Special Report

Lincoln's Pocket Watch Reveals Long-Hidden Message

The Smithsonian opens one of its prized artifacts and a story unfolds

Abraham Lincoln's pocket watch. (Smithsonian National Museum of American History)

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One thing is also clear. Dillon wasn't the only one with presidential pocket watch access. For there alongside the Dillon inscription is yet another—"LE Grofs Sept 1864 Wash DC." Who would that be?

And across one of the brass levers, the name "Jeff Davis" is scrawled. Lincoln's pocket watch got around.

Stiles was satisfied. "I feel more in touch with Lincoln," and then with a grin, he adds, "Hey, that's Lincoln's watch and my ancestor put graffiti on it."

About Beth Py-Lieberman
Beth Py-Lieberman

Beth Py-Lieberman is the museums editor, covering exhibitions, events and happenings at the Smithsonian Institution. She has been a member of the Smithsonian team for more than two decades.

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