How in the world is one home in Upstate New York, and the ghost of Abraham Lincoln connected?

The night that President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, he was sitting right next to an Upstate New York couple. Allegedly, a year after the assassination in 1866, the President's ghost visited a home just outside of Albany. Here's what we know from online research:


On April 14, 1865, then-president Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. On the evening Lincoln died, he was watching a performance of Our American Cousin at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C. So if the murder happened in D.C., how does Albany have a connection?

Lincoln and his wife invited Clara Harris, daughter of a prominent senator Ira Harris, and her fiancé Henry Reed Rathbone to the show that night. Clara and Henry were seating next to the Lincolns when the assassination occurred.

After firing the fatal shot, the assassin, John Wilkes Booth, leapt to the stage. Henry Reed Rathbone made an attempt to subdue the assassin, but was injured in the process. A traumatized Clara ended up covered in her fiancé’s blood.

After the events on the 14th, Clara and Henry returned to the summer cottage her father owned, which was located in Loudonville, New York. For those that don't know, this is located just outside of Albany.

According to the NY Shadow Chasers, Clara found herself unable to destroy or throw away the dress she wore on the night Lincoln was assassinated, so, still bloodstained, she placed it in a closet in her bedroom, and had the wall bricked up.

On the one year anniversary of Lincoln’s death, Clara was awoken by the sound of laughter, and the rocking chair in her bedroom creaking. When she looked, she saw the apparition of President Lincoln sitting in her rocking chair, acting like he was watching an unseen play, looking in the direction of the walled off closet. At midnight, Lincoln disappeared.

Since that initial sighting, Abraham Lincoln’s spirit has been frequently reported, only adding to the tragic history of the house.

Troy Record discusses this in an article about the book The Town of Colonie: A Pictorial History:

 “The stunned young woman saw President Lincoln, sitting in the rocker apparently enjoying a theatrical performance,” the pictorial book described. “He was looking toward the closet where the blood-stained dress was concealed. As the clock struck midnight, he vanished. Clara rushed hysterically, from her room to tell the story, which her family believed to be a bad dream.”

After the assentation, things did not go well for Clara or Henry. In 1867, Harris and Rathbone married and had three children. But, mentally, Henry was not well:

He blamed himself for not saving Lincoln. “Psychologically, he never recovered from the trauma of the day,” said Kevin Franklin, town of Colonie’s historian. “As a military officer, in your own mind you were expected to protect the president. Even though he was there on a social level, I would imagine that kind of event would have played on his conscious.”

The married couple and their children traveled to Europe trying to find a cure for Henry's issues. On Christmas morning in 1883, Rathbone pulled a gun on his wife. Clara was buried in Germany; Henry was committed to an asylum and died there. Their children returned to the states where according to lore, the son broke down the closet and burned his mother’s dress.

For those trying to find the Loudon Cottage in Loudonville, good luck. The home is private property, and finding the address online has proven to be near impossible. One website has it listed at 4 Cherry Tree Road in Loudonville. We can't confirm or deny that is the place, we can confirm it's private property and not open to the public.

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