The Haunted Lincoln Dress in Loudonville Cottage

10/30/2018

The Haunted Lincoln Dress in Loudonville Cottage

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What does President Abraham Lincoln, Loudonville, and a ghost story have to do with each other?

Loudonville Cottage used to be a summer home to Clara Harris. If the name isn’t familiar, she and her fiancee, Henry Reed Rathbone, attended Ford’s Theatre with Mrs. Lincoln. Yes, that Ford’s Theatre. Yes, that Lincoln. Yes, that night. Clara sat next to President Abraham Lincoln during the show “My American Cousin” when John Wilkes Booth slashed Rathbone while attempting to save Lincoln’s life. His blood covered the white satin dress Clara was wearing, according to PocketSights.

When she got back to Loudonville Cottage, she was unable to part with the dress. One day, she allegedly saw the ghostly likeness of President Abraham Lincoln from a rocking chair and vanished at midnight. Clara, wanting to stop the sightings, bricked up the closet that held the dress. Her husband, Rathbone’s, mental health deteriorated as he blamed himself for Lincoln’s death. On Christmas, 1883, he had gotten so bad that he shot Clara and failed at his suicide attempt and eventually was committed to an asylum. In 1910, according to Friends of Albany History, Henry and Clara’s eldest son had the bricks removed and burned the dress to end what he believed to be a curse on the family. People have reported seeing President Lincoln as recent at 1900 and others have reported seeing a blood soaked woman in the house with President Lincoln.


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