Ken’s Korner: Lincoln document is found in a closet
News & Views From the World of Antiques & Collectibles
By Ken Hall
James Douthat, the retiring president of Lycoming College in central Pennsylvania, was cleaning out his office when he came across something in a closet that caught him off guard: a framed document carrying the unmistakable signature of Abraham Lincoln. It turns out Douthat had stumbled on a long-forgotten certificate, signed by President Lincoln in 1863, naming Methodist clergy Benjamin Crever a Civil War chaplain. And who was Benjamin Crever? Only he founder of Lycoming College. Yes, this was a find.
The document, inside a simple black frame, displays Lincoln’s neat and clearly visible signature. Above it is a patriotic-themed imprint at the bottom of the commission certificate. Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton also signed the document. An early estimate has pegged its worth at around $6,000. Crever was one of 500 Union hospital chaplains and was assigned to the military hospital in Frederick, Md. He served from July 1862 to August 1865, during the time when the battles of Antietam and Gettysburg were fought.