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The perfect counterpart of the immortal Abraham Lincoln is found in Alton I. Shirk, car repairman, westbound repair tracks, who resides in the borough. The realization that he was an exact likeness of a great man came to him a little over four years ago when a fellow workman, Brad Wolfe, of Juniata, now retired, came to work one morning and enthusiastically told Shirk that he was a much better counterpart of Lincoln than that of the character he had seen portrayed at a motion picture show the night before.

Shirk put the idea aside until the following Halloween season when he was prevailed upon to take part in parades both in Bellwood and Tyrone. He did so, with the result that he won the individual prize. Three successive years he won prizes at this gala season. The remarkable thing about his portrayal is the fact that he does not use any make-up, neither is the beard trimmed nor altered for the occasion. The cane he carries was the property of his wife’s grandfather, and is well over 100 years old.

Mr. Shirk’s great-grandfather, the late Samuel Leonard, of Juniata County, had the same striking resemblance to Lincoln. Like Shirt, he was possessed of many of Lincoln’s good points and was lovingly known throughout the community as “big-hearted.” He was a farmer and also the squire in his district, and was noted far and wide for his excellent sense of justice.

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Back HomeBellwood Borough/Antis Township • Blair County • Pennsylvania • U.S.A.