150th Observance of Lincoln’s Death: Lincoln’s Watch, Lincoln’s Funeral and John Finney’s Letters



Opened with Funeral March for Abraham Lincoln by J.G. Barnard 1865

At the conclusion of ‘Lincoln’s Watch,’ this video is shown:
(It is best to wait until Doug Stiles relates his story.)


This evening commenced with a brief outline of Lincoln’s Funeral contributed by Catherine Lambrecht.

‘Lincoln’s Watch’

In 1861, Abraham Lincoln brought his watch to a Washington, D.C. jeweler to be repaired. Did the jeweler, Jonathon Dillon, add an inscription to it? Doug Stiles, a descendant of Dillon’s, will tell the fascinating story of how this question was recently answered.

Douglas W. Stiles is a Lake County Attorney concentrating in Probate and Real Estate law.  He has a strong interest in history and, in particular, Abraham Lincoln.

Treatment by Paul Max Rubinstein

John Finney arrived in Lake County, Illinois via New York in 1852 and worked on the family farm. He enlisted in 1862 and served 3 years in the Illinois 65th Volunteer Infantry. The United States Army promoted Finney to Fourth Sergeant on December 1, 1864 and to First Sergeant in July 1865, shortly before his unit’s decommission.

The Illinois 65th’s chief engagements included Sherman’s March to the Sea, the Atlanta Campaign, and the battles of Columbia, Franklin, Nashville, and Fort Anderson. Finney relays the details home with observations on every facet of life and landscape. He was a prisoner of war at Harper’s Ferry in September 1862 until a prisoner exchange in April 1863. Surviving letters date from March 1864-May 1865

Unable to farm due to war injuries, Finney settled in Highland Park and tried work as a mason for a few years before beginning a career in public service. The young city of Highland Park elected Finney as alderman in 1878 and City Clerk in 1880. He served four decades in city government with a marked influence on city policies and development. Finney was also active in the local Roman Catholic parish church. Finney retired to California with his family and lived there until his long life ended in 1934.


Since 1959, writer, author and educator Paul Max Rubenstein’s work is found on big and small screens, in print and in the classroom. His screenplays have been produced by Cannon Films and MGM/UA Universal Studios. Rubenstein c0-wrote the standard text, Writing for the Media: Film, Television, Film, and Radio, published by Prentice Hall Simon and Schuster; has published more than 20 short stories and is a contributing writer to Golf Digest Magazine. Rubenstein also formerly served as West Coast Entertainment Editor for the Chicago Sun Times and game show writer for Chuck Berris Productions, the Newlywed Game and Peter Quigley Productions. Awards include the Chicago International Film Festival Short Film Division, a Playboy Foundation Grant and the Proche Capital Memorial Student Award, Kendall College.

Thirty-year Highland Park, Illinois resident Rubenstein and his wife have two daughters and four grandchildren. His civic contributions include 10 years on the Board of Directors for East on Central, the Citizens Police Academy and a member of the Highland Park Historical Society Board for since 2010.


Championship hurler Colm Egan is a native of County Tipperary, Ireland. He has lived in Chicagoland since 1994 and is very active in the Chicago Irish community, especially Gaelic football and hurling. Egan coordinates Chicago Area Youth Gaelic Games, a program that serves 200 kids and teens.

He is married to Michelle Rubenstein (Paul’s Daughter). They are the parents of two beautiful daughters, Ciara(8) and Sarah (5), who are also Paul Rubenstein’s granddaughters.

Recorded live at the Highland Park Library on April 15, 2015.