Today's issue of the Springfield, Illinois Journal-Register newspaper contains a fascinating article about a very old ax which has been tentatively identified as the final ax that Lincoln used, just one week before his assassination.
The ax is in the collection of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield. Prior to the opening of the museum, the ax was owned by the state of Illinois, which acquired in it 1955 from the family which owned it. The state and museum curators figured it was one of the many axes identified, but not proven, as a Lincoln ax. What makes this ax different is accompanying affidavits and other letters dating to as long ago as 1914, stating that this ax is the one which Lincoln used at a Union Army field hospital in Virginia. It was there on April 8, 1865 that Lincoln spotted the ax and showed off a little, holding the 7-pound tool by the end with it parallel to the ground. Even at the age of 56, Lincoln was able to hold the ax motionless for a full minute, something even the much-younger workers at the camp could not do. Makes one wonder about the supposed illnesses Lincoln had (Marfan's and cancer) if he was still so strong at that age.
Other axes supposed to have been used by Lincoln haven't come with such documentation, making historians feel that this might be indeed authentic. Of course, one never knows. If it's real, it might be worth as much as $15,000 according to the owner of the Abraham Lincoln Book Shop (a must-visit for the serious Lincoln collector or fan) in Chicago, Illinois.
Lincoln artifacts hold just as much, if not more, interest for me as does Lincoln's life itself. Let's hope that this ax is truly the real deal.