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Full text of "The escape and suicide of John Wilkes Booth : or, The first true account of Lincoln's assassination, containing a complete confession by Booth"

LINCOLN ROOM 

UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS 
LIBRARY 




MEMORIAL 

the Class of 1901 

founded by 

HARLAN HOYT HORNER 

and 
HENRIETTA CALHOUN HORNER 



Cop 




F. L. BATES, Author. 



THE ESCAPE AND SUICIDE 

OF 

JOHN WILKES BOOTH 

OR THE FIRST TRUE ACCOUNT OF 

LINCOLN'S ASSASSINATION 

CONTAINING 

A COMPLETE CONFESSION BY BOOTH 

MANY YEARS AFTER THE CRIME 



GIVING IN FULL DETAIL THE PLANS, PLOT AND INTRIGUE 
OF THE CONSPIRATORS, AND THE TREACHERY 
"OF ANDREW JOHNSON, THEN VICE-PRESI- 
DENT OF THE UNITED STATES 



WRITTEN FOR THE CORRECTION OF HISTORY 

BY 

FINIS L. BATES 



J. L. NICHOLS & COMPANY 

MANUFACTURING PUBLISHERS 

NAPERVILLE, ILL. ATLANTA, GA. MEMPHIS, TENN. 



COPYRIGHTED AND ALL RIGHTS 
RESERVED BY 

FINIS L. BATES, 
MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE. 



' ' 



DEDICATION 

To the Armies and Navies of the late Civil War, 
fought between the States of North America, from 
1861 to 1865, this book is dedicated. 

THE AUTHOR. 



PREFACE 

In the preparation of this book I have neither 
spared time or money, since I became satisfied that 
John Wilkes Booth was not killed, as has been sup- 
posed, at the Garrett home in Virginia, on the 26th 
day of April, 1865, and present this volume of col- 
lated facts, which I submit for the correction of his- 
tory, respecting the assassination of President Abra- 
ham Lincoln, and the death or escape of John Wilkes 
Booth. 

Personally, I know nothing of President Lincoln, 
and knew nothing of John Wilkes Booth until my 
meeting with John St. Helen, at my home in Texas, 
in the year 1872. 

The picture which John St. Helen left with me 
for the future identification of himself in his true 
name and personality, was first identified by Gen. 
D. D. Dana, of Lubec, Maine, as John Wilkes Booth, 
January 17, 1898. 

The second time by Junius Brutus Booth, the 
third, of Boston, Mass., (he being the oldest living 
nephew of John Wilkes Booth), on the 21st day of 
February, 1903, at Memphis, Tenn. 

The third time by the late Joe Jefferson (the 
world's famous Rip Van Winkle), at Memphis, 



PREFACE. 

Tennessee, on the 14th day of April, 1903, just thir- 
ty-eight years to a day from the date of the assassina- 
tion of President Lincoln. I here make mention of 
this identification because of its importance. Among 
the personal acquaintances of John Wilkes Booth 
none would know him better than Mr. Jefferson, who 
was most closely associated with him for several 
years, both playing together on the same stage. I 
know of no man whose knowledge of Booth is more 
to be trusted, or whose words of identification will 
carry more weight to the world at large. While 
there are many other important personages equally 
to be relied upon that have identified his pictures 
there is none other so well known to the general 
public, having identified the picture taken of John 
St. Helen, in 1877, as being that of John Wilkes 
Booth thus establishing the fat of actual physical 
proof that John Wilkes Booth was living in 1872, 
when I met him under the name of John St. Helen, 
as also when he had his picture taken and left with 
me in the late winter er early spring of 1878, twelve 
years after the assassination of President Lincoln. 

It is well in this connection to call attention to 
other physical proofs of the identification of John 
Wilkes Booth by referring to the deformed right 
thumb, just where it joined the hand, and the mis- 
matched brows, his right brow being arched and 
unlike the left. The deformity of the right 



PREFACE. 

thumb was caused by its having been crushed in 
the cogs of the machinery used for the hoisting of a 
stage curtain. The arched brow was caused by 
Booth being accidentally cut by McCullum with a 
saBre while they were at practice as the characters 
of Richard and Richmond, the point of McCullum 's 
sword cutting a gash through the right brow, which 
had to be stitched up, and in healing became 
arched. And especially attention is called to the 
identity of these marks in his pictures, more 
particularly the one at the age of 64, taken of him 
while he was dead and lying in the morgue. During 
life Booth carried a small cane between the thumb 
and forefinger of the right hand to conceal that 
defect; observe this cane in his hand, in the 
picture of him at the age of 27. These physical 
marks on Booth's body settle without argument his 
identity. However, in all instances of investigation 
I have sought the highest sources of information and 
give the conclusive facts supported by physical 
monument and authentic record. 

Wherefore, it is by this authority I state the veri- 
fied truth with impartiality for the betterment of 
history, to the enlightment of the present and future 
generations of mankind, respecting the assassination 
of one of America's most universally beloved Presi- 
dents and the fate of his assassin. 

FINIS L. BATES. 



TABLE OF CONTENTS. 



PACK 

Chapter I. Lincoln-Booth 1 

Chapter II. John St. Helen 5 

Chapter III. John St. Helen Lectures Roland Read 18 

Chapter IV. St. Helen's Illness 27 

Chapter V. St. Helen's Identity Revealed 33 

Chapter VI. The Assassination 40 

Chapter VII. The Man Killed at the Garrett Home 60 

Chapter VIII. The Separation 83 

Chapter IX. The Pursuit of Booth 92 

Chapter X. The East Potomac Bridge 121 

Chapter XL The Hand of Secretary Stanton 132 

Chapter XII. Gen. Dana Identifies Booth 168 

Chapter XIII. A Baltimorean Still 191 

Chapter XIV. Informing the War Department that Booth 

Lives 205 

Chapter XV. Gen. Albert Pike Identified Booth 222 

Chapter XVI. Press Comments on the Suicide of David E. 

George 243 

Chapter XVII. These are Pictures of John Wilkes Booth. .274 
Chapter XVIII. Reading the Palm of John Wilkes Booth.. 292 
Chapter XIX. Joseph Jefferson Identifies John Wilkes 

Booth 299 

Chapter XX. Junius Brutus Booth Identifies His Uncle, 

John Wilkes Booth . ..304 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS. 



PAGE 

F. L. Bates Frontispiece 

John Wilkes Booth (age 27) 0-1 

Abraham Lincoln 0-1 

Booth's Bed Confession 32-33 

Complete Confession to Mr. Bates 32-33 

Andrew Johnson 42-43 

Jefferson Davis 42-43 

Ford's Theater 46-47 

Fleeing on Horseback 46-47 

Dr. Stewart's Summer Home 56-57 

The Home of Mr. Jones 56-57 

Booth Disguised as Teamster 56-57 

Booth and his Horse Tired Out 56-57 

Gen. D. D. Dana 92-93 

The Surratt Tavern 92-93 

Gen. C. C. Augur 120-121 

Mrs. Surratt 120-121 

David E. Herold 162-163 

Bryantown 162-163 

Gen. Lew Wallace 172-173 

Edwin Booth. 172-173 

Home of Dr. Mudd 188-189 

Riding Boot of Booth 188-189 

Clara Morris, Actress 196-197 

Joseph Jefferson, the Actor 196-197 

John Wilkes Booth (age 38) 202-203 

Junius Brutus Booth, the First 202-203 

Gen. Albert Pike 222-223 

Booth as a House-painter 222-223 

John Wilkes Booth (age 64) 276-277 

The Mummified Hand of John Wilkes Booth 276-277 




JOHN WILKES BOOTH. 

Aged 27, Taken Just Before the Assassination of Lincoln, 
and Cane Which Was Carried to Conceal Deformed Thumb. 




PRESIDENT ABRAHAM LINCOLN. 

Holding the Proclamation of Emancipation, and the Log 
Cabin Near Salem, Kentucky, Where HP Was Born. 




AND 

JOHN WILKES BOOTH, THE ACTOR. 



THE ASSASSINATION' OF PRESIDENT LINCOLN 
BY JOHN WILKES BOOTH. 



CHAPTER I. 

LINCOLN BOOTH 

President Abraham Lincoln was born near Salem, 
Kentucky, United States of America, in a log cabin, 
on the 12th day of February, 1809, of humble par- 
entage, and was president of the Northern Federal 
States of America, after the secession of the South- 
ern States, beginning March 4th, 1861, whereby was 
brought about a temporary dissolution of the Union 
of the United States of America, when the political 
issues of the rights of States to withdraw and secede 
from the Union of States and the constitutional right 



LINCOLN BOOTH. 

slavery of the black race, as had been promulgated 
since, before and beginning with the independence 
of, and federation of the American Colonies ; after- 
ward transformed into sovereign State governments. 

"When, for the settlement of these issues appeal 
was had to the bloody arbitrament of battle, in the 
Civil War fought between the Federal States on the 
one side, with Abraham Lincoln as President and 
commander-in-chief of the Federal Army and Navy, 
with his site of government at Washington, D. C., 
and Jefferson Davis, President of the Southern 
seceded States, called the Confederate States of 
America, and commander-in-ehief of the Army and 
Navy of the Southern Confederate States, with his 
site of government at the city of Richmond, and 
capital of the State of Virginia, situated approxi- 
mately one hundred miles to the south from Wash- 
ington City. 

Mr. Lincoln was inaugurated President of the 
Federal States, at Washington, D. C., March 4th, 
1861, and remained President until he received his 
mortal wound at the hands of his assassin, John 
Wilkes Booth, while seated with a party of friends 
in a private box attending Ford's Theater, in Wash- 
ington, D. C., on the evening of the 14th day of 
April, 1865, and died from his wound on the early 
morning of April the 15th, 1865. 



LINCOLN BOOTH. 

Mr. Lincoln was a lawyer pre-eminent in his pro- 
fession, and had never associated himself with any 
church organization, and, in fact, was a deist, as 
also a firm believer in dreams, and to him they were 
presentiments forecasting coming events. 

John Wilkes Booth was born near the city of Bal- 
timore, on a farm, in the State of Maryland, in the 
year 1838, and was at the time of the assassination 
of President Lincoln about 27 years of age, and 
famous as an actor. He came from a family distin- 
guished as actors and politicians in England as early 
as the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, being 
descended from Burton Booth, the most popular 
actor with the English royalty known to history, and 
pronounced of all actors the greatest Macbeth the 
world has ever produced. 

Henry Booth, Earl of Warrington, was his great- 
great-uncle, and John Wilkes, the Democratic re- 
former, in that he caused the extension of the fran- 
chise or right of ballot, to the common people of 
England, and who was at one time Lord Mayor of 
London, was his great-great-grandfather on his great- 
grandmother's side. While John Wilkes of England 
was distinguished for his great mental ability, he 
was equally distinguished for being the ugliest man 
in all England, while his wife was the most beau- 
tiful woman England had produced to her day. 



LINCOLN BOOTH. 

John Wilkes Booth gets his name of John Wilkes 
from his great-great-grandfather, and his strikingly 
handsome personality from his great-great-grand- 
mother. Thus it is said that John Wilkes Booth 
is given to the world from an ancestry known to 
England in their day as the Beauty and Beast. 

John Wilkes Booth was a partisan in his sympa- 
thies for the success of the Southern Confederate 
States in the Civil War, bold and outspoken in his 
friendship for the South and his well wishes for the 
triumph of the Southern cause. In politics a Demo- 
crat, and by religion a Catholic, and a son of Junius 
Brutus Booth, the first, who was known to all men 
of his day as the master of the art of dramatic act- 
ing, being himself descended from the Booth fam- 
ily of actors in England, pre-eminently great as 
tragedians since the beginning of the sixteenth cen- 
tury. 



CHAPTER II. 



JOHN ST. HELEN 

I have long hesitated to give to the world the true 
story of the plot first to kidnap and finally assassi- 
nate President Lincoln by John Wilkes Booth and 
others, as related to me in 1872, and at other times 
thereafter, by one then known to me as John St. 
Helen, but in truth and in fact, as afterward devel- 
oped, John Wilkes Booth himself, in person telling 
this story more than seven years after the assassina- 
tion of President Lincoln, and the supposed killing 
of Booth at the Garret home, in Virginia. Far re- 
moved from the scene of his crime, he told me the 
tale of his dastardly deed at Grandberry, Hood 
county, Texas, a then comparative frontier town of 
the great Western empire of these American States. 

This story I could not accept as a fact without 
investigation, believing, as the world believed, that 
John Wilkes Booth had been killed at the Garret 
home in Virginia on or about the 26th day of April, 
1865, by one Boston Corbett, connected with the 
Federal troops in pursuit of him, after he (Booth) 
had been passed through the Federal military lines 



JOHN ST. HELEN. 

which formed a complete cordon surrounding the 
City of Washington, D. C., on the night of and after 
the assassination of President Lincoln. But after 
many years of painstaking and exhaustive investiga- 
tion, I am now unwillingly, and yet unanswerably, 
convinced that it is a fact that Booth was not killed, 
but made good his escape by the assistance of some 
of the officers of the Federal Army and government 
of the United States, located at Washington trait- 
ors to President Lincoln, in whose keeping was his 
life co-operating with Capt. Jett and Lieuts. Rug- 
gles and Bainbridge, of the Confederate troops, be- 
longing to the command of Col. J. S. Mosby, en- 
camped at Bowling Green, Virginia. And the correct- 
ness of these statements, as well as to my convictions, 
the readers of this story must witness for or against 
the conclusion reached, for it is to the American 
people that I appeal that they shall hear the unal- 
terable facts to the end that they may bear testimony 
with me to the civilized world that the death of 
America's martyred President, Lincoln, was not 
avenged, as we have been persuaded to believe, and 
that it remained the pleasure of the assassin to take 
his own life as how and when it best pleased him, 
conscious of his great individual crime and the 
nation's loss by the death of President Lincoln, the 
commission of which crime takes rank among the 



JOHN ST. HELEN. 

epochs of time equaled only by- the crucifixion of 
Christ and the assassination of Caesar; in the con- 
templation of which the physical man chills with in- 
dignant emotions and the cold blood coursing his 
viens makes numb the fingers recording the crime 
that laid President Lincoln in the silent halls of 
death and made Tad fatherless. But the truth will 
be told, if needs be, with tremors and palsied hands, 
in the triumph of right and the exposure of the 
guilty ones whose crimes blacken history's page and 
to associate their names through all coming cen- 
turies with Brutus, Marc Antony and Judas Iscariot, 
if they are to be condemned in the story that is to be 
told. 

In the spring of 1872 I was entering the threshold 
of manhood, a lawyer yet in my teens, in the active 
practice of my profession, having settled at Grand- 
berry, the county site of Hood county, in the State 
of Texas, near the foothills of the Bosque moun- 
tains. Among my first elients in this locality was a 
man who had been indicted by the grand jury of the 
Federal Court, sitting at Tyler, Smith county, Texas, 
for selling tobacco and whiskey at Glenrose Mills, 
situated in Hood county, twenty miles to the south- 
west of Grandberry, who had failed first to obtain 
a license, as required by the Federal statutes, as a 
privilege for carrying on such business. The penalty 



JOHN ST. HELEN. 

for the violation of this law being punishable as a 
misdemeanor by a fine and imprisonment, or either 
fine or imprisonment, at the discretion of the court. 
Hood county at this time was well out on the fron- 
tier of the State, and the country to within a few 
miles of Grandberry was frequently raided by the 
savage Comanche Indians. 

Glenrose Mills was located immediately on the 
Bosque river, which flows at the base of the Bosque 
mountains, while at this point on the river was lo- 
cated a mill run by water power from the falls of 
the river, and on the bank of the river were located 
two or three small log houses, together with the 
old mill house constituting the buildings of the place 
called Glenrose Mills. One of these log houses was 
used as a storehouse by the man known to me as 
John St. Helen, which place, or house, however, for 
a year or so prior to St. Helen's occupancy had 
been occupied as a store by a merchant doing a gen- 
eral mercantile business, in a small way, carrying 
with his line of goods tobacco and whiskey for the 
retail trade, as did St. Helen in this place, as his 
successor in business at Glenrose Mills. The former 
merchant having removed from Glenrose Mills to 
Grandberry, opened up his business in the latter 
place before and continued his business in Grand- 
berry after St. Helen had begun business at Glen- 



JOHN ST. HELEN. 

rose. St. Helen occupied this log house not only as 
a store, but the back part of the same as living apart- 
ments for himself and a negro man servant, or por- 
ter, he having no family or known relatives or inti- 
mate friends within the time he was doing business 
at this house in Glenrose. For some reason unknown 
to me and my client, the merchant at Grandberry 
and former merchant at Glenrose had been indicted 
for having done business at Glenrose selling tobac- 
co and whiskey in the house occupied by St. Helen, 
in violation of the laws of the United States, as 
mentioned. This client had been arrested by the 
United States marshal and had given bond for his 
appearance at Tyler, Texas, to answer the United 
States government on a charge in two cases of sell- 
ing tobacco and whiskey without first obtaining a 
privilege license, as required by law. 

On ascertaining this state of facts, I sought St. 
Helen, with whom I had at this time only a casual 
acquaintance, and learned from him that he (St. 
Helen) was as a matter of fact doing business at 
Glenrose Mills, in the house formerly occupied by 
my client, the then merchant of Grandberry, who 
had been doing business at this stand, selling, among 
other articles of merchandise, tobacco and whiskey, 
and that he had done so without a license, as re- 
quired by the government of the United States, and 



JOHN ST. HELEN. 

was so doing this business at the time, as alleged in 
the indictment against the Grandberry merchant, so 
that I insisted, as a means of protection to my client, 
that St. Helen should attend the Federal Court as a 
witness for the defendant, to testify to this state of 
facts, showing that the defendant merchant had been 
wrongfully indicted, confessedly so by St. Helen, 
who was at this time doing the very business ol 
which my client was charged, without first having a 
license (for which my client had been indicted), and 
for which he was to stand trial in a short time 
before the Federal Court at Tyler. While St. Helen 
admitted his guilt and the innocence of my client, 
he declined to attend the court in any capacity on 
behalf of my client, without at this time giving to 
me any satisfactory reason as to why he would not 
do so, and when he was informed with more earn- 
estness than was reasonably polite that any and all 
the known processes of the law of the Federal Court 
would be called into requisition to compel hia it- 
tendance on the court, as he had been requested to 
do, and if need be witnesses would go before the 
Federal grand jury to have him indicted for the 
offense with which my client was wrongfully 
charged. St. Helen asked time to consider the mat- 
ter, promising to act honorably in the affair, to the 
complete protection of the wronged man, conditioned 

10 



JOHN ST. HELEN. 

that he (St. Helen) should be protected from indict- 
ment and from any other process which would carry 
him before the Federal Court. With this agree- 
ment we separated for the few intervening days 
requested by him. 

At thu interview it was plainly to be seen that 
St. Helen was sorely troubled and seemed to think 
his final determination in the matter would be 
fraught with the greatest consequences to himself, 
much more, I thought, than was due to the appre- 
hension of a possible conviction for the charges al- 
leged against my client. But upon consideration 
of the matter I was led to the conclusion that his 
restless and uneasy manner was due to his long 
outdoor life on the plains, and that by force of habit 
he had acquired that restless and hunted, worried 
expression constantly on his face, while the flashes 
which came from his keen, penetrating black eyes 
spoke of desperation and capacity for crime. All 
this time his breath came hard, almost to a wheeze, 
superinduced by excitement, or what seemed to be 
a disease, possibly produced by exposure and bor- 
dering upon a bronchial or an asthmatic affliction 
of the throat and chest. Thus looking and breath- 
ing, with his body poised in easy, graceful attitude, 
as if so by nature born, in his leave-taking to me he 
raised his hand in slow and graceful manner, say- 
ing: 

11 



JOHN ST. HELEN. 

"As I agree, I shall see you, and of my purpose 
and destiny speak until then " 

The words "until then," spoken with a soft voice 
and gentle tone, was a pleasant adieu, in fact, the 
entire sentence having been said, and I should say, 
dramatically acted in eloquence by word, motion of 
the body, jesticulation of the hand and utterance of 
the voice, not before or since equalled by any other 
person in my presence or experience. These ex- 
pressions by word, voice and mannerism to me 
were food for thought, suggesting the inquiry 
whence came such a man? Who can this handsome 
man, this violent man, this soft-mannered man, this 
eloquent man, be? Unsuited to his vocation the 
would-be merchant, in his log cabin store, and his 
life of seclusion in the wilds of the West. As in all 
things, came the day of final reckoning, and St. 
Helen walked into my office calling me to the pri- 
vate consultation room, turning and shutting the 
door, he said: 

"I come redeeming my pledge, and have to say, 
first, that I desire to retain you as my attorney ; that 
you may represent me in all matters of legal business 
concerning my affairs, and ask that you fix your 
reasonable retainer fee." 

This I did, and when satisfactorily arranged St. 
Helen resumed his statement by saying: 

12 



JOHN ST. HELEN. 

"Now, that I have employed . you and paid your 
retainer fee, you, as my lawyer, will and must keep 
secret such matters as I shall confide in you touch- 
ing my legal interest and personal safety, and the 
prevention of my prosecution by the courts for the 
matters we are now considering or that might here- 
after arise in consequence of your present employ- 
ment, conditioned, of course, upon my making good 
to you the promises I have made." 

To which I replied: "Yes. I understand." 
"Well, then," continued St. Helen. "I say to 
you, as my attorney, that my true name is not John 
St. Helen, as you know me and suppose me to be, and 
for this reason I cannot afford to go to Tyler before 
the Federal Court, in fear that my true identity be 
discovered, as the Federal courts are more or less 
presided over in the South and officered by persons 
heretofore, as well as now, connected with the Fed- 
eral Army and government, and the risk would be 
too great for me to take, and you will now under- 
stand why I have retained you as my counsel, and 
as such I ask that you take your client, indicted in 
the Federal Court at Tyler, and get him clear of this 
charge, of which he is certainly not guilty, using 
your best judgment in his behalf and for my protec- 
tion. For this service I will pay your fee and all 
costs incident to the trial and trip." 

13 



JOHN ST. HELEN. 

Assenting to this, and accepting his suggestion as 
well as the employment by St. Helen, I set about 
fully planning the management of my client's case 
in the Federal Court with the purpose in view of a 
mutual protection of my client and John St. Helen. 
When after a few days of consultation and prepara- 
tion my client and I were ready for the three or four 
days' drive by private conveyance from Grandbeny 
to Tyler, St. Helen was notified and came promptly 
to my office the morning fixed for our leaving, and 
without further ceremony or discussion, handed me 
a large, long, red morocco pocketbook well filled 
with currency bills, saying that the amount it con- 
tained would be sufficient money for the trip, etc. 
The amount contained in this purse I never knew. 
Then, in complete readiness, my client and I, taking 
leave of our friends and thanking St. Helen, climbed 
into our buggy and were off for Tyler. After an 
uneventful trip we reached the hotel at Tyler on 
the afternoon of the third day out, to find the Fed- 
eral Court in session, and after a night's rest I 
sought an interview with Col. Jack Evans, the then 
United States district attorney for the Eastern dis- 
trict of Texas, including Tyler, in Smith county. At 
this pleasant, courteous consultation an agreement 
was reached by which the government was to waive 
the presence of the defendant in court, who was yet 

14 



JOHN ST. HELEN. 

at the hotel, ignorant of what was transpiring, and 
on the following morning after the convening of 
court I entered pleas of guilty, as prearranged with 
Col. Evans, when the court, Judge Roberts presiding, 
fined the defendant the usual fine in such cases and 
taxed him with the costs, amounting, as I now re- 
member, to about sixty-five dollars in each case. 
The fine and costs were promptly paid by me from 
the funds provided by St. Helen, for which receipts 
were taken as vouchers. 

After the close and settling of these cases I re- 
turned to the hotel and informed my grateful and 
surprised client of the happy culmination of his 
long-dreaded trial in the Federal Court for a crime 
of which he was not guilty. The processes of this 
court struck terror into the heart of the average 
frontiersman when their charges constituted a crime 
against the laws of the United States government. 

I accepted the many marks of appreciation by 
word and act manifested by my client, which for the 
.sake of personal allusion must be omitted. Suffice 
it to say, our purpose having been accomplished, our 
team was ordered, bills paid, as the beginning of the 
end of our stay in Tyler, and at the moment of our 
readiness re-entering our buggy, we were soon home- 
ward bound full of hope for the future, made buoy- 
ant by success. "While my thoughts and plans for 

15 



JOHN ST. HELEN. 

all time were lined with rose-tinted clouds, the 
phantoms of vision, the treacherous shadows which 
light the pathway of all youth, but how too soon to 
be transformed to the black storm cloud of real life, 
flashing with the lightnings of despair, with low- 
muttering thunders, the signals of evils yet to come. 
But on we pushed, unmindful and careless of what 
the future should disclose, reaching Grandberry on 
the afternoon of the third day out from Tyler, when, 
with mutual good wishes and congratulations, my 
client and I separated to go to our homes, seeking 
the needed mental and physical rest from a trip the 
memory of which lives to mark an interesting event 
in my life and the foundation of a story in fact, the 
relation of which beggars fiction. 

Then, just as twilight was being clasped into the 
folds of night by the stars of a cloudless sky, I 
sought seclusion while the world paused, lapped in 
the universal laws of rest, and entered dreamland 
on that bark of sleep, the sister ship of death, pil- 
lowed within the rainbow of hope, a fancy fed by 
the air castles of youth. Thus sleeping and thus 
waking the morning came, when I must needs take 
up the routine business of life again, and to learn 
much more of John St. Helen, who came into town. 
When he called at my office and I recounted to him 
the successful termination of the cases in the Federal 

16 



JOHN ST. BSLEN. 

Court at Tyler, St. Helen became profuse in his com- 
pliments and congratulations, when his pocketbook, 
which had previously contained approximately three 
or four hundred dollars, with its contents, less ex- 
penses and costs of said suits, was handed him. He 
took from it the necessary amount to pay the re- 
mainder of my fee. This having been done, St. 
Helen and I separated with at least seeming friend- 
ship welded by the bonds of mutual triumph; so 
that thus ended, for the present, the beginning of my 
acquaintance with John St. Helen, of whom I 
but little for the several months following. 



IT 



CHAPTER III. 

JOHN ST. HELEN LECTURES ROLAND 
REED 

In the latter part of the June following my trip to 
Tyler, St. Helen came into my office and extended to 
me an invitation to attend, as the orator of the day, 
a barbecue to be given on the 4th of July at Glen- 
rose Mills. Having accepted this invitation, in com- 
pany with Gen. J. M. Taylor, made famous by his 
achievements in the Seminole Indian war in the 
State of Florida, and for many years an honored 
and useful citizen of the State of Texas, I attended 
this patriotic celebration. And I here make mention 
of Gen. J. M. Taylor as a tribute to his memory for 
the public services he has performed as well as his 
loyal friendship to me. And I in benedictions be- 
speak the repose of his soul in peace, long since left 
its tenement of clay. 

Arriving at Glenrose on the forenoon of the day 
appointed, we were met by St. Helen, the master of 
ceremonies on this occasion, and taken to his private 
apartments in the log storehouse, which had been 
put in readiness for the royal reception accorded us. 

18 



JOHN ST. HELEN LECTURES ROLAND REED. 

With his servants in waiting all were attentive, 
while St. Helen entertained us with a lavish hand in 
princely welcome in that manner peculiarly his own. 
When I turned to view the platform and plot of 
ground made ready for the day, and the people as 
they were gathering from beyond the Bosque river, 
I saw the ideal location for the barbecue, within the 
shade of the wide-spreading water oaks in the nar- 
row Bosque valley. And while thus taking in the 
situation, at the suggestion of Gen. Taylor, the Gen- 
eral, St. Helen and myself left for the grounds. Aa 
we stepped upon the platform I was greatly sur- 
prised at the stage presence and consummate ease of 
manner and reassuring appearance of St. Helen, who 
was easily the center of attraction, and the com- 
manding personality present. Gen. Taylor and I 
seated ourselves, while St. Helen remained standing. 
The people hurriedly gathered, giving us a hearty 
reception. Order being restored, St. Helen, posing 
gracefully, caused a hush of silence, and by a look 
of invitation called me to his side. Standing thus 
beside him to the front of the platform he, in hi* 
inimical manner, in his full, clear voice, with choice 
and eloquent language, introduced me as the 
first speaker, as he did subsequently introduce 
Gen. Taylor as the second speaker. On the close 
of the speeches made by Gen. Taylor and myself, St. 

19 



JOHN ST. HELEN LECTURES ROLAND REED. 

Helen, in a short, eloquent and timely speech, com- 
pletely captivated the crowd, as well as ourselves, 
by his pre-eminent superiority over those with whom 
he came in contact during the day. 

St. Helen's complete knowledge of elocution, ease 
and grace of person, together with his chaste and 
eloquent diction, seemed to be nature's gift rather 
than studied effort. It was but natural then that 
on the lips and in the minds of all present the inquiry 
should be, Who can this man St. Helen be? He be- 
ing, in fact, a stranger to those present, who only 
casually knew him in this gathering, and without 
kith or kin so far as any one present knew, made 
the people more anxious to learn the identity of the 
man; an orator of the highest class, while the men 
and women lingered at Glenrose in the presence of 
St. Helen until the dying day cast its shadows upon 
Bosque's lofty tops and darkness was weaving the 
mantle of night over valleys below. Then congratu- 
lations, thank yous, glad to have met you and good 
byes were said. 

At this parting Gen. Taylor and I left for our 
homes after a delightful day fraught with interest 
and events long to be pleasantly remembered by all 
in attendance, and to me it marked the beginning of 
a better knowledge of the character of and a closer 
personal relation with John St. Helen, whose phy- 

20 



JOHN ST. HELEN LECTURES ROLAND REED. 

sical beauty, so to speak, and mental attainments no 
man could fail to appreciate and no woman fail to 
admire. 

St. Ifelen, the man who entertained you to mirth 
or to tears, as his own mood might inspire, while he 
himself stood unmoved by the emotions displayed 
around him the man kind of disposition, careless 
of self, thoughtful of others, but living his own life 
in soliloquy, revelling in the thoughts of the master 
minds of the past. His selections and recitations 
were grandly and elegantly delivered, and despite 
your efforts your soul would be shaken and from 
the eyes tracing tears would steal like dew drops 
cast from a shaken reed. Painful? No. Un- 
pleasant ? No. But rather resembling a sorrow as a 
"mist resembles rain" a sigh of hope, a tear of 
sympathy, or rather an exalted thought given ex- 
pression to by a tear, the index to the feeling of the 
soul. St. Helen himself said he could not weep, 
though grief he knew to its bitterest depth, and 
lived a life bent with the burden of crime. These 
and kindred utterances made to me in private, in 
hours spent alone with him, aroused in me an 
anxious desire to know in very fact who he was. 
He told me his true name was not St. Helen, and the 
ascertaining of more definite information as to his 
true name was made unusually difficult by reason 

21 



JOHN ST. HELEN LECTURES ROLAND REED. 

of his sensitiveness to the mention of all subjects 
pertaining to himself, in the various conversations 
had between St. Helen and myself before he removed 
with his business from Glenrose Mills to Grandberry, 
sometime in October following the 4th of July barbe- 
cue mentioned. 

St. Helen's business did not seem to be a matter 
of necessity with him, as he at all times appeared to 
have more money than was warranted by his stock 
in trade, and he apparently took little interest in 
it and trusted at all times the waiting on of cus- 
tomers to his negro or Mexican porter, while he was 
in fact a man of leisure, spending most of his time 
after his removal to Grandberry in my office, read- 
ing and entertaining me after business hours, and 
in our idle moments in many other ways, but his 
favorite occupation was reading Shakespeare's 
plays, or rather reciting them as he alone could do. 
And his special preference seemed to be that of Rich- 
ard III. and he began his recitations, as I now re- 
member him, by somewhat transposing the intro- 
ductory of Richard III., saying: 

"I would I could laugh with those who laugh and 
weep with those who weep, wet my eyes with arti- 
ficial tears and frame my face to all occasions " 

following with much of the recitation of Richard 
III., as well as others of Shakespeare's plays. 

22 



, JOHN ST. HELEN LECTURES ROLAND REED. 

While these recitations from Shakespeare charmed 
the ear and pleased all listeners, his rendition of 
Tennyson's Locksley Hall, once heard at an even- 
ing's entertainment, left an impress that years could 
never efface. 

On other occasions I came in for lessons in elocu- 
tion with full instructions and practical illustrations 
in minute details of when and how to enter upon the 
stage or public platform; St. Helen giving comical 
illustrations himself as to how the average statesmen 
come blundering on the platform, looking for a seat 
they could not find, finally falling into a chair ap- 
parently not of their choice but by accident, when 
they would cross their legs, stick the toes of their 
shoes inward while trying to hide their hands close 
down in their laps or behind their seats, or by clasp- 
ing them in front of themselves and resting them on 
their crossed and agitated limbs, nervously rolling 
one thumb over the other, finally collapsing and 
wiping the perspiration from their faces with undue, 
vigor and haste. All of which was impersonated by 
St. Helen in such a realistic manner that it was en- 
joyable to the extreme, as well as most profitable to 
me in after life. And as a result of this careful 
training I am now quick to observe the want of stage 
presence and lack of ease of manner in statesmen on 
the public platform or persons before the footlights. 

23 



JOHN ST. HELEN LECTURES ROLAND REED. 

St. Helen was not a man of classical education, 
but rather a born rhetorician and elocutionist, a 
learning apparently confined to and obtained from 
theatrical plays as well as a literature pertaining to 
the stage, evidenced by the many theatrical periodi- 
cals or papers to be found in his room. This inti- 
macy with every detail of theatrical work was shown 
on the occasion of his criticism of Roland Reed, 
when St. Helen, Reed and I were alone together. 
Roland Reed in his boyhood was touring the country 
in his father's company, composed practically of 
Mr. and Mrs. Reed and their son, Roland, who was 
starring in light comedies by the impersonation of 
simple and frivolous characters, and they played 
two or three nights at Grandberry, which perform- 
ances St. Helen and I attended together, and on the 
morning after the third night's play St. Helen re- 
quested Reed and myself to take a walk with him 
to view the Brazos river, which was then flowing 
with torrents of water. During this stroll St. Helen 
began with great earnestness to discuss theatrical 
subjects with Roland Reed, which discussion went 
into all essential details of the highest class of act- 
ing. St. Helen's criticism became personal to Reed, 
pointing out to him that in the impersonation of 
certain of the characters rendered by him, especially 
the character of an old maid, in which, as I remem- 

24 



JOHN ST. HELEN LECTURES ROLAND REED. 

her St. Helen's criticism of Reed, was of the greatest 
personal severity, and among other things he said 
that in the character of the old maid Reed's acting 
reminded him of a simpleton attempting to imper- 
sonate the character and eccentricities of an idiot, 
more appropriate to the playgrounds of the innocent 
and half-witted than to the intelligent public before 
the footlights, and suggested that the artist should 
create the impression on his audience that the actor 
by his superior intelligence was creating and por- 
traying the character of the foolish maiden, stamping 
the play with his individuality of character, and that 
acting the character in question without this was 
simply nonsense, which disgusted rather than pleased 
the intelligence of the ordinary attendant at the 
theater, etc. 

Though this criticism was at times personal and 
severe, it was done with an earnestness that indi- 
cated that it was kindly given and was seemingly 
appreciated by Reed, for I am sure Reed profited 
by it in his after life, as witnessed by me in his im- 
provement in his subsequent presentation of this 
character, which brought to my mind afresh the 
lecture given him by St. Helen. Could Reed have 
known, as I afterward knew, that this lecture given 
him was by John Wilkes Booth, what a surprise it 
would have been, and what an impression it would 

25 



JOHN ST. HELEN LECTURES ROLAND REED. 

have made upon his young mind, and I am sure Reed 
would have esteemed tho lecture a privilege. In 
fact, this lecture is LI consideration which but. few 
received at the hands of St. Helen John Wilkec 
Booth. 

After hearing this lecture and remembering what 
St. Helen had said to me, that his name was not in 
fact St. Helen, the former purpose of inquiry reas- 
serted itself to know who this man was. Not only 
was he an orator, as I had found him at Glenrose, 
but again was he assaying the role of critic of high 
class acting, showing a knowledge, to my mind, 
of a born genius of high cultivation, demonstrating 
St. Helen to be a master of the art of which he was 
speaking. 



CHAPTER IV. 

ST. HELEN'S ILLNESS 

Idle hours in the life of a resident of a small 
country town hang heavily and we are wont to find 
entertainment. Under these conditions St. Helen 
was at all leisure times as welcome as he was con- 
genial, so that when he was not at my office I would 
spend my leisure time at his place of business. And 
now I recall to mind one occasion when I, in com- 
pany with a mutual friend, stepped into St. Helen's 
place of business. Just as we entered I noticed sev- 
eral cowboys, as they are called in Texas parlance, 
because they herd cattle, standing at the counter 
eating and drinking, being waited on by the colored 
porter. St. Helen meeting us, stopped, as we walk- 
ed in, standing at the entrance from the front and 
resting his right arm on the counter, when one of the 
boys turned, addressing him in a very familiar man- 
ner, saying: 

"John, when you die the cowboys will build a 
monument to your memory.'* 

St. Helen cast a look of indignation to the party 
addressing him, his flashing black eyes giving full 

27 



ST. HELEN'S ILLNESS. 

expression to his contempt for the proffered distinc- 
tion of a monument by the cowboys. Then resting 
his thin, shapely right hand on the corner of the 
counter, standing in graceful poise, his head well 
poised, his beautiful black, curly hair flowing back 
from his high white forehead, holding his left hand 
well extended in gesticulation, said: 

"Come not when I am dead 
To shed thy tears around my head. 
Let the winds weep and the plover cry, 
But thou, oh, fool man, go by." 

It was not so much what St. Helen said, but the 
manner of saying and acting it, and the voice by 
which it was said, that moved man to emotion, as 
would his recitation of almost any sentence that had 
in it a trace of sentiment. 

The simple lines quoted will find but little lodg- 
ment in the soul of the casual reader, but when 
repeated by St. Helen, who could so beautifully por- 
tray each sentence in all of its meaning, it left its 
impress upon the memory of all who heard. 

Five years after our acquaintance the hand of 
Time, with points of pain, began writing in deep 
lines on St. Helen's face the shadows of disease, the 
sign board on the pathway from the cradle to the 

28 



ST. HELEN'S ILLNESS. 

grave. Emaciated, sick and weak, he took to his 
bed, confined in the back room of his store, where 
I and others, with the aid of a physician, gave him 
such attentions as his condition required. But de- 
spite our best efforts he continued to grow worse 
from day to day and both friends and physicians lost 
hope of his recovery. When I, tired and worn by 
my watch and continued attention at his bedsido, 
sleeping and nursing in turn with others, was 
aroused about 10 o'clock one night and informed 
that I was wanted at the bedside of St. Helen, who 
was supposed to be in the last throes of death. On 
entering the room I found the physician holding St. 
Helen's wrist and counting his faint, infrequent 
pulse, which it seemed was beating his funeral dirge 
to the tomb. The doctor turned to me and said: 

"St. Helen is dying and wishes to speak to you 
alone," and turning, withdrew from our presence. 

