Reading Room: Services for Abraham Lincoln

On Sunday, April 16, 1865, Foundry, like most churches, held special services for Abraham Lincoln, assassinated a few hours before. A large congregation filled the church that morning. The Reverend W. M. D. Ryan announced the first hymn, "Jesus, while our hearts are bleeding," which was sung with great feeling by the choir and the congregation. An appropriate prayer and a beautiful anthem followed.

Ryan's text was Judges 19:30—"And it was so, that all that saw it said, There was no such deed done nor seen from the day that the children of Israel came up out of the land of Egypt unto this day: consider of it, take advice, and speak your minds." Ryan's first point in his sermon was that this "great and diabolical tragedy has had no parallel" from the beginning of the world. He then talked at length on the character, virtue, honesty and true greatness of the deceased President in meeting all emergencies. While George Washington was founder of this great nation, "Abraham Lincoln had saved it" Ryan made an earnest appeal to the people, for their own safety, to obey the laws, submit to the Government and to carry out the principles contained in the text.


This article is provided and used with permission from Papers of Homer Calkin, University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa.