Abraham Lincoln’s northbound train chugged into Hanover Junction, Pennsylvania, on the late afternoon of Wednesday, November 18, 1863. The president was on his way to Gettysburg to deliver the dedicatory remarks at the ceremonies to dedicate the new Soldiers National Cemetery, where thousands of soldiers who “gave their last full measure of devotion” now lay.
For several days before the ceremony, trainloads of spectators or participants arrived at Hanover Junction to await west-bound trains through Hanover and New Oxford to Gettysburg. The quantity, and length, of trains increased before peaking on the 18th and the morning of the 19th. At various points in the day, large crowds waited at the countryside depot or the nearby Junction Hotel.
The crowds attracted several pickpockets.
The victims included prominent York miller and hardware store owner Philip A. Small.
Here are a few period newspaper clippings detailing that long-ago rash of slight-of-hand thievery at the junction.