I touched St. Helen, and after some effort aroused 
a faint response ; he opened his eyes, which gave ex- 
pression to that anxious and pleading look for help 
so often seen upon the face of a dying man when 
we are least powerful to assist. I requested to know 
of what service I could be to him. St. Helen, yet 
conscious, but so weak he could speak only in 
broken, whispered words, audible only by placing the 
ear close to his mouth, said: 

29 



ST. HELEN'S ILLNESS. 

"I am dying. My name is John Wilkes Booth, 
and I am the assassin of President Lincoln. Get the 
picture of myself from under the pillow. I leave it 
with you for my future identification. Notify my 
brother Edwin Booth, of New York City." 

He then closed his eyes in seeming rest. I reached 
forward and took from under the pillow a small pic- 
ture taken of St. Helen a short while before his sick- 
ness, while on a visit to Glenrose Mills, by a pho- 
tographer then tented at that place, as I was after- 
wards informed. 

After getting the picture my attention was turned 
to giving St. Helen relief, if possible, not at the time 
thinking of his startling and important confession. 
I called the porter, and we began rubbing his entire 
body with strong brandy to give him vitality. He 
passed into a gentle sleep, and for a time we could 
not tell whether it would be the final sleep of death 
or a restful one, promising future consciousness and 
possible recovery. He lived through the night, much 
to our surprise and that of the doctor, who, after a 
careful examination of St. Helen's condition, was 
of the opinion that he was somewhat improved, but 
his condition continued extremely critical for sev- 
eral days, but the doctor finally announced that St. 
Helen's recovery was likely and in the course of a 
few days he was convalescent and by careful watch- 

30 



ST. HELEN'S ILLNESS. 

ing he was brought to final recovery. But it was 
many weeks before his health was recovered. After 
which our relations became more intimate and con- 
fidential, for St. Helen was a man who cherished 
gratitude. 

"We were alone one day in my office. I remarked 
to St. Helen that he had passed through a very 
severe spell of sickness and, in fact, we all thought 
he could not recover. To which he assented with a 
look of serious concern, and fixing his eyes on my 
face, asked: 

"Do you remember anything I said to you when I 
was sick?" and waited with an anxious look for 
reply. 

I said to him that I remembered many things 
which he had said to me. 

When St. Helen said: 

"Then you have my life in your keeping, but, 
thank God, as my attorney." 

I replied: "Do you refer to what you said of your 
sweetheart and last love?" 

St. Helen in reply said: "I have had a sweetheart, 
but no last love, and could not, in my wildest deliri- 
um have mentioned a subject so barren of concern 



ST. HELEN'S ILLNESS. 

to me. But your suggestion is a kind evasion of 
what I did say to you, which is of the greatest mo- 
ment to me, and when I get well and feel like talk- 
ing, and you like listening, I will tell you the story 
of my life and the history of the secrecy of my 
name." 

"St. Helen, it will be interesting to me, at your 
convenience,*' I replied. 



38 




St. Helen Confessing the First Time to F. L. Bates That He 
Is John Wilkes Booth. 




Booth, Making a Full Confession of the Killing of Lincoln 
Accusing His Accomplices and Describing His Escape 
to the Author. 



CHAPTED V. 

ST. HELEN'S IDENTITY REVEALED 

After I had returned from an absence of several 
weeks, on professional business, 'St. Helen came to 
my office and invited me to walk with him to the 
open prairie. We went out about half a mile from 
town and seated ourselves on some rocks which had 
been placed in this open space under a large live 
oak tree as a physical monument of a land line or 
corner, a common custom at that time of marking 
located land lines. Seated upon this mounment we- 
had an elevation comfortable and commanding the 
surrounding view. And St. Helen began his story 
by saying: 

"I have told you that my name is not St. Helen, 
and, in fact, my name is John Wilkes Booth, a son 
of the late Junius Brutus Booth, Sr., the actor, and 
a brother of Junius Brutus Booth the second and 
Edwin Booth the actor." 

At that time I think he mentioned a Dr. Booth as 
his brother, and two sisters whose names I cannot 
now recall from his statements at that time. That 
he was born on a farm in the State of Maryland, not 
far from Baltimore. That there was a young mar- 

33 



ST. HELEN'S IDENTITY REVEALED. 

ried woman taken into the Booth family, or the the- 
atrical troupe of the elder Booth and known as 
Agnes Booth, an actress, but in fact she was not a 
Booth nor related to them, but was a Mrs. Agnes 
Perry, a Scandinavian lady, who was divorced from 
her husband and married some time in the sixties to 
Junius Brutus Booth the second. And St. Helen 
continued to relate many other family affairs, the 
publication of which would be to speak of the pri- 
vate concerns of the Booth family, which I deem un- 
necessary to make public. And while their relation 
in public would be no disparagement to the ances- 
try and relations of John Wilkes Booth, yet it-might 
be considered an abuse of confidence for me to do so. 

St. Helen continuing, by reference to himself as 
Booth, said: 

' ' I went on the stage at about the age of seventeen 
years, had succeeded and up to the beginning of the 
Civil War had accumulated about twenty thousand 
dollars in gold, which I had deposited in a bank (or 
banks) in Canada, owing to the uncertainty of 
monetary conditions in the United States at that 
time. I carried my money principally in checks of 
varying amounts to suit my convenience, issued by 
the banks carrying my accounts, which checks 
were readily cashable in the United States or for- 
eign countries." 

34 



ST. HELEN'S IDENTITY REVEALED. 

He said that his sympathies during the war were 
with the Southern cause, that he had become so en- 
thusiastic in his loyalty to the South that he had to 
a great extent lost interest in matters of the stage 
and had given but little time and attention to his 
professional life or the study of the art of acting. 
That after the third year of the war, for many 
months prior to the 14th of April*, 1865, he had de- 
termined that he could best serve the South 's cause 
by kidnaping President Lincoln and delivering him 
over to the Confederate government at Richmond, 
Virginia, to be held as a hostage of war; that in 
preparation for the accomplishment of this purpose 
he had spent much of his time and money up to the 
death, as he called it, of President Lincoln. 

At this point St. Helen grew passionate and full 
of sentiment, and after some hesitation, with much 
force of expression, said: 

"I owe it to myself, most of all to my mother, 
possibly no less to my other relations and the good 
name of my family, as well as to the memory of Mrs. 
Surratt, who was hanged as a consequence of my 
crime, to make and leave behind me for history 
a full statement of this horrible affair. And I do 
desire, in fact, if it were possible, to make known to 
the world the purpose, as well as the motive, which 
actuated me in the commission of the crime against 

35 



ST. HELEN'S IDENTITY REVEALED. 

the life of President Lincoln. First of all I want to 
say I had no personal feeling against President Lin- 
coln. I am not at heart an assassin. I am not a 
physical coward, or a mean man at heart, which the 
word assassin implies, but what I did was done on 
my part with purely patriotic motives, believing, as 
I did, and as I was persuaded at hat time, that the 
death of President Lincoln and the succession of 
Vice-President Johnson, a Southern man, to the 
presidency, was the then only hope for the protec- 
tion of the South from misrule and the confiscation 
of the landed estates of the individual citizens of the 
Southern Confederate States, who were loyal to the 
South by President Lincoln as the chief executive 
of the United States and commander-in-chief of the 
Army; the success of the Federal forces and the 
downfall of the Confederacy having been assured 
by the surrender of Gen. Lee at Appomattox, on the 
9th day of April, 1865, only five days before the final 
decision to take the life of President Lincoln. And 
I pause here to pay a tribute to the memory of Mrs. 
Surratt, for while she was hanged for her supposed 
connection with the conspiracy against the life of 
President Lincoln, she was innocent, and knew noth- 
ing whatever of the plot against the person to kid- 
nap, or the final purpose to kill the President. 

36 



ST. HELEN'S IDENTITY REVEALED. 

"It is true that I visited the home of Mrs. Surratt 
in Washington; it is true I stopped at the Surratt 
tavern, in Surrattville, not, however, because it was 
the property of Mrs. Surratt, or that Mrs. Surratt 
had anything to do with my being at the tavern, but 
because it was the best, and I believe, the only place 
for the traveling public to stop, in the village of 
Surrattville. It is true that I was at the Surratt 
home in Washington, but my mission there was to 
see for the first time, by letter of introduction, 
given me by a mutual friend, John H. Surratt, a son 
of Mrs. Surratt, who was at the time in the secret 
service of the Southern Confederacy as a spy, plying 
in his service between Richmond, Virginia, Washing, 
ton, D. C., New York City and Montreal, Canada, as 
well as other points, as I was then informed. And it 
was from John H. Surratt I desired to get informa- 
tion respecting what was then called the under- 
ground route, because of its hidden and isolated 
way, over which Surratt traveled through the Fed- 
eral lines en route from Richmond, Virginia, to 
Washington, D. C., with the purpose of perfecting my 
plans for the kidnaping of President Lincoln. This 
occurred covering a time I should say from the 
spring to the late summer of 1864. Prior to this 
time I did not personally know, in fact, not even by 
sight, John H. Surratt, and was informed that my 



ST. HELEN'S IDENTITY REVEALED. 

only chance to see him was to meet with him when 
he passed through Washington, D. C., when he 
would stop at his mother's home, at which place Mrs. 
Surratt was then keeping a boarding and lodging 
house. And this is the only purpose I had in going 
to Mrs. Surratt 's home. Mrs. Surratt was at this 
time old enough to have been my mother, and I had 
only that casual acquaintance which my mission to 
the Surratt home had given me, and had only met 
her at intervals, and then for but a few moments 
at a time, covering the period and coupled with the 
ercumstances which I have mentioned as happening 
in 1864. And as a matter of fact at the final meet- 
ing with John H. Surratt our interview was of such 
a nature that he had no further knowledge of or 
connection with any conspiracy to kidnap, or later 
in the spring of 1865, to take the life of the Presi- 
dent. This I say in justice to John H. Surratt, to 
the end also that Mrs. Surratt may live in the mem- 
ory of the civilized people of the world as an inno- 
cent woman and without knowledge, guilty or oth- 
erwise, of the crime for which she was executed and 
whose blood stains the ermine of the judges of the 
military court condemning her to die. And could 
I do or say more in vindication of her name it would 
be gratifying, and would I had possession of Ga- 
briel's horn and his mythical powers I would blow 



ST. HELEN'S IDENTITY REVEALED. 

one blast to wake the sleeping dead that this inno- 
cent woman might walk from the portals of the 
house of death." 

To say that my breath was taken away almost by 
this narrative is but a faint expression of my feel- 
ings, while St. Helen was perfectly calm with that 
restful look which gives expression to a feeling of 
relief. 



CHAPTER VI. 
THE ASSASSINATION 

After a period of silence St. Helen began, with re- 
newed interest and energy, telling me of the plot to 
kill President Lincoln, saying: 

"On the morning of the day I killed the Presi- 
dent the taking of the life of Mr. Lincoln had never 
entered my mind. My purpose had been, as I have 
stated, to kidnap President Lincoln for the purpose 
I have mentioned, and, in fact, one or more efforts 
to do so had fallen through, and we intended that 
the last effort should not fail. Preparatory to this 
end David E. Herold and I left Washington, D. C., 
by the way of Surrattville and along the under- 
ground route I have before described, for the pur- 
pose of perfecting plans for the kidnaping of the 
President. And after having passed over this line on 
horseback from Washington to near Richmond, Vir- 
ginia, we returned, after making the necessary prep- 
arations for crossing the Potomac and Rappahan- 
rock rivers, over the same route, stopping the night 
of the 13th day of April, 1865, at the old Surratt 
tavern, at Surrattville, located about twelve miles 
to the southeast of Washington City. On the morn- 
ing of the 14th day of April, 1865, we came into 
Washington and were stopped at the block house 

40 



THE ASSASSINATION. 

of the Federal troops, at the bridge crossing the 
East Potomac river, by the Federal troops, on guard 
at this point. It appeared that some recent reports 
had been circulated that the life or safety of Presi- 
dent Lincoln was impending, and that an attempt 
had or would be made from some source to assas- 
sinate the President, while at this time any such pur- 
pose was unknown to me, and because of these re- 
ports we were informed by the guard that no one 
could pass in or out of Washington City without 
giving a full account of himself, because of the 
threats against the life of the President. Herold 
and I hesitated to give our names for awhile, and 
were arrested and detained at this block house from 
about 11 o'clock in the morning until in the after- 
noon about 2 o'clock, when for the first time we 
heard definitely of Lee's surrender at Appomattox. 
We then realized that this was a death blow to the 
Southern Confederate States, when we made satis- 
factory explanation and were permitted to enter 
the city and went straight to the Kirkwood Hotel, 
the place of rendezvous of the conspirators against 
Mr. Lincoln, and where Andrew Johnson boarded. 
All the conspirators against President Lincoln met 
here with Andrew Johnson conversant of the pur- 
pose to kidnap the President. On arriving at the 
hotel, about 3 o'clock, I called on Vice-President 

41 



THE ASSASSINATION. 

Johnson, when we talked over the situation and the 
changed conditions because of the surrender of 
Gen. Lee, and the Confederate forces at Appomat- 
tox, which had made the purpose of the kidnaping 
of President Lincoln and his delivery to the Con- 
federate government at Richmond, to be held as a 
hostage of war, impossible, as the Confederate gov- 
ernment had abandoned Richmond and the war be- 
tween the States was considered practically over, 
which left, to my mind, nothing that we could do 
but accept defeat and leave the South, whom we had 
made our best efforts to serve, to her own fate, bit- 
ter and disappointing as it was. When Vice-Presi- 
dent Johnson turned to me and said, in an excited 
voice and apparent anger: 

" 'Will you falter at this supreme moment?' 

"I could not understand his meaning, and stood 
silent, when with pale face, fixed eyes and quivering 
lips, Mr. Johnson asked of me : 
. " 'Are you too faint-hearted to kill him?' 

"As God is my judge, this was the first suggestion 
of the dastardly deed of the taking of the life of 
President Lincoln, and came as a shock to me. 
While for the moment I waited and then said: 

" 'To kill the President is certain death to me,' 
and I explained to Vice-President Johnson that I 
had just been arrested by the guard as I was com- 

42 




ANDREW JOHNSON. 

Vice-President of the United States, and the Home Where 
He Was Born, Near Raleigh, N. C. 




JEFFERSON DAVIS. 

President of the Confederate States of America During the 
Late Civil War. 



THE ASSASSINATION. 

ing into the city over the East Potomac bridge that 
morning, and that it would be absolutely impos- 
sible for me to escape through the military line, 
should I do as he suggested, as this line of protec- 
tion completely surrounded the city. Replying to 
this Mr. Johnson said: 

" 'Gen. and Mrs. U. S. Grant are in the city, the 
guests of President Lincoln and family, and from 
the evening papers I have learned that President 
Lincoln and wife will entertain Gen. and Mrs. Grant 
at a box party to be given in their honor by the 
President and Mrs. Lincoln at Ford's Theater this 
evening. ' 

"At my suggestion Vice-President Johnson as- 
sured me that he would so arrange and see to it 
himself, that Gen. and Mrs. Grant would not attend 
the theater that evening with the President and his 
family, and would also arrange for my certain es- 
cape. I replied: 

" 'Under these conditions and assurances I will 
dare strike the blow for the helpless, vanquished 
Southland, whose people I love.' 

"Mr. Johnson left the room and after a little 
more than an hour returned, saying that it had been 
arranged as he had promised, and that Gen. Grant 
had been, or would be suddenly called from the city, 
and that, therefore, he and his wife could not attend 

43 



THE ASSASSINATION. 

the theater that evening with the President and 
Mrs. Lincoln, as had been prearranged, and that 
such persons as would attend and occupy the box at 
the theater with the President and wife would not 
interfere with me in my purpose and effort to kill 
the President, and this he thought an opportune 
time, and that I would be permitted to escape by 
the route over which I had entered the city during 
the forenoon of that day. That is, that I was to go 
out over the East Potomac river bridge, that the 
guards would be called in from this point by order 
of Gen. C. C. Augur that afternoon or evening, 
but if there should be guards on the bridge, I 
was to use the password *T. B.' or 'T. B. Road,' by 
explanation, if need be, which would be understood 
by the guards, and I would be permitted to pass 
and protected by himself (Mr. Johnson) absolutely 
in my escape, and that on the death of President 
Lincoln, he (Vice-President Johnson) would become 
president of the United States, and that in this offi- 
cial capacity I could depend on him for protection 
and absolute pardon, if need be, for the crime of 
killing President Lincoln, which he had suggested 
to me and I had agreed to perform. 

"Fired by the thoughts of patriotism, and hoping 
to serve the Southern cause, hopeless as it then was, 
as no other man could then do, I regarded it as an 

44 



THE ASSASSINATION. 

opportunity for an heroic act for my country and 
not the exercise of a grudge or any feeling of malice 
toward the President, for I had none against him as 
an individual, but rather to slay the President that 
Andrew Johnson, a Southern man, a resident of the 
State of Tennessee, should be made President of the 
United States, to serve the interests of the South. 
And upon the further promise made me by Mr. John- 
son that he as President of the United States, would 
protect the people of the South from personal op- 
pression and the confiscation of their remaining 
landed estates, relying upon these promises, and be- 
lieving that by the killing of President Lincoln I 
could practically bring victory to the Southern peo- 
ple out of defeat for the South. Moved by this pur- 
pose and actuated by no other motives, assured by 
Mr. Johnson of my personal safety, I began the 
preparation for the bloody deed by going to Ford's 
Theater, and among other things, arranging the door 
leading into the box to be occupied by Mr. Lincoln, 
which had already been decorated for the occasion, 
so that I could raise the fastenings, enter the box 
and close the door behind me so that it could not be 
opened from the outside and returned to the Kirk- 
wood hotel. I then loaded afresh my derringer pis- 
tol so that she would not fail me of fire, and met 
Vice-President Johnson for the last time and in- 

45 



THE ASSASSINATION. 

formed him of my readiness to carry out the prom- 
ise I had made him. About 8:30 that evening we 
left his room, walked to the bar in the hotel and 
drank strong brandy in a silent toast to the success 
of the bloody deed. We walked from the bar-room 
to the street together, when I offered my hand as 
the last token of good-bye and loyalty to our pur- 
pose, and I shall not forget to my dying day the 
clasp of his cold, clammy hand when he said : 

" 'Make as sure of your aim as I have done in 
arranging for your escape. For in your complete 
success lies our only hope.' 

"I replied, 'I will shoot him in the brain.' 

" 'Then practically, from this time I am President 
of the United States,' replied Vice-President John- 
son, and he addeti, 'good-bye.' 

"I returned to the theater. I saw the President and 
party later take their seats in the box. I moved my 
position to a convenient space, and at the time when 
the way was clear and the play was well before the 
footlights I entered the President's box, closed the 
door behind me and instantly placed my pistol so 
near it almost touched his head and fired the shot 
which killed President Lincoln and made Andrew 
Johnson President of the United States and myself 
an outcast, a wanderer, and gave me the name of an 
assassin. As I fired the same instant I leaped from 

46 




Booth Fleeing from Ford's Theatre After the Assassinatior 



THE ASSASSINATION. 

the box to the stage, my right spur entangled in 
something in the drapery on the box, which caused 
me to miss my aim or location on the stage and threw 
my shin bone against the edge of the stage, which 
fractured my right shin bone about six or eight 
inches above the ankle. (At this point St. Helen, 
exposing his shin, called attention to what seemed to 
be a niched or uneven surface on the shin bone. This 
I did not notice closely, but casually it appeared to 
have been a wound or fracture.) 

"From the stage I reached my horse in safety, 
which by arrangement was being held by David E. 
Herold, back of the theater and close to the door of 
the back entrance. "With Herold 's assistance I 
mounted my horse and rode away with full speed 
without hindrance, and reached the bridge at the 
East Potomac river, crossing the same with my 
horse at full pace. When I came to the gate across 
the east end of the bridge there stood a Federal 
guard, who asked me a question easy to answer: 

" 'Where are you going?' 

"I replied, using the simple letters "T. B.' as I had 
been instructed, and the guard then asked : 

" 'Where?' 

"I then replied, 'T. B. Road,' as I had been in- 
structed by Mr. Johnson, and without further ques- 
tion the guard called for assistance to help raise 

47 



THE ASSASSINATION. 

the gate quickly, when I at once again urged my 
horse to full speed and went on to Surrattville, where 
I waited for Herold to overtake me, as prearranged, 
whom I expected to follow closely behind. After 
waiting a few minutes Herold came up and 
we rode the remainder of the night until about 4 
o'clock on the morning of the 15th of April, 1865, 
when we reached the home of Dr. Samuel Mudd, 
where Dr. Mudd, by cutting a slit in it, removed 
my riding boot from the injured right foot and leg 
and proceeded to dress it by bandaging it with 
strips of cloth and pieces of cigar boxes, and the 
riding boot was left at the home of Dr. Mudd, where 
we remained during the rest of the day, and at 
nightfall proceeded on our journey, my bootless 
right foot being covered only by the sock and the 
leg as bandaged and splinted by Dr. Mudd. 

"From the home of Dr. Mudd I went to the home 
of a Southern sympathizer by the name of Cox, 
which we reached between 4 and 5 o'clock on the 
morning of the 16th day of April, 1865. Mr. Cox 
refused to admit us into his house, the news of the 
death of President Lincoln having preceded us, and 
he feared for this reason to take Herold and me in. 
But he called his overseer, or manager about the 
place, and instructed him to hide us in a pine thicket 
on or near the banks of the Potomac river, just back 

48 



THE ASSASSINATION. 

of and near his plantation. This man, the overseer, 
was of medium size, approximately my weight, but 
not quite so tall, I should say, swarthy complexioned, 
black hair and eyes, with a short growth of whiskers 
over his face. I called him by that familiar cogno- 
men known to the Confederate soldiers, 'Johnny.' 
I have the impression, whether correct or not I can- 
not say, from having heard his name called by a 
Mr. Jones, a relative of Mr. Cox,' that it was Ruddy 
or Roby, but heard this only a few times. Of course, 
this may have been a given name, nickname or sir- 
name, I don't know how this was; I was not spe- 
cially interested in knowing his name and was with 
him but a short while, having negotiated with him 
to put us across the country and into the care and 
protection of the Confederate soldiers. 

"Ruddy told me (if this be his name) that some 
of Col. Mosby's command of Confederate troops was 
then encamped not far south of the Rappahannock 
river at or near Bowling Green, Virginia, and agreed 
to convey and deliver us to these Confederate troops 
for a price, as I now best remember, about three hun- 
dred dollars. Ruddy, as we will call him, left us in 
our hiding place until he could go to Bowling Green, 
some thirty-five miles or more distant, with 
a view of arranging with some of these sol- 
diers to meet us at a fixed time and place pro- 

49 



THE ASSASSINATION. 

posedly on the Rappahannock river, which was then 
about the dividing line between the contending Fed- 
eral and Confederate armies. 

"Ruddy left and did not return for several day,, 
from say the 16th or 17th to the 21st of April, 1865. 
Herold and I were cared for during his absence by 
Mr. Jones, the relative, I think, half brother of 
Mr. Cox. On Ruddy's return he reported that the 
desired arrangements had been made with Capt. Jett 
and others of Mosby's command, then stationed at 
Bowling Green, Virginia, south of the Rappahannock 
river, to meet us at the ferry on the Rappahannock 
river at Ports Conway and Royal, as early as 2 
o'clock P. M. of April 22, 1865. So we immediately 
started for this point on the night of the 21st of 
April, crossed the Potomac river, reaching the south 
side of the Potomac river we then had about eigh- 
teen miles to go from the Potomac to the Rappahan- 
nock river to the point agreed upon. This distance 
was through an open country, and we were liable to 
be come upon at any moment by the Federal troops ; 
so to guard against this I arranged the plan of my 
flight, covering this distance from the Potomac to 
the Rappahannock to be the scene of an old negro 
moving. An old negro near the summer home of 
Dr. Stewart possessed of two impoverished horses 
and a dilapidated wagon was hired for the trip. 

50 



THE ASSASSINATION. 

Straw was first placed in the bottom of the wagon 
bed. I got in on this straw and stretched out full 
length; then slats were placed over the first com- 
partment of the bed, giving me a space of about 
eighteen inches deep, which required me to remain 
lying on the straw during the entire trip. On the 
first compartment of the wagon bed was placed the 
second portion of the wagon body, commonly called 
sideboards, then was piled on this old chairs, beds, 
mattresses, quilts and such other paraphernalia as is 
ordinarily kept in a negro's home. A number of 
chickens were caught and put in a split basket, 
which was then made fast to the hind gate of the 
wagon, with old quilts, blankets, etc., thrown over 
the back end of the wagon, exposing the basket of 
chickens, and the wagon or team was driven by the 
old negro, the owner of the same, and contents, ex- 
cept myself. And now having this arrangement per- 
fect in all details, we at once, about 6 o'clock A.M., 
left on our perilous trip from the Potomac to the 
Rappahannock river with Ports Conway and Royal 
as our destination, covering the distance of about 
eighteen or twenty miles without incident or acci- 
dent on our march; Herold and Ruddy following 
along in the wake of the wagon, some distance be- 
hind, they told me, so as not to detract from the 
scene of the plot which was to be taken as one of 
an old negro moving. 

61 



THE ASSASSINATION. 

"In my concealment, of course, I had to be very 
quiet. I could not talk to old Lewis, the old negro 
driver, and made myself as comfortable as I could 
be in my cramped position. In my side coat pocket 
I had a number of letters, together with my diary, 
and I think there was a picture of my sister, Mrs. 
Clark, all of which must have worked out of my 
pocket en route or came out as I was hurriedly 
taken from the wagon. Just as we drew up at the 
ferry old Lewis called out : 

" 'Dar's dem soldiers now.' 

"And at the same moment some one began tear- 
ing away the things from the back gate of the 
wagon, who proved to be Herold and Euddy, much 
to my relief, as they had begun unceremoniously to 
remove the back gate of the wagon, which necessari- 
ly excited me very much, as the driver did not say 
Confederate soldiers, and the 'soldiers' referred to 
flashed through my brain as being Federal soldiers. 
But before I can tell you the back of the wagon was 
taken away, I was pulled out by the heels by Har- 
old and Euddy, and at once hustled into the ferry 
boat and over the river, where our Confederate 
friends were waiting for us. They, in fact, being 
the 'soldiers' referred to by Lewis, the driver. 

"In the hurry, as well as the method of taking 
me from the wagon, I think the letters, diary and 

S2 



THE ASSASSINATION, 

picture of my sister, were lost from my pocket, as I 
was dragged out. About this I can't say, but I do 
know that after I had crossed the river and was feel- 
ing in my pocket to get the check, which I had on a 
Canadian bank, and with which I paid this man Rud- 
dy for his services he had rendered us, for an 
amount, as I now remember it, of about sixty pounds, 
I discovered I had lost these papers. I asked Ruddy 
to go back over the river and get them out of the 
wagon, if they were there, and bring them to me at 
the Garrett home, where the soldiers had arranged 
to take me until Herold and Ruddy should go to 
Bowling Green, Virginia, that afternoon, it being 
then about 2 o'clock. 

"This man Ruddy stepped into an old batteau boat 
to go over to the wagon and get these papers after 
I handed him his check. We being too exposed to 
wait for his return, I hurriedly rode away with the 
two gentlemen to whom I had been introduced as 
Lieuts. Ruggles and Bainbridge, to the Garrott 
home, mounted on a horse belonging to the man 
to whom I had been introduced as Capt. Jett. These 
gentlemen, as I understood it, were connected with 
Mosby's command of Confederate soldiers. But be- 
fore separating at this ferry it had been understood 
between Herold, Ruddy and myself that they would 
go to Bowling Green, Virginia, that afternoon, in 

S3 



THE ASSASSINATION. 

company with Capt. Jett, on foot, by a near way, 
for the purpose of getting me a shoe for my lame 
foot and such other things as Herold and I needed 
and that could not be obtained at Ports Conway and 
Royal, and they were to return and meet me the 
next day at the Garrett home, where Ruddy would 
deliver to me the papers mentioned, if recovered. 

"The Garrett home, I should say, is about three 
miles north of the public road crossing the Rappa- 
hannock river at Ports Conway and Royal and lead- 
ing in a southerly direction to Bowling Green, Vir- 
ginia. From the ferry we went out the Bowling 
Green road a short distance westerly ; we then turned 
and rode north on a country or bridle road for a 
distance of about three miles and a half, when we 
reached the Garrett home, where Lieuts. Bainbridge 
and Ruggles left me, but were to keep watch in the 
distance over me until Ruddy and Herold returned, 
Xhich they were expected to do the following day, it 
being some twelve or fifteen miles walk for them. 
They were to remain there (at Bowling Green) over 
night of the day they left me and return the follow- 
ing day. 

"About one or two o'clock in the afternoon of 
April the 23d, 1865, the second day of my stay at 
the Garrett home, I was out in the front yard, loung- 
ing on the meadow, when Lieuts. Bainbridge and 

54 



THE ASSASSINATION. 

Ruggles came up hurriedly and notified me that a 
squad of Yankee troops had crossed the Rappahan- 
nock river in hot pursuit of me, and advised me to 
leave at once and go back into the woods north of 
the Garrett house, in a wooded ravine, which they 
pointed out, giving me a signal whistle by which I 
would know them, and hurriedly rode off, saying 
that they would return for me in about an hour at 
the place designated, and bring with them a horse 
for my escape. 

"I left immediately, without letting anyone know 
that I had gone or the direction I had taken. I 
reached the woods at about the place which had 
been pointed out to me, as nearly as one could trav- 
eling in a strange wooded section with the impedi- 
ment of a lame leg. At about the time fixed I was 
delighted to hear the signal, and answered, to the 
best of my recollection, about three or four o'clock 
P. M. My friends came up with an extra horse, 
which I mounted, and we rode away in a westerly 
direction, riding the remainder of the afternoon and 
the following night until about twelve o'clock, when 
we camped together in the woods, or rather dis- 
mounted to rest ourselves and horses until daylight. 
"We talked over the situation, they giving me direc- 
tions by which I should travel. When we at last sep- 
arated in a country road, they said about twenty or 

55 



THE ASSASSINATION. 

twenty-five miles to the west of the Garrett home or 
Ports Royal and Conway; I, of course, thanked 
them and offered them pay for the services they had 
rendered me and the price of the horse they had 
turned over to me, all of which they refused to ac- 
cept, and bade me goodbye, with the warning that 
I should keep my course well to the westward for 
that day's ride, and then, after this day's ride, con- 
tinue my journey to the southwest. 

"As advised by them, I rode on westerly through 
all the country roads as I came to them leading in 
that direction until about ten o'clock A.M. of the 
second day out from the Garrett home, when, ow- 
ing to the fatigue of myself and horse, and suffering 
from my wounded leg, I found it necessary to rest 
and stopped at a small farm house on the country 
road, where there seemed to live only three elderly 
ladies, who, at my request, took me in as a wounded 
Confederate soldier, fed my horse and gave me 
breakfast, and as I now best remember, I compen- 
sated them, paying them one dollar in small silver 
coin. 

"After a few hours' rest for myself and horse, I 
pushed on toward the west the remainder of the 
day and the forepart of the night, as best I could, 
but early in the night I rode into the thick brush 
located in a small creek bottom some distance from 

56 




Booth, Disguised as a Confederate Soldier in His Plight, 
Applies for Shelter anrl Hospitality for His Tired Horse 
and Himsolf. 



THE ASSASSINATION. 

the road and remained there all night. The next 
morning I obtained breakfast for myself and feed 
for my horse from an elderly gentleman and lady at 
a little country home at an early hour without fur- 
ther incident and interest, save and except the enjoy- 
ment of the meal, when I turned my course to the 
southwest, as I had been directed, and followed this 
direction day after day, impersonating the character 
of a Confederate soldier. Continuing on down 
through West Virginia, I crossed the Big Sandy river 
at Warfield, in Eastern Kentucky, and after travel- 
ing from Warfield for about two days, and covering 
a distance of fifty or sixey miles in a southwesterly 
direction from Warfield, I, as well as my horse, was 
about worn out, and I was therefore compelled to 
rest for about a week, claiming to be a wounded 
Confederate soldier. The parties with whom I 
stopped was a widow lady and her young son, whose 
name I can not now remember. But after receiving 
their kind attentions and needed rest, I resumed my 
journey with the purpose of traveling to the south 
until I could reach the Mississippi river at a safe 
point for crossing it, and find my way into the Indian 
Territory as the best possible hiding place, in my 
opinion. 

"I finally reached without incident worthy of 
mention the Mississippi river and crossed the same 

57 



THE ASSASSINATION. 

at what was called Catfish Point, in the State of 
Mississippi. This point is a short distance south 
of where the Arkansas river empties into the Mis- 
sissippi river. I followed the south and west bank 
of the Arkansas river until I reached the Indian Ter- 
ritory, where I remained at different places, hid- 
ing among the Indians for a&out eighteen months, 
when I left the Indian Territory and went to Ne- 
braska and was at Nebraska City employed by a 
white man to drive a team connected with a wagon 
train going from Nebraska City, Nebraska, to Salt 
Lake City, Utah. This man was hauling provisions 
for the United States government to the Federal 
troops encamped at Salt Lake City. But I left this 
wagon train while en route, just before we got to 
Salt Lake City, and proceeded to San Francisco, 
California, to meet my mother and my brother, 
Junius Brutus Booth. After meeting my mother 
and brother and remaining a while there, I left and 
went into Mexico. From there I went up through 
Texas, finally stopping at Glenrose Mills and Grand- 
berry, Texas, where we are now. 

"Of course, I could add many matters of interest 
to what I have said to you, but I have told you quite 
sufficient for the present," saying which he gave 
me a look of inquiry as much as to say, "Well, what 

do you thing of me now?" 

t. 

58 



THE ASSASSINATION. 

I broke my long, intense and interested silence by 
saying, as I rose from my seat and looked at my 
watch : 

"It is now about our lunch hour; suppose we re- 
turn to town," to which St. Helen assented. 



CHAPTER VII. 

THEIMAN KILLED AT THE GARRETT 
HOME 

As we were returning to town I continued the sub- 
ject of our conversation by saying to St. Helen that 
I had little knowledge of the history of the matters 
about which he had spoken so in detail, but as of gen- 
eral information knew that John Wilkes Booth had 
assassinated President Lincoln, though had no accur- 
ate knowledge of the facts as detailed by him of the 
President's assassination, such as would enable me to 
reach the conclusion, as to the correctness or incor- 
rectness of his statement, for I having been a small 
boy at the close of the Civil War had not had the 
opportunity to know much of the history of the war, 
and less of the facts touching the tragic death of 
President Lincoln, and therefore was left alone to 
judge of the truth of what he said by the impressions 
and convictions that his mere relation of it created 
on my mind. The truth being that I did not believe 
his story and sought the first opportunity to close 
an interview as abhorrent as it was disbelievable by 

60 



THE MAN KILLED AT THE GARRETT HOME. 

me. And out of charity I had begun to regard St. 
Helen as an insane man, bordering in fact upon vio- 
lent madness, but I said to him : 

"I have learned to know and like you as John St. 
Helen, but I would not know how to regard you and 
associate with you as John Wilkes Booth, the assassin, 
and to be kind and generous to you as my friend, I 
must say I do not believe your story. First because, 
I like St. Helen, and in the second place is it not true 
that John Wilkes Booth was killed soon after the as- 
sassination of President Lincoln, such as has been the 
general information heretofore practically unques- 
tioned? No, St. Helen, not against my will and in 
face of these facts can I believe you the assassin and 
criminal you claim to be. And giving you the benefit 
of the doubt of your sanity I must decline to accept 
your story as true. It is possible you may have known 
Booth and the secrets of his crime and escape, and it 
is possible that from your brooding over this subject 
your mind has become shaken and you imagine your- 
self Booth. To me you are my friend John St. Helen 
not the wicked and arch-criminal, the assassin, John 
Wilkes Booth. It would take even more than your 
sane statement to make me believe that you are any 
other than John St. Helen. I can't believe that one 
of your humane instincts, possessed, as I think I know 
you to be, of all the attributes of gentle breeding and 

61 



THE MAN KILLED AT THE GARRETT HOME. 

culture, with the highest order of intellect and re- 
finement blended with beautiful sentiment, and 
possessed of a soul unalloyed with crime, can be 
John Wilkes Booth. Could a man seeming- 
ly possessed of such attributes, protected by a 
strong manhood, without physical or mental fear, 
without an apparent taint of the composition of cow- 
ardice, play the part of an assassin ? Booth may have 
been possessed of all the qualities that it takes to make 
up the assassin, but St. Helen? In my opinion, no, 
if I mistake not your character. You would have met 
the man you sought to slay to the forefront and bid 
him with equal chance defend the life you would 
take. 

"Then, too, did not the government of the United 
States announce to the American people, and as for 
that matter, to the civilized world, that Booth was 
killed and the death of President Lincoln avenged? 
Then do you say it is a fact that Booth was not killed 
at the Garrett barn in Virginia ? It is a physical fact 
that some man was killed at the Garrett home. If not 
Booth who was this mant" 

St. Helen replied by saying, "As you have heard 
that a man was killed at the Garrett barn, and without 
positive or direct proof as to who this man was, yet 
from the circumstances I would say that it was Ruddy, 
the man with whom I had negotiated for my personal 

62 



THE MAN KILLED AT THE GARRETT HOME. 

deliverance, together with that of my accomplice, 
David E. Herold, to the Confederate soldiers. You 
will remember I paid this man with a check made 
payable to my order by a Canadian bank, and if he 
did, as I requested, which he promised to do and left 
me to do, he got my letters, pictures, etcetera, out of 
the wagon, as I have explained to you, as he was to 
bring them to me at the Garrett home on the day or 
night following the day that I left the Garrett home, 
as I have also explained to you.* I take it, without 
personal knowledge of the facts, that Ruddy and Her- 
old came to the Garrett home, as prearranged and 
promised when we separated at the ferry on the Rap- 
pahannock river, so that the Federal troops, by some 
means, traced me to the Garrett home, where they 
found Herold and Ruddy, killing Ruddy and captur- 
ing Herold. They found on the body of Ruddy 
the cheek for sixty pounds, together with my letters, 
and I think a picture, and by reason of finding these 
belongings of mine on the body of Ruddy, I presume 
they identified it as the body of myself. But this 
misleading incident, for I take it to be true that these 
documents unexplained found upon the body of any- 
one, and surely by those who did not know me, would 
reasonably and rightfully justify the conclusion that 
they had the body of John Wilkes Booth, but they 
were in fact mistaken. And I do not for one moment 

63 



THE MAN KILLED AT THE GARRETT HOME. 

doubt the sincerity of the individual members of the 
government 01 officers and men who captured Herold 
and killed, as I suppose, Buddy, in believing that they 
had killed me, and it was certainly a reasonable and 
justifiable mistake if they had no other means of 
identifying me than the check and documents found 
on the man or body of the man whom we have called 
Ruddy. But in this connection I desire to say, so that 
my conscience shall be clear and confession complete, 
that I have no cause to complain of the treatment 
that I have received at the hands of the Federal 
soldiers or officers in pursuit of me before and after 
the killing of President Lincoln, for they were more 
than once in plain and broad view of me. It is a little 
remarkable, don't you think, that it was possible for 
me to remain within the Federal lines for seven or 
more entire days and nights, within forty miles of 
Washington City, in a country entirely open and 
within the territory completely occupied by the Fed- 
eral troops, while I waited for Ruddy to go within 
the Confederate lines and arrange to have Confederate 
soldiers meet us at the Rappahannock river, as the 
safest and most certain means of my escape?" 

