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A funeral bill with some history

I came across an interesting article the other day from The Pantagraph of Bloomington, Illinois.  The article, that you can read here, simply relates to an 1893 funeral bill that was donated to the McLean County Museum of History.  It’s interesting to look at the billing statement which is illustrated in the article and see that, among other items,  a casket was sold for $90 and that eight carriages at $3 apiece were used.

The total funeral bill from the Wolcott Company Undertakers was finalized at $130.25.  According to the article’s author that would equate to about $3,750 in today’s dollar terms.

What was really kind of interesting as I read on in the article was that it pointed out that the funeral billing was for the Estate of Dr. E.K. Crothers.  The name did not mean anything to me nor did it jump out at me.  However, as I continued to read the article it was interesting to note that Dr. Crothers was sued in 1857 for what today would be a malpractice case concerning the plaintiff’s contention that after he broke his leg, Dr. Crothers set it wrong which resulted in a noticeable limp by the plaintiff.

Just another malpractice case you might say. . . .however, Dr. Crothers was defended by no other attorney than a Mr. Abraham Lincoln.  In what became known as the “Chicken bone case” Lincoln used chicken-leg bones as props in his defense of Dr. Crothers.  At the end of the day, the jury failed to reach a decision. . .which was a victory for Lincoln’s client.

Only three years later in 1860, Abraham Lincoln was elected the 16th President of the United States.

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