Reenactment revives Lincoln Funeral Train in Charleston


Mackenzie Freund

Chuck Trent, a pastor at the Otterbein United Methodist Church, portrayed Abraham Lincoln Wednesday at the Coles County Fairground. Trent stands next to the Lincoln statue while reading sections of Lincoln’s speeches and some famous quotes from his life.

Mackenzie Freund, City Editor

Black and green hand-stitched curtains lined the inside and outside of the car, while a casket sat inside where the original once did in Lincoln’s Funeral Train.

The Lincoln Funeral Train came to Charleston from Springfield for residents to view a replication of the train car that carried President Abraham Lincoln’s body from Washington, D.C. to Springfield when he was assassinated.

The funeral car was parked at the Coles County Fairgrounds and has had different groups of visitors in the two days it has been in Charleston.

Mary Dyrstad, a resident of Columbus, Ind., said she came to see the train because her cousin has been very involved with it.

Dyrstad said she loves how many people came to see the train while it was here.

“(My favorite part) is the beauty of it, and how articulate they were about getting everything right,” Drystad said.

Groups from middle schools and high schools in Coles County have been visiting the funeral car since it came into the city on Tuesday.

During the open visitation hours Tuesday and Wednesday, there were different events scheduled during the afternoon.

Some of these events consisted of presentations about James Connolly, a major in the Union Army who served during the Civil War and lived in Charleston, as well as readings of quotes and speeches from Lincoln’s life.

Chuck Trent, the pastor at the Otterbein United Methodist Church, portrayed Lincoln during the events on Wednesday.

Trent said he has always been a fan of history and the Civil War since he was a child.

He said he saw an advertisement in the paper a few months back and he got in contact with that person and got the part of Lincoln.

The funeral car will be in the Coles County Fairgrounds until 3 p.m. Thursday for more area schools to visit before it heads off to its next stop in Ashland, Ohio.

Mackenzie Freund can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]