"Then, it is your contention, St. Helen, that the 
circumstances of finding your letters, etc., on Ruddy's 
body was all the proof they had?" 

64 



THE MAN KILLED AT THE GARRETT HOME. 

' ' Certainly, they could have only had circumstantial 
proof not having killed me. They could only reach 
the conclusion from the incident mentioned, and I am 
before you now as a physical monument to .the fact 
that I was not killed." 

"Yes, but I, in my opinion, as well as a large 
majority of the American people, believe that the gov- 
ernment has in its possession absolute and positive 
proof of the killing and death of Booth. However 
this may be, I shall continue to know and associate 
with you only as John St. Helen, until I shall have 
more satisfactory proof of your identity," when so 
saying St. Helen and I separated and went our dif- 
ferent ways to a late luncheon. "While I as a fact had 
little or no confidence in the story told me by St. 
Helen and did not believe St. Helen to be Booth, still 
his manner, directness and detail of his statement 
left its impress on me and gave a justifiable cause 
for serious reflection. 

The former pleasant relation between St. Helen 
and myself could not be continued with him as Booth, 
for we forget to recognize merit and friendship in 
one's character where there is much to be otherwise 
condemned. In fact we find our friendship paling to 
contempt and our admiration to scorn. The criminal 
becomes common place and unattractive, because he 
is unworthy, regardless of his physical attractiveness 

65 



THE MAN KILLED AT THE GARRETT HOME. 

or mental attainments. We recognize in him the 
villain. What we may call St. Helen's con- 
fession tended to clear up the mystery he had 
thrown around himself when he sought to avoid his 
appearance before the Federal court at Tyler, by 
saying his true name was not St. Helen, and I now 
think of his confession in the light of his hard fight 
and the payment of money to avoid being taken within 
the settled and civilized sections of the state of Texas, 
lest he should be identified to be another than John St. 
Helen. This was a suspicious circumstance, at least, 
that in fact St. Helen was Booth, or some other man 
than St. Helen, for as a fact if he was Booth it was 
possible and highly probable that he would have been 
identified by some of the court officials, especially by 
the United States District Attorney, Col. Jack Evans, 
who it is more than probable had seen John Wiikea 
Booth on the stage. Knowing the District Attorney as 
I did, as also from information of his frequent trips 
to Washington and Eastern cities during the days 
of Booth's triumphs before the footlights would 
show a well founded reason why St. Helen 
should not have taken the risk incident to a 
trip to Tyler, if in fact he was Booth. Then I 
would think he could have been equally as well John 
St. Helen, John Smith or John Brown, or any other 
man, who had committed some crime other than that 

66 



THE MAN KILLED AT THE GAKRETT HOME. 

of the assassination of President Lincoln, for the 
commission of which he would have been equally as 
anxious to avoid detection under any other name or 
for any other crime, if such crime had any connection 
with the violation of the Federal law. In other words, 
he could as well have been a mail robber as the assas- 
sin of a President. So, that I could place but little 
importance in these statements and circumstances as 
a proof that St. Helen was hi fact John Wilkes Booth, 
but rather thought of his confession as an evidence 
of an identity not yet spoken of. So that the true 
identity of this mysterious St. Helen became more 
mystifying. Then I would think of what St. Helen 
had said when he thought he was making his dying 
declaration that he was John Wilkes Booth. And if 
this was not true why need he in the presence of 
impending death, as he thought, make the confession 
that he was Booth? Then, too, I would think this 
confession was without significance, as St. Helen 
seemed prompted by no purpose after he had been 
saved from the Federal court and from death, except 
to prove to me the fact of his true identity, for what 
interest could it have been to me or what could it 
avail Booth, his purpose having been accomplished? 
So reasoning from the standpoint of cause or motives 
the conclusions reached were first, that St. Helen was 
not Booth, because he disclosed his secret without an 

67 



THE MAN KILLED AT THE GARRETT HOME. 

apparent necessity, or from a business point of view, 
and not likely from a matter of sentiment Then I 
would think, is the man demented? And is he living 
without purpose or reason? Or is he conscience 
stricken and telling the truth for the relief that its 
confession brings to him? And thus can reason 
answer ? 

Resting in this state of mind I waited an opportune 
time when St. Helen and myself were retired, effect- 
ually hidden from intrusion, and expressed to him my 
apprehension of his perfect sanity as well as of his 
true identity, and asked him to more fully explain 
why he had made this confession to me at a time when 
he supposed he was in his last illness that he was 
John Wilkes Booth. And that if as a matter of fact 
he was John Wilkes Booth, why he wanted me to 
know it. St. Helen, without hesitation but with slow 
and deliberate expression in substance said: 

"I have spoken to you in good faith and in very 
truth, having in no way deceived or in any manner 
misled you, and had thought in the statements I have 
made you I had clearly shown my purpose. But hav- 
ing failed in this I realize my fault, possibly produced 
by my long habit of secretiveness of purpose, that my 
conversations may more or less partake of the long 
hidden mystery of my life, and in themselves appear 
mystifying and contradictory in a measure to the 

68 



THE MAN KILLED AT THE GARRETT HOME. 

legal mind. But you will remember that I gave yov. 
these reasons some time ago that it was first a duty 
I owe myself and family name that the world might 
know the motives for my crime. Then, too, I reflect, 
that my crime is possibly without palliation, certainly 
has no justifying excuse in the eyes of the world. That 
in fact the greater part of my purpose in the con- 
fession I first made you was to secure my release from 
an attendance on the Federal court. Other than this 
selfish motive you can not easily understand, and now 
in the light of what I have said to you I must confess 
that I, in fact, think that I was moved by a desire of 
finding a confidant to whom at a chance risk of my 
life I could speak fully of my identity and unbur- 
dened the story of my crime to you, for God and the 
criminal himself only know the punishment it is for 
one not to be able to take his trouble to a friend and 
unfold his mind to the ear which will listen with 
pity, if not approval, and at least share with him the 
knowledge of his crime. To you, free from crime, it 
will doubtless occur that this could at most be but lit- 
tle consolation, but don 't forget that any consolation 
at all is better than none, and that the life of man at 
best is but a parasite on the life of others; his 
friends who give hope of the impossible to himself 
make life worth the living, and friendships kindled 
into faith become the beacon fires which illumine the 

69 



THE MAN KILLED AT THE GARKETT HOME. 

hours of our darkness beyond the sunlights of today, 
and through the shadowed valley to the great beyond 
where God rules and Justice obtains throughout the 
time of all eternity. 

"After all, be it so. Having made known to you 
my true identity and the cause of my crime, although 
I know that you by your actions condemn me in fact, 
I would think less of you if you did not, for I myself 
confess, and would the power I had to condemn that 
which you condemn, conscious that the Arbiter of our 
being is pitiless in accusation, ever present in persecu- 
tion and tireless in punishment. Yes, I walk in the 
companionship of crime, sleep within the folds of sin 
and dream the dreams of the damned and awake to go 
forth by all men accused as well as self -condemned. 
Ah, aweary, aweary ! Shall I say that I would that I 
were dead? Yes, that I could on the wings of the 
wind, by a starless and moonless night, be gone in 
flight to the land of perpetual silence, where I could 
forget and be forgotten, and whisper to my weary 
soul, 'Peace, be still.' But for me, except in death, 
there is no rest, for God in the dispensation of His 
justice ordains that the criminal shall suffer the pangs 
of his own crime. "Why, then, should I hope? But 
hopeless I may turn when all nature is hushed and 
hear the voice of the supernatural saying: 

70 



THE MAN KILLED AT THE GAKRETT HOME. 

" 'Look, Repent and Confess.' "When shines with- 
in the light of the star of Bethlehem I shall see ex- 
tended to me the outstretched arms of the Sainted 
Mother Mary, I look, repent and confess, and the 
fires of hope shall rekindle at the urn of my being, 
with the fagots of incense burning in holy light giv- 
ing off the perfume of frankincense and myrrh a 
food for and a purification of the soul. And this alone 
can bring relief to my physical and spiritual being. 
And in my confession to you I appealed for the pity 
of man that I might live in common knowledge with 
some one man, the secret that I, John Wilkes Booth, 
did make my escape after the killing of President 
Lincoln, whose life to replace I would gladly give 
my own." 

When I said to St. Helen, drop the curtain on the 
beautiful sentiments expressed and for awhile listen 
to me. The statements that you made with reference 
to Mrs. Surratt and her son John Surratt can readily 
be accepted as reasonable, but if you mean to say that 
Vice-President, Andrew Johnson, was the leading con- 
spirator and had formed a plan to kidnap and finally 
suggested the assassination of President Lincoln, it 
is startling to a point of disbelief, an insult to Ameri- 
can manhood! It traduces the character of a dead 
man, and is equalled only by the depravity and 
cowardice characterizing the act of the assassina- 

71 



THE MAN KILLED AT THE GARRETT HOME, 

tion of President Lincoln. Nol I can not yet with- 
out more proof believe the statement that you make to 
be a fact. What reason, I pray, could Andrew Johnson 
have in being a party to the assassination of President 
Lincoln under the circumstances, or even under other 
circumstances than such as you have stated?" 
St. Helen, replying in substance, said : 
' ' I am not unmindful of what my statements imply 
and weigh the consequences as well as measure my 
words, when I say that in the light of after events, 
it was in fact Vice-President Johnson's only purpose 
in planning and causing the assassination of President 
Lincoln, to make himself President of the United 
States, but he then gave as his reason, among oth- 
ers, which I have before explained to you, that Pres- 
ident Lincoln, by the act of the emancipation of the 
slaves of the South, had violated the constitutional 
rights of property of the Southern people and rea- 
soned that if he would override the Constitution of 
the United States in this respect that Mr. Lincoln 
was a dangerous man to be President, for that he 
could with the same propriety and that he would 
in his (Mr. Johnson's) opinion continue his policy 
of the confiscation of the remaining properties of 
the people of the South. That he (Mr. Johnson) 
was a Southern man and a citizen resident of the 
South, and it was reasonable to expect, believe, and 

72 



THE MAN KILLED AT THE GARRETT HOME. 

in fact know, that he would do more for the South 
under the then existing conditions than President Lin- 
coln, who, Mr. Johnson contended, was the South 's 
greatest enemy, saying that he (Mr. Johnson) was 
present at a cabinet meeting prior to September 22nd, 
1864, by invitation of President Lincoln, when the 
question of the emancipation of slavery was to be dis- 
cussed and that upon this occasion it was developed 
that five out of seven members of President Lincoln's 
cabinet, as follows, Wells, Smith, Seward, Blair and 
Bates, were opposed to the issuance and promulgation 
of the emancipation proclamation, and the argument 
made by those men in opposition was that such a 
proclamation by the chief executive, overriding the 
decision of the Supreme Court of the United States 
in the Dred Scott case, was an usurpation of the law 
and constitution of the United States. To this Presi- 
dent Lincoln replied: 
" 'The legal objections raised in opposition to the 
promulgation of the Emancipation Proclamation free- 
ing the negro slaves of the United States is well 
founded and true, but I believe it would be a vital 
stroke against our sister states in rebellion, and believ- 
ing this as I do, as Commander-in-Chief of the Army 
and as President of the United States, I shall issue 
this proclamation as a war measure, believing it to 
be my official duty. Believing, as I do, that the free- 

73 



THE MAN KILLED AT THE GARRETT HOME. 

dom of the negroes is humane and meritorious and a 
blow to the enemy which it can not long withstand, 
and from my understanding of my official dual capac- 
ity as President of the United States as its Civil 
Officer and Commander-in-Chief of the Army from a 
military standpoint, I violate no law or official trust 
in doing what in my opinion is best and just in the 
suppression of the present rebellion.' 

" 'This act of President Lincoln,' continued Mr. 
Johnson, 'Was earnest of his policy to be carried out 
toward the subjugated South.' 

"This reasoning at the time seemed unselfish and 
logical, and I agreed with him that the supreme mo- 
ment for the displacement of President Lincoln had 
arrived. And if you will think for a moment of the 
conditions as they obtained at that time, in Washing- 
ton City, you will agree with me that it was impossible 
for me, a mere citizen, a civilian without influence, 
except through Yice-President Johnson, with either 
the civil or military powers at Washington, I being in 
no way connected with the Federal or Confederate 
armies and following my vocation as an actor, at my 
convenience and pleasure, that it was a physical im- 
possibility for me to have arranged my escape through 
the Federal lines, then completely surrounding Wash- 
ington, through which I had to go and did pass after 
the accomplishment of the death of President Lincoln, 

74 



THE MAN KTTJJcn AT THE GARRETT HOME. 

for at this time, as it had been practically during the 
entire Civil War, Washington City was closely 
guarded by a cordon of soldiers thrown completely 
around it, making it impossible to pass in or out of 
the city without passing through this well-guarded 
line, and this only could be done by officially recog- 
nized permits, and even with these permits one could 
not pass into the city without giving a full account of 
himself. 

"Now, do you think that I unaided could have 
arranged for my escape? Then, think, Gen. U. S. 
Grant and wife, as you know, were to attend the 
theatre with President and Mrs. Lincoln on that 
evening, and I could not have undertaken to go into 
the closed box so unequally matched as I would have 
been with both President Lincoln and Gen. Grant 
there. So, the absence of Gen. Grant was arranged. 
Could I do this ? History records the fact that Gen. 
Grant was suddenly called from the City of Washing- 
ton late in the afternon of the evening of the assas- 
sination of President Lincoln. You understand that 
Gen. and Mrs. Grant were the guests of the President 
and Mrs. Lincoln, receiving the congratulations of 
Mr. Lincoln as Commander-in-Chief of the Army, only 
five days after the surrender of Gen. Lee accepting 
the hospitality of the President and Mrs. Lincoln, a 
compliment extended to Gen. Grant on account of his 

75 



THE MAN KILLED AT THE GARRETT HOME. 

great achievement in the defeat of Robert E. Lee and 
his army before Richmond, at Appomatox, and this 
entertainment at Ford 's theater was a part of the pro- 
gram for their entertainment, and was to mark the 
first public appearance together of President Lincoln 
and Gen. Grant as the greatest heroes of the Civil 
War connected with the Federal army. Whether Gen. 
Grant 's absence was a mere incident I can not say. I 
only know that Vice-President Johnson informed me 
only a few hours before the killing of President Lin- 
coln that Gen. Grant would not be in attendance with 
President Lincoln at the theatre. How he knew it, I 
do not know. But I do know that I would not have 
gone into the box and locked myself inside so unevenly 
matched as I would have been with Gen. Grant pres- 
ent, and had he been present President Lincoln would 
not have been killed by me on that evening. Knowing 
from the evening papers of the intended presence of 
Gen. Grant, one of my conditions for attempting the 
life of the President was that Gen. Grant should not 
be present, and it is a physical fact that he was not 
there. Take the further physical fact that I did kill 
the President, and that I did pass out of the lines, as 
directed by Mr. Johnson, without molestation at the 
same point where I had been arrested and detained 
on the morning of the same day I killed the President ; 
that I approached the same guarded spot with my 

76 



THE MAN KILLED AT THE GARRETT HOME. 

horse under whip and spur, at or about 10:30 o'clock 
at night, when upon giving the pass word T. B. or 
T. B. Road to the Federal soldiers then guarding the 
gate at the bridge, I was allowed to pass out. The 
guard at once called for the assistance of another 
guard standing close by, and the gate was hurriedly 
raised and without further question I rode through, 
put spur to my horse and was off again as fast as 
the animal could go. 

"Likewise, Herold, my accomplice, was permitted 
to cross the bridge by the same guard, by the use of 
the same pass word, and came up with me at Surratt- 
ville. These physical facts stand as undeniable proof 
of my official aid and my escape! Taking these 
facts into consideration, who can say or doubt for 
one moment that I was assisted by one, or more, 
persons high in official circles, as well as in military 
life?" 

"Then, St. Helen, do you mean to say that Gen. 
Grant was a party to or cognizant of the plot against 
the life of President Lincoln?" 

"No, I do not. All I know is that I was informed 
by Vice-President Johnson that Gen. Grant was to be 
in the box with President Lincoln on that evening. I 
told him I could not undertake to carry out the plan 
against the life of the President, as I have stated, 
should Gen. Grant remain in the box, that is, should 



THE MAN KILLED AT THE GARRETT HOME. 

he attend the theatre and occupy the box with Mr. 
Lincoln. Mr. Johnson left me late that afternoon to 
arrange for my escape and on his return, before giving 
me instructions for my escape, he said that Gen. Grant 
would not be present. How he knew this I can not 
say. All I can say is to repeat what I have said. All 
the world knows that Gen. and Mrs. Grant were not 
in the box. From these existing physical facts, with 
no accusation by innuendo, or otherwise, you must 
draw your own conclusions. My own fixed opinion 
upon this subject, however, I am free to express to 
you and I confess that I do not believe that Gen. 
Grant knew of any arrangements being made to kill 
President Lincoln. I believe rather that he had been 
decoyed off by some means, unsuspected by him, and 
certainly not known to me, as were also other instances 
apparently connected with the assassination of the 
President. For instance, I knew nothing of any plan 
to take the life of Secretary Seward on the night of 
the assassination of President Lincoln, or at any other 
time, showing that it would appear to have been a 
conspiracy against both the President and certain 
members of the Cabinet." 

"While your story may be true, St. Helen, and is 
apparently sustained by the facts which you state, 
considering your statements to be facts, and I have no 
information for a successful denial, if all you say is 

78 



THE MAN KILLED AT THE GARRETT HOME. 

true, it in no way identifies you as John Wilkes 
Booth. Your story could be as well told by any one 
else of your genius for some purpose hidden from me, 
so I must continue to know you as John St. Helen." 
St. Helen replied, ' ' Then allow me to say that your 
long and persistent reasoning that I am not John 
Wilkes Booth almost persuades me that I am in fact 
John St. Helen. Indeed, I am quite willing that you 
shall believe I am not John Wilkes Booth. However, 
I realize that you have one proof of my identity 
my tintype picture. I ask that you will keep 
that picture, which may be the means of my complete 
identification to you some day, when you will better 
understand that my confidence in you has been 
prompted by selfish motives to a certain degree. While 
your continued mistrust and disbelief is comforting 
to me, in that I reflect that you, after all that I have 
told you, for the reasons that you have given, -are not 
willing to believe me the criminal that I am; or, if 
this disbelief arises from your thinking me incapable 
of the crime to which I plead guilty, it is surely grati- 
fying. But, if on the other hand, your mistrust arises 
from your opinion that I am unworthy of belief 
under any and all circumstances, my purposes are 
thwarted and my efforts of no avail. But remember 
always that I am grateful to you for what you have 
done for me, and the burden you share with me, un- 

79 



THE MAN KILLED AT THE GARRETT HOME, 

wittingly, whether it be with St. Helen or with Booth, 
and in the future as in the past, with your permission, 
we will be friends. Think of me as you will, my true 
name and identity you have. My correct personality 
you know, and whether we long associate together or 
soon separate, remember you are the one man the 
only living man with whom I leave the true story of 
the tragedy which ended the life of President Lin- 
coln." 

Closing with this statement, St. Helen left me in an 
uncertain frame of mind. The future standing as a 
barrier against coming events I was not prepared at 
that time to admit that St. Helen was Booth. I was 
unwilling to assume the responsibility of believing 
that St. Helen was Booth. Aside from my better 
judgment was my strong faith in the accuracy of 
the claims of my government that John Wilkes Booth, 
the assassin, had been killed, and I did not care to ac- 
quire the unpleasant notoriety and criticism of making 
the announcement that John Wilkes Booth in fact 
lived, unless the proof of such a fact was established 
irrefutably. So, I determined to drop the subject for 
all time to come treating it as a myth unfounded in 
fact a story that existed only in the mind of St. 
Helen, a comparatively demented man, a crank, who 
gloried in deceiving me to the idea. I preferred to 
accept the story of the event referred to as it is told 

80 



THE MAN KILLED AT THE GARRETT HOME. 

by the government the accepted facts of history 
rather than those of this man of mystery. And in our 
after association, lasting about ten months, we made 
no further reference to the subject, which was avoided 
by mutual consent. 

Aside from this unpleasant side of St. Helen's 
character he was modest, unobtrusive and congenial, 
ever pleasant in association with ' me. He was a 
social favorite with all with whom he came in con- 
tact, yet, he was rather the social autocrat than the 
social democrat. Except for a select few he held all 
men to the strictest social etiquette, repelling all 
undue familiarity, refusing all overtures of social 
equality with even those of the better middle classes 
of men, but it was done in such a gentle and respect- 
ful way that no affront was taken if such it could 
be called, it was more pleasant than otherwise, leav- 
ing the impression that he, St. Helen, would be de- 
lighted to be on the most intimate terms with the 
other, but, as there is nothing in common between 
us more than a respectful speaking relation, it is 
an impossibility. And thus he made friends while 
he drew the social lines and pressed home a con- 
sciousness of his own superiority as an entertainer. 

The hours of our social life were pleasantly spent, 
not by riotous living but by amusing games of cards, 
recitations and readings by St. Helen, which were 

81 



THE MAN KILLED AT THE GARRETT 



always a great treat, and which he himself seemed 
to enjoy, as did his friends. 

St. Helen often admitted that in his younger days 
he sometimes drank to excess of strong whiskeys, 
wines, etc., as also decoctions of brandy and cordials, 
but during our associations I never knew of his tak- 
ing strong drink of any character, nor did he use 
tobacco in any form, and in the absence of these 
habits and tastes we were entirely congenial, as I 
myself had never cultivated appetites of this char- 
acter. We were also lovers of literature of the same 
class, as well as music and the ftne arts, and matters 
pertaining to the stage. We enjoyed the gossip of 
the stage, and the people of the stage came in for a 
large share of our attention, especially St. Helen's, 
who talked much of what he called the old and the 
new school of acting, with which I became con- 
versant, which greatly pleased St. Helen, who 
frequently made reference to me as his trained asso- 
ciate, while he would explain that men became 
congenial by constant association linked together by 
the common mother, kindred thoughts, the off- 
spring of blended characters. 



82 



CHAPTER VIII. 



THE SEPARATION 

St. Helen had grown tired of his class of busi- 
ness. In fact, he paid little attention to it, letting 
it drift with the tide of business affairs in the little 
town of Grandberry. Now his mind turned to 
thoughts of mining and the acquisition of wealth by 
the development of mining properties in Colorado. 
I was looking to other fields for my efforts and de- 
cided to leave Texas. 

When the final hour of our separation came I 
returned to the States, as we Westerners termed 
the older States in the Union, and St. Helen left for 
Leadville, Colorado, in the spring of 1878, from 
which point I lost trace of him until some time in the 
year 1898. In the meantime I had located in the 
city of Memphis, Tennessee, and St. Helen and I 
were far apart lost to each other and comparatively 
forgotten for a period of twenty years. 

During this interval of time, my location being 
more convenient to books and the acquiring of in- 
formation, I investigated the subject of the assassi- 
nation of President Lincoln and its attendant cir- 

83 



THE SEPARATION. 

cumstances in view of the statements made by St. 
Helen. He had connected Andrew Johnson with 
the plot to kidnap and assassinate President Lin- 
coln and investigation became interesting to learn, 
if possible, the relations, personal and otherwise, 
existing between President Lincoln and Viee-Presi- 
dent Andrew Johnson. 

In this search I find that the oath of office as 
President of the United States was administered to 
Andrew Johnson by Chief Justice Chase in the lodg- 
ings of Andrew Johnson, at the Kirkwood Hotel, 
"Washington, D. C., and that besides members of 
the Cabinet a number of United States Senators 
were called in to witness the ceremony. At this 
hour but few of the citizens of Washington knew 
that President Lincoln was dead. The inaugura- 
tion occurred at 10 o'clock on the morning of April 
15, 1865, President Lincoln having died at twenty- 
two minutes past 7 o'clock on the same morning. 

At his informal inauguration President Johnson 
made a speech remarkable in that he made no men- 
tion of President Lincoln. I give this speech in part 
with the comments thereon by those present, who 
say: 

"The effect produced upon the public by this 
speech, which might be regarded as an inaugural 
address, was not happy. Besides its evasive charac- 

84 



THE SEPAEATION. 

ter respecting public policies, which every observant 
man noted, with apprehension, an unpleasant im- 
pression was created by its evasive character re- 
specting Mr. Lincoln. The entire absence of eulogy 
of the slain President was remarked. There was no 
mention of his name or of his character, or of his 
office, the only allusion in any way whatever to Mr. 
Lincoln was Mr. Johnson's declaration that he 'was 
almost overwhelmed by the announcement of the sad 
event which has so recently occurred.' 

"While he found no time to praise one whose 
praises were on every tongue, he made ample ref- 
erence to himself and his own past history, and 
though speaking not more than five minutes, it was 
noticed that 'I' and 'my' and 'me' were used at least 
a score of times. A boundless egotism was inferred 
from the line of his remarks, 'My past public life, 
which has been long and laborious, has been founded, 
as I in good conscience believe, upon the great prin- 
ciple of right which lies at the base of all things. ' 

" 'I must be permitted to say, if I understand 
the feelings of my own heart, I have long labored to 
ameliorate and alleviate the conditions of the great 
mass of the American people. 

" 'Toil and an honest advocacy of the great prin- 
ciples of free government have been my lot. The 
duties have been mine, the consequence God's.' ' 

85 



THE SEPARATION. 

r 

Senator John P. Hale, of New Hampshire, who 

was present on this occasion, said, with characteris- 
tic wit, that 

"Johnson seemed willing to share the glory of his 
achievements with his Creator, but utterly forgot 
that Mr. Lincoln had any share or credit in the sup- 
pression of the rebellion." 

Three days later, April 18, a delegation of distin- 
guished citizens from Illinois called upon Mr. John- 
son under circumstances extraordinary and most 
touching. The dead President still lay in the White 
House, before the solemn and august procession 
should leave the national Capitol to bear his mortal 
remains to the State which had loved and honored 
him. The delegation called to assure his successor 
of their respect and confidence, and in reply to Gov. 
Oglesby, the spokesman of the Illinois delegation, 
Mr. Johnson responded respecting the dead, Presi- 
dent Lincoln, and with profound emotion of the 
tragical termination of Mr. Lincoln 's life. He said : 

"The beloved of all hearts has been assassinated." 
He then paused thoughtfully and added: "And 
when we trace this crime to its cause, when we re- 
member the source from whence the assassin drew 
his inspiration, and then look at the result, we stand 
yet more astounded at this most barbarous, most dia- 
bolical act. Who can trace its cause through suc- 

86 



THE SEPARATION. 

cessive steps back to that source which is the spring 
of all our woes? No one can say that if the perpe- 
trator of this fiendish deed be arrested he should not 
undergo the extremest penalty of the law known 
for crime. None can say that mercy should inter- 
pose. But is he alone guilty?" 

I charge the reader in the light of the facts that 
have been written and the statement made by John 
St. Helen, that you compare this oration of Andrew 
Johnson over the body of Lincoln with that of Marc 
Antony over the dead body of Caesar. 

The character and force of Mr. Johnson's words 
were anomalous and in many respects contradic- 
tory. 

Mr. Elaine says of him in his "Twenty Years in 
Congress:" "Mr. Johnson by birth belonged to 
that large class of people in the South known as 
the 'poor white.' " (Mr. Elaine should have said 
"Poor white trash," a term applied to a disreputa- 
ble class of poor white people who would be equally 
unworthy and socially ostracised if rich. It was and 
is no disgrace in the South to be "poor," and no so- 
cial ostracism extended to the poor, if honorable.) 

"Many wise men regarded it as a fortunate cir- 
cumstance that Mr. Lincoln's successor was from 
the South," says Mr. Elaine, "though a much larger 
number in the North found in this fact a source of 

87 



THE SEPARATION. 

disquietude, saying that Mr. Johnson had the mis- 
fortune of not possessing any close or intimate 
knowledge of the people of the loyal States ; and it 
was found, moreover, that his relations with the 
ruling spirit of the South in the exciting period 
preceding the war specially unfitted him for harmo- 
nious co-operation with them in the pending exi- 
gencies. (Vol. II., page 3.) 

"Mr. Johnson had been during his entire life a 
Democrat, and had attained complete control of the 
Democratic party in the State of Tennessee and had 
filled various official positions in the State, and 
finally that of Democratic United States Senator 
from the State of Tennessee." (Vol. II., page 4.) 

I pass- the above quotations without further com- 
ment than to challenge the thought of the reader to 
their significance to the political relations of Andrew 
Johnson with the Democratic politics of the State 
of Tennessee. In this connection I have sought to 
learn something, if possible, of Mr. Lincoln's feel- 
ing toward Vice-President Johnson, but find only a 
few sentences in written history touching their re- 
lations, which are recorded by William H. Herndon 
and Jesse "W. Wierk, in their biography of the life 
of Lincoln, in Volume 2, at page 232, in which Mrs. 
Lincoln speaks as follows : 

88 



THE SEPARATION. 

"My husband placed great confidence in my 
knowledge of human nature, and it was his inten- 
tion to remove Seward as soon as peace was made in 
the South. He greatly disliked Andrew Johnson. 
On one occasion we noticed him following us and it 
displeased Mr. Lincoln so much that he turned and 
asked in a loud voice, 'Why is this man,' meaning 
Andrew Johnson, 'forever following me?' " 

Thus we have conduct suspicious in its nature of 
Andrew Johnson toward Mr. Lincoln. And the world 
vrill ask of all mankind the same question Mr. Lin- 
coln asked of his wife. And why was it that An- 
drew Johnson should have followed Mr. Lincoln? 
Does St. Helen's story explain Johnson's conduct 
Johnson's motives? 

In this connection it is interesting to know how 
Lincoln passed the last day of his life. Mrs. Lin- 
coln says: 

"He spent the last day of his life, the 14th day 
of April, 1865, by taking an early breakfast and at- 
tending a Cabinet meeting at 11 o'clock, at which 
Gen. Grant was present. He spent the afternoon 
with Gov. Oglesby, Senator Jones and other friends 
from Illinois." 

On the afternoon of this day, in conversation with 
Mr. Colfax, only a short time before they should go 
to the theater, Mr. Lincoln invited Mr. Colfax to 

89 



THE SEPARATION. 

attend the theater with him, saying that he had se- 
cured a box at Ford's Theater for the purpose of en- 
tertaining Gen. Grant, but that Gen. Grant had just 
declined the invitation and had left the city, and 
that he (Lincoln) did not want the people entirely 
disappointed in their expectation of seeing both 
himself and Gen. Grant at the theater that evening, 
and would be glad to have Mr. Colfax accompany 
him, taking Gen. Grant's place. This Colfax de- 
clined. 

It has always been an interesting question to me 
why, and how, under what conditions could Gen. 
Grant have been so successfully decoyed away from 
the City of Washington on so important an occa- 
sion, almost at the hour of attending this theater 
party in company with President Lincoln as the 
great Federal heroes of the civil war? 

Gen. Grant, in explanation of the occurrence, says 
that late on the afternoon in question he received a 
note from his wife expressing some frivolous reasons 
as to why they should leave the city at once and 
visit their daughter, I believe, in Dubuque, Iowa. 
He says that on reaching Philadelphia he heard of 
the assassination of President Lincoln and returned 
at once by special train to Washington. These facts 
of history I likewise present to the public mind with- 
out comment. I trust, however, that I may be par- 

90 



THE SEPARATION. 

doned for saying here that I esteem my personal ac- 
quaintance with Gen. Grant an honor and a privilege 
and I now place myself on record in vindication of 
any thought or charge against the honor or integ- 
rity of character of this great man, and make men- 
tion of this incident only that the world may know 
the facts, as told me, of the actions and conduct of 
those whose names were in any way linked or asso- 
ciated with this story. 



91 



CHAPTER IX. 
THE PURSUIT OF BOOTH 

In the month of Uecember, 1897, by some agency 
unknown to me, I found a copy of the Sunday edi- 
tion of the Boston Globe, dated December 12, 1897, 
in the reception hall of my home. How this paper 
came to be in my home is unknown to me. I did 
not take it by subscription, nor have I or any mem- 
ber of my family ever, before or since, purchased a 
copy of the Boston Globe, nor has a copy of this 
paper at any other time been in my office or home. 
How this special paper came to my home is a com- 
plete mystery to myself and to every member of my 
household. My purpose is not to convey the idea 
that the presence of the Boston Globe was an intru- 
sion in my home, for the contrary is true, because it 
was appreciated and read with great interest, and 
I regard it as worth many times its price as an en- 
tertainer for any household. I take pardonable 
pride in the State of Massachusetts and its people, 
for this State has been the home of my ancestors 
and kinsmen since the year 1635. 

92 




GEN. D. D. DANA. 

Under Orders of Gen. C. C. Augur, Connected With the 
Army at Washington. The Pursuer of John Wilkes Booth. 



THE PURSUIT OF BOOTH. 

The point is, by what mysterious means did this 
Sunday edition of the Boston Globe, containing the 
first published statement of Gen. D. D. Dana, of 
Lubec, Maine, giving a full account of his knowl- 
edge respecting the assassination of President Lin- 
coln, and a detailed statement of his pursuit of John 
Wilkes Booth, twenty-three years after I had heard 
the story of John St. Helen, who claimed to be John 
"Wilkes Booth. To my surprise the story of Gen. 
Dana corroborated in its minutest detail the story St. 
Helen told to me in his confession recounting Booth 's 
escape from Washington, D. C., to the Garrett home, 
in Virginia. 

David D. Dana, brother of Charles A. Dana, the 
founder, owner and publisher of the New York 
Sun, in December, 1897, lived in a small, one-story 
frame house in West Lubec, Maine. This being the 
ancestral home of his wife's people, where he set- 
tled some twenty years prior to December, 1897, at 
the time when the opening of lead mines in this sec- 
tion promised to make Lubec famous the world over, 
and after years of mining with indifferent success, 
Gen. Dana settled down to the quiet life of the 
farmer with his wife and many pets as companions, 
being eight miles from the nearest village. But he 

93 



THE PURSUIT OF BOOTH. 

was by no means a recluse, being well informed on 
all current events, and a constant reader of the news- 
papers and periodicals of the day. 

Gen. Dana's story is given in full below: 
1 'The Boston Sunday Globe, Dec. 12, 1897. 

"HE ALMOST SAVED LINCOLN. 



"David Dana, Brother of Chas. A. Dana, Tried to Prevent 

the Assassination of the Martyr President Now 

a Dweller in Lubec, Maine He Tells 

of His Pursuit of Booth. 



"Away down in a remote corner of New England, 
in the most easterly town in this broad country, 
dwells the man who alone had knowledge before- 
hand of the meditated assassination of Lincoln, and 
who tried by every means in his power to thwart the 
conspiracy, but all in vain. 

"This man, David Dana, brother of the late Chas. 
A. Dana, is a most unique and interesting character, 
and one who has seen his full share of life, and has 
been a part of the most stirring events in our coun- 

94 



THE PUKSUIT OF BOOTH. 

try's history. It was the writer's good fortune re- 
cently to hear him tell of the part he took in the pur- 
suit of the assassin, Booth, and his accomplice, Her- 
old. Inasmuch as the story gives facts never before 
laid before the public, the recital cannot fail to be 
of great interest to every one who has ever perused 
the story of these exciting times. 

" 'In the spring of '65 I was near Washington,' 
began Mr. Dana, ' with my headquarters at Fort Ba- 
ker, just above the east branch of the Potomac. It 
was within the lines of the Third Brigade of Har- 
den 's Division, Twenty-second Corps, commanded 
by Gen. C. C. Augur, under whom I was provost 
marshal. I had authority over nearly all those 
parts of Maryland lying between the east branch of 
the Potomac and the Patuxent river. This part of 
the State was swarming with rebels, and I was com- 
missioned to watch all their movements and learn 
if possible of any plots against the Federal govern- 
ment. 

" 'While patrolling this territory I learned that a 
plot was forming against the government, and that 
the blow would undoubtedly be aimed against the 
life of President Lincoln. I at once asked for a bat- 
talion of veteran cavalry, in addition to the regu- 
lar provost guard, and the request was granted. I 
was ordered to establish a line of pickets from Fort 

95 



THE PURSUIT OF BOOTH. 

Meigs on the left to Geisboro point on the right, 
with orders to permit none to enter the city of 
Washington during the day unless they could give 
their names, where they were from, and what was 
their business at the Capitol. 

" 'From sundown to sunrise no one was to enter 
or leave the city except in case of sickness or death. 
All suspicious persons were arrested and sent to the 
commanding general for examination. 

"On Friday, April 14, 1865, two men appeared be- 
fore the guard on the road leading into Washington 
from the east. Refusing to give their names or state 
their business, they were arrested and put in the 
guard tent, whence they were to be sent to headquar- 
ters. .This was about 1 o'clock in the afternoon. In 
an hour or two they gave their names as Booth and 
Herold. 

" 'The officers on guard under me carried out my 
orders so strictly that it was very annoying to the 
rebel sympathizers who wished access to the city, so 
that many complaints were made by prominent citi- 
zens of Maryland. 

' 'About 4 p.m. I received an order from Gen. Au- 
gur to release all prisoners held by the guards and 
to withdraw the guard until further orders. I sent 
an orderly to the officers on the line from Fort Meigs 
easterly, with orders to release all prisoners and 

96 



THE PURSUIT OF BOOTH. 

to report to me at Fort Baker. On the line from 
Fort Meigs to Surrattville I went in person and with- 
drew the guard to my headquarters. 

" 'Booth and Herold were released as soon as the 
orders reached the guard, and they proceeded at once 
to Washington, reaching there about 6 :30 in the aft- 
ernoon. I had a guard at each end of the bridge on 
the eastern branch of the Potomac and one of the 
guards knew Booth and recognized him as he rode 
into the city and as he came out after the assassina- 
tion, and had it been known that he had killed Lin- 
coln escape would have been impossible. 

" 'I returned to headquarters about 11 p. m. and 
had dismissed the guard and was eating supper, when 
an officer rode into camp with the startling intel- 
ligence that Lincoln was killed and that the murder- 
er, with another man, had ridden at a rapid pace into 
the country. 

" 'I called out the guard and sent detachments in 
different directions and then went to the bridge to 
learn what I could there. On my way I met a 
company of cavalry, the 13th New York, which I 
ordered to patrol the river to Guisi Point and learn 
all they could and then return to Fort Baker. 

" 'At the bridge I found an orderly from Gen. 
Augur with orders for me to report to him at Wash- 
ington without delay. I did so, and was ushered 

97 



THE PURSUIT OF BOOTH. 

into his presence, where I found him standing by his 
desk with streaming eyes. 

