Dr. Zachariah Philip Dennler as portrayed by a student from the Immaculate Conception School of Jamaica Estates, NY.
Dr. Zachariah Philip Dennler as portrayed by a student from the Immaculate Conception School of Jamaica Estates, NY.
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       My name is Zachariah Philip Dennler and I was born on September 9, 1838.  I became a doctor at the age of 22 in the year 1860.  When the Civil War started I enlisted on the side of the North and was assistant surgeon in the NY 10th Heavy Artillery.  In May of 1865 I re-enlisted and was assigned as surgeon to the Colored Troops 7th Infantry Regiment and was placed in charge of the hospital at Washington, D.C.  My wife Mary Layton accompanied me during the war as my nurse.
       On the evening of April 14, 1865, President Lincoln and first Lady Mary Todd Lincoln attended Ford's Theater to see the comedy Our American Cousin. I had tickets for that performance but was unable to attend.  Shortly before 10:30 that evening, John Wilkes Booth entered the presidential box and shot Lincoln in the back of the head with a derringer.  The President was carried to a boarding house, and a number of physicians arrived on the scene.  The doctors used my medical probe to locate the bullet.  The bullet traveled about seven inches into Lincoln's brain and lodged behind his left eye.  The physicians felt that here was nothing they could do to save the President.
       Lincoln died at 7:22 a.m.  on 15 April.  He was the first American president to be killed by an assassin's bullet.  Among the mementos from Abraham Lincoln's assassination, now housed at the National Museum of Health and Medicine at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, is my medical probe used to remove the bullet.
       I married and moved to Long Island City and began a general practice.  I was known as "the poor manís friend".  I was for many years, surgeon and physician for the Long Island Railroad.

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Presented May 22, 2004 by The Richmond Hill Historical Society, Maple Grove Cemetery, and The Immaculate Conception School of Jamaica Estates, NY (Dr. Charlene Jaffie, principal).

Copyright © 2004 Carl Ballenas & Nancy Cataldi.
No claim to Old Kew Gardens [.com] color photograph.