Wednesday, June 5, 2013
For those of you who think you have an awful job, think of Ward Hill Lamon.
He was President Abraham Lincoln's official bodyguard.
For the record, Lamon was not at Ford's Theater the night Lincoln was shot. He was in Richmond, Virginia on official business for the President. But he did warn Lincoln not to go to the play without him and lived the rest of his life with regret.
While it is funny to make jokes about "Lincoln's Bodyguard", and people have for 150 years now, remember Lamon (along with famous detective Allan Pinkerton) foiled multiple assassination plots against Lincoln during the Civil War.
In the fall of 1864, Lamon killed on man on the White House grounds by beating him to death with a handgun. The assassin was carrying a two pistols and two knives. That same night Lamon slept on the floor directly outside Lincoln's bedroom door in the White House armed with a shotgun, two pistols, and two knives. He used his evening cloak as a blanket.
Lamon always carried extra weapons on him in case they were attacked and Lincoln wanted to defend himself. During the famous Baltimore assassination plot against Lincoln in 1861, Lamon offered Lincoln a "revolver and a Bowie knife" as they proceeded through the city towards Washington. Lincoln and Pinkerton thought it was best if the President of the United States did not enter the capitol packing heat.
On another occasion, an overexcited voter shook Lincoln's hand with too much force, causing the President to wince in pain. Lamon instantly knocked the man unconscious with a punch to the head. Lincoln expressed concern for the voter now lying on the ground and said to Lamon "hereafter when you have occasion to strike a man, don't hit him with your fist. Strike him with a club or crowbar or something that won't kill him."
What does any of this have to do about real estate?
Sometimes you get credit for good deals when none of the credit rightfully belongs to you. Sometimes you take blame for bad ones even when nothing is really your fault. Often you do great work and people still blame you for their mistakes.
But, in the end, people always admire loyalty, especially when it is not expected. This reason is why history remembers, and even still admires, Lamon and his occasionally violent and controversial antics.
Remember Ward Hill Lamon was Lincoln's SELF-APPOINTED bodyguard. No one told him he had to risk his life to protect Lincoln. He did it for the oldest reason imaginable. He loved the man.
By the way, here is Lamon at his normal place, to the right of Lincoln, on the day of the Gettysburg Address, November 19, 1863.