WASHINGTON-In 150, a hidden message of civil war was engraved on Abraham Lincoln's watch.
The curator of the museum confirmed the news on Tuesday.
A Bell watch carefully pry open an antique watch with a gadget at the National Museum of History, and the sculptor's descendants read aloud the information on the metal plate underneath the watch's surface.
Jonathan Dillon, April 13
1861, "part of the inscription is," Fort samport (sic)
Rebel attacks on the above date.
"Thank God, we have a government . "
"These words are engraved with small cursive handwriting, filling the space between the tiny screws passing through the metal plate and the gears.
A magnifying glass is needed to read them.
Jonathan Dillon, who was at the time a clock maker on Penn Avenue, was holding Lincoln's watch in his hand when he heard the first shot of the civil war in South Carolina.
The Irish immigrant later recalled that he was the only union sympath to work in a divided Washington store.
Dillon's story was circulated among his family and friends and eventually got a reporter from The New York Times.
Of the 1906 articles in the paper, an 84-year-
According to old Dillon, as far as he knows, no one has ever seen the inscription, including Lincoln.
Dillon had a vague memory of what he had carved.
He told the newspaper that he wrote an article: "The first shot was fired.
Slavery is dead.
Thank God we have a president who will at least try.
The story has not been confirmed for many years.
The greatness of the watchmaker-
A few decades ago, great-grandson Doug Stiles first heard the story of carving from his uncle.
He said the story had spread to the big family far away in Ireland.
A few months ago, he used Google to find the story of the New York Times, and last month, he passed the information to the curator of the Smithsonian Museum, who knew nothing about carving.
On Tuesday, clock maker George Thomas, who volunteered at the Museum, took a few minutes to carefully open the watch, and reporters and museum staff watched it on a video monitor.
"The moment of truth has come.
Is there or no sign?
Thomas said while teasing the audience, the audience took a sigh of relief when he confirmed that the audience was there.
He called Stiles and read the words of his ancestors, with a smile on his face and a sigh of relief.
"Like Pearl Harbor or 9/11, it was his reaction (
To the civil war ,)
Stiles said the inscription.
Later, Stiles said he felt closer to 16 presidents.
"Oh my God, that's Lincoln's watch," he said. "My ancestors painted graffiti on it!
Lincoln's family kept the watch until it was donated to the museum in 1958.
This is Lincoln's pocket watch with him every day, and one of the only valuables he brought to the White House from Springfield.
Harry Rubinstein, director of the museum's political and reform department, said.
"I think it just captures some history that can change you to another time and place," he said . ".
"It captures the excitement and hope of the Washington clock maker.
"As part of the exhibition, the watch will be on display at the museum by Wednesday," Abraham Lincoln: extraordinary life.
"It will have a new label to tell the story of Dillon and a photo of the inscription.