The upcoming Hollywood movie release “Saving Lincoln” to be available in theaters starting February 12 (Abraham Lincoln’s official birthday) is the Lincoln story as told by his personal bodyguard Ward Hill Lamon. Lamon was born in 1828 in Summit Point, grew up in Bunker Hill, lived in Martinsburg and is buried in Gerrardstown. All those towns were in Virginia originally but since June 20, 1863 are West Virginia sites.
Lamon was born on January 6, 1828 in Summit Point. His family moved when he was two years old to Mill Creek (now Bunker Hill). The log cabin where he lived from age two to age 18 still stands on the property. In 1846, he moved to Danville, Illinois where he became an attorney on the 8th circuit. Lamon was married to a local girl, Angeline Turner, daughter of Ehud Turner, who lived in the Whiting’s Neck area just outside of Shepherdstown. Lamon was one of just three men that Abraham Lincoln took to Washington with him when he became President of the United States.
How Lamon’s important role in Mr. Lincoln’s life in the upcoming film, portrayed by actor Lea Coco, will be interesting watch. But this much is already known. Ward Hill Lamon (pronounced LEMON according to his daughter) was Lincoln’s law partner in Danville from 1852-1856. Lamon was the man who snuck Lincoln through Baltimore in the middle of the night when there was plot to assassinate the president-elect on his way to his Inauguration in 1861. It was Lamon who introduced Lincoln in Gettysburg on November 19, 1863 for what we now call the “Gettysburg Address”. Lamon, who was on special assignment for President Lincoln and not at Ford’s Theater, also was the marshal-in-charge of the Lincoln funeral.
Lamon had law offices in both Martinsburg and Gerrardstown when he returned to his home area after Lincoln’s death. Mr. Lamon was one of four candidates for nomination as Governor of West Virginia at the Republican Convention in Parkersburg in 1876 but withdrew his name and threw his support behind General Nathan Goff. Lamon ran for Congress in the 2nd Congressional district of West Virginia in 1876 but lost to B. F. Martin.
Lamon was credited with writing three books in his lifetime. He only actually wrote one -- “The Life of Abraham Lincoln As President.” The other two books that list him as the author were actually written by his daughter from his papers and by his law partner. Lamon died in 1893.
The new film, coming on the heels of the Steven Spielberg’s academy award nominated film “Lincoln”, is produced by Reuben Lim and directed by Salvador Litvak. Of particular interest is the unique style of the movie that uses actual Civil War photographs as backgrounds for many of the scenes.
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