" 'My God, marshal,' he cried, upon seeing me, 
'if I had listened to your advice this terrible thing 
never would have happened!' 

" 'After conversing with him for a few moments 
I was appointed adjutant general on his staff and 
ordered to use my own judgment as to the best way 
of capturing Booth. The order read as follows : 

" ' To Commanders of all Divisions, Brigades, Regi- 
ments, Companies, and Posts: You will obey all 
orders emanating from Adjt. Gen. and Provost Mar- 
shall D. D. Dana the same as though especially issued 
from these headquarters. 

.-** (Signed) Maj. Gen. C. C. Augur, 

Commanding 22d Corps in Dept. of "Washington. ' 
1 " 'While with Gen. Augur and by his request I laid 
out the plan for the capture of Booth. First, one of 
the swifest steamers which could be obtained 
should patrol the Potomac as far as the Patuxent 
river and seize all boats which could not give a good 
accoun|; of themselves. Then a steamer should be 
sent up the Patuxent and all boats on this river were 
to be seized at all hazards to as far as Horse Head 
ferry. 

" 'These orders were telegraphed to the boats on 
the Patuxent and were carried out to the letter. The 

98 



THE PURSUIT OF BOOTH. 

reason was this: In scouting through Maryland I 
had learned that a boat would be used by the assas- 
sin, who would go by land to the Patuxent, thence 
across to the Albert river, from there to the Atlantic 
coast, and thence to Mexico. The only thing that 
prevented Booth's escape was the seizure of these 
boats. 

" 'I returned to Fort Baker, left orders for the 
cavalry, who were out scouting, took a small detach- 
ment of my own guard and started after Booth, tak- 
ing the road by Surrattville to Bryantown. As we 
passed by the Surratt mansion all was as dark as 
though it had never been inhabited, but I found an 
old man and woman who had a boy sick with the 
smallpox. Finding that no information could be 
obtained there, from the old man or his wife, I took 
him along with us for a mile and a half to a secluded 
dell. Refusing to give the desired information, I 
ordered him to be strung up to the limb of a big 
oak tree. 

" 'It was a clear night with the moon just rising, 
its silvery glints touching the tops of the trees in 
the dell and the flickering light of the campfire, 
which the men had kindled, casting fantastic shad- 
ows here and there. The rope was made fast about 
the old man's neck and, at a signal from me, he was 
hoisted up and suspended between heaven and earth. 

99 



THE PURSUIT OF BOOTH. 

It was a weird and gruesome scene, there in the light 
of the fire and moon was the swaying body of the 
man struggling in his futile efforts to grasp the rope, 
while the spasmodic action of his body and the gurg- 
ling sounds from his throat produced an effect never 
to be forgotten. 

" 'I ordered him to be cut down after a few mo- 
ments and he was resuscitated. Rather than try a 
second pull on the rope he told me that Booth and 
Herold had been at the Surratt mansion and had had 
something to eat and drink and that after supper, 
though Booth was badly hurt, they had mounted 
their horses and rode toward Bryantown. 

" 'I pushed on after them and a few miles from 
Bryantown I came to a detachment of ten men under 
a sergeant as patrol guard to watch suspicious peo- 
ple in that section. I sent the sergeant to Port To- 
bacco at once, and ordered the troops to scout up the 
Patuxent river to arrest all suspicious persons and 
to report to me at Bryantown. The patrol guard 
afterward acknowledged that they heard the clatter 
of Booth's and Herold 's horses' feet as they passed 
by on the road leading to Dr. Samuel Mudd's to- 
ward Bryantown. 

" 'This came about from the fact that a short dis- 
tance above the guard was a road leading to Dr. 
Mudd's, who resided about three and a half miles 

100 



THE PURSUIT OF BOOTH. 

from the village, and this road the pair had taken, 
reaching the doctor's house about 4 a. m., about two 
hours ahead of my troops. 

" 'I arrived at Bryantown about 6 o'clock, and at 
once placed guards at all the roads leading into the 
village, with orders that anyone might enter the town 
but that none were to leave it. About 2 o 'clock that 
afternoon the detachment of troops from Port To- 
bacco reached me. In the meantime troops had been 
sent to Woodbine ferry and Horsehead ferry, all the 
boats had been seized and all crossing of the river 
had been stopped. 

" 'By taking possession of these positions and seiz- 
ing the ferry boats and by closely guarding the line 
of the river Booth 's chances of escape this way were 
cut off. Could he have got across the Patuxent river 
into Calvert county, he would most certainly have 
reached Mexico in safety. 

" 'After Booth and Herold arrived at Dr. Mudd's 
Booth's leg was set, and after giving them their 
breakfast, the doctor made a crutch for Booth and 
fixed him up ready to start at an instant's notice. 

" 'Dr. Mudd came into Bryantown at 2 o'clock in 
the afternoon and stayed there until 8 or 9 in the 
evening, when a cousin of his, Dr. George Mudd, 
asked as a personal favor, a pass for him through the 
lines. After closely questioning Samuel Mudd and 

101 



THE PURSUIT OF BOOTH. 

believing him to know nothing of Booth, and having 
confidence in what his cousin said, I let Dr. Samuel 
Mudd go. 

" 'During the doctor's long absence Booth got un- 
easy and sent Herold on horseback to Bryantown. 
Learning that troops were in the town, he tied his 
horse to a large clump of willows that grew on the 
side of a stream near the road, and there watched 
for Dr. Mudd's return. 

" 'When the doctor made his appearance Herold 
came out and the two returned to the doctor's house. 
Booth was anxious to leave at once, but the good 
doctor assured him that there was no danger that 
night. 

' ' ' George Mudd, let me say in passing, never inti- 
mated to me that his friend was a doctor, or was a 
relative of his. I learned the next day, when it was 
too late, that his cousin was a rank rebel, and I 
plainly told George Mudd what I thought of him. 
,V 'The fugitives left Dr. Mudd's early the next 
morning and took the road for Horsehead ferry. 
When within two and one-half miles of the ferry 
they saw a man of about sixty years leaning on a 
fence in front of his house ; Booth rode up and asked 
him if he had heard the news of Lincoln being killed. 
He said yes, he had heard it from some troops that 
had arrived at the ferry. Booth asked him if there 

102 



THE PURSUIT OF BOOTH. 

were any troops then at Horsehead ferry and the 
man told him there were. 

" 'Booth got a drink of water and wanted a drink 
of whiskey, but the old man had none. He asked the 
men who they were, and Booth answered: "Detec- 
tives looking for Booth and Herold." "What are 
you doing with a crutch?" was the rejoinder. 

' ' ' The assassin explained that his horse had stum- 
bled and had fallen upon him, hurting his leg very 
badly. They asked the way to Woodbine ferry, and 
being directed, set off at a brisk trot. 

" 'When within two miles of Woodbine ferry they 
met an old darkey and inquired: "How far is it to 
the ferry?" Upon being told they asked him the 
news. "Massa Lincum's killed an' Woodbine ferry's 
chock full of troops." "How many, uncle?" asked 
Booth. "Golly, massa, dere's more'n a hundred! 
Dey's swarming like bees!" answered the negro. 

" 'The horsemen rode on a short distance through 
a gate into a mowing field, and there all trace of their 
horses' footprints were lost. But they returned to 
the vicinity of Dr. Mudd's and entered the Sekiah 
swamp from the east, where they spent two days and 
two nights, being supplied with food by friends near 
by. 

" 'I had made arrangements for a detachment of 
troops to scour the swamp with a guide, when a 

103 



THE PURSUIT OF BOOTH 

heavy storm came up and made it impossible. Had 
I done so I certainly would have caught them, as 
they did not leave until 2 or 3 o'clock that day. 
When my troops reached the island the next day 
they found where the horses had been tethered, and 
the very moss where Booth and Herold had slept. 
They also found the pieces of blanket with which 
their horses' hoofs had been muffled. How they 
made their way from Woodbine ferry to the swamp 
is a mystery. It could only have been done by wrap- 
ping the horses' feet in blankets. 

" 'The different movements they made from the 
time of the assassination to their reaching Sekiah 
swamp shows that they had their course all laid out 
beforehand. They knew where to go and who their 
friends were and were only prevented from escap- 
ing by the rapid movements of the troops under my 
command. 

" 'Sekiah swamp lies a short distance nearly west 
of Bryantown. It is full of quagmires and sinkholes 
and is exceedingly dangerous to enter except by day- 
time. Even then great caution is required unless 
a person is acquainted with the swamp. Booth and 
Herold must have had a guide both going in and 
coming out. 

104 



THE PURSUIT OF BOOTH. 

" 'They never could have got their horses there 
alone; to attempt it would have been the last of 
them. 

" 'There is a small stream running through the 
swamp, but large enough to float a small boat. It 
discharges into the Patuxent river. After leaving 
the swamp the fugitives went to a log cabin in a 
thick growth of pines and underbrush quite distant 
from any road. It was the dwelling of a man named 
Jones, who had a negress for a housekeeper. It was 
in that scrubby pine and underbrush, back of the 
house, that the two horses were killed and buried. 

"Here Booth and Herold were kept three or four 
days, when they were taken by boat down the out- 
let of the swamp to a point below where the troops 
were stationed, and from there they were carried in 
a wagon to a point on the Patuxent nearly opposite 
Aquia creek. From here they were taken across the 
Potomac and made their way to Garrett 's near Bowl- 
ing Green, where Booth was killed. ' ' ' 

A Bay State soldier corroborates in part the story 
of Gen. David A. Dana, as well as that of St. Helen. 
This soldier was stationed at the bridge crossing the 
East Potomac river, on the road leading into Wash- 
ington, which John Wilkes Booth crossed going into 
Washington City and again on his return after the 

105 



THE PURSUIT OF BOOTH. 

assassination the evening of the same day. This man 
is Mr. F. A. Demond, and I give his letter in full : 
"Mr. D. D. Dana : 

"Dear Sir and Comrade I was very much inter- 
ested in reading your account of how you tried to 
prevent the assassination of the late President Lin- 
coln, as published in The Globe of yesterday. It 
brought back old memories to me of away back in 
'64, as I was a member of your old provost guard, 
with headquarters at Fort Baker. 

"Well do I remember those days. I was detailed 
from my company Co. C., Capt. A. W. Brigham, 
then stationed at Fort Mahan and ordered to report 
to you at Fort Baker for duty on provost guard. I 
did so, and was employed guarding prisoners, sawing 
wood and going down to Uniontown searching for 
soldiers without passes. After a short time of ser- 
vice at headquarters I, with some others from your 
command, was sent to guard the bridge leading from 
Washington to Uniontown, down by the navy yard. 

"I was stationed at the Uniontown end of the 
bridge where the gates were hung to stop people 
from going to Washington. I was under the orders 
of Corp. Sullivan I think that was his name and 
the command at the other end of the bridge, the 
Washington side, was under Sergt. Cobb. 

106 



THE PURSUIT OF BOOTH. 

"I was present the night that Booth and Herold 
crossed after Booth had shot the President, but was 
not on post. I stood in the door of the block house 
when Booth rode up and heard him ask the guard 
if anyone had gone through lately. I heard the guard 
on the post answer him,, 'No/ and ask him what he 
was doing out there this time of night ? 

"He made some kind of answer about going to 
see some one who lived out on the T. B. road. I did 
not pay much attention at this time to what they 
were talking about. I helped open the gate and he 
rode through. 

"A short time after this Herold rode over the 
bridge and asked if there had been anyone through 
mounted on a bay horse. Upon being told that there 
had, he muttered something about being a pretty 
man not to wait for him. 

"Well, we opened the gate and let him through 
and he rode off in a hurry. About twenty minutes 
later, I should say, we heard a great uproar across 
the bridge and in a short time got word of the as- 
sassination. If we had only known it sooner neither 
one of them would have passed us, as I would have 
shot them as quickly as I would a mad dog. But it 
was too late ; they were out of sight and hearing by 
that time. 

"I remember when you came down to meet some- 

107 



THE PURSUIT OF BOOTH. 

one that was waiting on the Washington side, but 
never knew who it was until I read the account given 
by you in The Sunday Globe. I remember of your 
going in pursuit, and, if I am not mistaken, one of 
Co. C. 's boys, Charles Joise, was with you. 

"Excuse my writing to you, but I was so glad to 
hear from you, Lieutenant, that I had to let you 
know that one of your old boys was still living. 
Hoping sometime to see you on a visit to me up here, 
I remain, yours with great respect, 

"F. A. Demond, Cavendish, Vt. 

"Late private Co. C., Third Heavy Artillery, Mas- 
sachusetts Volunteers." 

It will be observed that the statements made by 
Gen. D. D. Dana, supported by the letter of Mr. F. 
A. Demond, corroborate the statements and confes- 
sions made to me by John St. Helen (claiming him- 
self to be Booth) more than twenty-five years prev- 
ious to Dana's publication. That the statements of 
Gen. Dana and St. Helen, or Booth, should differ in 
immaterial details is not surprising, but the main 
points agree that is, St. Helen says, he (Booth) and 
Herold were returning to Washington City on the 
morning of April 14th, 1865 ; that they were arrested 
and detained at the block house located at the bridge 
over the east branch of the Potomac ; that they were 
released and went into Washington from this bridge ; 

108 



THE PURSUIT OF BOOTH. 

that Booth was recognized at the time of his de- 
tention at the East Potomac bridge; that after the 
assassination of President Lincoln Booth and Her- 
old returned over the same route over which they 
came into the city, crossing the East Potomac bridge, 
which is also the route leading to Uniontown, men- 
tioned by Demond ; that in crossing said bridge and 
passing the guards they used the pass words "T. 
B.,' or "T. B. Road." It is undeniably a fact that 
Booth is corroborated in his statements that arrange- 
ments had been made for his escape; that he did 
escape from Washington through the Federal lines, 
is confessedly true, though the city was completely 
surrounded and guarded by the 22d Army Corps, 
composed of many thousands of union men, an army 
within itself, charged with the duty of protecting 
the City of Washington and guarding the life of 
President Lincoln against danger, which Dana says 
he knew was threatened, and he had known it for 
months prior to the President's assassination. 

In comparing the statements of St. Helen, or 
Booth, with that of Gen. Dana, made twenty or twen- 
ty-five years after the occurrences, we find that Gen. 
Dana's statement published in the city of Boston in 
1897, is almost a verbatim copy of that made by St. 
Helen to me in the State of Texas, though more than 
two thousand miles of territory divided them and a 

109 



THE PURSUIT OF BOOTH. 

difference in time of some years intervened. These 
statements could not have been preconcerted, and be- 
cause of these conditions, each corroborating the 
other, the accounts of the affair bear the stamp of 
physical truth. 

The reader will not fail to note with anxious con- 
cern, and demand explanation of the statement of 
Gen. Dana, when he says: 

"The life of the President (Lincoln) was then (on 
the 14th day of April, 1865) known to be in immin- 
ent and impending danger, and so well was this 
known to him and others, that he asked and obtained 
an extra force of mounted men to better guard the 
life of the President (Lincoln), and the lines of 
protection had been tightened around Washington 
City in every precautionary way, looking to the safe- 
ty of the life of the President, then threatened. Be- 
ing thus forewarned, forearmed and fully prepared 
to guard against a danger known to him, why was 
it that without a change in these conditions, the life 
of the President still threatened, without increase of 
hope for his safety, or promised immunity, rumored 
or otherwise, danger to which the commanding of- 
ficer, Major Gen. C. C. Augur, and himself, Gen. 
Dana, were admittedly advised of, John "Wilkes 
Booth, the assassin, a known Southern sympathizer 
who constitute one of the class of men from whom 

110 



THE PURSUIT OF BOOTH. 

the officers expected the attempted assault on the 
President with the purpose of taking his life, of 
which they had been warned, was permitted to enter 
the city less than eight hours before the assassina- 
tion under his own name of John Wilkes Booth? 
And Herold, Booth's accomplice, was also permitted 
to enter with him. They entered the city in such a 
manner as to cause suspicion of their conduct and 
purpose, were arrested and detained for a number of 
hours at the East Potomac bridge. Yet they were 
permitted to leave the city, returning over the very 
bridge where they had been held prisoners only 
eight hours before. They approached the bridge 
under circumstances that should have excited sus- 
picion, the same suspicious characters who had 
been detained but a few hours before, and yet were 
permitted to pass the guards without arrest by 
simply giving the pass word "T. B." or "T. B. 
Road," which was meaningless, unless understood by 
the guard on duty. 

It will be remembered that Gen. Dana says that 
the strictest orders had been given to the guards to 
permit no one to pass at night, except on account of 
sickness or death, and that all suspicious characters 
were to be arrested and sent to headquarters to be 
examined by the commanding officer,^ Gen. C. C. 
Augur. If these orders were to be carried out by the 

ill 



THE PURSUIT OF BOOTH. 

guards they were violated because it was night and 
the reason given by Booth to pass out was neither 
sickness or death. It can not be denied that the 
approach of Booth and Herold to this bridge, from 
the city about ten thirty , o 'clock at night, their 
horses under full spur, at a high rate of speed, 
necessarily created suspicion in the minds of the 
guards, under circumstances to be remembered. 
Booth, a suspicious character, first approached, giv- 
ing the words "T. B.," or "T. B. Road," and was 
passed, while Herold, also a suspicious character it 
seems, passed the guards by simply inquiring if a 
man had passed, and describing Booth. A few min- 
utes later, coming in hot pursuit, the livery man 
and owner of the horse ridden by Herold reached 
the bridge, chasing Herold and just behind him, was 
stopped and made to tell his purpose, which was: 

That he wanted to overtake Herold, who was rid- 
ing away with his horse ; that the President had been 
shot and that Booth and Herold were guilty and 
were escaping. It seems that this excuse was not 
sufficient for the guard on duty, and the owner of 
the horse, the leader of the chase after the escaping 
criminals, was turned back. (This was the commotion 
of which Mr. Demond speaks when they learned of 
the shooting of President Lincoln and the incident 
mentioned by Secretary John Hay in his public ut- 

112 



THE PURSUIT OF BOOTH. 

terance when referring to the passing of Booth and 
Herold over the bridge and the pursuit of the owner 
of the horse ridden by Herold, when he says, "Booth 
and Herold were permitted to pass and the only hon- 
est man who sought to pass was stopped.") 

In this connection we have no information from 
history or Gen. Dana, from whom such information 
should come, that the guard who allowed Booth and 
Herold to pass was disciplined for the violation of 
orders. It, therefore, stands to reason that the 
guard was not punished but was simply carrying 
out orders in passing Booth, and Herold his ac- 
complice, and also in refusing to allow others to 
pass. But is the situation explained by Gen. Dana, 
who says that the orders prohibited the passing of 
persons through the lines, except upon conditions 
mentioned, and that he had individually taken in 
the guards at the East Potomac bridge, which he 
had not. 

The question is, what interest did he have or 
why should Dana individually do this, and intrust 
his orders at all other points to be delivered by an 
orderly? What special interest, I ask, should Dana 
have had in this identical spot, through which 
Booth was later to escape when he had killed Presi- 
dent Lincoln? 

113 



THE PURSUIT OF BOOTH. 

Gen. Dana, himself, confesses that he went to the 
East Potomac bridge and gave his orders in person. 
And, again, I ask, What were those orders? His- 
tory does not record. He does not say. The only 
answer is the act of the guard. Let the world inter- 
pret what those orders were. It is true, because it 
was a physical fact, the guard was on duty Booth 
was allowed to pass on giving the pass word "T. 
B.;" Herold, his accomplice, was allowed to pass. 
Was the guard obeying orders when he allowed 
Booth and Herold to pass and turned back "the 
only honest man," the man in pursuit? If this act 
of the guard was a violation of orders he was caught 
red-handed and should have been punished as a 
particeps criminis for the crime of the assassination 
of President Lincoln. The penalty for which, under 
the order of Secretary Stanton of April 20th, 1865, 
making all those who aided Booth in his escape 
guilty of his (Booth's) crime, was punishable by 
death. Then, I ask, why was not this punishment 
meted out to the men who alone had it in their 
power to prevent the escape of Booth and Herold, 
but who did, knowingly, permit them to escape? 

Further, Gen. Dana says that the orders were for 
calling in the guards to his headquarters, located 
at Fort Baker, and that he individually gave the 
orders at the East Potomac bridge ; that these orders 

114 



THE PURSUIT OF BOOTH. 

were issued to him (Dana) about four o'clock in the 
afternoon of April 14th, 1865, by Gen. C. C. Augur. 

The reader is asked to note the significance of the 
fact that at about this hour St. Helen (Booth) says 
that he and Vice-President Johnson had separated 
at the Kirkwood hotel, Johnson going to arrange 
for Booth's escape. Is this order to Dana from his 
superior commanding officer, Major Gen. C. C. 
Augur, an echo of Johnson's mission? 

Again, Gen. Dana says that in pursuance to these 
orders the guards were removed to his headquar- 
ters at Fort Baker. But it is a physical fact that at 
ten thirty o'clock p. m., when Booth crossed the 
bridge, the guards had not been removed; and if 
removed at all it was done after this as a subterfuge 
for carrying out the order to call in the guards, 
which seems to have been the case. For true it is 
that Gen. Dana says he had not reached his head- 
quarters with this guard until about eleven o'clock 
p. m. that night and was eating his evening meal 
when he first received word of the shooting of the 
President. 

Any one knowing the distance from the East 
Potomac bridge to Fort Baker will readily under- 
stand how Gen. Dana, together with his guards, 
mounted and leaving the East Potomac bridge at 
about ten thirty o'clock could reach Fort Baker at 

115 



THE PURSUIT OF BOOTH. 

or about eleven o'clock. This would make the state- 
ments of Gen. Dana consistent, and this I believe 
to be a correct explanation of his seeming contra- 
diction in respect to the matter of withdrawing the 
guards from the East Potomac bridge, which respon- 
sibility he personally assumed and for which he will 
be held responsible. 

However this may be, it is true that the guards 
were on duty at the bridge and, as a matter of fact 
and of history, whether intentionally or unintention- 
ally, did assist Booth and his accomplice in passing 
the line, and equally true that they did refuse to 
allow the owner of the horse ridden by Herold to 
pass a few minutes later. Then, I ask, why this 
discrimination against the man in pursuit of the 
fleeing assassin and his accomplice? This can only 
be answered by the guards, or Gen. Dana. Unless 
the conduct of the guards explains. But, legally 
holding these men responsible for the necessary con- 
sequence of their acts, they did aid Booth in his 
escape, while all the circumstances attendant upon 
Booth's passing of the guards tend to establish 
their guilty knowledge, or the guilty knowledge and 
conduct of their superior officers. 

At this eleventh hour, while he was yet at his 
meal, Gen. Dana says he was ordered before Gen. 
C. C. Augur, but then too late, as the crime had been 

116 



THE PURSUIT OF BOOTH. 

already committed and the assassin had escaped the 
confines of the military powers of Washington. 

Gen. Dana, on reaching the headquarters of Gen. 
Augur, found him in tears and his first words were : 
"My God, marshal, if I had listened to your advice 
this terrible thing would never have happened." 

I ask, and the civilized world listens for the reply 
What had Gen. Dana advised Gen. Augur touch- 
ing the safety of the President, and "this terrible 
thing," as he calls it, prior to the assassination, 
which, in Gen. Augur's opinion, if heeded, would 
have prevented the killing of President Lincoln ? Is 
this a self-accusation an unwitting admission of 
his responsibility for the death of President Lin- 
coln? This expression of self -accusation, taken in 
connection with Gen. Augur's surprising and unex- 
plained order, issued about four o'clock on April 
14th, 1865, in face of the known and impending 
danger to the life of President Lincoln, is startling. 
The withdrawing of the guard from the protection 
of the President on the late afternoon of the evening 
of his assassination has never been explained. And 
the bloody deed was accomplished in less than six 
hours after the order of withdrawal was issued, and 
before the ink was well dry on the record which 
changed the policy of the government for the pro- 
tection of the life of the President, long guarded by 

117 



THE PURSUIT OF BOOTH. 

a well-maintained standing army at Washington, 
and made possible the escape of the assassin. With- 
out reason, without explanation and without re- 
quest, and without suggestion even, of the President, 
or any other person in authority in the army superi- 
or in command to Gen. C. C. Augur, this important 
move was made, changing the fixed plans and tear- 
ing down the barriers of protection so long deemed 
necessary by the government as a wise and pruden- 
tial policy, upon the authority and orders only of 
Gen. C. C. Augur, so far as we are informed by 
Gen. Dana. 

In the light of events following this mysterious 
order, we ask, to what conduct of his or advice of 
Gen. Dana could Major Gen. C. C. Augur refer as 
his failure to listen to Gen. Dana? Could it have 
been that Dana had advised the holding of Booth 
and Herold while they were yet prisoners at the 
block house, at the East Potomac bridge? Or had 
he, against the advice or knowledge of Gen. Dana, 
entered into the plans of conspiracy against the life 
of President Lincoln? 

One would infer from the statements imputed to 
him by Gen. Dana that Major Gen. Augur had had 
it in his power, and was so advised by Gen. Dana, 
to save the life of the President and had failed to do 
so and that, too, against the admonitions of Gen. 

118 



THE PURSUIT OF BOOTH. 

Dana, to which he (Augur) had declined to listen, 
according to his own confession. 

This leads to the conclusion that Gen. Augur must 
have known of a purpose to take the life of Presi- 
dent Lincoln previous to the assassination; other- 
wise he could not have prevented it by taking the 
advice of Gen. Dana. According to Dana's state- 
ment Gen. Augur admits that he could have pre- 
vented the commission of an act by another. Unless 
Gen. Augur had knowledge of the purpose to com- 
mit that act, and of the person who was to perform 
the specific act complained of, he had no such power 
as he admitted. Therefore, upon the statement of 
Gen. Dana, which we assume to be true, Major Gen. 
C. C. Augur had a knowledge of some act, which, 
if performed, would have saved the life of President 
Lincoln. Reasoning from the assumed admission to 
physical facts, based upon the proviso that Gen. 
Dana is correctly reporting, which I believe to be 
true because his report of the pursuit of Booth is 
in the main a strong corroboration of the story of 
St. Helen (or Booth) told to me, this is the inevit- 
able conclusion, applying the legal rule, the stand- 
ard by which we measure the words of men if true 
in one thing, true in all, or false in one thing, false 
in all. This rule must sustain the statements of 
Dana, which, without further explanation, must 

119 



THE PURSUIT OF BOOTH. 

"My God, marshal, if I had taken your advice 
this teiTible thing would not have happened." 
cihow thai; Major Gen. Augur, on his own confession, 
could nave saved the life of President Lincoln, but 
did not do it, even when advised to do so by Gen. 
Dana, iis subordinate officer, and conscience-whip- 
ped after the assassination he cries out : 

And shall these words ring on and on through the 
changing cycles of time, a lasting tribute to the 
truth of the old, trite saying, "Murder will out" 
and "truth, though crushed to the earth, will rise 
again T" 




GEN. C. C. AUGUR. 

Commander of thp Army Stationed Around "Washington for 

Protection of the Life of Lincoln, and the Home of the 

Government, Who Issued the Order Calling in the 
Guards. 




MRS. SURRATT 

And Her Boarding-house in Washing-ton City, Where Booth 
Met Her Son, John H. Surratt, Delivering the Letter From 
David E. Herold, Their Mutual Friend. 



CHAPTER X. 

THE EAST POTOMAC BRIDGE 

Gen. Dana says, in speaking of the pursuit of 
Booth and Herold: "Booth and Herold remained 
a day and one night at the home of Dr. Samuel 
Mudd." St. Helen (or Booth) told me they reached 
the home of Dr. Mudd just before daylight on the 
morning of April 15th, 1865, the morning after the 
assassination, where his riding boot was cut off by 
Dr. Mudd and his sprained ankle and fractured shin 
bone dressed and splintered by the doctor with parts 
of a cigar box, and the old doctor made him a rough 
crutch out of a broom handle; when after an early 
breakfast, their horses in the brush near by, having 
finished feeding, they, thanking and paying Dr. 
Mudd for his services, mounted their horses and left, 
riding the most direct way they could, keeping well 
in the country and by-roads, to the home of Mr. 
Cox, during the 15th day of April, 1865, the day 
after the killing of President Lincoln, showing sub- 
stantial corroboration of Gen. Dana so far. 

Gen. Dana says Booth and Herold killed their 
horses while they were in hiding back of the Cox 
plantation on the Potomac river, but Booth says the 

121 



THE EAST POTOMAC BRIDGE. 

horses were not killed but taken away, as he sup- 
posed, by Mr. Jones. 

That this is true, I am inclined to believe, for two 
reasons: First, the horse ridden by Booth and de- 
scribed to me by St. Helen (or Booth) was a very 
fine and valuable animal, purchased by him in Mary- 
land some time before this event. The second rea- 
son is that Gen. Dana's men were too close on 
Booth and Herold to permit of their killing the 
horses, which must have been done by shooting 
them. Dana then says they were buried. This would 
have been a physical impossibility, for Booth, in 
his crippled condition, could not help and Herold 
was without the necessary implements with which 
to do it. 

Booth says the Federal troops of cavalry were so 
close to them in their hiding in the pine brush be- 
hind the Cox plantation that they could hear the 
footfalls of the horses and the voices of the men, and 
for that reason their horses were taken away to pre- 
vent their neighs from attracting attention to them 
by the passing Cavalry, as they "had neighed fre- 
quently, much to our fear and discomfort." 

Gen. Dana further says that "Booth and Herold 
must have had guides." The truth is Herold was 
well acquainted with this section of the country, as 
was Booth, from his previous inspections of this 

122 



THE EAST POTOMAC BRIDGE. 

route over which Lincoln was to have been carried 
if kidnaped and taken to Eichmond, as originally 
designed. It is true, however, that Herold was to 
some extent a guide for Booth. 

Herold is dead and I suppose I am the only liv- 
ing man who knows why Booth became associated 
with Herold, so unlike and inferior to himself, for 
David E. Herold was seemingly a man of no cultiva- 
tion, and was a drug clerk employed in a drug store 
in Washington City, where he made the acquaint- 
ance of Booth. 

The explanation made to me by St. Helen ^or 
Booth) was that he had become acquainted with 
Herold while he was a clerk in a drug store which 
he (Booth) frequented to buy cosmetics sometimes 
used by him in his or others' makeup for the stage. 
And at these meetings he learned of Herold 's old 
acquaintance with this section of the country, 
what was then called "The underground route be- 
tween Washington, D. C., and Richmond, Virginia," 
and for this reason he made a friend of Herold and 
took him into his confidence. It was in company 
with Herold that Booth made his first as well as 
many other trips over this route. In the meantime 
he learned that Herold knew John H. Surratt. Hav- 
ing found Herold a willing and loyal friend, desir- 
ous of lending himself to Booth's plans against the 

123 



THE EAST POTOMAC BRIDGE. 

Federal government and the life of President Lin- 
coln, Booth trusted him; and it will be remembered 
that it was Herold who gave Booth the letter of in- 
troduction to John H. Surratt. 

Mrs. Surratt, the most prominent of the persons 
suspected of complicity in Booth's crime, was inno- 
cent of any complicity whatever in the matter ; was 
a woman of middle age at the time of her execution, 
rather good-looking, and the mother of two or more 
children, among them John H. Surratt and a daugh- 
ter. Mrs. Surratt was at one time comfortably well 
off but had been reduced to the necessity of remov- 
ing from Surrattville, her home, to Washington, 
where she kept a boarding house on H street. I 
am informed that Mrs. Surratt is the only woman 
ever hanged by a judgment of a Federal Adjudica- 
tion. 

Recurring to the incident at the East Potomac 
bridge and the statements made by Demond to Gen. 
Dana, where he says, "I well remember when you 
came down to meet some one that was waiting on 
the Washington side, but never knew who it was un- 
til I read the account given by you in The Sunday 
Globe." 

Is this statement suggestive? Gen. Dana fails to 
mention that he had a meeting with some third party 

124 



THE EAST POTOMAC BRIDGE. 

who was waiting for him at the East Potomac bridge 
on the Washington side. 

Was this meeting by prearrangement? And does 
it explain why Gen. Dana went in person to the East 
Potomac bridge, ostensibly to call in the guard, but 
presumably to meet this party in waiting? We reach 
this conclusion from the physical fact that he did 
meet this party and that he did not call in the 
guards, if so, not until Booth had made good his 
escape. 

Gen. Dana says that he went in person to the East 
Potomac bridge to call in the guard, using this 
language: "On the line from Fort Meigs to Sur- 
rattville I went in person and withdrew my guard 
to my headquarters," his headquarters being at 
Port Baker. He follows this statement by saying: 
4 'I returned to headquarters about eleven o'clock 
that night and had dismissed my guards." Thus 
referring to, or meaning, the guards which he had 
called in from the East Potomac bridge, the point 
where Booth crossed the river. 

Booth killed the President about ten minutes past 
ten o'clock p. m. and arrived at the East Potomac 
and crossed the bridge about ten thirty o'clock. Gen. 
Dana says he received the order to call in the guards 
about four o'clock that afternoon; that he went in 
person to call in the guards from this bridge; that 

125 



THE EAST POTOMAC BRIDGE. 

he reached his headquarters at Fort Baker and dis- 
missed his guards about eleven o'clock that night. 
Gen. Dana gives no account of himself from four 
o'clock p. m. until about eleven o'clock p. m. of 
the 14th day of April, 1865. Nothing of what he did 
at the bridge, what time he reached there, or when 
he left. Nothing of who this third party was at 
the bridge waiting on the Washington side, with 
whom he was seen to meet and talk by Demond. 

Where was Gen. Dana when President Lincoln 
was shot ? Of this he gives no account. Where was 
he when Booth and Herold crossed the bridge about 
ten thirty o 'clock ? Of this time he gives no account. 
Was he present at the bridge? He says he with- 
drew the guards, and the guards were present when 
Booth and Herold crossed! 

Gen. Dana says : "I withdrew my guards to my 
headquarters and had dismissed them and was eat- 
ing my evening meal at about eleven o'clock, when 
I heard the President was shot." Certainly Gen. 
Dana was not at his headquarters at the usual hour 
for taking meals. 

If it be true that Dana withdrew the guards from 
the bridge it was certainly done after Booth and 
Herold had passed, for it is a physical fact that the 
guards were there when they passed over, so that 
the logical conclusion is that if the guard left at all 

126 



THE EAST POTOMAC BRIDGE. 

they left after Booth and Herold had crossed the 
bridge. 

Gen. Dana shows that when he arrived at the 
headquarters of Major Gen. Augur that Gen. Augur 
gave Dana complete command of all the forces to 
pursue and capture Booth. And we ask, is it not a 
significant fact that Gen. Dana should have misdi- 
rected all the troops which he sent out other than 
a single detachment, in pursuit of Booth, unless he 
knew the direction Booth had gone ? Is it not strange 
that he himself, with a detail of men, without hesita- 
tion and without other information than such as he 
possessed before the shooting of President Lincoln 
in fact, as if by intuition, took the proper trail by 
leaving Washington directly for Surrattville, cross- 
ing the East Potomac bridge as Booth and Herold 
had done, following along the trail in the wake of 
Booth and Herold, who arrived at the home of Dr. 
Mudd about four o'clock a. m., while Gen. Dana 
turned from the road leading to Dr. Mudd's home 
and went to Bryantown, just three and a half miles 
from Dr. Mudd's home, reaching Bryantown at 
six o'clock a. m., while Booth and Herold were yet 
at the home of the doctor. Dr. Mudd administered 
to Booth's pains, then went to Bryantown, where 
he called on Gen. Dana, and was permitted to leave 
Bryantown by Gen. Dana, as the general says, "at 

127 



THE EAST POTOMAC BRIDGE. 

the request of his cousin, Dr. George Mudd.' 

We ask, are these findings of fact mere incidents 
of the occasion? Shall we say it is entirely reason- 
able so to conclude? 

Gen. Dana, in commenting on the Dr. Mudd in- 
cident, says: "George Mudd, let me say in passing, 
never intimated to me that his friend was a doctor, 
or was a relative of his. I learned this the next day 
when it was too late (as usual he does not explain 
how he found it out) that his cousin was a rank 
rebel, and I plainly told George Mudd what I 
thought of him." 

Which we suggest must have been a great punish- 
ment to Dr. George Mudd and was quite the act of 
a hero on the part of Gen. Dana to thus occupy his 
time reading lectures to Dr. George Mudd while 
in hot pursuit of and on the trail of the assassin of 
the President of the United States. 

Thus spending his time at Bryantown, neglecting 
to go with his troops, or send them to capture Dr. 
Samuel Mudd at his home only three and a half 
miles away, in order that he might investigate the 
suspicious and offending conduct of Dr. Samuel 
Mudd, he, instead, sends a detachment of his troops 
with a guide to scour a nearby swamp looking for 
Booth and Herold, when a heavy storm came up 
and made it impossible to proceed with the search 

128 



THE EAST POTOMAC BRIDGE. 



and the next day it was too late. As usual, conven- 
ient for Booth and Herold. 

Thus practically ended Gen. Dana's chase after 
Booth at Bryantown. 

Realizing that he was hunted with a zeal beyond 
the zeal prompting the searchers in following the 
ordinary criminal and bringing him to justice ; stim- 
ulated by a burning desire for vengeance for the 
crime that startled the whole world, no less than the 
hope of the magnificent reward, which meant a for- 
tune in those days, John Wilkes Booth decided to 
cast his lot among the Indians. He met many 
of the tribes and mingled with them, finally becom- 
ing associated with the Apache tribe, whose chief 
he described as being a man of docility, lazy and de- 
void of ambition. The males of the tribe, who are 
called bucks, were active and possessed of more 
than ordinary intelligence; the squaws, some of 
them pretty and attractive, were the slaves of the 
men. But, though these people were kind to him 
and his safety was absolutely secure among them, 
Booth could not accustom himself to the habits and 
customs of these rude people and the longing for 
kindred companionship drew him back again to the 
haunts of civilized man. 

He went to Nebraska City, Nebraska, where he 
met and was entertained by a Mr. Treadkell, who 

129 



THE EAST POTOMAC BRIDGfi. 

employed him later as a teamster, under the name 
of Jesse Smith, in the fall of the year, 1866. Mr. 
Treadkell had a contract with the United States 
government for hauling overland the supplies to the 
United States army located at Salt Lake City, Utah. 

In speaking of Booth Mr. Treadkell said: "There 
was always a strange thing about Jesse Smith, or 
Booth. While he was a good driver of mules four in 
hand, he did not have the slightest knowledge of 
how to harness his team nor even how to hitch them 
to the wagon. But he was the life of the camp at 
night and rendered himself so agreeable that I never 
once thought of discharging him for his ignorance 
in this respect, that he never was able to hitch up 
his own team. The other drivers were always gladly 
willing to do this service for him and I myself would 
much rather do this than give him up, on account 
of his ability to entertain us at night. He would 
recite Shakespeare's plays, poems, etcetera, and tell 
of his travels, which seemed to have been extensive. 
His recitations were grandly eloquent." 

