ROAD TRIPPIN' Mount Pleasant: Harlan-Lincoln House
MOUNT PLEASANT, IA (CBS2/FOX28 ) The sound of the old Kimball organ coming from the big yellow house on the north edge of Iowa Wesleyan University still sounds a little sad. But as you look around this grand old mansion at the pictures and memories, the history of 1865 comes alive to explain why the somber past lingers. Its the home of distinguished Iowa Senator James Harlan, who went to Washington and became the best friend of a tall, thoughtful lawmaker from Illinois named Abe Lincoln. The friendship so loyal that their children, Robert Todd Lincoln and Mary Eunice Harlan fell in love and married. This home, in the heartland of southern Iowa, in Mount Pleasant, is a chapter not well known. Its where the grandchildren of one of the most revered presidents in history spent their summers. Here visitors find the incredible tale of Mamie, Jessie and Abe Lincoln The Second, better known as Jack. The three grandchildren of honest Abe would come here to escape the attention of city life and spend summers with their mom and grandma and grandpa Harlan. Their story is told in pictures, rock collections and even a piece of the old pantry door where someone had measured them next to a ruler to remark on how big they were getting. But there is a slightly darker fascination that is likely responsible for drawing the thousands of people who come here each year. Secure in a black frame on a dining room wall, is a swatch of black cloth that stops guests dead in their tracks. It is a piece of the coat that President Lincoln was wearing the night he was assassinated. The frayed edges show the age of a garment worn to Fords Theater 150 years ago, the night John Wilkes Booth came to the balcony. It was the presidents Iowa friend, James Harlan, who rode the funeral train and accompanied Lincolns body back to his grave site in Illinois. On another wall, a second item of clothing connected to the dreadful event. It is one of the funeral veils worn by Mary Todd Lincoln during the time of mourning her husbands death. They are items you would expect to find in the Smithsonian or at the very least in Springfield, but they are right here.