Name:  Ward Hill Lamon

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Born:  January 6, 1828
Died:  May 7, 1893
Complete HarpWeek Biography:
Ward Lamon, law partner and sometimes bodyguard of Abraham Lincoln, was born in Frederick County, Virginia, to Elizabeth Ward Lamon and George Lamon. At the age of 19 young Lamon moved to Danville, Illinois, where he studied law and was admitted to the bar a few years later. In 1852 he formed a law partnership with Abraham Lincoln, and the two developed a close, lifelong friendship. A colorful character, Lamon was known for his bawdy humor and heavy drinking. When Lincoln reentered electoral politics, Lamon worked in Honest Abeís unsuccessful 1858 senatorial campaign against incumbent Stephen Douglas and in his victorious presidential campaign in 1860. Lamon journeyed with the president-elect to Washington, D.C., serving as his bodyguard.

The new president named Lamon to the post of marshal for the District of Columbia. He delighted in the job but quarreled frequently with other officials, particularly the districtís military governor. Opposed to both abolition and the expansion of slavery, Lamon generated controversy by enforcing the fugitive slave act while it remained the law of the land. On April 14, 1865, he was on assignment in Richmond so, to his later regret, did not accompany Lincoln to Fordís Theater, where the president was assassinated.

Lamon ended his tenure as marshal and formed a law partnership with Jeremiah Black, the former U.S. attorney general and secretary of state under President James Buchanan. He also began collecting Lincoln documents and in 1872 published the first volume of a Lincoln biography. It was ghost-written by his law partnerís son, Chauncey Black, and, apparently unknown to Lamon, manifested an anti-Lincoln bias. The projected second volume was not produced. In 1879 he and Black dissolved their partnership, and Lamon then traveled and occasionally practiced law on his own.

Source consulted: American National Biography.











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