The day before reaching Salt Lake City and the 
army officials Jesse Smith (Booth) left the wagon 
and his employer, disappearing without notice or 
compensation, according to Mr. Treadkell's state- 
ment, which corroborates St. Helen's (Booth) ver- 
sion of the same story. And I suppose he continued 

130 



THE EAST POTOMAC BRIDGE. 

his journey west to San Francisco where he met hts 
mother and brother, Junius Brutus Booth. 

A few years later Mr. Treadkell purchased a book 
containing the story of the assassination of Presi- 
dent Lincoln and a picture of John Wilkes Booth 
the assassin, from which picture he was greatly sur- 
prised to recognize in his mysterious teamster, Jesse 
Smith, no less a person than John Wilkes Booth. 



isi 



CHAPTER XI. 
THE HAND OF SECRETARY STANTON 

The government for some reason took up the pur- 
suit of Booth independent of the movements of Gen 
Dana and the Army of Washington within the lines 
of the 3rd Brigade of Harden 's Division, 22d Corps, 
commanded by Maj. Gen. C. C. Augur, when Edwin 
M. Stanton, Secretary of War, sent the following 
telegram to New York City: 

"Washington, April 16th, 1865. 
"3:20?. M. 

"Col. L. C. Baker Come here immediately and 
see if you can find the murderer of the President. 

" (Signed.) EDWIN M. STANTON, 

"Secretary of War." 

Early the next morning Col. Baker reached Wash- 
ington, accompanied by his cousin, Lieut. L. B. Bak- 
er, a member of the Bureau, who had recently been 
mustered out of the First District of Columbia Cav- 
alry. 

They went at once to the office of the War De- 
partment and after a conference with Secretary 
Stanton, began the search for the murderer of the 
President. 

132 



THE HAND OF SECRETARY STANTON. 

"Up to this time," says Col. Baker, "the con- 
fusion had been so great that few of the ordinary 
detective measures for the apprehension of crim- 
inals had been employed. No rewards had been of- 
fered. Little or no attempt had been made to col- 
lect and arrange the clue in the furtherance of a 
systematic search and the pursuit was wholly with- 
out a dictating leadership." 

Col. Baker's first step was the publication of a 
handbill offering thirty thousand dollars for the 
capture of the fugitives. Twenty thousand dollars 
of this amount was subscribed by the City of Wash- 
ington and the other ten thousand dollars by Col. 
Baker, offered on his own account and authorized 
by the War Department. 

On this handbill was a minute description of 
Booth, as follows : 

"John Wilkes Booth, who assassinated the Presi- 
dent on the evening of April 14th, 1865, height 5 
feet 8 inches, weight 160 pounds, compactly built; 
hair jet black, inclined to curl ; medium length, part- 
ed behind, eyes black, and heavy brows. Wears a 
large seal ring on his little finger. 

"When talking inclines his head forward and 
looks down. 

"(Signed.) L. C. BAKER, 

"Colonel and Adjutant of the War Dept." 

133 



THE HAND OF SECRETARY STANTON. 

Hardly had these handbills been posted when the 
United States Government made the publication of 
additional reward to the amount of one hundred 
thousand dollors for the capture of Booth, Surratt 
and Herold, Surratt at that time being suspected of 
dire complicity in the assassination. 

Three states increased this sum by twenty-five 
thousand dollars each and many individuals and 
companies, shocked by the awful atrocity of the 
crime, offered rewards of various amounts. Fab- 
ulous stories were told of the wealth which the 
assassin's captors would receive, the sum being 
placed anywhere from five hundred thousand dol- 
lars to one million dollars. 

This prospect of winning a fortune at once set 
hundreds of detectives and recently discharged 
Union officers and soldiers, and, in fact, a vast host 
of adventurers into the field of search and the whole 
of Southern Maryland and Eastern Virginia was 
scoured and ransacked until it seemed as if a jack 
rabbit could not have escaped, and yet at the end of 
ten days the assassins were still at large. 

"Booth was accompanied in his flight by a callow 
stage-struck youth named David E. Herold, who was 
bound to Booth, the older, merely by ties of a mar- 
velous magnetism as a part of his art." 

134 



THE HAND OF SECRETARY STANTON. 

"In beginning his search for the assassin Col. 
Baker proceeded on the theory that Jefferson Davis, 
President of the Confederate States, and his Cab- 
inet, were involved in the plot and that Booth, Her- 
old and others, were mere tools in the hands of the 
more skilled conspirators. He therefore detailed 
Lieut. L. B. Baker to procure for the purpose of 
future identification, photographs of John Wilkes 
Booth, Jefferson Davis, President of the Confeder- 
acy; George N. Sanders, Beverly Tucker, Jacob 
Thompson and others unknown, all of whom were 
charged with being conspirators. 

"Lieutenant Baker, with half a dozen active men 
to help him, was sent into lower Maryland to dis- 
tribute the handbills describing Booth, Herold and 
others, and to exhibit the pictures of the fugitives 
when possible, under instructions from Col. Baker. 
They also made a search for clues, but they found 
themselves harassed and thwarted at Washington 
by private detectives and soldiers who tried to throw 
them off their trail (as Baker thought), in the hope 
of following it successfully themselves." 

In this connection I challenge attention to the 
conduct of Gen. Dana, as we left him at Bryantown 
resting under the seeming shadows of treacherous 
conduct, which accusation appears also to be well 
founded by the statements of Col. Baker, for he says 

135 



THE HAND OF SECRETARY STANTON. 

that in their search for Booth and Herold they found 
themselves harassed and thwarted at every turn 
by private detectives and soldiers of the Federal 
Army who tried to throw them off the trail. 

Baker says they regarded Booth, Herold and oth- 
ers as ' ' mere tools in the hands of more skilled con- 
spirators." Baker was more wise than even he 
knew in this conclusion as the events of after years 
disclosed, proven by the confession of Booth himself 
of the plot and the persons connected with it. 

"On his return to Washington Lieut. Baker told 
Col. Baker that it was his opinion that Booth and 
his companions had not gone South, but had taken 
some other direction, most probably toward Phila- 
delphia, where it was known that Booth had several 
women friends. 

" 'Now, sir,' was Col. Baker's answer, 'you are 
mistaken. There is no place of safety for them on 
earth, except among their friends in the still rebel- 
lious South.' 

"Acting on this belief, Col. Baker, Theodore 
Woodall, one of the detectives in lower Maryland, 
accompanied by an expert telegrapher named Brak- 
with, who was to attach his instrument to the wires 
at any convenient point and report frequently to 
headquarters at Washington, started in pursuit of 
Booth. 

136 



THE HAND OF SECRETARY STANTON. 

' ' These men had been out less than two days when 
they discovered a valuable clue from a negro who 
told them without hesitation that two men answer- 
ing the description of Booth and Herold had crossed 
the Potomac below Port Tobacco on Sunday night, 
April 21st, 1865, in a fishing boat. 

' ' This evidence or information was regarded as 
of so much importance that the negro was hurried to 
"Washington by the next boat on the Potomac river. 
Col. Baker questioned him closely and after show- 
ing him a large number of photographs he at once 
selected the picture of Booth and Herold as being 
the persons whom he had seen in the boat. Col. 
Baker decided that the clue was of the first import- 
ance and, after a hurried conference with Secretary 
Stanton, he sent a request to Gen. Hancock for a 
detachment of cavalry to guard his men sent in pur- 
suit and Lieut. Baker was ordered to the quarter- 
master's department to make arrangements for 
transportation down the Potomac river. On Lieut. 
Baker's return he was informed that he and E. J. 
Conger and other detectives were to have charge of 
the party. 

"The three men then held a conference in which 
Col. Baker fully explained his theory of the where- 
abouts of Booth and Herold. In half an hour Lieut. 
Edward P. Dougherty, of the 16th New York Cav- 

137 



THE HAND OF SECRETARY STANTON. 

airy, with twenty-five men, Sergeant Boston Cor- 
bett, second in command, reported to Col. Baker for 
duty, having been directed to go with Lieut. Baker 
and Conger wherever they might order and to pro- 
tect them to the extent of their ability. Without 
waiting even to secure sufficient rations Lieut. Bak- 
er and his men galloped off down to the Sixth Street 
dock and hurried on the government tug, 'John S. 
Ide,' at a little after three o'clock, and that same 
afternoon the tug reached Belle Plain Landing. At 
this point there was a sharp bend in the river and 
Col. Baker advised his men to scour the strip of 
country stretching between it and the Eappahan- 
nock river. 

"On disembarking Baker and Conger rode con- 
tinuously ahead, Lieut. Dougherty and his men fol- 
lowing within hailing distance. The country being 
familiar to both of the leaders of the expedition they 
assumed the names of well-known blockade runners 
and mail carriers and stopped at the homes of the 
more prominent Confederates to make inquiries, say- 
ing: 

" 'We are being pursued by the Yankees and in 
crossing the river we became separated from twc 
of our party, one of whom is a lame man. Have you 
seen them?' 

138 



THE HAND OF SECRETARY STANTON. 

"All night this kind of work was kept up, inter- 
spersed with much harder riding, but although the 
Confederates invariably expressed their sympathy 
it was evident that they knew nothing of the fugi- 
tives. At dawn the cavalrymen threw off their dis- 
guise and halted for an hour for rest and refresh- 
ments. 

"Again in their saddles they struck across the 
country in the direction of Port Conway, a little 
town on the Rappahannock river, about twenty-two 
miles below Fredericksburg. Between two and three 
o'clock in the afternoon they drew rein near a plant- 
er's home, half a mile distant from this town, and 
ordered dinner for the men and feed for their 
horses. Conger, who was suffering from an old 
wound, was almost exhausted from the long, hot 
and dusty ride. He and the other members of the 
party, except Baker and a corporal, dropped down 
on the roadside to rest. Baker, fearing that the 
presence of the scouting party might give warning 
to Booth and his companions, should they be hiding 
in the neighborhood, pushed on ahead to the bank 
of the Rappahannock river. He saw dozing in the 
sunshine in front of his little cottage a fisherman, or 
ferryman, whose name was Rollins. He asked him 
if he had seen a lame man cross the river within the 
past few days. The man answered yes he had, and 

139 



THE HAND OF SECRETARY STANTON. 

that there were other men with him. In fact he had 
ferried them across the river.. (This was Booth, 
Ilerold and Ruddy. Notice that the ferryman re- 
fers to men being with Booth not a man). 

"Baker drew out his photographs and without 
hesitation Rollins pointed out the pictures of Booth 
and Herold. (Baker had no picture of Ruddy). 

" 'These men,' he said, nodding his head, 'They 
are the men, only this one,' pointing to Booth's pic- 
ture, 'had no mustache.' (The fisherman evidently 
was thinking of Ruddy and identifying him from 
Booth's picture, because Booth had a mustache and 
Ruddy did not have a distinguishable mustache, 
having an even growth of whiskers on his entire 
face. This would seem to show that Ruddy could 
have been, and was, mistaken for Booth, without a 
long mustache.) 

"It was with a thrill of satisfaction that Baker 
heard these words. He was now positive that he 
of all the hundred detectives and soldiers who were 
looking for Booth, was on the right trail. Not a 
moment was to be lost now that the object of their 
search might be riding far into the land of the 
Rebels. Baker sent the corporal back with orders 
for Conger and his men to come up without delay. 
After he was gone Rollins explained that the men 
had hired him to ferry them across the river on the 

140 



THE HAND OF SECRETARY STANTON. 

previous afternoon and that just before starting 
three men had ridden up and greeted the fugitives. 

"In response to questioning Rollins admitted that 
he knew the three men well; that they were Major 
M. B. Ruggles, Lieut. Bainbridge and Capt. Jett, of 
Mosby's Confederate command. 

" ' Do you know where they went?' Baker press- 
ed the questioning. 

" 'Wall,' drawled the fisherman, 'this Capt. Jett 
has a lady love over at Bowling Green and I reckon 
he went over there.' And he further explained that 
Bowling Green was about fifteen miles to the south 
and that it had a big hotel which would make a 
good hiding place for a wounded man. As the cav- 
alry came up Baker told Rollins that he would have 
to accompany him as a guide until they reached 
Bowling Green. To this Rollins objected on the 
ground that he would incur the hatred of his neigh- 
bors, none of whom had favored the Union cause. 

" 'But you might make me your prisoner/ he said 
in his slow drawl, 'then I would have to go.' Bak- 
er felt the necessity of exercising the greatest energy 
in the pursuit if the fugitives were to be snatched 
from the shelter of the hostile country. 

"Rollins' old ferry boat was shaky and, although 
the loading was done with the greatest dispatch it 
took three trips to get the detachment across the 

141 



THE HAND OF SECRETARY STANTON. 

river, when the march for Bowling Green was be- 
gun. The horses sweltered up the crooked sandy 
road from the river. Baker and Conger, who were 
riding ahead, saw two horsemen standing motion- 
less on the top of a hill, their black forms showing 
well against the sky. (This was Major or Lieut. 
Ruggles and Bainbridge on sentinel duty, guarding 
Booth at the Garrett farm, which was only a short 
distance to the north of where these men were seen) . 

"These men seem much interested in the move- 
ments of the cavalry. Baker and Conger at once 
suspected them of being Booth's friends, who had 
in some way received information of the approach 
of the searching party. 

"Baker signaled the horsemen to wait for a parley 
but instead of stopping they at once put spurs to 
their horses and galloped up the road. Conger and 
Baker gave chase, but they bent to the necks of 
their horses and riding at full speed they were 
away. And just as they were overhauling them the 
two horsemen dashed into a blind trail leading from 
the main road into the pine forest. (This is when 
Ruggles and Bainbridge rode to the Garrett home, 
a short distance north of the main road, in which 
the Federal troops then were on their way to Bowl- 
ing Green, and then it was that they notified Booth 
to leave the Garrett home, as explained to me by St. 

142 



THE HAND OF SECRETARY STANTON. 

Helen (or Booth), when he left the Garrett home 
and went into the wooded spot where he was after- 
ward picked up by Ruggles and Bainbridge, and fur- 
nished a horse by which means he made his escape.) 

"The pursuers drew rein on their winded horses 
and after consultation decided not to follow further, 
but to reach Bowling Green as promptly as possi- 
ble. ' ' These men, Baker and Conger say, they were 
afterward informed, were Ruggles and Bainbridge, 
and that Booth, at the time they turned back, was 
less than half a mile away, lying on the grass in 
front of the Garrett house. Baker says further that 
"indeed Booth saw his pursuers distinctly as they 
neared his hiding place and commented on their 
dusty and saddle-worn appearance." (In this Baker 
is mistaken. Booth did not see them, but was in- 
formed of their movements only by Ruggles and 
Bainbridge.) 

Baker and Conger believed Booth to be at Bowling 
Green, fifteen miles away, and so they pushed on, 
leaving behind the man they so much desired to cap- 
ture. 

"It was near midnight when the party clattered 
into Bowling Green, and with hardly a spoken com- 
mand surrounded the dark, rambling hotel. Baker 
stepped boldly to the front door, while Conger 
strode to the rear from which came the dismal 

143 



THE HAND OF SECRETARY STANTON. 

barking of a dog. Presently a light flickered on 
and some one opened the door ajar and inquired in 
a frightened, feminine voice, what was wanted. 
Baker thrust his toe inside, flung the door open and 
was confronted by a woman. At this moment Con- 
ger came through from the back way, led by a 
negro. The woman admitted at once that there was 
a Confederate cavalryman sleeping in the house and 
promptly pointed out the room. Baker and Conger, 
candle in hand, at once entered. Capt. Jett sat up 
staring at them and said: 

" 'What do you want?' 

" 'We want you,' answered Conger. 'You took 
Booth across the river, and you know where he is.' 

" 'You are mistaken in your man,' Jett replied 
rolling out of bed. 

" 'You lie!' roared Conger, springing forward, his 
pistol close to Jett's head. 

"By this time the cavalrymen had crowded into 
the room and Jett saw the candle light glinting on 
their brass buttons and on their drawn revolvers. 

" 'Upon my honor as a gentleman,' he said, pal- 
ing, 'I will tell you all I know if you will shield me 
from complicity in the whole matter.' 

" 'Yes, if we get Booth,' responded Conger. 

" 'Booth is at the Garrett home, three miles this 
side of Port Conway,' he said. 'If you came that 

144 



THE HAND OF SECRETARY STANTON. 

way you may have frightened him off, for you must 
have passed the place. 

"In less than thirty minutes the pursuing party 
was doubling back over the road by which it had 
just come, bearing Jett with it as a prisoner. 

"The bridle reins of the horse ridden by him were 
fastened to the men on each side of him in the fear 
that he would make a dash to escape and alarm 
Booth and Ilerold. 

"It was a black night, no moon, no stars, and the 
dust rose in choking clouds. For two days the men 
had eaten little and slept less, and they were so 
worn out that they could hardly sit on their jaded 
horses, and yet they plunged and stumbled on 
through the darkness over fifteen miles of mean- 
dering country road, reaching the Garrett home at 
half-past 3 or 4 o'clock on the morning of April 26, 
1865. 

"Like many other Southern places, Garrett 's home 
stood far back from the road, with a bridle gate at 
the end of a long lane. So exhausted were the cav- 
alrymen that some of them dropped down in the 
sand when their horses stopped and had to be kicked 
into wakefulness. Rollins and Jett were placed 
under guard and Baker and Conger made a dash 
up the lane, some of the cavalry following. Gar- 
rett 's house was an old-fashioned southern man- 

145 



THE HAND OF SECRETARY STANTON. 

sion, somewhat dilapidated, with a wide hospitable 
piazza, reaching its full length in front, and barns 
and tobacco houses looming up big and dark apart. 

"Baker leaped from his horse to the steps and 
thundered on the door. A moment later a window 
close at hand was cautiously raised and a man 
thrust his head out. Before he could say a word 
Baker seized him by the arm and said: 'Open the 
door ! Be quick about it ! ' The old man, trembling, 
complied, and Baker stepped inside, closing the door 
behind him. A candle was quickly lighted, and then 
Baker demanded of Garrett to reveal the hiding 
place of the men who had been staying in the house. 

" 'They are gone to the woods,' he said. (This 
was true, as Booth had gone to the woods about 
2 or 3 o'clock the day before, when notified by Rug- 
gles and Bainbridge.) Baker thrust his revolver in 
the old man's face. 'Don't tell me that,' he said. 
'They are here.' 

"Conger now came in with young Garrett. 'Don't 
injure father, ' said the young man. ' I will tell you 
all about it. The men did go to the woods last 
evening when some cavalry went by, but came back 
and wanted us to take them over to Louisa Court 
House.' (Booth had left as the old man Garrett 
said.) 

146 



THE HAND OF SECRETARY STANTON. 

"The men spoken of by young Garrett as coming 
back were Herold and Ruddy, returning from Bowl- 
ing Green, as prearranged at the Rappahannock 
Ferry, and explained to me by St. Helen (Booth) 
to meet Booth, who they found had gone. They re- 
mained that night with the Garretts. There was 
no one with Booth at the Garrett 's, and when he left 
he left alone. Ruggles and Bainbridge corroborate 
St. Helen (Booth), and say that when they returned 
to the Garrett home and notified Booth to leave they 
looked for Herold, who had not yet returned to 
Booth, and that Booth straightway left by himself, 
in the direction which they pointed out to him. So 
the allusion by young Garrett to the two men return- 
ing had no reference to Booth's return, for at the 
time Booth left the Garrett home Herold and Ruddy 
had not yet reached there on their return from Bowl- 
ing Green. 

"Young Garrett, continuing, said to Baker: 'We 
could not leave home before morning, if at all. We 
were becoming suspicious of them and father told 
them they could not stay with us.' 

" 'Where are they now?' interrupted Baker. 

" 'In the barn. My brother locked them in for 
fear they would steal the horses. He is now keep- 
ing watch on them in the corn crib.' 

147 



THE HAND OF SECRETARY STANTON. 

"It was plain that Garrett did not know the iden- 
tity of the men who had been imposing on their 
hospitality. Baker asked no questions, but taking 
young Garrett 's arm he made a dash toward the 
barn, when Conger ordered the cavalrymen to fol- 
low, and formed them in such position around the 
barn that no one could escape. By this time the 
soldiers had found the boy guarding the barn and 
had brought him out with the key. Baker un- 
locked the door and told young Garrett that inas- 
much as the two men were his guests he must go 
inside and induce them to come out and surrender. 
The young man objected most vigorously. 

" 'They are armed to the teeth,' he faltered, 'and 
they will shoot me down.' But he appreciated the 
fact that he was looking into the black mouth of 
Baker's revolver and hastily slid through the door- 
way. 

"There was a sudden rustling of corn blades and 
the sound of voices in low conversation. All around 
the barn the .soldiers were picketed, wrapped in 
inky blackness and uttering no sound. In the 
midst of a little circle of candle light Baker stood 
at the doorway with drawn revolver. Conger had 
gone to the rear of the barn. 

"During the heat and excitement of the chase 
Baker had assumed command of the cavalrymen, 

148 



THE HAND OF SECRETARY STANTON. 

somewhat to the umbrage of Lieut. Dougherty, who 
kept himself in the background during the remain- 
der of the night. Further away, around the house, 
the Garrett family huddled together trembling and 
frightened. 

"Suddenly from the barn a clear, high voice rang 
out, 'You have betrayed me, sir! Leave this barn 
or I will shoot you ! ' 

"Baker then called to the men in the barn, order- 
ing them to turn over their arms to young Garrett 
and surrender at once. ' If you don 't, we shall burn 
the barn, and have a bonfire and a shooting match.' 
At this young Garrett came running to the door and 
begged to be let out. He said he would do anything 
he could, but he did not want to risk his life in 
the presence of the two desperate men. 

"Baker then opened the door and Garrett came 
out with a bound. He turned and pointed to the 
candle which Baker had been carrying since he left 
the house. 'Put that out, or he will shoot you by 
its light, ' he whispered in a frightened voice. Baker 
placed the candle on the ground at a little distance 
from the door, so that it would light all the space in 
front of the barn. Then he called to Booth to sur- 
render. In a full, clear voice Booth replied: 

" 'There is a man here who wishes to surrender.' 
And they heard him say to Herold: 'Leave me, 

149 



THE HAND OF SECRETARY STANTON. 

will you? Go! I don't want you to stay!' 

"At the door Herold was whimpering, 'Let me 
out! Let me out! I know "nothing of this man in 
here.' (As a matter of fact Herold knew nothing 
of the man in there with him, who was Ruddy, with 
whom he had been connected only as the employe 
and guide for Booth, from across the Potomac and 
Rappahannock rivers, and with whom Herold had 
gone to Bowling Green and returned to the Garrett 
borne, as explained by Booth to me.) 

" 'Bring out your arms and you can surrender,' 
insisted Baker. 

"Herold did not have any arms, and Booth (as 
they called him), finally said: 'He has no arms. 
The arms are mine, and I shall keep them. ' By this 
time Herold was praying pieteously to be let out. 
He said he was afraid of being shot, and begged to 
be allowed to surrender. 

"Baker opened the door a little and told him to 
put out his hands. The moment the door opened 
Baker seized his hands and whipped Herold out 
of the barn and turned him over to the soldiers. 

" 'You had better come out, too,' said Baker to 
Booth (or the man in the barn.) 

" 'Tell me who you are and what you want of 
me. It may be that I am being taken by my 
friends. ' 

150 



THE HAND OF SECRETARY STANTON. 

" 'It makes no difference who we are,' was the 
reply. 'We know you and we want you. We have 
fifty well armed men stationed around this barn. 
You cannot escape, and we do not wish to kill you.' 

"There was a moment's pause and then Booth (as 
they supposed), said, falteringly: 'Captain, that is 
a hard case. I swear I am lame. Give me a chance. 
Draw up your men twenty yards from here, and I 
will fight your whole command.' 

" 'We are not here to fight,' said Baker. 'We 
are here to take you.' 

"Booth (as they supposed him) then asked for 
time to consider, and Baker told him that he could 
have two minutes no more. Presently he said: 
'Captain, I believe you are a brave and honorable 
man. I'have had half a dozen chances to shoot you. 
I have had a bead drawn on you, and I have a bead 
drawn on you now. I do not wish to kill you. 
Withdraw your men from the door and I will go 
out. Give me this chance for my life. I will not 
be taken alive. ' 

! "Even in his deep distress Booth had not forgot- 
ten to be theatrical. 

" 'Your time is up,' said Baker, firmly. 'If you 
don't come out we shall fire the barn.' 

" 'Well, then, my brave boys,' came the answer in 
clarion tones, which could be heard by the women 

151 



THE HAND OF SECRETARY STANTON. 

who cowered on the Garrett porch rods away, 'you 
may prepare a stretcher for me.' 

"Then after a slight pause he added, 'One more 
star on the glorious old banner.' 

"Conger now came .around the corner of the barn 
and asked Baker if he was ready. Baker nodded 
and Conger stepped noiselessly back, drew a husk of 
corn blades through the crack in the barn, scratched 
a match, and in a moment the whole interior of the 
barn was brilliant with light. Baker opened the 
door and peered in. Booth (as they supposed) had 
been lying against the mow, but he now sprang for- 
ward, half blinded by the glow of the fire, his 
crutches under his arms and his carbine leveled in 
the direction of the flames as if he would shoot the 
man who had set them going, but he coulH not see 
in the darkness outside. He hesitated, then reeled 
forward again. An old table was near at hand. He 
caught hold of it as though to cast it top side down 
on the fire, but he was not quick enough, and drop- 
ping one crutch he hobbled toward the door. About 
the middle of the barn he stopped, drew himself up 
to his full height and seemed to take in the entire 
situation. His hat was gone, and his waving, dark 
hair was tossed back from his high, white forehead, 
his lips were firmly compressed, and if he was pale 
the ruddy glow of the firelight concealed the fact. 

152 



THE HAND OF SECRETARY STANTON. 

"In his full, dark eyes there was an expression of 
mingled hatred and terror, and the defiance of a 
tiger hunted to his lair. In one hand he held a car- 
bine, in the other a revolver, and his belt contained 
another revolver and a bowie knife. He seemed pre- 
pared to fight to the end, no matter what numbers 
appeared against him. By this time the flames in 
the dry corn blades had mounted to the rafters of 
the dingy old building, arching the hunted assassin 
in a glow of fire more brilliant than the lightnings 
of any theater in which he had ever played. 

"Suddenly Booth (as they supposed him) threw 
aside his remaining crutch, dropped his carbine, 
raised his revolver and made a spring for the door. 
It was his evident intention to shoot down any one 
who might bar his way, and make a dash for liberty, 
fighting as he ran. 

"Then came a shock that sounded above the roar 
of the flames. Booth (as they supposed him) leaped 
in the air, then pitched forward on his face. Baker 
was on him in an instant and grasped both his arms 
to prevent the use of the revolver, but this precau- 
tion was entirely unnecessary. Booth (as they sup- 
posed him) would struggle no more. Another mo- 
ment and Conger and the soldiers came rushing in 
while Baker turned the wounded man over and felt 
for his heart. 

153 



THE HAND OF SECRETARY STANTON. 

" 'He must have shot himself,' remarked Baker. 
*I saw him the moment the fire was lighted. If not, 
the man who did do the shooting goes back to 
Washington in irons for disobedience of orders. ' 

"In the excitement that followed the firing of the 
barn Sergeant Corbett, an eccentric character who 
had accompanied the cavalry detachment, had 
stepped up to the side of the barn, placed his revol- 
ver to a crack between two boards, and just as 
Booth (as they supposed him) was about to spring 
to the doorway he had fired the fatal shot. 

"Booth's (as they supposed it) body was caught 
up and carried out of the barn and laid under an 
apple tree not far away. Water was dashed in his 
face and Baker tried to make him drink, but he 
seemed unable to swallow. Presently, however, he 
opened his eyes and seemed to understand the situa- 
tion. His lips moved, and Baker bent down to hear 

what he might say. 'Tell mother Tell mother 

' he faltered, and then became unconscious. 

"The flames of the burning barn now grew 
so intense that it was necessary to remove the dying 
man to the piazza of the house, where he was laid 
on a mattress provided by Mrs. Garrett. A cloth 
wet with brandy was applied to his lips, and under 
this influence he revived a little, then opened his 

154 



THE HAND OF SECRETARY STANTON. 

eyes and said with deep bitterness: 'Oh, kill me. 
Kill me quick!' 

" 'No, Booth,' (they supposed him Booth), 'we 
don't want you to die. You were shot against or- 
ders.' 

"Then he was unconscious again for several min- 
utes and they thought he would never speak again, 
but his breast heaved and he acted as if he wished 
to say something. 

"Baker placed his ear at the dying man's mouth 
and Booth (so they supposed) faltered: 'Tell 
mother I died for my country. I did what I thought 
was best.' With a feeling of pity and tenderness 
Baker lifted the limp hand, but it fell back again 
by his side as if dead. Booth (as they supposed) 
seemed conscious of the movement. He turned his 
eyes and muttered 'Hopeless, useless,' and he was 
dead." 

I must be pardoned for cutting short the circuit- 
ous and superfluous language Baker employs in his 
further narrative on reaching Washington with the 
body of the man he supposed to be Booth, but will 
condense his statements. He says the body was 
taken from the Garrett home to the river and placed 
on the gunboat from which they had disembarked 
(the steamer John S. Ide), and thence up the Poto- 
mac river to Washington City, where the body was 

155 



THE HAND OF SECRETARY STANTON. 

removed to another gunboat, Sangatuck, lying at 
anchor near the navy yard. An autopsy and in- 
quest was held here, the bullet was taken out of the 
head of the body and produced as evidence of the 
cause of the death of the man whose body they had. 
Then Conger produced such evidence as they had of 
the identity of the body as that of John Wilkes 
Booth, which follows : The diary, the letters or pa- 
pers and the pictures of Booth's two relatives, the 
carbines, the belt and a compass, which were placed 
in the hands of Col. Baker, in charge of the body, 
and all of which Col. Baker delivered to the officers 
of the Secretary of War, and the body, without fur- 
ther identification, was buried in a cell on the 
ground floor of the old navy prison. 

So much for the article of Mr. Eay Stannard Ba- 
ker, a relative of Col. L. C. Baker, and Lieut. L. B. 
Baker, as refers to the pursuit of and supposed cap- 
ture and killing of John Wilkes Booth, which is re- 
produced above because he writes of the subject as 
of information from Lieut. L. B. Baker, the man who 
was last in pursuit of Booth, and who is supposed 
to have captured and killed Booth. 

By a casual reading, and without investigation, 
the statements made by Mr. Ray Stannard Baker 
would seem conclusive, but it will be seen that Mr. 
Baker has stated fiction for facts, assuming without 

156 



THE HAND OF SECRETARY STANTON. 

proof that the man in the supposed barn or crib 
was Booth, and that the man killed was Booth, the 
truth of which fact must rest on the subsequent 
identification of the body which Lieut. Baker carried 
to Washington, assuming it to be the body of Booth. 
Upon this proof of identification of the body by 
Conger, who produced Booth's two pictures and the 
papers mentioned, together with a carbine, a belt 
and a compass, they were placed in the hands of 
Col. Baker and were the only proof offered for the 
identification of Booth. 

Does this prove the body to be that of Booth? 
No, not directly, not positively. But the evidence 
offered was merely circumstantial, if found on the 
body of the dead man, as tending to show that it was 
the body of Booth, upon the presumption that such 
things as belonged to Booth would be found on his 
body, but does not negative the probability or pos- 
sibility of finding these matters of evidence on the 
body of some man other than Booth. It is claimed, 
and history discloses, that none of the pursuing 
party under Lieut. Baker, nor even he himself, knew 
either Booth or Herold, but they were furnished 
photographs of them for their identification, while 
at the inquest the body was not identified by the pic- 
ture of Booth, so far as we are informed, though 
it was then and there in the possession of Lieut. 

157 



THE HAND OF SECRETARY STANTON. 

Baker. There was no further proof of the identity 
of the body as that of Booth except the pictures of 
Booth's relatives, the letters, etc., offered by Con- 
ger, and this was solely relied on. If the body had 
been that of Booth positive identification could have 
been had by comparison with his pictures, while 
hundreds, yea, perhaps thousands of the people liv- 
ing in Washington could have been called on to pos- 
itively identify the dead body of Booth under oath. 
There were so many who knew him personally and 
others who had so often seen him on the stage that it 
would have been almost as easy to have identified 
the body of John Wilkes Booth as that of President 
Lincoln, whom he had assassinated. Why was not 
this done? Because even Lieut. Baker says: "In- 
deed, there were rumors widely circulated in certain 
parts of the country that Booth had never been cap- 
tured." And before the trial of the conspirators 
was begun he was again sent into lower Maryland 
to collect evidence against Booth and his accom- 
plices, and was so far successful as to find the boat 
in which Booth and Herold had crossed the Potomac 
river, and Booth's opera glasses hidden near the 
Garrett home, both of which he took back to Wash- 
ington. 

How is it that Baker, on his second visit, found 
Booth 's opera, or field glasses, hidden near the Gar- 

158 



THE HAND OF SECRETARY STANTON. 

rett home? It is evidence of two things: First, 
that Booth had been out from the Garrett home, as 
he was when notified by Ruggles and Bainbridge to 
go to the wooded spot near the Garrett house and 
wait for them, where they would come for him 
(which Booth said he did), and this is how and why 
the glasses were found, as Baker says, "hidden near 
the Garrett home," lost or dropped by Booth as he 
sought the secluded hiding place in the woods. 

Second, it was not Booth in the barn, as they sup- 
posed. If it had been they would have found the 
glasses there, as we have no record of Booth having 
left the Garrett home, except by Booth (St. Helen), 
and by Ruggles and Bainbridge, who say that Booth 
was alone when they notified him to leave. They 
looked for Herold and he was not there. This was 
a fact, for Herold had not returned with Ruddy 
from Bowling Green, and they did not reach the 
Garrett home until 10 o'clock on the night of the 
day that Booth left the Garrett home (at about 2 or 
3 o'clock in the afternoon). Of this we have the 
preponderance of proof, to-wit : Ruggles and Bain- 
bridge say they "found Booth on the lawn in front 
of the Garrett home and notified him to leave;" 
that he did leave alone, and that they especially 
looked for Herold and he was not present. 

159 



THE HAND OF SECRETARY STANTON. 

St. Helen, or Booth, says he left the Garrett home 
alone. Old man Garrett said, in reply to Lieut. 
Baker, that they had gone to the woods, referring 
to Booth, Euggles and Bainbridge, while young Gar- 
rett said to Lieut. Baker they had returned, refer- 
ring to Buddy and Herold, who had come in late 
that evening from Bowling Green, Virginia, expect- 
ing to meet Booth, where Booth had agreed to re- 
main in waiting for them, and would have done so, 
except for the warning from Ruggles and Bainbridge 
five or six hours before Herold and Ruddy returned. 

It is evident that the government was not satis- 
fied with the only proof they had of Booth's death, 
to-wit: The letters, pictures, etc., furnished them by 
Conger and Baker, that the body turned over to it by 
Baker and Conger was actually that of Booth ; and 
were much puzzled by the circumstances of finding 
Booth 's letters, etc., on this body which was claimed 
to be that of Booth, and this was at least a strong 
circumstantial evidence of identity to those who did 
not know Booth by sight; but in Washington City 
there was no excuse for not obtaining positive iden- 
tification of Booth's body because there were hun- 
dreds of people there who knew him personally. 

If the government had been satisfied that the body 
delivered by Baker and Conger was that of John 
k Wilkes Booth I dare say it would have been placed 

160 



THE HAND OF SECRETARY STANTON. 

on public exhibition rather than have been held in 
the secret manner in which it was. At least, the 
body would have been sufficiently exposed for pub- 
lic and positive identification, which would have 
been a matter of general satisfaction to the Ameri- 
can people, for all sections of the country were clam- 
oring for the execution of the man who had taken 
the life of President Lincoln. For some reason this 
was not done, and it has not been done to this day, 
as will be learned upon the further reading of this 
story, where, in an unofficial statement from the 
War Department, it is admitted that the govern- 
ment has no direct or positive evidence of the cap- 
ture and death of John Wilkes Booth. In fact, the 
government has no proof of the capture and death 
of John Wilkes Booth other than the finding of the 
letters, pictures, etc., of Booth on the body of the 
man captured, killed and delivered by Baker and 
Conger. 

Again, observe the minuteness and apparent per- 
fection of detail of Mr. Ray Stannard Baker, who 
was not present, but who assumes to speak as one 
present, presenting the most minute act, movement, 
to the very utterances and tone of voice attributed 
to Booth, in the supposed burning of the barn or 
corn crib, and that, too, written thirty-two years 
after the supposed capture and killing took place. 

161 



THE HAND OF SECRETARY STANTON. 

That is, Booth was supposed to have been killed on or 
about April 26, 1865, and Mr. Baker writes and pub- 
lishes his article in May, 1897, and admits that he 
was not present at the time in the pursuit of Booth, 
and personally knew nothing of what he wrote. 
Therefore, the physical facts and admissions con- 
demn Mr. Baker's article as one of misinformation 
and pure invention or fiction a misleading state- 
ment of an historical occurrence. For instance, he 
refers to the dark outlines of the dingy barn and to- 
bacco house, where Booth is claimed to have been 
killed, when, as a matter of fact, was there a barn 
on the place at all, or only two small corn cribs con- 
structed of poles or small logs, as is seen in the true 
pictures of the Garrett home here presented ? Bos- 
ton Corbett, himself, recently said that he "shot 
Booth in a little house through a crack." Boston 
Corbett was present and shot the man who was 
killed, so it will be seen that Baker's description of 
the barn is purely one of his imagination. 

Again, Baker has this man, supposed to be Booth, 
on two crutches in the barn, within the glare of the 
burning barn, when, as a matter of fact, Booth at no 
time had two crutches, but used only one, that made 
from an old broom handle by Dr. Mudd ten days 
prior to the time of which Baker writes, and this 

162 




DAVID E. HEROLD. 

The Accomplice of John Wilkes Booth, and the Garrett 
Home, Where He Was Captured, Ruddy Killed, and From 
Which Booth Escaped, Going to the Wooded Spot Just 
North of the House. 




