Rarely surviving to be seen today, at least one other Frank T. Sands business card is
known to be housed in National Archives files where it is accompanied by the May
5, 1862 contract securing Sands as Government Undertaker.  Active throughout the
Civil War, Frank T. Sands was available for hire by loved ones and authorized by
the Government to recover the interned remains of fallen Union soldiers for return
and burial at home. While most active in the District of Columbia, Sands traveled to
such locations as the Wilderness and other battlefield burial grounds plying his trade
which took him to Andersonville at the close of the War.  Largely lost in time, the
legacy of Frank T. Sands is most frequently recorded in relation to his place in
history as Undertaker to the Lincolns when he was responsible for the preparation
and service for young Willie Lincoln and finally as Undertaker to the fallen
President.  [Undertaker was defined in the period as a person in charge of (i.e.
someone who undertakes) the responsibility for the body and burial service in
February 1862.]  As Chief Undertaker, Sands would direct the placement of Lincoln’
s remains in a temporary coffin with removal from the boarding house across from
Ford’s Theater and transportation to the White House.  He would contract with the
U. S. Government to supply the final ornate coffin, the bill for which, inclusive  
fabrics, fringes, tassels, threads, lining etc. was $7,459.   As Chief Undertaker Frank
Sands was to aid of the embalmer and held primary responsibility for proper viewing
of the remains during the long train trek back to Illinois.  No small challenge when
one considers the train rattled through 180 cities and seven states on its way back to
Springfield. The many scheduled stops for the funeral train were published with a
viewing opportunity provided as at each stop, Lincoln’s coffin was taken off the
train, placed on an elaborately decorated horse-drawn hearse and led by solemn
processions to a public building for public viewing.
Most usually first used as a coffin plate to be removed and
displayed by loved ones as a lasting memorial, this
inscribed patriotic plate was clearly, used first and last as a
memorial in the home of Pvt. Anson Verrill’s family back
in Yarmouth, Maine.   A late entry into the War, eighteen
year old
Anson Verrill mustered in at Portland, Maine on
February 20, 1865 as a Private of Co. D of the hard fought
20th Maine Volunteer Infantry.  Pvt. Verrill quickly
became one of the vast number of Maine Volunteers who
fell, not to shot or shell, but by virtue of infection and
disease.  Per period medical records Pvt. Verrill died of
chronic bronchitis on April 6, 1865 and is interred in the
City Point National Cemetery, Virginia.  The memorial
plate holds a tintype portrait of Pvt. Verrill and on the
back, retains the period label  
SOLDIER’S MEMORIAL
PLATE – Patented July 4th, 1865
– By J. C.
ANDREWS, South Paris ,Maine .  The son of a Clergyman,
John C. Andrews was a mere twenty-five years old when
granted a U. S. Patent for his soldier’s memorial plate.  
Having served as a Sergeant in the 30th Co. Maine
Unassigned Infantry at the close of the War.  The young
country entrepreneur would be listed as a Sash & Door
Manufacturer in the 1870 census and by 1880 had returned
to his roots serving as a country preacher in Wales, Maine.
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