This article originally appeared in the Aurora Historical Society’s Spring 2015 newsletter. Become a member and receive our newsletters right in your mailbox.
In April 1865, two momentous events took place. The first, on April 9, was the surrender of Confederate General Robert E. Lee at Appomattox — the end of the bloody, four-year American Civil War. Throughout the North, the news was greeted with joy and relief.
At Tanner Hardware in Aurora, run by William A. Tanner (assisted by his son, Henry) the following day’s ledger entry carried these sentences:
But just five days later, equally momentous, but far more terrible news was received. President Abraham Lincoln had been shot dead at Ford’s Theatre in Washington.
On April 15, the entry in the Tanner Hardware ledger book was much more somber: