb would be the site of conspiracy, intrigue, and violence. In what type of setting were his tomb and monument built?
The center of a bustling square at the heart of the city
A quiet, leafy cemetery outside the city
A hilltop mansion near downtown
The spacious, marble basement of a government building
The plot to steal Lincoln's body began with an Illinois criminal named "Big" Jim Kennally, who in February 1876 was wracking his brain for ways to spring a contact of his from jail. Benjamin Boyd, his imprisoned partner in crime, had been convicted and sentenced for what offense?
Murdering for hire
Illegal arms dealing
Kennally's first (and only) idea was to kidnap Lincoln's body and hold it for ransom, demanding the release of his friend in addition to cold hard cash. His first set of co-conspirators were a small gang who coincidentally hailed from Lincoln, Illinois. In March 1876, they traveled to the city where Lincoln was buried, with luggage full of grave-robbing tools. After one of the co-conspirators described their plan to a local citizen, however, they wisely decided to call it off. To whom did this loose-lipped crook make his ill-considered boast?
To a new drinking buddy
To a prostitute
To an undercover cop posing as a hansom cab driver
To the caretaker of the tomb during a public tour
Disappointed with his first selection of henchmen, Kennally went to Chicago to find a second group of minions. Terence Mullen and Jack Hughes, from the near West Side of Chicago, were excited to be cut in on the theft -- but after Kennally left, they decided that they'd need some extra help themselves. Unfortunately for them, they were not particularly careful recruiters. Whom did they approach to help them with the crime?
The nephew of the tomb's caretaker
An undercover city cop
A former Union soldier who had hero-worshipped Lincoln
A Secret Service informer
Kennally gave very specific instructions to Hughes and Mullen: he would rely on them to do the dirty work, preferring to stay far away in case anything went wrong. Dazzled by the prospect of a $200,000 ransom payoff (in 1876 dollars!) they readily agreed. How did Kennally instruct them to conceal the kidnapped corpse?
By removing it from its coffin and hiding it in his icebox
By burying it, still in its coffin, in a shallow grave in sand dunes
By hiding it, still in its coffin, above ground in the woods on his property
By concealing it, still in its coffin, in the basement of one of his rivals
The co-conspirators put some thought into the date of the crime. If they were going to get away with spiriting Lincoln's body out of its tomb and to their chosen hiding place, they needed to pick a night when the locals would be reliably distracted. What night, in the autumn of 1876, did they choose?
The centennial celebration of Independence Day
The night of a local championship baseball game
The long-awaited night arrived, and so did the conspirators. Three of them went down to the tomb, while a fourth waited nearby with a wagon. They found it easy to break into Lincoln's sarcophagus, but then they had a problem: the coffin was too heavy to move with just three people. Why?
It was encased in lead.
As part of his solemn funeral, a stone from every state of the Union had been placed in the coffin.
Mary Lincoln had insisted that her husband be buried with pockets full of gold.
Contrary to popular perception, in life Abraham Lincoln had been a very large man.
Thanks to the information provided by their patriotic mole among the co-conspirators, the law was waiting near the tomb on the evening of the planned grave robbery. At a pre-arranged signal from the spy, they emerged from their hiding place and stealthily made their way to Lincoln's resting place. Suddenly, a sharp noise filled the air, alerting the robbers -- who fled without the body they had come for. What caused the sound?
A federal cop stumbled over a tree root; thinking it to be Lincoln's body, he screamed.
A hired detective's pistol accidentally went off.
The nervous spy accidentally knocked over a table, spilling books and tools everywhere.
An uncooperative owl hooted, spooking the conspirators.
At the end of the night, Lincoln's body was safe, and its would-be kidnappers were mere days from being apprehended -- but his tomb had been desecrated and the criminals had come horrifyingly close to their goal. The tomb's caretaker, together with a group of prominent local men calling themselves "Lincoln's Honor Guard," decided to protect the body by hiding it until a more secure burial could be arranged. Where was the body of Abraham Lincoln (and, later, the body of his wife Mary) concealed for the next few decades?
In a shallow grave in a nearby forest
In the attic of the tomb's Memorial Center
In the basement beneath his memorial obelisk
In the root cellar of the tomb's caretaker
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Compiled May 24 13