, 

g cSg 
H oJ3 (t 



THE HAND OF SECRETARY STANTON. 

was discarded by Booth before he reached the Gar- 
rett home. At the Garrett home Booth was merely 
using a stick for support, the injury to his leg being 
a sprained ankle and slight fracture of the shin 
bone, about six inches above the ankle, and when 
Booth left the Garrett 's he was only using this stick. 
Again, if there was no barn to burn and we under- 
stand there was none then none was burned, as 
claimed and written of by Mr. Baker. The man 
killed was killed in the left hand corn crib, as you 
face them in the picture of the Garrett home and 
barnyard, shown in this volume, which is a true re- 
production of the Garrett home, together with the 
corn cribs as they were on the 26th day of April, 
1865, and as we presume they are now. So that Baker 
neither had Booth, a barn or even a large corn crib 
for the tragic play he writes of Booth and his kill- 
ing at the Garrett home on the early morning of the 
26th day of April, 1865. So his sentimental and pa- 
thetic story of the capture and killing of Booth is 
one drawn from his imagination, written prin- 
cipally, it would appear, for the purpose 
of robbing Lieutenant E. P. Dougherty of his 
share in the participation of the famous pur- 
suit and supposed capture of Booth, who, as 
a matter of fact, had command of the squad of 
cavalry in pursuit of Booth, and is justly entitled 

163 



THE HAND OF SECRETARY STANTON. 

to any credit that is due the commander of this 
now famous troop; for it was Dougherty who was 
the superior officer in command of the whole cam- 
paign in pursuit of Booth, under the direction of Col. 
L. C. Baker, who remained at Washington. As a 
matter of fact, Mr. Baker's article is an apparent 
plagiarism of Capt. Edward P. Dougherty's report 
of his pursuit, capture and killing of the man sup- 
posed to be John Wilkes Booth, published in Janu- 
ary, 1890, twenty-five years after the incident ; while 
Mr. Baker writes and publishes his remarkable 
story seven years after Capt. Dougherty's is pub- 
lished and thirty-two years after the supposed kill- 
ing of Booth. 

Before leaving the subject of the personages 
found at the Garrett home and the facts reported 
by the Federal troops in command of Capt. Dough- 
erty, we wish to say that from all obtainable proof 
on both sides, which best harmonizes with reason 
and is most consonant with truth, Booth was car- 
ried to the Garrett home by Ruggles and Bainbridge, 
who remained to watch over him until Herold and 
Buddy should return from Bowling Green. And 
before Herold and Ruddy could return for Booth, 
as had been prearranged the day before the troops 
came in pursuit, they having to walk going and 
coming from the Garrett home to Bowling Green, a 

164 



THE HAND OF SECRETARY STANTON. 

distance of twenty to twenty-four miles, the nearest 
route they could travel from Ports Royal and Con- 
way would require the entire afternoon of the day 
they crossed the Rappahannock river, or more, to 
reach Bowling Green, and they most likely remained 
there half of the forenoon of the next day, so they 
could not have reached the Garrett home before 
late in the evening if they left Bowling Green at 12 
o 'clock noon. And there is some proof to show they 
did arrive at the Garrett home about 10 o'clock that 
night the same day on which Booth left the Gar- 
rett home in the afternoon and that as a fact 
Ruddy and Herold were at the Garrett home asleep 
in the back or shed room of the house, which has a 
door opening out in direct line to the gate opening 
into the horse lot, as they are commonly called hi 
the upland countries of the South. Booth left the 
Garrett home about 2 or 3 o'clock in the afternoon 
and Ruddy and Herold arrived at the Garrett home 
about 10 o'clock that night, six or seven hours later. 
Thus when Capt. Dougherty, guided by Jett, came 
upon the Garrett home and surrounded the house 
on the early morning of the next day the morning 
following the day on which Booth left they found 
Ruddy and Herold asleep in this back room, who, 
when awakened by hearing the noise made by the 
Federal troops around the house, with Capt Dough- 

165 



THE HAND OF SECRETARY STANTON. 

erty demanding admission from old man Garrett at 
the front entrance of the house, made a dash under 
cover of the darkness (the hour being between 5 
and 4 o'clock in the morning) for the first hiding 
place, making their escape out of this back doorway 
through the gate mentioned and went into the 
corn crib, where they were discovered. They were 
located in this crib and surrounded by the soldiers, 
and Herold was taken, a prisoner. And it was here 
in this crib that Boston Corbett, against orders, shot 
and killed the man supposed to be John Wilkes 
Booth. The body of Ruddy was taken from the 
crib, after being shot, and on his body was found 
the letters, etc., belonging to Booth which Ruddy 
had taken from the wagon after Booth had left the 
ferry and which he was trying to deliver to Booth 
at the Garrett home, as promised at their last meet- 
ing, but which, because Booth was gone, he could 
not deliver. So when Ruddy was killed they were 
found on his body. Finding the letters, pictures, 
etc., belonging to Booth on the body of the man who 
was killed, Capt. Dougherty reached the conclusion 
that the body in his possession was that of John 
Wilkes Booth, and thus it was that through the cir- 
cumstances mentioned the body of Ruddy was iden- 
tified as the body of John Wilkes Booth. 

166 



THE HAND OF SECRETARY STANTOH 

Two facts we wish to emphasize they are unan- 
swerable brought out and agreed upon by all that 
has been written and said on the subject. They are : 
First, that Booth was carried to the Garrett home 
by Ruggles and Bainbridge, Confederate soldiers be- 
longing to Mosby's command. Second, that Booth 
had notice of the pursuit by the Federal troops ; that 
being notified by Ruggles and Bainbridge, Booth did 
leave the Garrett home at their urgent request for 
his (Booth's) safety; that they did see him leave 
alone, with the earnest and determined purpose to 
make good his escape, with a full knowledge of his 
present and impending danger of being captured, 
which he knew was death. 

Can any one, under these circumstances and con- 
ditions, believe that Booth did not go and continue 
to go? Can any one believe that he would at that 
time have returned to the Garrett home? The sane 
and reasonable answer to these queries is unques- 
tionably and unequivocally NO. 



16T 



CHAPTER XH. 
GEN. DANA IDENTIFIES BOOTH. 

After having read the publication of Gen. Dana 
in December, 1897, I remembered anew the inci- 
dents connected with the confessions of St. Helen 
and went persistently to work to ascertain, if pos- 
sible, the truth with respect to the escape of John 
Wilkes Booth. 

I wrote at once to Gen. Dana for further facts. 

Having no knowledge whatever of the Booth fam- 
ily before my meeting with St. Helen, I could only 
explain the information I had received from him 
concerning this family and the escape of John 
Wilkes Booth upon the theory that St. Helen was 
related to Herold and knew Booth's personal and 
family affairs by reason of his association with 
either Booth or Herold, or both. So, I assumed, 
without foundation in fact, that the tintype picture 
of himself given me by St. Helen when he believed 
he was dying must be a picture of some one of 
the Herolds. So I wrote Gen. Dana, who in return 
sent me the first pictures I ever remember to have 

168 



GEN. DANA IDENTIFIES BOOTH. 

seen of Booth, also Herold and others. I at once 
identified John Wilkes Booth for the first time, by 
comparing the tintype picture of St. Helen with the 
picture of John Wilkes Booth sent me by Dana. St. 
Helen was indeed the man he claimed to be John 
Wilkes Booth. I at once had a picture made from 
the tintype and sent it to Dana, whose reply, from 
Lubec, Maine, January 17, 1898, with respect to this 
picture, is as follows: 

"Dear Sir: Your favor of January 8th at hand 
and read. I must say I was somewhat surprised at 
the turn things took, for I expected the likeness of 
Herold, or that it would have some of the features 
in it of the man Herold you wrote me about, but it 
seems it was Booth instead. 

"Can this be J. B. Booth, brother of John Wilkes 
Booth? Will it be asking too much of you to send 
me a copy of the confession which you have? I 
would like to have it for my own satisfaction. If I 
can be of any help to you, will gladly aid all I can. 
Regarding J. B. Booth, I shall write to some one of 
the Booth family and learn all I can of his death, 
and where. When received will send to you. 

"Respectfully yours, etc., 

"(Signed.) DAVID D. DANA." 

169 



GEN. DANA IDENTIFIES BOOTH. 

Especial attention is called to Gen. Dana's identi- 
fication of the tintype picture as that of John Wilkes 
Booth, and his intimate knowledge of the Booth 
family, asking as he does if this picture is that of his 
brother, J. B. Booth, and the readiness with which 
he could approach "some one of the Booth family 
and learn all I can of his death," getting all the 
information he desired of J. B. Booth, whom he 
claimed to be dead, and whose name had in no way 
been brought into the discussion except by Gen. 
Dana. But for some reason unknown to me Gen. 
Dana did not write giving me the information which 
he had voluntarily promised. 



I have since learned, however, that the brother of 
Booth unmistakably referred to by Gen. Dana as 
J. B. Booth was Junius Brutus Booth, the oldest 
brother of John Wilkes Booth, who, with the excep- 
tion of a few years spent in the West, lived and died 
in Boston, Mass. The next eldest brother lived and 
died in New York City. The youngest brother, Dr. 
Joseph Adrian Booth, a physician of acknowledged 
ability, was associated with his brother, Edwin 
Booth, the famous actor of New York City, in a busi- 
ness way other than that of acting, as he made 
no pretention to the stage, died some years ago, I 
am informed. 

170 



GEN. DANA IDENTIFIES BOOTH. 

Of these four brothers only John Wilkes Booth 
came South, and he only after the assassination of 
President Lincoln, the other brothers living and 
dying in the East. 

The entire Booth family, consisting of two sisters 
and four brothers, of which John Wilkes was one, 
were similar in appearance, and you would recog- 
nize a family likeness, yet they were very unlike in 
many features, so that no one knowing the family 
could mistake one for the other. This statement is 
made from actual knowledge, for I have before me 
the pictures of the entire Booth family, the father 
and mother, four brothers and two sisters, which 
constitutes the entire family. Should any one doubt 
the accuracy of this statement or be curious to see, 
he may dispel the one and gratify the other by secur- 
ing a copy of the Cincinnati Enquirer, published 
April 27, 1902, and find the group referred to at 
page 1, section 4, of this Sunday edition, a study of 
which I affirm will prove the statements made by 
me in regard to the Booth family. 

The identification of the tintype picture of St. 
Helen as that of John Wilkes Booth by Gen. Dana 
stirred to activity my resting energies and revived 
my purpose to investigate. I at once began to call 
for proof of the death of John Wilkes Booth, and 
began by asking of Dana what evidence they had 

171 



GEN. DANA IDENTIFIES BOOTH. 

of the capture and killing of Booth. In reply to 
this lettter Gen. Dana says, by letter of date Decem- 
ber 25, 1897: 

"Booth, I personally knew; Herold I did not. 
After Booth was killed he was brought to the navy 
yard, and I went on the boat and identified him. 
But the body was very much thinner and features 
very much pinched up, as though he had suffered a 
great deal. 

"He was buried near the old jail and a battery of 
artillery drawn over his grave to obliterate all trace 
of it." 

Thus we have Gen. Dana claiming to identify the 
body of John Wilkes Booth on the boat in April, 
1865, with the reservation that the body was much 
thinner and features much more pinched up than 
usual for Booth, and on the 17th day of January, 
1898, thirty-three years later, we have Gen. Dana 
identifying John Wilkes Booth from a tintype pic- 
ture of St. Helen, claiming to be Booth, taken twelve 
years after Dana is supposed to have identified the 
dead body of John Wilkes Booth on the boat. Which 
identification is CORRECT? 

Was it Booth's body on the boat, or was it the 
living Booth sitting for the picture taken at Glen- 
rose Mills, in Western Texas, twelve years after his 

172 




GEN. LEW WALLACE. 

One of the Military Court Who Sentenced Mrs. Surratt and 
Others to Be Hanged. 




EDWIN BOOTH, 
At the Age of 31. 



GEN. DANA IDENTIFIES BOOTH. 

dead body is supposed to have lain on the boat at 
Washington ? 

This leaves a doubt in the minds of all men who 
read this state of facts. Under the rule of law in 
the application of evidence in matters criminal the 
doubt resolves itself against the truth of the witness 
and the benefit of the doubt is given to the defend- 
ant, Booth. Dana both identifies the supposed body 
of Booth on the boat and then unquestionably identi- 
fies the living Booth from the tintype picture, taken 
as before stated. This being true, then applying the 
legal rule as to civil proof, his evidence stands at an 
equipoise, and under that condition we find in favor 
of Booth's escape until there is a preponderance of 
proof to the contrary. 

Being advised that Gen. Lew Wallace was the 
only surviving member of the military court which 
tried and convicted David E. Herold, Mrs. Surratt 
and others, by the judgment of which court Herold 
and Mrs. Surratt were hanged and the others con- 
victed, I wrote under the date of January 25, 1898, 
calling on Gen. Wallace for the proof which was 
heard at that court. I also asked for such evidence 
as was then and now in possession of the govern- 
ment of the United States showing that Booth had 
been captured and killed. 

173 



GEN. DANA IDENTIFIES BOOTH. 

The General replied as follows: 

"Crawfordsville, Ind., Jan. 27, 1898. 

"Dear Sir: In reply to yours of the 25th inst., I 
beg to say that to my certain knowledge John 
Wilkes Booth was buried under a brick pavement 
in a room of the old penitentiary prison of Wash- 
ington City ; also that after he had lain buried there 
for a time, at the request of his friends, his remains 
were taken up and transferred to Baltimore, where 
they now lie, under a very handsome marble monu- 
ment erected to his memory by men of whom I have 
reason to think as little as I did him. Respectfully 
yours, 

" (Signed.) LEW WALLACE." 

From this man, great in war and greater by far 
in the literary field of fiction, I expected much val- 
uable proof or suggestions germane to the issue, but 
the reading of Gen. Wallace 's letter can best explain 
the disappointment it contained in this respect. He 
speaks positively of his knowledge, without giving 
the facts on which that knowledge was based an 
evasion keen and shrewd, that others might measure 
the sufficiency of the proofs by his conviction (cer- 
tain knowledge.) Therefore, in the absence of spe- 
cific facts, heard by him before a military court, we 
must rationally conclude that his conviction (cer- 
tain knowledge) is born of the result of the circum- 

174 



GEN. DANA IDENTIFIES BOOTH. 

stantial evidence, the finding of the letters, pictures, 
etc., belonging to Booth on the supposed body of 
Booth. A body said to be Booth's was buried, 
Gen. Wallace says, and subsequently exhumed and 
transplanted from Washington City at the Old Navy 
Yard, to the Booth lot in a Baltimore cemetery, and 
a monument erected to the memory of Booth. These 
are mere circumstances tending to create the impres- 
sion that the body so transplanted was that of Booth, 
but is at best a mere surmise, and in the absence of 
other and further positive and direct proof does not 
justify a finding of facts as of certain and personal 
knowledge. 

It will be noticed that Gen. Wallace says that the 
body of Booth was buried under a "brick pavement 
in a room of the old penitentiary prison of Washing- 
ton City," to his "certain knowledge," while Gen. 
Dana says, and is equally positive of his "certain 
knowledge," that the "body was buried out in the 
old Navy Yard, and a battery of artillery run over 
the grave to obliterate any trace of it." This is a 
complete contradiction of the statement of Gen. Wal- 
lace, based on his "certain knowledge," and this 
can not be an immaterial mistake merely as to de- 
tail between these two gentlemen, because each has 
stated matters of material physical facts, based on 
their own knowledge, yet in direct contradiction of 

175 



GEN. DANA IDENTIFIES BOOTH. 

each other. Then the question is, Who is right?/ 
For if the body was buried as Gen. Wallace says, 
"under a brick pavement in a room of the old peni- 
tentiary prison of Washington City," then it could 
not have been buried, as Gen. Dana says, "out in 
the Navy Yard," the grave being obliterated by 
"running a battery of artillery over it." It was not 
in the building if it was out in the yard, and not out 
in the yard if it was in the building. Then, who is 
RIGHT? 

It is a physical impossibility for them both to be 
correct, but it is possible for them both to be mis- 
taken. And so, in being mistaken, their "certain 
knowledge" of these facts must fall. To these state- 
ments, contradictory as they are, I hold their sol- 
emn signed letters, including the statements made, 
which I thought at the time, and now think, come 
from among the best sources of information on this 
subject, yet they are to be further contradicted and 
worse confounded by the statement of others. 

The public press, in referring to the death of the 
late Wm. P. Wood, of Washington City, said : 

"In the passing of the late Wm. P. Wood, in 
Washington, several weeks ago, there has gone a 
man whose associations with the central figures in 
the Lincoln assassination tragedy were of the most 
intimate character. Col. Wood was of the Secret 

176 



GEN. DANA IDENTIFIES BOOTH. 

Service at the time of the assassination, the thirty- 
eighth anniversary of which will occur next Tues- 
day, and was in Cincinnati when President Lincoln 
was shot. A telegram from Secretary of War Stan- 
ton to him requesting him to come to Washington 
was the first information Col. Wood had that John 
Wilkes Booth was the assassin of President Lincoln. 

"Col. Wood, in speaking of the burial of the body 
of Booth, said: 

" 'The body of Booth was taken off the steamer 
Ide April 27, 1865, down the Potomac river; from 
the steamer it was placed on a boat by Capt. Baker 
and his nephew, a lieutenant in the New York 
Seventy-first Volnnteers, and carried to an island 
twenty-seven miles from Washington, and secretly 
buried there. That story was given out that Booth 
had been buried under the flagstone in the district 
jail was only told to keep the public mind at ease 
and satisfy public curiosity." 

So, while Gen. Wallace and Gen. Dana contradict 
each other they are both contradicted by Col. Wood, 
making confusion confounded, while Capt. B. W. 
Hillard, of Metropolis, Illinois, recently published a 
statement in which he said that he "was one of four 
privates who carried the remains of Booth from the 
old Capital Prison in Washington to a gunboat, 
which carried them about ten miles down the Po- 
rn 



GEN. DANA IDENTIFIES BOOTH. 

tomac river, when the body was sunk in the river,'* 
etc. Therefore, Gen. Dana, Col. Wood and Capt. 
Hillard say by their statements that Gen. Wallace is 
mistaken. Gen. Wallace, Col. Wood and Capt. Hill- 
ard say that Gen. Dana is mistaken, while Col. Wood 
and Capt. Hillard say that both Gen. Wallace and 
Gen. Dana are mistaken, and Col. Wood and Capt. 
Hillard are agreed upon the material points that the 
supposed body of John Wilkes Booth was buried in 
the Potomac river, differing only in the immaterial 
point as to the distance the body was carried down 
the river. Therefore, from the weight or prepon- 
derance of proof, it appears that the body was bur- 
ied in the Potomac river. If this was in fact the 
body of John Wilkes Booth, why was it secretly and 
mysteriously handled around, as shown in these 
statements, while the masses of the people of the 
United States were clamoring for the avenging of 
the death of President Lincoln? What could have 
been more satisfactory than for the government to 
have made public proffer of the body? This, it 
seems, common judgment would have dictated to 
the officials then in power. And we believe it 
would have been done if in truth and in fact this 
body in question had been that of John Wilkes 
Booth. And why did not the government in this 
instance turn the body over publicly to Booth's 

178 



GEN. DANA IDENTIFIES BOOTH. 

family? This is the custom of the government 
State and national in dealing with their executed 
dead. This was done in the case of Guitteau, the as- 
sassin of President Garfield, and Czolgolsz, the as- 
sassin of President McKinley. Why this exception 
with the body of Booth ? 

Col. Wood says that the story of the burial of 
Booth's body at the "Navy Yard was circulated to 
gratify the people." The people would have been 
much more gratified at seeing and identifying the 
body. What mattered it to them where the body 
of Booth should be buried ? They were only anxious 
to know that Booth was dead. This was the gratifi- 
cation supposed to be desired. The truth is, but one 
purpose was served, and that the one desired, the 
concealment of the body claimed to be that of Booth, 
because it was known that it was not the body of 
John Wilkes Booth. From the true facts and cir- 
cumstances as they existed there is neither sense 
nor reason for any other conclusion. 

On the 22d day of January, 1898, I addressed a 
communication to Mr. H. M. Alsen, editor of Har- 
per's Weekly, giving a full statement of the facts 
in my possession respecting the escape of Booth, 
asserting that in my opinion Booth had not in fact 

179 



GEN. DANA IDENTIFIES BOOTH. 

been killed, as reported, at the Garrett home in Vir- 
ginia, in April, 1865, but had made his escape, and I 
believed Booth then to be alive and at large in the 
West. Mr. Alsen replied as follows : 

"Harper & Brothers Editorial Booms, 
" Franklin Square, New York, 

"January 25, 1898. 

"Dear Sir: In reply to your letter of January 
22. * * * Of the facts you mention we have not 
the slightest doubt. The rumor that John Wilkes 
Booth was still alive frequently reached Edwin 
Booth, the actor. Yet it was frequently investi- 
gated, found false or quietly ignored. Sincerely 
yours, 

' ' (Signed) H. M. ALSEN, Editor. ' ' 

And now comes the climax in the shape of a vol- 
untary letter from the United States War Depart- 
ment, as follows: 

"War Department, 
"Office of the Judge Advocate General, 

"Washington, May 13, 1898. 
"F. L. Bates, Memphis, Term. 

"Dear Sir: I am collecting matter for a detailed 
account of the assassination of President Lincoln by 
J. Wilkes Booth, and seeing your letter to this de- 
partment concerning the evidence you therein state 

180 



GEN. DANA IDENTIFIES BOOTH. 

you possess, that Booth was not captured and killed 
by the Federal troops, I have been prompted to 
write you in my private capacity as a citizen, and 
not as an employe of the War Department, and in- 
quire if you will kindly give me for publication, if 
found available, such information on the subject as 
you may possess. 

"While I have not what may be styled direct or 
positive evidence that the man killed was Booth, I 
have such circumstantial evidence as would seem 
to prove the fact beyond doubt. Still, I would be 
glad to examine any evidence to the contrary. 

"Hoping to hear from you soon, I am, very re- 
spectfully, your obedient servant, 

" (Signed) JOHN P. SIMONTON." 

. The voluntary statement of Mr. Simonton being 
true, establishes beyond question the fact that the 
government has no positive or direct proof of tEe 
capture and killing of Booth. Then this explains 
why the government did not expose the supposed 
body of Booth. Because they had no conclusive 
proof of its identity they kept it concealed from the 
public, for the good effect the deception would have 

181 






GEN. DANA IDENTIFIES BOOTH. 

on the public, that they might lull to rest the out- 
raged and restless public sentiment demanding ven- 
geance. 

Gen. Wallace refers to the monument to John 
Wilkes Booth, in Green Mount Cemetery, Baltimore, 
Maryland, standing in the family lot, the last resting 
place of the members of the Booth family who have 
joined the pilgrims in the shadowed valley of the 
spirit land beyond that river, the boundary line be- 
tween the dwelling of the living and the home of the 
dead. It is worthy to mention in this connection that 
on this monument is chiseled only the name 
"Booth," and that on the base, the white shaft 
stands barren of name or epitaph to John Wilkes 
Booth. Why is this? Does St. Helen's story explain? 
When the keeper of the Booth lot asked Edwin 
Booth if the name of John Wilkes Booth, with an 
epitaph to him, should be placed on the monument, 
his reply was, "Let it remain blank." By the light 
of subsequent investigation we understand Edwin 
Booth 's reason for this order. It was in fact not the 
monument of the dead John Wilkes Booth, as the 
keeper and the uninformed public believed. 

182 



GEN. DANA IDENTIFIES BOOTH. 

On one occasion a friend asked to speak to Edwin 
Booth respecting the subject of John Wilkes Booth's 
crime, when Edwin Booth interrupted him by say- 
ing, "Yes, that Washington affair was a horrible 
crime, but then John Wilkes is my brother." He 
uttered this with great emotion and ended the sub- 
ject. 

Notice Edwin's unwitting reply, "John Wilkes is 
my brother," not "John Wilkes was my brother." 

To strengthen the theory that Booth had been cap- 
tured and killed there was a publication in the Balti- 
more Sun of January 18, 1903, under the head lines : 

"WHERE JOHN WILKES BOOTH LIES." 

(Published thirty-eight years after the assasina- 
tion of the President.) 

"It is an interesting fact that Edwin Booth never 
desisted from his potent and quiet endeavor to re- 
cover the body of John Wilkes Booth until he deliv- 
ered it to his mother in Maryland. Of John Wilkes 
Booth's burial there can be no doubt. John T. Ford, 
the Baltimore theatrical manager, and Charles B. 
Bishop, the comedian, both told me that they wit- 
nessed for Edwin Booth the exhuming of the body." 

183 



GEN. DANA IDENTIFIES BOOTH. 

(Then we ask where from? Out of the obliterated 
grave described by Gen. Dana ; from under the brick 
pavement in the room in the old Penitentiary Build- 
ing described by Wallace, or from the waters of the 
Potomac river, as described by Col. "Wood and 
Capt. Hillard?) "And that the same was identi- 
fied and sent to his mother. This should set at rest 
the rumors that Booth lives." 

Of the exhuming of this body and its identifica- 
tion by John T. Ford and Charles B. Bishop, as pub- 
lished by the Baltimore Sun, is incomplete as an his- 
torical fact, for the reason that there were others 
present at the same time with Mr. Ford and Mr. 
Bishop, who have likewise spoken of the manner of 
the identification of this body as that of John Wilkes 
Booth, which was shipped to Baltimore and claimed 
by some to be the body of John Wilkes Bootk. 
Among the others present was Miss Blanche Chap- 
man, leading lady in the play, "Why Smith Left 
Home" company, and in referring to the story pub- 
lished in the Baltimore Sun, she says : 

"One morning in 1872, just after rehearsal, my 
godfather, John T. Ford, manager of the theater, 

184 



GEN. DANA IDENTIFIES BOOTH. 

i 

came to me and in a strangely serious voice for him 
to assume when addressing me, said: 'Blanche, 
keep your eyes and ears open, and your mouth shut, 
and follow me.' I followed him out through the 
back of the theater and across the street to Mr. 
Weaver's undertaking establishment, which was just 
opposite. He led the way to a sort of private room 
at the back of the shop, furtherest from the street, 
and upon entering I saw a number of people seated 
or standing around a rough, earth-stained box, which 
contained something that was wrapped in a muddy 
army blanket. Some of the people present I knew 
at the time, but there were some I did not know. 
Of course, I afterward learned their names, and the 
company was made up as follows: John T. Ford, 
my godfather and manager of the theater; Charles 
B. Bishop, the comedian; Mrs. Booth, widow of the 
elder Booth and mother of Edwin Booth, Junius 
Brutus Booth, and a still younger brother, whose 
name I did not know; Mr. Weaver, the undertaker, 
my little sister and myself. 

"It was not long before I began to realize what 
the solemn little conclave meant. The muddy brown 
army blanket was partly removed from the object 

185 



GEN. DANA IDENTIFIES BOOTH. 

inside of it with a decorous solemnity that I could 
not misunderstand. Mr. Bishop approached the box, 
and turning to Junius Brutus Booth, said in a low 
tone : 'You are sure about that being the only tooth 
in his head that had been filled?' 'Yes.' 

"Mr. Bishop then gently pressed down the lower 
jaw of the body in the box and with his thumb and 
forefinger withdrew the tooth indicated. It had 
been filled with gold, and the peculiar form of the 
filling was at once recognized by Junius Brutus 
Booth. Mr. Bishop then carefully drew off one of 
the long riding boots, which were still on the feet 
and limbs of the body, which had evidently lain in 
the earth for years, and as he. did so the foot and 
lower portion of the limb remained in the boot. An 
examination was then made, and it was plainly seen 
that the ankle had been fractured. By this time, of 
course, I realized from what I saw and heard that 
the remains in the box were those of John Wilkes 
Booth, returned to the family by the government," 

It will be remembered that President Lincoln was 
assassinated in the Ford Theater, at Washington, 
D. 0., a place owned by this same John T. Ford, or 

186 



GEN. DANA IDENTIFIES BOOTH. 

run by him; that Ford and Bishop were warm per- 
sonal friends of John Wilkes Booth, and the others 
were friends of the Booth family, who of all people 
were anxious that the government officials and the 
American people at large should believe that John 
Wilkes Booth, their relative and friend, had been 
killed. For this belief meant absolute protection for 
the living John Wilkes Booth at Glenrose Mills, Tex., 
known as John St. Helen. 

Suppose these people had failed to recognize and 
had announced that the body shown was not that of 
x ohn Wilkes Booth. The government would have 
oeen up in arms, figuratively speaking, and the 
people of America frenzied with indignation over the 
deception practiced upon them, would have de- 
manded punishment and justice for the deceivers. 

There is no question that there was a body ex- 
humed, or otherwise obtained, at Washington, as 
stated in the Sun's publication, and ac disclosed in 
the statements of Ford, Bishop and Miss Chapman. 
But the examination of this body discloses the fact 
that it was not the body of John Wilkes Booth. The 
government could not afford to have been caught 

187 



GEN. DANA IDENTIFIES BOOTH. 

red-handed in the act of attempting to palm off a 
spurious body on the friends and relatives of John 
Wilkes Booth. Therefore the body was kept for 
seven years, at the end of which time it was identi- 
fied by a gold-filled tooth and a limb that came off 
in a boot which had been left at the home of Dr. 
Mudd seven years before. 

It is a physical fact that Dr. Mudd cut one of the 
riding boots from the injured limb of Booth on the 
morning of April 15, 1865, the limb at that time be- 
ing so swollen and painful as to render it impossible 
for Booth to longer endure the suffering it caused, 
and from that time to the date of his supposed cap- 
ture and burial Booth had on but one riding boot. 
And at the time this supposed identification was 
being made in Baltimore, as described by Miss Chap- 
man, the very boot said to have been drawn off, 
carrying with it the wounded foot and leg, was at 
that self-same time in the archives of the govern- 
ment at Washington, where it was placed after be- 
ing removed from the home of Dr. Mudd. So that 
the identification story published in the Baltimore 
Sun, the same as described by Blanche Chapman, 

188 




THE HOME OF DR. MUDD AND THE RIDING BOOT 
OF BOOTH. 

Which Was Taken Oft the Injured Limb of John Wilkes 
Booth by Dr. Mudd on the Morning of the 15th of April, 
1865, Where It Was Afterward Recovered by the Federal 
Troops. 



GEN. DANA IDENTIFIES BOOTH. 

must fall flat, for the reason that the very means of 
identification accepted as physical facts proving the 
identity of the exhumed body to be that of John 
Wilkes Booth, actually prove it to have been the 
body of some one else who had on two boots. 

In this connection I reproduce what Mr. Moxly 
says in a published interview: 

"Mr. Basil Moxly, veteran doorkeeper at John T. 
Ford's Opera House, after a silence of years, in- 
forms the world that the body buried in Green 
Mount Cemetery, Baltimore, was not that of the as- 
sassin, John Wilkes Booth, but that of another man, 
forwarded to Baltimore by the government at the 
solicitation of the Booth family and their friends. 

"Mr. Moxly is the sole survivor of the men who 
acted as pall-bearers at what he now terms a 'mock 
funeral,' and he has deemed the time ripe to tell 
the facts in this strange disclosure. 

" 'I knew Booth well,' said Mr. Moxly, 'and I 
conversed with him only a short time before the af- 
fair in. Washington. I am the only one of the pall- 
bearers left. The man who was brought to Balti- 
more did not resemble Booth; he had brown hair, 

189 



GEN, DANA IDENTIFIES BOOTH. 

while Booth's was jet black; there was also a dif- 
ference in their general appearance.' ' 
i The statement of Mr. Moxly is positive and con- 
clusive that the body buried at Baltimore was not 
that of John Wilkes Booth, and the question, "Was 
John Wilkes Booth killed?" again arises, and we 
revert back to the evidence held by the government, 
where we find the circumstance of finding Booth's 
letters, pictures, check, etc., on the body of the man 
killed, which John St. Helen, the mysterious cultured 
gentleman of leisure living at the very edge of civili- 
zation, explains were in the possession of the dark- 
haired, swarthy complexioned man, not quite so 
tall or large as himself, by the name of Ruddy or 
Roby, his better recollection being that it was Ruddy 
or a name sounding the most like the word 
"Ruddy." 

That Ruddy or Roby was the man killed there can 
no longer be a well-founded doubt, and I leave the 
submitted facts for reflection while taking up the 
most interesting part of Booth's life in the West, 
the home of the Indian, the Mexican and the cow- 
boy. 

190 



CHAPTER XIII. 
A BALTIMOREAN STILL 

Baltimore has the distinction of being the chief 
stage upon which Booth played his romantic part 
as an actor, where the footlights separated him from 
the people, and from that city of beautiful and cul- 
tured women and honorable and intellectual men 
John Wilkes Booth drank the inspiration that made 
him famous as an actor, and that made him ever the 
courteous and cultured gentleman during his wan- 
dering life on the Western plains. For Baltimore 
and her people he carried and cherished in his mem- 
ory, love and gratitude and honor to the hour he 
commanded his heart "Be still." 

He had often said to me: "In the morning of my 
life the star of my fate rose from without the firma- 
ment of Baltimore 's elite, and I love and honor her. ' ' 

How vividly do I recall his proud and haughty, 
yea, his beautiful and defiant face, when he spoke 
of Baltimore, the home of his youth and early man- 

191 



A BALTIMOREAN STILL. 

hood, and the Baltimorean as his friend. And you 
of Baltimore who remember him in his strength and 
honor, this greeting I send as a message from him, 
from his home nearer the gateway of the Day, where 
twillight greets the evening star, where darkness 
makes of ours a dreamland and of the Orient a land 
of day: "John Wilkes Booth's fondest memories 
are of thee and of his friends in Baltimore." 

The life of John Wilkes Booth is, however, cer- 
tainly no less, and perhaps far more interesting, in 
the part he played on the Western plains, on the 
stage by Nature set, in which he had before him the 
wild man and the semi-civilized people of this wild 
section as an appreciative audience. And while 
there are doubtless many residents of the Monu- 
mental City who treasure up reminiscences of 
Booth's bright youth and splendid, misguided gen- 
ius, there live today thousands of people on the 
plains who cherish his memory and love his per- 
sonality without a knowledge of his true name, his 
crime or his wasted genius, and would, like the 
cowboy, build a monument to his memory. 

192 



A BALTIMOREAN STILL. 

Of John Wilkes Booth his brother, Edwin, himself 
a genius and a judge, said: "He has the genius 
of my father, and is more gifted than I," while Joe 
Jefferson, the "Rip Van Winkle" of all ages, with 
whom the world laughed or wept at his will, saw 
John Wilkes Booth in the last years before his in- 
sane deed at Washington and told me that he never 
saw so great a performance as his impersonation 
of "Richard III." In "Richard III. " he played un- 
der the name of John Wilkes, and never used his 
surname until he played Horatio to Edwin Booth's 
Hamlet. When for the first time his name was 
given on the bills as John Wilkes Booth, at the close 
of the play, as usual, the call came for Edwin 
Booth, and as the curtain went up Edwin Booth 
came down the stage leading his brother, John 
Wilkes Booth, by the arm and, pointing to him, said : 

' ' I think he has done well, don 't you ? ' ' 

Then came from the audience cries of "Yes!" 
"Yes!" and tumultuous applause. 

Mr. Jefferson said: "John Wilkes Booth was a 
little taller than his brother Edwin, possessed his in- 
tellectual and beautiful eyes, with great symmetry 

193 



A BALTIMOREAN STILL. 

of features, and an especially fine forehead and 
curly, black hair." 

"He was as handsome as a Greek god," says Mr. 
Edwin M. Delfind. Continuing further, he said: 
"It is saying a good deal, but he was a much hand- 
somer man than his brother Edwin. He possessed a 
voice much like his brother's melodious, sweet, full 
and strong, and was a consummate elocutionist. He 
was a great admirer of those Greek and Roman char- 
acters that are deemed exponents of popular lib- 
erty and heroic patriotism. In these he went al- 
most to radicalism. Of the Brutuses he was an es- 
pecial devotee, and I shall never forget his recita- 
tion of Brutus' speech in "Julius Caesar," of his de- 
fiance in his share of the asssassination, and with 
what force he rolled out those lines: 

" 'My ancestors did from the streets of Rome the 
tarquin drive. ' 

"He said that of all Shakespeare's characters, 'I 
like Brutus the best, excepting only Lear.' There is 
no doubt but that the study of these characters and 
meditation upon their deeds had much to do with 
shaping that mental condition which led to the 
murder of President Lincoln. 

194 



A BALTIMOREAN STILL. 

"I was talking with Edwin Booth at the Players 
one day and remarked to him: 'Mr. Booth, there is 
an incident in the nation's history to which I would 
like to allude. ' He promptly comprehended, and re- 
plied with flashing eyes and compressed lips, 'You 
mean that affair at Washington. I could not ap- 
prove of what John Wilkes did, and would rather 
not discuss it. He is my brother.' 

"As to the dramatic genius of John Wilkes Booth, 
I can speak with professional authority. It was of 
the highest order, and had he continued on the stage 
his fame and success would have equaled that of Ms 
father. The father I never saw, but nearly every 
great actor from Edwin Forrest down to the present 
day I have seen and heard, and with the exception 
of Forrest and that brilliant, erratic genius, Edwin 
Adams, John Wilkes Booth's genius excelled them 
all. 

"As I have said, he was a great admirer of Lear. 
I don't think his genius would ever have made his 
rendering of the part equal to Forrest. Lear and 
Booth genius were not quite in harmony. He did 
not have the large physical proportions essential to 

195 



A BALTIMOREAN STILL. 

the performance of Shakespeare's sublimest charac- 
ters. Edwin Forrest did, and was the only Lear the 
stage has ever seen. But Booth was unequalled as 
Richard III., and would have made the greatest 
Hamlet, Cassius, Othello, Macbeth, Cornelius and 
Charles Moore, as well as other similar parts. 

"In plays like 'The Taming of the Shrew' he had 
achieved distinction. He acted in such parts with 
a brilliant dash and sweep that were irresistible to 
women. He was an imperious fascinator and 
women idolized him. 

"Once in Philadelphia, when going over with Mr. 
Forrest his 1623d edition of Shakespeare, I expressed 
to him my admiration of his Lear. Forrest flushed 
and said : ' Sir, I act Hamlet, but I am Lear. ' It is 
lamentable that through the insanity which led to 
the dark deed in Washington the genius of John 
Wilkes Booth was lost to the American stage. His 
star went out in the darkest night through a deed 
that cost the South its best friend, Abraham Lin- 
coln." 

Clara Morris, the emotional actress, now nearing 
the last scenes in the playhouse of Time, says of 

196 




CLARA MORRIS. 
Aa Sister Genevieve in "The Two Orphans." 




JOSEPH JEFFERSON. 

As He Appeared at the Interview With Mr. Bates at the 
Gayoso -Hotel, Memphis, Tennessee. 



A BALTIMOREAN STILL, 

John Wilkes Booth: "In glancing back over two 
crowded and busy seasons one figure stands out with 
clearness and beauty. In this case, so far as my 
personal knowledge goes, there is nothing deroga- 
tory to dignity or manhood in being called 'beauti- 
ful, ' for he was that bud of splendid promise blasted 
to the core before its full triumphant blooming, 
known to the world as a madman and an assassin, 
but to the profession as 'that unhappy boy, John 
Wilkes Booth. ' He was so young, so bright, so kind. 

"I could not have known him well? Of course, 
too, there are two or three different people in every 
man's skin. Yet, when we remember that stars are 
not generally in the habit of showing their brightest, 
their best side, to the company at rehearsals, we can 
not help feeling both respect and liking for the one 
who does. 

