Monday, February 13, 2017

Wellington Man’s Lincoln Medal – Feb. 12, 1952

From Lorain Journal of Feb. 12, 1952
Well, yesterday was Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday, so it’s a good time for this post. It’s about a Wellington man with a special keepsake: an original medal struck in 1860 to commemorate Abraham Lincoln’s campaign for the Presidency.

You can read all about it in the article below, which ran in the Lorain Journal on February 12, 1952.

C.D. Battles Holds Gift of 1860 From His Grandfather
Wellingtonite Proud of Lincoln Campaign Medal

WELLINGTON – Abraham Lincoln, the subject of so many controversies while he was in office as the President of the United States, set such an example for those who followed him that today anything related to him is regarded as virtually priceless.

Among the many material objects concerning Lincoln which today brings a fancy price on the market are the original campaign medals struck in 1860 when the lanky Lincoln was first seeking the highest office in the land.

Just such a medal is owned by Clyde D. Battles of Wellington, whose photographs accompany this article. Battles has one of the very few medals from Lincoln’s initial bid for public office.

He received this prized object from his grandfather, the late Peter Dagnan, who wore the medal on a piece of black ribbon when he was just a child. Other medals of a similar nature were cast in 1864 after Lincoln had proved his leadership but Battles owns one of the original 1860 models.

On the front of the medal is a bust of Lincoln, showing his features,  as being more even and regular than usually pictured in present day art. He seems to have a studious look and his nose is smaller than usually portrayed.

Also on the front are the words, “Hon. Abraham Lincoln” and the date 1860, along with the name of the designer of the medal, a man named Ellis.

On the back side are the words “The Rail Splitter of the West” and a picture of a man with the axe poised, ready to strike at a log, as another man sits and watches. In the background is a log cabin, similar to the one in which Lincoln was born in Kentucky.

The medal owned by Battles is a bronze piece, about one inch in diameter. Through the top is drilled a hole, placed there so Battles’ grandfather could carry it on a piece of tape or string so it wouldn’t be lost. Peter Dagnan proudly wore the medal through Lincoln’s first campaign.

In 1864, when the second issue of medals was struck, every parade backing Lincoln had a wagon full of men engaged in rail splitting, the strong point in Lincoln’s campaign – the fact that he was a common man and knew the common man’s problems.

Battles, who won’t even estimate the value of his Lincoln medal, keeps it with his coin collection, fearful of losing this bit of American history.

Battles’ grandfather, although he wore the medal with pride as a youngster, never got to see the noted President. The closest he ever came to that was when Lincoln’s body passed through Wellington after his assassination.

Here’s a photo of the back of one of the 1860 Lincoln campaign medals, courtesy of pinterest.

And here is the link to a blog that is focused entirely on one person’s collection of these types of medals. The blog – “19th Century Presidential Campaign Tokens/Medals” – even has a great photo of an 1860 Lincoln medal (below). The blog also has some information about it, including the identity of the man watching Lincoln split the rail.

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