"There are not many men who can receive a gash 
over the eye in the scene at night without at least a 
momentary outburst of temper, but when the com- 
bat between Richard and Richmond was being re- 
hearsed, John Wilkes Booth had again and again 
urged McCullom that six-foot tall and handsome 

197 



A BALTIMOIIEAN STILL. 

man, who entrusted me with the care of his watch 
during such encounters, 'To come on hard, come on 
hot, old fellow ! Harder, faster ! ' that he would take 
the chances of a blow if only they could make a hot 
fight of it. Mr. McCullom, who was a cold man at 
night, became nervous in his efforts to act like a 
fiery one. He forgot that he had struck the full 
number of hard blows, and when Booth was expect- 
ing a thrust, McCullom, wielding his sword with both 
hands, brought it down with awful force fair across 
Booth's forehead. A cry of horror rose, for in one 
moment his face was marked in blood, one eyebrow 
was clearly cut through. Then came simultaneously 
one deep groan from Richard (Booth) and an 
exclamation of 'Oh! Good God! Good God!' from 
Richmond (McCullom), who stood trembling like a 
leaf and staring at his work. Booth, flinging tHe 
blood from his eyes with his left hand, said as gently 
as a man could speak: 'That is all right. That ia 
all right, old man. Never mind me. Only come on 
hard, for God's sake, and save the fight!' which he 
resumed at once. And though he was perceptibly 
weakened it required the sharp order of Mr. Ellsler 

198 



A BALTIMOREAN STILL. 

to ring the first curtain bell to force him to bring the 
fight to a close, a single blow shorter than usual. 
And there was a running to and fro with ice and 
vinegar, and raw steak, and raw oysters, and when 
the doctor had placed a few stitches where they 
were most required Booth laughingly declared that 
there was provisions enough in the room to start a 
restaurant. 

"McCullom came to try to apologize, to explain, 
but Booth would have none of it. He held out his 
hand, saying, 'Why, old fellow, you look as if you 
had lost the blood don't worry now, if my eye 
had gone, that would have been bad.' And so, with 
light words he turned to set the unfortunate man at 
ease, and though he must have suffered much morti- 
fication as well as pain from the eye, he never made 
a sign showing it. 

"John Wilkes Booth, like his next elder brother, 
was rather lacking in height, but his head and throat 
and the manner of their rising from his shoulders 
were truly beautiful. His coloring was unusual, the 
ivory pallor of his skin, the inky blackness of his 
dusky, thick, curly hair, the heavy lids of his glow- 

199 



A BALTIMOREAN STILL. 

ing eyes, were all Oriental, and they gave a touch of 
mystery to his face when it fell into gravity, but 
there was generally a flash of white teeth behind his 
black, silky mustache. 

"Now, it is scarcely exaggerating to say that the 
fair sex were in love with John Wilkes Booth, or 
John Booth, as he was called, the name Wilkes being 
apparently unknown to his family and close friends. 
I played with John "Wilkes, to my great joy, playing 
'Player Queen,' and in 'The Marble Heart,' I was 
one of the group of three statues in the first act, 
then a girl in my teens. 

"With all my admiration for the person and the 
genius of John Wilkes Booth, his crime I can not 
condone. The killing of that homely, tender-hearted 
father, Abraham Lincoln, a rare combination of 
courage, justice and humanity, whose death at the 
hands of an actor will be a grief of horror and shame 
to the profession forever. And yet I cannot believe 
that John Wilkes Booth was the leader of a band 
of bloody conspirators. 

"Who shall draw the line and say, 'Here genius 
ends and madness begins ? ' There was that touch of 

200 



A BALTIMOREAN STILL. 

strangeness, in Edwin it was a profound melan- 
choly; in John it was an exaggeration of spirit, 
almost a madness. There was the natural vanity of 
the actor, too, who craves a dramatic selection in 
real life. There was also his passionate love and 
sympathy for the South, which was easier to be 
played on than a pipe. 

"Undoubtedly he conspired to kidnap the Presi- 
dent; that would appeal to him. But after that I 
truly believe he was a tool; certainly he was no 
leader. Those who led him knew his courage, his 
belief in fate, his loyalty to his friends, and because 
they knew these things he drew the lot, as it was 
meant he should from the first. Then, half mad, he 
accepted the part fate cast him for and committed 
the murderous crime. 

'God moves in a mysterious way 
His wonders to perform. ' 

" 'And God shutteth not up His mercies forever in 
displeasure.' We can only shiver and turn our 
thoughts away from the bright light that went out 
in such utter darkness. Poor, guilty, unhappy John 
Wilkes Booth!" 

201 



A BALTIMOREAN STILL. 

These extensive quotations are made from the two 
veterans of the stage, Clarr, Morris and Edwin M. 
Delfind, the personal friends of John Wilkes Booth, 
whose long acquaintance and association with him 
enabled them to write these articles, showing the 
characteristics, personal appearance and ability or 
John "Wilkes Booth, whom they so perfectly describe. 
And yet these descriptions, so true in detail, ao per- 
fectly describe John St. Helen, the mysterious gen- 
tleman of the plains, who so persistently maintained 
to me that he was John Wilkes Booth, of whom they 
had never heard, and that too, thirty-eight years 
after they are presumed to know that John Wilkes 
Booth is dead. This is wonderful and unanswer- 
able proof that the John St. Helen whom 1. knew was 
actually the John Wilkes Booth whom they knew 
and describe, as he claimed to be. 

In this connection it is of interest to know some- 
thing more of John Wilkes Booth's father, the fa- 
mous actor, Junius Brutus Booth, Sr., who came to 
the United States from England, and followed the 
profession in this country with such success that for 
all time links the name of Booth with the American 
stage. 

202 




JOHN WILKES BOOTH, AGED 38. 

The Picture Taken at Glenrose Mills, Texas, on the Bosque 
River. (A reproduction from the tin-type.) 




JUNIUS BRUTUS BOOTH, THE FIRST. 

Father of John Wilkes Booth, as Sir Giles Overreach, Show- 
ing the Famous Actor in One of His Favorite Characters. 



A BALTIMOREAN STILL. 

Booth, the elder, acted because he loved to act, and 
was farmer because he loved to farm; which of the 
two he liked best seemed always a matter of doubt 
to himself and naturally became so with others. He 
was eminently successful in both farming and acting, 
his great reputation as an actor being made after 
he came to America, where he stood pre-eminently 
at the head of his profession. He was a well-read 
man, with a remarkable talent for showing it. Per- 
sonally he was dark, had strong eyes, a fine mouth 
and a positive manner. He was a kindly man and 
lived up to the customs of his time and profession, 
maintaining all conventional distinctions. Mr. 
Booth's Baltimore residence was in Exeter street, 
and his farm was in Belair, about fourteen miles 
from Baltimore. His professional habits were not 
unlike those of the late Joseph Jefferson ; he played 
when he felt like it, and when he was not acting he 
was farming, while he farmed throughout all his 
engagements in the city of Baltimore. 
f'/Be it said to the lasting credit of Mr. Booth that 
his opinion of himself was much inferior to that 
entertained of him by others, who thought him pre- 
203 



A BALTIMOREAN STILL. 

eminently the greatest actor of his time, and he has 
not been equalled by any one since his day. 

The likeness of John Wilkes Booth to his father 
is striking at the age of twenty-seven. But note 
the more striking resemblance of John Wilkes Booth 
to his father where he reaches the age of thirty- 
eight years. This picture is a reproduction of the 
little tintype picture taken of John St. Helen (John 
Wilkes Booth) twelve years after the assassination 
of President Lincoln and Booth's reported capture 
and death. 



204 



CHAPTER XIV. 

INFORMING THE WAR DEPARTMENT 
THAT BOOTH LIVES. 

Being convinced that John St. Helen was actually 
John Wilkes Booth, I determined to locate him, and 
with this purpose in view I addressed a letter to a 
personal friend, a lawyer, at Grandberry, Texas, re- 
ceiving this reply : 

"Grandberry, Texas, September 21st, 1898. 
"N. L. Cooper & Sons, Attorneys at Law. 
F. L. Bates: 

"Dear Sir and Friend I have made many in- 
quiries about the latter end of St. Helen, if he 
should have crossed the Jordan, but can make but 
little discovery. L. B. McClannahan, who was in 
partnership with A. P. Gordon, in the whiskey busi- 
ness, on the south side of the square, now lives at 
Bluffdale, eighteen miles southwest from here, on the 
railroad in Erath county, may know something of 
St. Helen; also William Farmwalt, whose address is 
Maryfa, Presideo county, Texas, and G. W. Calvin, 
Kerrville, Texas. 

205 



INFORMING WAR DEPARTMENT 'iHAT BOOTH LIVES. 

"It might be that John H. Traylor, formerly of 
this place, whom you knew, and now mayor of Dal- 
las, Texas, might known something of his where- 
abouts. I will continue to inquire of any one whom 
I shall meet that might know of him. Capt. J. J. 
Farr, whom you remember, now lives at Glenrose 
Mills, Texas, twenty miles south of this place, and 
may know something of him. I will see him soon 
and will then make inquiry. 

"Many thanks for your appreciation of myself and 
family. With high regards for you and yours, I am 
ever your friend, 

(Signed) "N. L. COOPER." 

The result of this investigation located St. Helen 
at Leadville, Colorado, in October, 1879. From Lead- 
ville I traced him to Fresno, California, where he 
seems merely to have passed through the town. 

In the meantime I also sought to investigate the 
men who had aided Booth to escape and to locate, 
as far as possible, their identity. With this end in 
view I addressed a letter to a law firm in Freder- 
icksburg, Virginia, which elicited the following re- 

piy: 

206 



INFORMING WAR DEPARTMENT THAT BOOTH LIVES. 

"Law Office of 

"John L. Marye and St. George R. Fitzhugh. 
"Fredericksburg, Virginia, October 5th, 1898. 
"F. L. Bates, Memphis, Tenn. 

"Dear Sir Your favor received. Major or Lieu- 
tenant M. B. Ruggles is with Arnold, Caeslable & 
Co., New York City. Major Edward S. Ruggles, the 
brother of M. B. Ruggles, is a farmer in King George 
county, Virginia. Gen. Daniel Ruggles, the father 
of the three gentlemen, died here about a year ago, 
and his widow is living here now. Very truly yours, 
etc., 

(Signed) "ST. GEORGE R. FITZHUGH." 

"Alexandria, Virginia, , 1898. 

"Capt. Jett was well known and acquainted in 
Carlin county, Virginia. He was a near relative 
of mine, with whom I was on the most intimate terms. 
He went to Baltimore a year after the assassination 
of President Lincoln, engaged in the business of 
traveling constantly in Virginia, and married the 
daughter of a prominent physician of Baltimore. No 
one blamed him for piloting the Federal Cavalry to 
where he had left Booth, or criticised him for his 

207 



INFORMING WAR DEPARTMENT THAT BOOTH LIVES. 

efforts to assist Booth in his escape. Sixteen years 
after he settled in Baltimore he was attacked with 
paresis, and died at the hospital of Williamsburg, 
Virginia, repsected by all who knew him. 

(Signed.) "JOHN L. MARYE." 
Lieut. A. R. Bainbridge, after the close of the war, 
went to New York City and entered business. Jett, 
Bainbridge and Ruggles were the members of Mos- 
by's Confederate command who met Booth and Har- 
old at the Rappahannock ferry, and described Booth 
as wearing at this time a black slouch hat, well 
pulled down on his forehead, the lame foot was en- 
tirely free from covering except a black sock. The 
crutch or stick which he carried was rough and un- 
gainly. They further say, speaking of the following 
afternooon: "After we had crossed Booth to the 
Garrett farm we saw the Federal troops across the 
Rappahannock river, and we (Ruggles and Bain- 
bridge) were pursued by them, when we fled straight 
to the Garrett farm and notified Booth to leave, di- 
recting him to go into the wooded ravine, which we 
pointed out to him, over and beyond the Garrett 
farm, for which place he left at once, carrying a 

208 



INFORMING WAR DEPARTMENT THAT BOOTH LlVJfiS. 

heavy stick in his hand to support his lame leg." 

Through inquiry of a person now in Washington 
City, whose name it would be an abuse of confidence 
to disclose, I learned that there was a large family 
of people by the name of Ruddy living within the 
immediate neighborhood of Samuel Cox, on the 
Potomac river, where Booth was secreted, so that I 
take it the man killed at the Garrett farm was 
"Ruddy" and not "Roby," as several of the men 
of the Ruddy family answer the description Booth 
gave of the man who got his letters, pictures, check, 
etc. 

The statements of these gentlemen, Jett, Ruggles 
and Bainbridge, corroborate St. Helen's story that 
he (Booth) was met by these gentlemen, Confeder- 
ate soldiers, at the Rappahannock ferry. Could this 
have been an incident? Surely it was prearranged. 
These gentlemen say: "We met Booth at the fer- 
ry, ' ' but do not say by accident, a mere casualty aad 
seemingly it was by appointment, at a stated time; 
they had arrived at the ferry in advance of Booth, 
as if to receive and protect him on his arrival. 

209 



INFORMING WAR DEPARTMENT THAT BOOTH LIVES. 

Neither Booth nor Herold could have gone to ar- 
range this appointment. Booth was lame and Her- 
old did not know the country in that direction, so 
remained with Booth, who was suffering a great 
deal. There can be no well founded doubt but that 
Ruddy went in advance and made this appointment 
as detailed to me by St. Helen (Booth). 

After successfully locating St. Helen (Booth) at 
Leadville and later at Fresno, California, I was 
reasonably sure he still lived and could be located, 
and supposing it to be a matter of interest to the 
United States government, I addressed the following 
letter to the War Department : 

"Law Office of F. L. BATES, 
"297 Second Street, 

"Memphis, Tenn., January 17th, 1898. 
"Secretary of War, Washington, D. C. 

"Dear Sir Would it be a matter of any import- 
ance to develop the fact to the War Department of 
the United States that John Wilkes Booth, the as- 
sassin of President Lincoln, was not captured and 
killed by the Federal troops, as is supposed? 

210 * 



INFORMING WAR DEPARTMENT THAT BOOTH LIVES. 

"By accident I have been placed in possession of 
such facts as are conclusive that John Wilkes Booth 
now lives, and have kept the matter from publica- 
tion until I have communicated with the War De- 
partment of this government. Very truly yours, 

"F. L. BATES." 

In reply the following endorsements were made 
on this letter and returned to me, viz. : 
First endorsement: 

"Office of the Secretary of War Department. 

"January 19th, 1898. 

(294) "Memphis, Tenn., Jan. 17th, 1898. 

"F. L. Bates says that he is in possession of such 
facts as are conuclusive that John Wilkes Booth was 
not captured and killed by the Federal troops, and 
asks if War Department would consider the matter 
of enough importance to develop that fact. 

"JUDGE ADVOCATE GENERAL." 
Second endorsement : 
(3808) "War Department, 

"Judge Advocate General's Office, 
"Washington, D. C. 

January 21st, 1898, 

211 



INFORMING WAR DEPARTMENT THAT BOOTH LIVES. 

"Respectfully returned to the Secretary of War. 

"This is a request by F. L. Bates, of Memphis, 
Term., for information as to whether it would be a 
matter of importance to develop the fact to the War 
Department that John Wilkes Booth was not cap- 
tured and killed by the Federal troops. 

"He says that by accident he has recently been 
placed in possession of such facts as are conclusive. 

"It is recommended that he be informed that the 
matter is of no importance to the War Department. 
(Signed) G. NORMAN LIEBER, 
"Judge Advocate General." 

"Received back War Department January 22d, 
1898. 

(294) ' ' Assistant Secretary. ' ' 

(L. S. S.) 

Third endorsemen 

"War Department. 

"January 25th, 1898. 

"Respectfully returned to Mr. F. L. Bates, No. 272 
Second street, Memphis, Term., inviting attention to 
the foregoing report of the Judge Advocate General 
of the Army. 

212 



INFORMING WAR DEPARTMENT THAT BOOTH LIVES. 

(Signed) ' ' G. D. MICKLE JOHN, 

"Acting Secretary of War." 

In view of the fact that the War Department 
would take no action upon the information furnished 
of the then living Booth, on January 19th, January 
21st and January 25th, 1898, notwithstanding that 
the officials of the War Department were fully ad- 
vised that there was no positive or direct proof on 
file with the government as to the. death of John 
Wilkes Booth, as is fully shown by the letter of 
John P. Simonton, of the War Department, ot date 
May llth, 1898, almost five months later, I ask then 
why should these officials refuse to investigate the 
proof of these facts when offered? It must, there- 
fore, follow that the officials, having only circum- 
stantial proof of the death of Booth, did not want 
and refused to consider proof of the fact that 
Booth still lived, and went so far as to say that it 
was a matter of no importance to the War Depart- 
ment to establish the truth that Booth was not killed, 
as supposed, or that he was still alive. 

Does such a declaration, coming as an official find- 
ing of the War Department, assist in and perpet- 

213 



INFORMING WAR DEPARTMENT THAT BOOTH LIVES. 

uate the escape of Booth, the assassin of President 
Lincoln* For to officially find that it was a matter 
of no importance to ascertain whether Booth still 
lived and was at large when proof was offered to 
this end was to officially find that John Wilkes 
Booth should go at large so far as these officials were 
concerned, notwithstanding the great crime that 
Booth had committed and its national significance, 
demanding national reparation. 

These officers will not be heard to explain by say- 
ing that they did not regard the tender of proof of 
sufficient importance to justify an investigation. For 
if it did not justify an official investigation to learn 
the truth of the statement made it did not justify a 
finding that it was a matter of no importance to the 
government whether Booth in fact lived or was dead, 
which is the logical and unmistakable finding of the 
War Department, and this finding by these officials 
in view of the following order, which is yet valid ane 
subsisting, is remarkable to a degree unexplainable : 

214 



INFORMING WAR DEPARTMENT THAT BOOTH LIVES. 

"War Department, 
"Washington, D. C. 

April 20th, 1865. 

"ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS 
REWARD. 

"The murderer of our late beloved President, 
Abraham Lincoln, is still at large. Fifty thousand 
dollars' reward will be paid by this department for 
his apprehension. In addition to reward offered fey 
municipal authorities or State executives, liberal .'re- 
wards will be paid for any information that shall 
conduce to the arrest of either Booth or his accom- 
plices. 

"All persons harboring or secreting the said per- 
sons, or either of them, or aiding or assisting their 
concealment or escape, will be treated as accom- 
plices in the murder of the President, and shall be 
held to trial before a military commission and the 
punishment of death. 

"Let the stain of innocent blood be removed from 
the land by the arrest and punishment of the mur- 
derers. All good citizens are exhorted to aid public 
justice on this account; every man should consider 

215 



INFORMING WAR DEPARTMENT THAT BOOTH LIVES. 

his own conscience charged with this solemn duty, 
and rest neither night nor day until it is accom- 
plished. 

(Signed) "EDWIN M. STANTON, 
''Secretary of War.'* 

The above order constituted then and consti- 
tutes now the national law of the United States re- 
specting the subject of which it treats, and is today 
and at all times prior to the present day, since its 
promulgation in 1865, a part of the records of the 
War Department, the mandates and knowledge of 
which is chargeable to the officials of the War De- 
partment. 

G. Norman Lieber, Judge Advocate General of the 
Army, and Acting Secretary of War Micklejohn, are 
chargeable with notice and held responsible for its 
execution; and if, in view of this knowledge, the 
finding of Micklejohn, Secretary of War, on the 25th 
day of January, 1898, rescinds the order of Secretary 
Stanton of April 20th, 1865, it sets free, so far as 
the War Department could, the assassin of President 
Lincoln 

21 



INFORMING WAR DEPARTMENT THAT BOOTH LIVES. 

It stands as a matter of history that at about the 
hour of four o'clock in the afternoon of April 14th, 
1865, General C. C. Augur ordered the guards called 
in from the protection of the life of President Lin- 
coln, then known to be threatened and in imminent 
danger, as stated by General Dana, and that at ten 
minutes past ten o'clock that same evening the Pres- 
ident was assassinated, and at thirty minutes past 
ten, twenty minutes later, the Federal guards, still 
on duty, opened the gates for Booth, the assassin, to 
pass out over the East Potomac bridge. So that 
within six hours after the order of Gen. Augur the 
President had been shot and the criminal had es- 
caped through the Federal lines, his escape having 
been made possible by the order of Gen. Augur, 
whether designedly or not the result was the same, 
and on the 25th day of January, 1898, thirty-three 
years later, the officials of the War Department find 
that proof of the fact that John Wilkes Booth lived 
and was still at large was of no importance to their 
department, nor to the Department of Justice of the 
United States otherwise proper reference would 

217 



INFORMING WAR DEPARTMENT THAT BOOTH LIVES. 

have been made, and the Department of Justice offi- 
cially notified instead of finding against an investi- 
gation of the facts submitted. 

Does this finding against an investigation of the 
facts offered, proof of the truth that Booth was not 
captured and killed make void the order of Secre- 
tary Stanton on April 20th, 1865? If not, then is 
the Acting Secretary of War, as well as the Judge 
Advocate General, under the provisions of this order, 
guilty of assisting, by concealment, the escape of 
John Wilkes Booth. 

But, if the finding of January 25th, 1898, of the 
.War Department is a revocation of the order of the 
War Department of April 20th, 1865, do such acts 
of these officials make them accessories after the 
fact, as at common law? 

These charges, though grave, are justified by the 
solemn records which I hold as physical evidence of 
the charges made, and I appeal to the American peo- 
ple for a verdict on the issues thus joined as an 
expiation for the murder of Abraham Lincoln, whose 
death is yet unavenged! 

218 



INFORMING WAR DEPARTMENT THAT BOOTH LIVES. 

Not being satified with the disposition of this mat- 
ter by the War Department, I turned to the State 
Department, addressing a latter to Secretary John 
Hay, stating in substance the facts which I had sub- 
mitted to the War Department, and received the fol- 
lowing letter in reply : 

"Department of State, 
".Washington, D. C. 

April 27th, 1900. 
"P. L. Bates. 

"Dear Sir The Secretary of State requests me to 
acknowledge receipt of your favor of the 24th. of 
April and to thank you for it. Very respectfully, 
(Signed) "E. J. BABCOCK, 

"Private Secretary." 

This closed my efforts at presenting the matter 
of Booth's discovery to the government of the 
United States. And at last of what interest was the 
matter to Secretary of State John Hay, the pride 
of the American people the world's greatest diplo- 
mat? 

In this connection, however, it will be of interest 
to note what Secretary Hay, in January, 1890, had 

219 



INFORMING WAR DEPARTMENT THAT BOOTH LIVES. 

to say relative to John Wilkes Booth and his escape : 
"Booth was a young man of twenty-six, strikingly 
handsome, with a pale olive face, dark eyes, and 
that ease and grace of manner which came to him 
by right from his theatrical ancestry. (How strik- 
ingly like St. Helen.) Booth in his flight gained the 
Navy Yard bridge (East Potomac bridge) in a few 
minutes, and was allowed to pass the guards, and 
shortly afterward Herold came on the bridge and 
was allowed to pass ; a moment later the owner of the 
horse which Herold rode came up in pursuit of his 
animal, and he, the only honest man of the three, 
was turned back by the guards. 

"If Booth had been in health there is no reason 
why he should not have remained at large a long 
while. He might even have made his escape to some 
foreign country, though sooner or later a crime so 
prodigious will generally find its perpetrator out. 
But it is easy to hide among sympathizing people; 
many a Union soldier escaping from prison has 
walked hundreds of miles through the enemy's coun- 
try, relying implicitly upon the friendship of the 
negroes. Booth, from the time he crossed the Navy 

220 



INFORMING WAR DEPARTMENT THAT BOOTH LIVES. 

Yard (East Potomac) bridge, received the assistance 
of a large number of men. With such devoted assist- 
ance Booth might have wandered a long way, but 
there was no final escape save suicide for an as- 
sassin. ' ' 

These comments on the possibilities of Booth's es- 
cape by one of the wise, if not in fact the wisest, 
diplomats known to the civilized world, challenges 
attention; in fact, was prophetic and (as subse- 
quent events disclosed), is paralleled only by the 
prophets of old. 

Hay says, "from the nature of things Booth could 
have escaped, * * * but there was no final es- 
cape save suicide for the assassin." Who will deny 
the correctness of his prophecy, since Booth did es- 
cape, remained in hiding thirty-eight years and did 
suicide? It was this power of foreseeing the possi- 
bility of coming events that made Secretary Hay the 
greatest of diplomats. 



221 



CHAPTER XV. 

GEN. ALBERT PIKE IDENTIFIES BOOTH. 

While trying to trace Booth after he left Fresno, 
California, I read a story from Col. Edward Levan, 
of Monterey, Mexico. He says that a man whom he 
believed to be Booth roomed with him during the 
winter of 1868, in Lexington, Kentucky. The two 
became quite friendly, and Col. Levan openly de- 
clared to the man, who was going by the name of 
J. J. Marr, that he believed him to be John Wilkes 
Booth. Mr. Marr did not deny the allegation, but 
shortly thereafter left Lexington, where he was 
"playing the character of a lawyer." 

Col. Levan says that he afterward learned that 
Mr. Marr had settled at Village Mills, Texas, and 
from there went to Glenrose Mills, Texas, at which 
place I first met John St. Helen, and where he de- 
clared himself to be John Wilkes Booth. 

Col. M. W. Connolly, a distinguished newspaper 
man, at present and for many years past connected 

222 




GEN. ALBERT PIKE. 

The Veteran Mason, Statesman, Lawyer and Poet, as He 
Appeared at the Time of His Recognition of John Wilkes 
Booth at Port Worth, Texas, in 1885. 




Booth (as D. E. George) Playing- the Role of a House Painter, 
and the Only Painting Job He Ever Did. 



GEN. ALBERT PIKE IDENTIFIES BOOTH. 

with the leading papers as editor-in-chief, a gentle- 
man of the highest type, a brilliant writer and a man 
of honor and integrity, says : 

"I am strongly inclined to believe that David B. 
George, who died at Enid, Oklahoma Territory, was 
John Wilkes Booth, the man who killed Lincoln. 

"In 1883, while in the little town of Village Mills, 
Texas, I met George, although I never knew his 
name, and cannot say whether he went under that 
name or not. He impressed me. I had seen Edwin 
Booth once in Galveston, and had some knowledge 
of the appearance of the Booth family. Later I went 
to Fort Worth as editor of the Gazette, under the 
late Walter Malone. I had forgotten all about my 
casual acquaintance of Village Mills. 

"One night I was in the Pickwick Hotel barroom 
talking to Gen. Albert Pike, who had come down 
from Washington on legal business. I had called on 
him to inquire about a claim against the government 
in which he was interested the claim of the heirs 
of my wife's grandfather, Major Michie, of La- 
Grange, Tennessee, whose cotton and cotton gins 
were burned by the Federal troops when Grant was 

223 



GEN. ALBERT PIKE IDENTIFIES BOOTH. 

at LaGrange. Capt. Day, of Day & Maas, proprie- 
tors, was behind the bar. It was in 1884 or 1885, 
and we were unconventional then. 

"Tom Powell, mayor of Fort Worth, joined us, and 
Temple Houston, youngest son of the ex-Governor 
of Tennessee, the man who whipped Santa Anna at 
San Jaeinto, and the first president of the Texas 
republic (Gen Sam Houston), was there. I was 
about to leave, was waiting for a pause in order to 
excuse myself ; Gen. Pike was explaining how he had 
been credited with the authorship of 'The Old 
Canoe,' which he said was written by some woman; 
just then my Village Mills friend came in accom- 
panied by some one, I think Long Scurlock, who 
used to edit the Chronicle at Cleburne, Texas. Capt. 
Day turned to make a change. I was watching Gen. 
Pike closely (trying to get away), when suddenly 
he threw up his hands, his face white as his hair and 
beard, and exclaimed : 

'"My God! John Wilkes Booth!' He was much 
excited, trembled like an aspen, and at my sugges- 
tion went to his room. He seemed weakened by the 
shock, the occasion of which I could not realize at 

224 



GEN. ALBERT PIKE IDENTIFIES BOOTH. 

the moment. I saw him climb the stairs to his room 
and turned to look for my Village Mills acquaint- 
ance, but could not find him. 

"While talking to Temple Houston the next morn- 
ing I pointed out my Village Mills friend when I 
was called to Gen. Pike, who was standing on the 
opposite side of the street, and Temple Houston 
promised me that he would look the man up and get 
a story. I have heard that the alleged Booth, the 
man whom I had met, moved to the Territory later, 
but I took no newspaper interest in the matter. 

"I never saw J. Wilkes Booth, but I have seen his 
pictures, and while I am in no way certain, I am 
strongly of the belief that the man who died at Enid 
was John Wilkes Booth. I am quite sure that the 
venerable author of 'Every Year* believed it was 
the infatuated actor, and I am sure that he was 
amazed to find that his bewailment, 'There are fewer 
to regret us,' did not include the man who took a 
leading part in our great national tragedy." 

It is of interest in this connection to state that 
Fort Worth, Texas, is only about forty-fives miles 
to the northeast of Grandberry, Texas, my old home 

225 



GEN. ALBERT PIKE IDENTIFIES BOOTH. 

and St. Helen's. It was from this place, in 1878, 
that he drifted to Leadville, Colorado, and from 
thence to Fresno, California, and was next seen in 
1884 or 1885 at Fort Worth, Texas, near his old 
home, by Gen. Albert Pike, in company with M. 
W. Connolly, and by Gen. Pike recognized as John 
Wilkes Booth. 

The man supposed to be Booth was seen by others 
before he settled at Glenrose Mills, for Dr. H. W. 
Gay says : 

"I knew John Wilkes Booth in 1857, and while I 
was at Fort Donaldson, a prisoner of war, the news 
was flashed over the world that President Lincoln 
had been slain by John Wilkes Booth. I was horri- 
fied to think of such a thing, for Booth, though a 
boy when I knew him, in appearance was the most 
accomplished gentleman with whom I had ever come 
in contact. All who knew him well were captivated 
by him. He was the most hospitable, genial fellow 
to be met, and when drinking or much in company, 
he was always quoting Shakespeare, or some other 
poet. How many times have I seen him strike a 
tragic attitude and exclaim: 

226 



GEN. ALBERT PIKE IDENTIFIES BOOTH. 

u 'The aspiring youth who fires the Ephesians dome 
Outlives in fame the pious fools who reared it.' 

"I read of his capture and death and never 
doubted it until the year 1869. I was then living in 
what is now Tate county, Mississippi. One evening 
about dusk a man came to my house claiming that 
he was one of the Ku-Klux Clan run out of Arkansas 
by Clayton's militia (the Clayton referred to being 
Powell Clayton, until recently Ambassador to Mex- 
ico). 

"I soon recognized this man as an erratic fellow. 
During his stay at my house he told me that John 
Wilkes Booth was not killed, but made his escape 
and spent a short while in Mexico with Maximilian 's 
army, but got into trouble, and his life was saved 
by reason of the fact that he was a Catholic. The 
man also stated that during Booth's short stay in 
Mexico he had lived in disguise as an itinerant Cath- 
olic priest. He also told me the story of how Booth 
had escaped after the assassination was done, and it 
corresponded exactly with Mr. Bates' story as told 
by John St. Helen, even to the crossing of the Mis- 
sissippi river at Catfish Point and going thence up 

227 



GEN. ALBERT PIKE IDENTIFIES BOOTH. 

the Arkansas river to Indian Territory. And that 
Booth afterward met Junius Brutus Booth and his 
mother in San Francisco." 

This meeting was possibly arranged while John 
Wilkes Booth was in the Indian Territory, and may 
explain in some measure his employment to drive a 
team from Nebraska City, Nebraska, to Salt Lake, 
Utah, for Mr. L. Treadkel, in 1866 or 1867, and his 
unceremonious desertion of duty before reaching 
Salt Lake City. 

So we have Booth, or St. Helen, meeting his oldest 
brother, Junius Brutus Booth, at San Francisco in 
1866 or 1867. Again we locate him in Lexington, 
Kentucky, in company with Col. Levan, in 1868 or 
1869, and seen by Dr. Gay in Tate county, Mississip- 
pi, in 1869. In 1872 I met and knew him intimately at 
Glenrose Mills, Texas. In 1883 Mr. Connolly saw 
him at Village Mills, Texas, and again in 1884 or 
1885 at Fort Worth, Texas, where he was recog- 
nized by Gen. Albert Pike. 

At Fort Worth we lost sight of Booth for a num- 
ber of years, but it seems from the best obtainable 
information that he drifted into the vicinity of Guth- 

228 



GEN, ALBERT PIKE IDENTIFIES BOOTH. 

rie, Oklahoma Territory, but was located at He.i- 
nessy, Oklahoma Territory, in the year 1896, play- 
ing the role of a gentleman of leisure, under the name 
of George D. Ryan, where he remained until some 
time in the year 1899, when he located at El Reno, 
Oklahoma Territory, sixty-five miles south of Hen- 
nessy, stopping at the Anstein hotel, where he was 
domiciled in 1898 when I took up the matter with 
the government authorities at Washington. % 

On moving to El Reno, in 1899, Booth made de- 
posits of money, opening an account with the State 
bank of that place, under the name of David E. 
George. Assuming the character of a journeyman 
house painter he took a contract and painted a small 
cottage for Mr. Anstien, the proprietor of the An- 
stein hotel, and advertised himself as David E. 
George, house painter, in the Daily Democrat, a 
newspaper published at El Reno, but took no jobs of 
painting after that first one for Mr. Anstien, and did 
no other work in this nor any other business at El 
Reno. 

At the El Reno State bank, where Booth made his 
deposits as David E. George, the tintype picture of 

229 



GEN. ALBERT PIKE IDENTIFIES BOOTH. 

St. Helen (Booth), taken twelve years after the as- 
sassination of President Lincoln, was at once identi- 
fied by the officials of the bank as being a true like- 
ness of the man David E. George, who made the de- 
posits at their bank and with whom they were per- 
sonally acquainted. At the request of Mr. Bellamy, 
one of the bank officials, I went with him to another 
bank, the name of which I do not now remember, 
and was introduced to the president of this bank, 
whose name I believe was- Dr. Davis, who at once 
identified the tintype picture of St. Helen as a true 
and correct likeness of David E. George. 

After remaining at the Anstien Hotel for quite a 
long while David E. George (Booth) bought a cot- 
tage at El Eeno, paying thirty-five hundred dollars 
for it, where he installed a family by the name of 
Simmons, who were to board him for the rent of the 
place. He told the Anstiens that he was tired of 
hotel life and requested them to look for a wife for 
him, saying in a joking way that he would pay hand- 
somely for one well suiting his fancy, who would be 
willing to take charge of his cottage home. 

230 



GEN. ALBERT PIKE IDENTIFIES BOOTH. 

Mrs. Simmons also took to board with her the 
Methodist minister and his wife, the Rev. and Mrs. 
Harper. Mr. Harper is a man of means and follows 
the ministry as a matter of choice and not as a means 
of livelihood, and his wife is a lady of great refine- 
ment and culture, occupying in church and social 
circles a high position. Being thrown much together 
in the ordinary course of everyday life at the cottage 
Mrs. Harper as well as the members of the Simmons 
family grew to be on intimate terms with George 
(Booth), who fell ill with his chronic asthmatic af- 
fliction, from which he suffered a great deal, and 
was removed from his cottage home to the Kerfoot 
Hotel. Mrs. Harper, Mrs. Simmons and other kind- 
hearted ladies of the city visited George (Booth), 
who by right of birth and breeding moved in the so- 
cial circle to which he was born, regardless of his 
advertisement in the Democrat as a house painter, 
performing for him such ministries as were neces- 
sary. 

Mrs. Harper makes the following statement: 
"Mr. George (Booth) had been a resident of the 
Territory for several years. He had always been 

231 



GEN. ALBERT PIKE IDENTIFIES BOOTH. 

well supplied with money, the origin or source of 
which no one knew, for from some mysterious source 
he received a regular remittance. He was a familiar 
figure in Guthrie, El Reno and Enid. My acquaint- 
ance with Mr. George led me to believe him to be a 
very different person from what he represented him- 
self to be as David E. George, the painter. He was 
eccentric, and though he claimed to be a painter of 
houses, yet he did no work. He was possessed of 
the highest degree of intelligence, had always the 
bearing of a gentleman of cultivation and refine- 
ment, and in conversation was fluent and captivat- 
ing, while he discussed subjects of the greatest mo- 
ment with learning, familiarity and ease. There 
were very few people with whom he cared to asso- 
ciate. Generally he was gloomy, though at times he 
would brighten up, sing snatches of stage songs and 
repeat Shakespeare's plays in an admirable manner. 
He was so well versed in these plays and other writ- 
ings that he would often answer questions with a 
quotation. 

"At one time the young people of El Reno had a 
play of some kind. One of the actors became ill and 

233 



GEN. ALBERT PIKE IDENTIFIES BOOTH. 

Mr. George (Booth) filled the place to the great ad- 
miration and entertainment of those who saw him. 
When surprise was expressed at his ability as an 
actor he replied that he had acted some when he was 
a young man. 

"Regarding his people, he told different stories. 
One time he said his father was a doctor, and he 
and a brother were the only children; that his 
mother had married again and two half brothers 
were living in the Indian Territory, their name being 
Smith, and that he had property in the Indian Ter- 
ritory. Again he seemed very lonely at times, and 
said that he had not a relative in the world. He was 
subject to fits of melancholia, was extremely sensi- 
tive, quick tempered and rather excitable. He said 
he had never married. There seemed to be some- 
thing constantly on his mind about which he thought, 
and which made him miserable. He seemed to love 
to have one understand that he was in trouble and 
appreciated sympathy. 

"He remained with the Simmons family three 
months and treated everyone with the greatest kind- 
ness and consideration. Never do I remember his 

233 



GEN. ALBERT PIKE IDENTIFIES BOOTH. 

mentioning the history of his past life or that he 
was other than David E. George until the time he 
thought he was going to die that was about the 
middle of April, 1902. 

"He had gone up town, but returned shortly and, 
entering the room where Mrs. Simmons, Mrs. Bears 
and myself were seated, he made some remarks re- 
garding the weather, which was unusually fine for 
the time of year. He then went to his room and in 
about fifteen minutes called for us, and said : 

" 'I feel as if I am going to be very sick.' He 
was lying on his bed and asked me to get him a 
mirror. For some time he gazed at himself in the 
mirror. 

"Mrs. Bears said she could see the pupils of his 
eyes dilate and believed that he had taken mor- 
phine. Being uneasy, she went out o. che room and 
got him a cup of coffee and insisted until he drank 
it, but when she suggested sending for a physician 
he roused himself and in a peculiar and dramatic 
manner and voice said, while holding the mirror in 
front of his face : 

234 



GEN. ALBERT PIKE IDENTIFIES BOOTH. 

" 'Stay, woman, stay. This messenger of death 
is my guest, and I desire to see the curtain of death 
fall upon the last tragic act of mine, ' which passion- 
ate utterance brought tears to our eyes. And when 
I turned to wipe the tears from my eyes he called 
me to his side and said : 

' 'I have something to tell you. I am going to 
die in a few minutes, and I don't believe you would 
do anything to injure me. Did it ever occur to you 
that I am anything but an ordinary painter? I 
killed the best man that ever lived.' I asked him 
who it was and he answered: 

" 'Abraham Lincoln.' 

"I could not believe it. I thought him out of his 
head and asked: 'Who was Abraham Lincoln?' 

" 'Is it possible you are so ignorant as not to 
know?' he asked. He then took a pencil and paper 
and wrote down in a peculiar but legible hand the 
name, 'Abraham Lincoln,' and said: 

" 'Don't doubt it, it is true. I am John Wilkes 
Booth.' 

" 'Am I dying now?' he asked. 'I feel cold, as if 
death's icy hand was closing my life as the forfeit 
for my crime.' 

235 



GEN. ALBERT PIKE IDENTIFIES BOOTH. 

"He then told me that he was well off. He seemed 
to be perfectly rational while talking to me. He 
knew me and knew where he was, and I believe he 
really thought in fact that he was dying, and asked 
me to keep his secret until he was dead, adding that 
if any one should find out now that he was J. "Wilkes 
Booth they would take him out and hang him, and the 
people who loved him so well now would despise him. 
He told me that people high in official life hated 
Lincoln and were implicated in his assassination. He 
said that the suspense of possibly being detected 
preyed on his mind all the time and was something 
awful, and that his life was miserable. He said that 
Mrs. Surratt was innocent and he was responsible 
for her death as well as that of several others. He 
said that he was devoted to acting, but had to give 
it up because of his crime, and the fact that he must 
remain away from the stage, when he loved the life 
and profession of acting so well, made him restless 
and ill tempered. He said he had plenty of money, 
but was compelled to play the character of a work- 
ing man to keep his mind occupied. 

236 



GEN. ALBERT PIKE IDENTIFIES BOOTH. 

"In the mean time Dr. Arnold arrived and as ft 
result of his efforts Mr. George was restored. After 
this he was very anxious for weeks regarding what 
he had told me and questioned me concerning it. 
I answered him that he had told me nothing of im- 
portance, but he seemed to know better. One day 
he saw me looking at a picture of Lincoln and asked 
me why I was looking at it. I told him that I had 
always admired Lincoln. 

" 'Is that the only reason you have for looking at 
it?' he asked, regarding me with a fierce look. A 
peculiar expression came over his face, his eyes 
flashed and he turned pale and walked off. 

"One peculiar feature of Mr. George, or Booth's, 
face was that one eyebrow was somewhat higher 
than the other. I have noticed him limp slightly, 
but he said it was rheumatism. That Mr. George had 
a past we all knew, but what his secret was remains 
unknown except in so far as he may have communi- 
cated the truth to me." 

Booth's, or George's, life at El Reno was much 
the same as I have found it at other places a simi- 
larity and accumulative evidence unmistakably es- 

237 



GEN. ALBERT PIKE IDENTIFIES BOOTH. 

tablishing his identity of person and character 
wherever he located. It seems to have been his pol- 
icy to change his name and character as often as he 
changed his place of residence. It will be remem- 
bered that when he left Hennessy for El Reno that 
he changed his name from George D. Ryan to David 
E. George, and his occupation and dress from that 
of a gentleman of leisure to that of a journeyman 
painter of houses, which character he acted to such 
perfection that, although he painted but one house, 
and did that in such an uneven and unworkmanlike 
manner as to show that he knew little or nothing 
about painting, yet people thought he knew all about 
it, and just why he did no more painting the general 
public did not understand. Upon inquiry, however, 
George, or Booth, was always ready with a satis- 
factory explanation. When the editor of the El Reno 
Democrat, in which paper he put an advertisement 
as a tradesman of house painting, at a cost of four 
dollars a month, thinking it a useless expense, so 
universally was it known that George, or Booth, did 
no such work, suggested this to him, George, or 
Booth, indignantly demanded to know if the editor 

238 



GEN. ALBERT PIKE IDENTIFIES BOOTH. 

was uneasy about the price of the card, if so he 
would pay for it in advance. The editor apologized 
and the card continued from month to month for 
two years, up to the date of the death of George. 

Booth's purpose in this is obvious. He wanted to 
keep himself constantly before the public as a paint- 
er, not that he wanted work, but to keep alive his 
identity as a painter while he played the deceptive 
character. The 'little cottage painted for Mr. An- 
stien was the stage setting to the character, the card 
in the paper was his program and he played to a suc- 
cessful finish this drama of the journeyman painter. 

Booth's idea in purchasing the cottage and estab- 
lishing a home for himself was probably because he 
thought he would enjoy it after a long and homeless 
life, alone whether on the plains, in the mountains 
or the best hotels for it was his custom to put up 
at only the best hotels wherever he went. Thus, 
when he reached El Reno he went to the Anstien 
Hotel, the best one then in the city, and as good as 
any there now. But three months of home life was 
quite sufficient for him and he moved into the Ker- 
foot Hotel, 1he newest and most up-to-date hotel in 

239 



GEN. ALBERT PIKE IDENTIFIES BOOTH. 

El Reno, which was completed after he left the An- 
stien for his cottage. Just how it was possible for 
Booth to stay at this hotel, the stopping place of 
most ol the traveling public, and escape detection 
in his changed character from " Gentleman Ryan" 
to "Journeyman House Painter George," by people 
from Hennessy, only about sixty-five miles away, 
who must have frequented this hotel, is hard to un. 
derstand. Nevertheless it is true. It would be pos- 
sible, perhaps easy, to deceive as to occupation, but 
to successfully disguise his person, and change his 
name, is remarkable and certainly required all the 
genius of the actor, John "Wilkes Booth, who played 
the change of name, person and character practically 
in the same community. At El Reno, Guthrie and 
Enid he was known as George, while at Hennessy, 
within the same section, he was known as George D. 
Ryan, and that he was not recognized and exposed 
staggers comprehension and creates disbelief, nev- 
ertheless Booth did this successfully, as he aid many 
other surprising things. 

Leaving El Reno, Booth, or George, arrived at 
Enid on the 3d day of December, 1902, and registered 

240 



GEN. ALBERT PIKE IDENTIFIES BOOTH. 

at the Grand Avenue Hotel, under the name of David 
E. George. In the meantime Mr. Harper and his 
wife had removed from El Reno to Enid, from which 
place she made the following statement: 

"Enid, Oklahoma Territory, Jan. 23d, 1903. 

"On the evening of January 13th, I was startled 
and surprised by reading in the Enid Daily News 
of the suicide of David E. George, of El Reno, with 
whom I first became acquainted in March, 1900, iu 
El Reno, at the home of Mr. Simmons. 

"Mr. Harper went down on Wednesday morning, 
the 14th instant, and recognized him, and told the 
embalmers of a confession that David E. George had 
made to myself, and that they had better investi- 
gate. 

"I went to the morgue with Mr. Harper on the 
15th and identified the corpse of David E. George 
as the man who had confessed to me at El Reno that 
he was John Wilkes Booth, and, as brevity has been 
enjoined on me, will reaffirm my former statement 
made in detail of David E. George's confession to me 
at El Reno, about the middle of April, 1900, as fully 
as if same were set forth herein. 

(Signed.) "MRS. E. C. HARPER." 

241 



GEN. ALBERT PIKE IDENTIFIES BOOTH. 
" Territory of Oklahoma, 

)S8. 

" County of Garland. 

"Mrs. E. C. Harper, first being duly sworn, upon 
her oath says that the facts were written above by 
herself; that she knows the facts she has written, 
and that the same are true. 

(Signed) "MRS. B. C. HARPER, 

' ' Sworn to and subscribed before me this the 24th 
day of January, 1903. 

(Signed) "A. A. STRATFORD, 

"Notary Public. 

(L. S.) "My commission expires November 18th, 
1906." 



242 



CHAPTER XVI. 

PRESS COMMENTS ON THE SUICIDE OF 
DAVID E. GEORGE. 

"Enid Wave: Enid, Oklahoma Territory, Janu- 
ary 17th, 1903. (Special.) David E. George, a 
wealthy resident of the Territory, who committed 
suicide here, announced himself on his deathbed to 
be John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of President Lin- 
coln. He stated that he had successfully eluded the 
officers after shooting Lincoln and since had re- 
mained incognito. His statement caused a sensa- 
tion, and an investigation was made. Surgeons ex- 
amined the body and stated the man to be of the 
age Booth would be at this time, and announced 
that his leg was broken in the same place and in the 
same manner as that of Booth after jumping from 
the President's box at Ford's Theater after the as- 
assination. All the time George has received money 
regularly from unknown sources, and telegrams ar- 
riving yesterday and today ask that the body be held 
for identification. It is claimed that one telegram 

243 



PRESS COMMENTS ON SUICIDE OF DAVID K GEORGK 

came from the address, George E. Smith, Colfax, 
Iowa, the same as the mysterious money remittances. 
Smith is unknown to any one in Oklahoma. Upon 
his arrival in Enid today he commanded that no 
other person be allowed to view the remains, and 
promised to return for the body later. 

"Mr. Smith was asked if George had ever con- 
fessed any of his life's history to him, to which he 
answered: 'Well, yes, to some extent. He has had 
a past of which I do not care to speak at the pres- 
ent. I think he killed a man in Texas. He may be 
Booth.' 

"George committed suicide in the Grand Avenue 
Hotel, taking poison. He previously attempted sui- 
cide at El Reno. A letter found in his pocket ad- 
dressed, 'To Whom It May Concern,' sets aside a 
former will which he made, although its contents 
are not known. He was worth about thirty thousand 
dollars, owning property in El Reno, Oklahoma; in 
Dallas, Texas, and a lease on six hundred acres in 
the Indian Territory. He carried $5,000.00 insur- 
ance. 

244 



PRESS COMMENTS ON SUICIDE OF DAVID E. GEORGE. 

"No reason for the suicide is known. George 
maintained on his death bed to his attendants that 
he was John Wilkes Booth, and his general appear- 
ance closely resembles that of the murderer of Lin- 
coln." 

The following appeared in the same paper under 
proper date: 

"Enid, Oklahoma, January 21st, 1903. The 
Wave's editorial and reportorial force have been 
searching closely for data and evidence to sustain 
or obliterate the report that the remains lying in the 
Enid morgue, under the name of David E. George, 
could possibly be those of J. Wilkes Booth, who as- 
sassinated Abraham Lincoln nearly thirty-eight 
years ago. All the history or account of that sad 
and terrible affair to be found in the city has been 
searched, and while the history at hand leaves but 
little doubt of the decease of Booth in attempting to 
escape from the burning barn in Virginia, that he 
was shot by Boston Corbett upon his first appear- 
ance from the barn, and that he died on the porch 
of Garrett's Virginia farm home, was taken to 
Washington, identified and buried secretly, that a 

245 



PRESS COMMENTS ON SUICIDE OF DAVID E. GEORGE. 

diary was found on his person, etc., yet the fact 
still remains that a doubt did exist with the govern- 
ment as to the positive identity of the man killed ; 
hence the reward for his capture was never paid, 
for the identity was not clear. The Wave is still of 
the opinion that the possibility of the dead man 
being all that is mortal of John Wilkes Booth re- 
mains in doubt, but it must be admitted that the ev- 
idence goes to show that if George was not Booth 
he was his double, which, in connection with his vol- 
untary confession to Mrs. Harper, makes the case 
interesting and worthy the attention of the Attor- 
ney General's department of the United States. 

Doctors Baker and Way unearthed the December, 
1901, number of the Medical Monthly Journal in 
their office, which number was almost wholly de- 
voted to the consideration of the murderers of the 
Presidents of the United States and European po- 
tentates. In this pamphlet we found a portrait of 
J. .Wilkes Booth, with quite a writeup as to his 
character, a physical and anatomical description 
among other descriptions. It said the forehead of 
J. Wilkes Booth was Kephalonard, the ears exces- 

246 



PRESS COMMENTS ON SUICIDE OF DAVID E. GEORGE. 

sively and abnormally developed, inclined to the so- 
called Satanic type; the eyes were small, sunken 
and unequally placed; the nose was normal; the 
facial bones and jaw were arrested in development, 
and there was a partial V-shaped dental arch; the 
lower jaw was well developed. 

"Yesterday the editor of the paper, in company 
with Dr. McElreth, visited the corpse and compared 
it with the above description of Booth, and we must 
acknowledge that the dead man shows all the marks 
credited to Booth above in every particular. The 
satanic ear is not much larger than the ordinary 
ear, but the lower lobe thereof clings close to the 
side of the head instead of projecting outward like 
the common or ordinary ear. The corpse has that 
kind of an ear. The eyebrows of the dead man are 
not mates in appearance, which fits the description 
f Booth. The Booth chin, mouth, upper lip and 
general description is absolutely perfect in the 
corpse. 

"The Wave has been searching for a fac-simile of 
Booth's handwriting. It was found today in a copy 
f Harper Brothers' Pictorial History of the Civil 

247 



PRESS COMMENTS ON SUICIDE OF DAVID E. GEORGE. 

.War, and we were startled when we compared it 
with the round, little, scrawly boy writing of D. B. 
George. We placed the very last words George 
wrote by the side of the f ac-simile writing of Booth, 
and it really seemed to us that one and the same 
man had written both, Booth's f ac-simile signature 
shown in Harper's Pictorial History indicated the 
same irregular handwriting as George's. 
^"History readers will remember that a supposed 
attempt was made to poison President Lincoln in a 
hotel in Meadeville, Pennsylvania, in August, 1864. 
A notice appeared in the window of the hotel, say- 
ing: 

" 'Abe Lincoln departed this life August 1st, 1864, 
by the effects of poison.' 

I "After the Washington tragedy this handwriting 
on the window was found to be the handwriting of 
J. Wilkes Booth, and as it appeared in Harpers' Pic- 
torial History of the Civil War it is a fac-simile of 
the writing of D. E. George, now supposed to be 
Booth." 

The Post-Dispatch, of St. Louis, Missouri, through 
its reportorial staff, made a similar investigation, 

248 



PRESS COMMENTS ON SUICIDE OF DAVID K GEOKGE. 

writing an editorial report in confirmation of the in- 
vestigation made and published by the Enid Wave as 
above given, but which is not here reproduced be- 
cause it would be but cumulative evidence of the sub- 
ject. However, we do give the following: 

' ' The Perry, Oklahoma Republican : Perry, Okla- 
homa, June 5th, 1903. The Booth Case: 

"It is now fully developed that the man at Enid, 
who committed suicide on January 13th last, was 
none other than John Wilkes Booth, the slayer of 
President Lincoln. Junius Brutus Booth, the nephew 
of John Wilkes Booth, has fully identified the pic- 
ture of David E. George as that of his uncle, John 
Wilkes Booth. 

"It has always been known by the Booth family 
that John Wilkes Booth was alive, and they have 
been in constant communication with him ever since 
April 14th, 1865, the day of President Lincoln's as- 
sassination and the escape of John Wilkes Booth. 
This knowledge on the part of Junius Brutus Booth, 
the actor, was what prompted him, or his brother 
Edwin, to make remarks about the supposed grave 
of J. Wilkes Booth. He or they well knew that the 

249 



PRESS COMMENTS ON SUICIDE OF DAVID E. GEORGE. 

body in the grave was not that of J. Wilkes Booth. 

"People conversant with the history of the pub- 
lished capture of Booth, and with the fact that the 
reward offered by the Federal government for 
Booth's capture has never been awarded, many al- 
ways believed him to be alive. From the time of 
Booth's supposed capture, in April, 1865, until Jan- 
uary of this year, J. "Wilkes Booth has been in al- 
most constant touch with his friends. Being an 
actor, and also secluded by the wilds of Texas and 
Indian Territory, and through the anxious efforts 
of friends and relatives to preserve his life, it has 
been an easy matter for Booth to conceal his identity. 
In this he has been as smooth as was his disguise as 
an old colored man moving. There are no records, 
and never have been, in the Federal archives which 
go to show any positive or direct proof of the death 
of Booth. There has always been a lingering desire 
in the hearts of the people to believe that such was 
the case, but to the close student of affairs a doubt 
has always existed. 

"At the time of the suicide of George in Enid and 
his claim to be none other than John Wilkes Booth, 

25C 



PRESS COMMENTS ON SUICIDE OF DAVID E, GEORGE. 

the Republican stated its belief in the confession of 
the man. All the facts in the case have pointed, and 
do now point, to the truthfulness of his death bed 
statement. For many years George, alias Booth, had 
been furnished funds by his friends." 

The following is an editorial from the Daily Dem- 
ocrat : 

"El Reno, Oklahoma Territory, June 3d, 1903. 

"Prom the evidence at hand there is no doubt that 
the man who died at Enid last January, and who 
was supposed by some to be John Wilkes Booth, the 
assassin of President Lincoln, was really that man, 
he having been identified by many who knew John 
Wilkes Booth before the war, during the war and 
since that time. 

"After the death of the man certain papers found 
on his person led to the opinion that he was the fu- 
gitive assassin supposed to have been killed thirty- 
three years ago, and the body was embalmed to 
await a thorough investigation. It has been in an 
undertaking house here ever since, and all possible 
efforts have been made to verify the remarkable 
claim made by the dead man's lawyer, who came 

251 



PRESS COMMENTS ON SUICIDE OF DAVID E. GEORGE. 

from Memphis, Tennessee, and asserted that his 
client was none other than the slayer of President 
Lincoln." 

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch contained the follow- 
ing: 

"St. Louis, Mo., June 3d, 1903. A special from 
Enid, Oklahoma, says: 'Junius Brutus Booth, the 
actor, a nephew of John Wilkes Booth, the assassin 
of President Lincoln, has fully identified from pho- 
tographs, etc., the man, David E. George, as his un- 
cle, John Wilkes Booth. 

"George, or Booth, committed suicide here Jan- 
uary 13th last, and in his effects was found a letter 
directed to F. L. Bates, Memphis, Tern., who carae 
here at once and identified the body as that of John 
[Wilkes Booth, and has since secure! confirmation 
of his statement that George is in fact Booth." 

The foregoing are a few of the many comments 
in the various publications made at the time of the 
suicide confirming the identification of the man 
known as George to be John Wilkes Booth, showing 
and reflecting the opinion of the disinterested masses 
through the expressions of the press, the best and 

252 



PRESS COMMENTS ON SUICIDE OF DAVID E. GEORGE. 

only medium for gathering facts from expression of 
opinion. I could fill this volume with press reports 
supporting the identity herein given, and these have 
merely been used for the secondary purpose of show- 
ing how I became advised of the suicide's death. 

"While I have never been able to secure the letter 
referred to in the last clipping it having been taken 
from the body of the dead man as he lay in the 
morgue awaiting identification by a mysterious man 
who claimed to have known George in life, and who 
disappeared before my arrival on the scene still 
it was seen by two gentlemen of integrity and served 
the direct purpose of additional confirmation of the 
identity of the body as that of Booth. I presume 
that this letter was the basis of the telegram received 
by me about the 17th of January, 1903, asking me 
to come to Enid and identify the body of John 
[Wilkes Booth. In answer to this telegram I left 
Memphis that same afternoon for Enid. 

Owing to many washouts over the Frisco System, 
which line I took to Enid, I was several days reach- 
ing the latter point. I missed connection at El Reno 
on account of these delays, where transfers are made 

153 



PRESS COMMENTS ON SUICIDE OF DAVID E. 3EORGE 

for Enid, and had to remain there one night. I 
wired the clerk of the Grand Avenue Hotel, how- 
ever, that I would reach there the next morning. I 
was met at the Enid depot by Mr. Brown, the clerk 
of the hotel named, who informed me that my com- 
ing was awaited with great anxiety by a large and 
much-excited throng of people from widely located 
sections of the country, and that there was a large 
number of old Federal soldiers in the city, who, it 
had been whispered about, intended to take the body 
into the streets and burn it, if it should be identified 
as that of John Wilkes Booth. He suggested that I 
register under an assumed name, and that I should 
play the role of a drummer for a furniture house, 
carrying as a specialty feather top mattresses, say- 
ing that as T. B. Road was the pessworl for Booth 
at the Potomac bridge, so feather top mattresses was 
to be the password which would make me known to 
Mr. Pennaman, who was a large furniture dealer as 
well as proprietor of the undertaking establishment 
and morgue of the city where the body of Booth lay 
in state. It was estimated that more than fifty 
thousand men, women and children had viewed tha 

254 



PRESS COMMENTS ON SUICIDE OF DAVID E. GEORGE. 

body of Booth. The crowd had grown so great that 
the doors to the morgue had to be closed, as it 
seemed that the place would be actually picked to 
pieces by the souvenir hunters ; they had cut up the 
carpets, rugs, curtains, shades, furniture and every- 
thing else in the house convenient at the time. 

We had plenty of time to talk on the way from 
the depot to the Grand Avenue Hotel, as it seems a 
part of the plan in the West to locate the depots as 
far from the town and hotels as possible, to add as 
much inconvenience and expense as the traveling 
public can stand, I suppose. Arriving at the hotel 
we found a large crowd of excited men in earnest 
conversation, but scanning every passenger who en- 
tered the hotel. I walked up to the desk and reg- 
istered as Charles 'Connor, of New York City. As 
I turned away from the register a tall, well-dressed 
young man glanced at the name and I could not help 
a quiet smile at his disgust when he read the name 
I had just written. And I smile even now when I 
recall the tall, dark, olive-complected, black-eyed re- 
porter, who expressed such contempt in his manner 
as he glanced at the insignificant man with so ex- 

855 



PRESS COMMENTS ON SUICIDE OF DAVID E. GEORGE. 

alted a name. He was on a hot trail, but so far away. 
If he is living now I hope he will read this story and 
learn how well he judged his man, and that I now 
forgive him. 

After being dusted off and otherwise perfecting 
my toilet, I walked into the spacious breakfast room 
of the hotel, where I was again met by Mr. Brown, 
who joined me at a private table specially prepared 
and removed from the other guests in the room. 

By this time I was well on to my job necessity 
being the mother of invention I had early made my 
plans, and said to Mr. Brown, in the most familiar 
way: 

"Well, Brown, how did you like that last furni- 
ture shipped you by my house ? We had to ship the 
feather mattresses out from Cincinnati, not having 
them in stock in New York, and hope they proved 
entirely satisfactory. We are anxious to maintain 
our already established reputation in the West for 
correct dealing. Especially do I hope those light 
walnut suites, which I personally inspected before 
shipment, were satisfactory, and that no fault could 
be found with them, as they were of patterns a spe- 

256 



PRESS COMMENTS ON SUICIDE OF DAVID E. GEORGE. 

cialty by our leading designers." Then in an un- 
dertone I asked Brown if the word "designers" was 
the correct thing in this connection. 

' ' D if I know, ' ' he replied in a whisper. Then 

in a pleasant, natural tone of voice, audible to those 
present, he said: "The shipment made us by your 
house, as a whole, has been entirely satisfactory, 
and the feather top mattresses were by far the best 
of their kind in the market. By the way, W. B. 
Pennaman wants to carry those mattresses in this 
market, and it would be well for you to see him." 

"Thank you very much for this information, and 
since I don't know his location in the city I shall 
trouble you for directions as to how to find him. I 
shall certainly call on him the very first thing. 

"By the way, Brown, what is the meaning of all 
this excitement in town? Is there a widely adver- 
tised circus or an election going on?" I asked, turn- 
ing to him, showing surprise in both voice and man- 
ner. 

"No," he said, "it is on account of the suicide at 
this hotel the other day of a man who is supposed to 
be John Wilkes Booth." 

257 



PRESS COMMENTS ON SUICIDE OF DAVID E. GEORGE. 

"Yes, I have read something of that in the news- 
papers during the past few days," I said, "but did 
not suppose a report of this character would create 
the present state of excitement. But, from what I 
read in the newspapers, I thought Booth killed him- 
self at El Reno. " 

"No, Booth lived at El Reno, but killed himself 
in this place, Enid." 

"Is this all a farce?" I asked, but at this junc- 
ture Mr. Brown was called to the office and I fin- 
ished my breakfast in silence and alone. 

Gaining the information as to the location of Pen- 
naman's place of business, I at once went to the 
store of the undertaker and furniture dealer. On 
entering the store I saw a number of clerks, all busy. 
At the center desk was a handsome man of thirty- 
five or forty; but which of these men was Penna- 
man, to whom I was to talk feather top mattresses, 
was my proposition. I sized up the men, walked 
over to the center desk, introduced myself as Charles 
O 'Connor and inquired for Mr. Pennaman. The gen- 
tleman before me acknowledged himself to be the 
man inquired for, and I told him that I was repre- 

258 



PRESS COMMENTS ON SUICIDE OF DAVID E. GEORGE. 

senting one of the largest furniture houses in the 
East; that we made a specialty of feather top mat- 
tresses, and I would be glad to make a date with 
him to present the merits of the line of goods car- 
ried by my firm, and invited him to call on me at 
the commercial parlors of the Grand Avenue Hotel 
at any hour convenient to him, where I would take 
pleasure in presenting samples and prices, which I 
thought would prove attractive. He told me he 
was then quite busy, but asked that I be seated, and 
unlatching the gate to the railing around his desk, 
he invited me inside and pointed to the papers on 
the table. This done, he excused himself and with 
a polite indifference to my presence proceeded with 
his letter writing. 

As a matter of fact, this table and chair had been 
placed there for me in anticipation of my coming. 
The papers were those containing the news of 
Booth's suicide, etcetera, as well as photographs 
taken of Booth after death. I could only admire 
this delicate way of furnishing me, unobserved, the 
means of identifying the body of Booth without ac- 
tually seeing it, if it should not be opportune to do 

259 



PRESS COMMENTS ON SUICIDE OF DAVID E. GEORGE. 

so. The recognition of St. Helen, or Booth, in the 
pictures provided was instantaneous. 

On the back of the pictures was written in a small, 
fine hand with a pencil: "Conceal and take these 
pictures with you and call my attention when you 
desire. I am busy, you know, and must not be an- 
noyed by you." 

Having finished my inspection, I turned to him 
and said: "Well, Mr. Pennaman, how are you off 
for feather top mattresses?" 

"I have none in stock," he replied, rising and lead- 
ing the way out. 

That I might be identified as a drummer for a 
furniture house we continued our conversation for 
the edification of others as we passed through the 
store, discussing classes, prices, grades of mat- 
tresses and furnitures, we walked back to a side en- 
trance, commanding a view of the street on which 
the morgue fronted. Seeing the way clear no peo- 
ple having collected there we passed back through 
the store, where Mr. Pennaman introduced me to the 
man in charge of the morgue and the body of Booth 
as Charles O'Connor, a drummer for a furniture 

260 



PRESS COMMENTS ON SUICIDE OF DAVID E. GEORGE. 

house. This gentleman led us through a back way 
to the morgue, which we entered from a rear door 
into the front room, where lay the body of John 
Wilkes Booth, the man who had been called by the 
people in this community David E. George. In the 
presence of the attendant and Mr. Pennaman, cold, 
stiff and dead, I beheld the body of my iriend, John 
St. Helen. After a separation of more than twenty- 
six years I knew him as instantly as men discern 
night from day, as the starlight from moonlight, or 
the moon from the light of day. 

You ask what did I say? I don't know. Mr. 
Pennaman says I exclaimed, "My God! St. Helen, 
is it possible?" Then my manhood softened into 
sentiment and soul into tears. Spread the veil of 
charity upon the deeds of the dead, that mantle of 
death cast in the loom of sorrow and woven in the 
warp and woof of sighs and tears. Shaken with 
emotion for my dead friend, I had no thought of the 
crime that this man had committed while his body 
lay at rest, seeming to sleep in pleasant repose. 

In a few minutes I recovered. I realized now for 
the first time that I was in the presence of John 

261 



PRESS COMMENTS ON SUICIDE OF DAVID E. GEORGE. 

Wilkes Booth, though I had, in fact, been told so 
more than a quarter of a century before. I had the 
tintype picture which St. Helen had given me at 
Cranberry, Texas, twenty-six years ago. I took it 
out and called upon Pennaman and the attendant to 
bear witness with me to the identity of this dead man 
with the picture, which I showed them, when they 
replied without a moment's hesitation: 

"We need no picture to identify this man in your 
presence. Yes, this is the same man. It is an axio- 
matic fact, not debatable, they are one and the same 
man." 

We then compared the high thumb joint on the 
right hand, the small scar in the right brow the un- 
even brow the scar received in the accident men- 
tioned by Miss Clara Morris, raises this brow to 
an uneven line with the left; the right leg was ex- 
amined and we found a slight indentation on the 
surface of the shin bone Booth's leg was not literal- 
ly broken, there was a fracture of the shin bone six 
inches above the ankle ; I should say a split or slight 
shivering of the bone, for besides the identation on 
the front of the shin bone there were small scars 

262 



PRESS COMMENTS ON SUICIDE OF DAVID E. GEORGE. 

plainly discernable, where particles of bone seemed 
to have worked out through the skin (St. Helen, 
Booth, told me this himself), leaving small round 
scars, while the general shape of the leg at this point 
seemed curved a little. His eyes, head, forehead, 
chin, mustache and hair were all the same as John 
St. Helen's, and compared exactly with the picture 
of St. Helen, taken at the time before stated, and 
given to me, the only difference being that the hair 
and mustache were streaked with gray now, espe- 
cially the mustache, which was quite gray at its 
parting, under the nose. His complexion, even in 
death, retained somewhat its characteristic olive 
tint, and his beautiful neck and shoulders were yet 
preserved. His weight was about one hundred and 
sixty pounds, height about five feet, eight or nine 
inches. His shoulders were square, while his neck 
rose from his chest and shoulders as beautifully as 
the most beautifully formed woman's, masculine it 
is true, but with that beautiful symmetry 01 torm. 
The embalmer called my attention to this tact, say- 
ing that when he began the operation of embalming 
the body he thought it advisable to make an incision 

263 



PRESS COMMENTS ON SUICIDE OF DAVID E. GEORGE. 

at the point where the throat enters the chest, just 
above the breastbone, and showed me a slight abra- 
sion there, but noticing this beautiful formation of 
the body, he let it remain intact, regarding it as a 
formation of art too beautiful to destroy, even in a 
dead body. 

Lest my presence might be discovered, we left the 
morgue, and not a word was spoken until we reached 
Mr. Pennaman's desk. He was almost in a state of 
collapse. He held out his hand, I clasped it, it was 
cold and clammy, as the hand of the dead; he was 
pale to pallor, and told me that he had never under- 
gone such a mental and physical experience. He 
explained to me that he had formerly been connected 
with the New York Sun, was one of the city editors 
of that paper; that he had written up John Wilkes 
Booth in detail, supposing him dead, and that now, 
after all these years, that Booth's dead body should 
fall into his hands was truly and unmistakably a 
shock to him. Even the veteran embalmer looked 
pale and worn, and as he stood leaning against Mr. 
Pennaman's dtsk he remarked, "This is the expe- 
rience of my life." 

264 



PRESS COMMENTS ON SUICIDE OF DAVID E, GEORGE. 

I returned to the Grand Avenue Hotel, passing 
on my way crowds of men standing here and there 
in earnest conversation, with serious faces and de- 
termined manner. While walking through these 
groups of men I imagine I had the feeling possessed 
by the man who, robed in a red blanket, passes in the 
presence of a mad bull in the Mexican amphitheater. 
Nevertheless I must go, and I went with the full de- 
termination to say feather mattresses and all kinds 
of furniture talk to the first fellow who looked ugly 
and angry at me; however, my knowledge of West- 
ern customs and Western habits stood me in good 
stead now. I knew who to trust, and he was there 
in large force. With mimic snakes around his hat, 
spurs on his boots, goat skins on his legs and quirt 
in his hand he was there, and he was my friend 
one on whom I could depend the Cow Boy. 

You ask, did I belong to the Cow Boy Union? 
There is no such thing that I have ever heard of. 
No. The fact is, one Cow Boy is often the whole 
thing by himself. 

What would I say to him ? Well, I would not have 
said feather top mattresses to him, as I did to Pen- 

265 



PRESS COMMENTS ON SUICIDE OF DAVID E. GEORGE. 

naman or hers. But in good Western style I 
would have said, if pursued by an angry mob : "Mill 
'em, boys. Mill 'em. Round 'em up. Keep your 
eye on the lead steer." This is meaningless to you, 
but to the cow boy it would have been an introduc- 
tion, as a cow boy, and to be a cow boy among cow 
boys is a thing to be appreciated in times of per- 
sonal danger. 

However, with a manner that indicated indiffer- 
ence to surrounding dangers, I wended my way to 
the hotel, where Mr. Brown gave me the inside facts 
about Booth's, or George's, coming to the hotel. He 
said: 

"The press reports about George's coming to the 
Grand Avenue Hotel and registering on the morning 
of the 3d day of December, 1902, are correct. While 
here George was a constant reader of newspapers, re- 
maining in the reading room and office most of the 
time. He seemed to be a man of perfect leisure, 
paid his bills by the week promptly, was genial and 
pleasant in his manner, had a tendency to drink a 
little too much at times and remained up late at 
nights, but was a reasonably early riser. When I 

266 



PRESS COMMENTS ON SUICIDE OF DAVID E. GEORGE. 

was on night watch he was great company to me; 
he was well read, often repeating parts of Shakes- 
peare's plays and reciting other poetry, which it 
seemed natural to him to know, reciting it in such 
a manner as to be highly entertaining. 

"At times George would become sad or rather 
thoughtfully silent. In these moods his discussion 
would drift to matters of the 'hereafter.' I asked 
him, 'You mean after death?' He replied, 'Yes.' 

"I remember one night we were alone; he was in 
what I called his ' off ' mood. He raised himself erect 
in his chair, and in a tragic manner, with gestures 
and expression suited to the words, he said: 

" 'Am I better than the dog? Oh, no. He is far 
better than I ! He is capable of no sin or crime. Yet 
when he is found dead his body is placed in the 
garbage box. Then why not ship my body without 
a crate to the potters field of the dog? But I, even 
I, a man, am unworthy that the putrid flesh shall 
be torn from my bones by the vultures that pray 
upon the flesh of the dead brute. ' 

"These utterances were made with such strong 
self-accusation that I wondered what it could mean, 

267 



PRESS COMMENTS ON SUICIDE OF DAVID E. GEORGE. 

and from that time on I watched every move of the 
man and listened attentively to every word he said. 
Whether it was what George said or the manner in 
which he said a thing, I can't quite understand, but 
what he said always impressed you. Of this I am 
sure, in all my twenty years experience in the hotel 
business I have never seen such another character. 

"He was a handsome man for his age. His black 
eyes, when in repose, seemed to have lost luster by 
age, but in conversation or when repeating verses 
from Shakespeare, or other recitations, they would 
kindle, flash and sparkle as if inspired or ignited 
into flame from the burning souls of the eternally 
damned, while his shapely face and magnificent fore- 
head paled rather from his natural olive. Sitting 
or standing with a natural, easy grace, in such moods 
be made a picture one felt privileged to behold, and 
never to be forgotten. To my dying day the meet- 
ing of this man George, or Booth, will be remem- 
bered by me as an epoch in my life. 

"It is true, Bates. Be this man who he may, 
George, Ryan, Marr, St. Helen, Smith or Booth, he 
is a man without a model. He looks like no one 

268 



PRESS COMMENTS ON SUICIDE OF DAVID E. GEORGE. 

else, he acted like no one else and he talked like no 
one else that I ever knew or saw. 1 * 

"Well, Brown, who is this man?" 

"I believe him to be John Wilkes Booth, as he 
stated on his dying bed. In fact, I don't think he 
could be any one else." 

"Did he at any time before his death intimate his 
identity other than George?" 

"No, he did not. In his manner he was quite un- 
obtrusive and mixed but little with the people in 
the hotel, and the scenes and recitations I have re- 
ferred to would always be at a time when we were 
alone, and the people in the hotel supposed to be 
asleep." 

"I noticed that some of the press reports state 
that George committed suicide in the morning.'' 

"This was not the case. On the night of the 13th 
of January, 1903, George came into the office and 
reading room as usual and spent some time reading 
and finally writing letters. .When he had finished 
the letters, about ten o'clock p. m., he said he was 
going down to the drug store, just half a block up 
the street. He was gone only a short time^ when ho 

269 



PRESS COMMENTS ON SUICIDE OF DAVID E. GEORGE. 

came to the desk, obtained the key to his room and 
bade me goodnight, requesting to be called for 
breakfast if he should oversleep his usual time. I 
saw or heard nothing more of him until about half 
past eleven o'clock, when I heard groans coming 
from the first floor just above the office, in the di- 
rection of the room occupied by George. The watch- 
man came in hurriedly and we went at once to his 
room. On forcing his door we found him writhing 
and groaning in great pain. A doctor was called, 
he pronounced the patient suffering from the effects 
of poison and began vigorous treatment at once. The 
pains seemed to come and go, and George seemed to 
be suffering the greatest agony. After awhile I no- 
ticed that the pains or spasms seemed to come closer 
together, and the patient was drifting from under 
the control or force of the antidotes, and witnessed 
the most horrifying struggle for life I ever saw or 
ever could imagine. About four o 'clock in the morn- 
ing the doctor lost all hope of saving his patient, and 
informed George that if he had anything to arrange 
he had better do so. In the meantime Mr. Dumont, 

270 



PRESS COMMENTS ON SUICIDE OF DAVID E. GEORGE. 

the proprietor of the hotel, had come into the room, 
the doctor having left. George said: 

" 'I have only to say, my name is not George. I 
am John Wilkes Booth, and I request that my body 
be sent to the morgue for identification, ' when death 
came and relieved the suffering of the man whose 
name we did not then know, and he died at 6:20 
o'clock on the morning of January 14th, 1903. 

"The undertaker was notified and George's body 
removed to the morgue, as he had requested. When 
it became generally reported that the man's true 
name was John Wilkes Booth neither Mr. Dumont 
or myself had ever seen Mr. Booth nor any member 
of his family and consequently could not affirm or 
deny the fact of the true identity of the man, though 
I was ready to believe then, and do now believe, that 
George, the man who died, is, in fact, John Wilkes 
Booth, as he said. The truth is I would believe any- 
thing he said, and I understand that he confessed 
his true identity to a Mrs. Harper of this city, who 
has identified the body as that of Booth." 

STATEMENT OF MESSRS. DUMONT and BROWN 
"Enid, Oklahoma Territory, Jan. 21st, 1903. 

271 



PRESS COMMENTS ON SUICIDE OF DAVID E. GEORGE. 

"To Whom It May Concern: We, S. 6. Dumoni, 
proprietor, and B. B. Brown, clerk, of the Grano. 

Avenue Hotel, in the city of Enid, and Territory 
of Oklahoma, declare that we, and each 01 us, knew 
a gentleman who registered as a guest of said hotel 
on the 3d day of December, 1902, under the name 
of D. E. George, who on the 13th day of January, 
1903, committed suicide in said hotel by taking fif 
teen grains of strychnine or arsenic, and died from 
the effects of said poison at 6:30 o'clock a. m., on 
the 14th day of January, 1903, and that we have this 
day been shown by F. L. Bates, of Memphis, Ten- 
nessee, a small tintype picture, together with a pho- 
tograph, and we say that said tintype picture and 
photograph are the same and perfect pictures or 
likenesses in each and every feature of the said D. 
E. George, the only difference being that George, 
or whomsoever he was, was older at the time of his 
death than when the pictures were taken. 
(Signed) "B. B. BROWN. 

S. S. DUMONT. 

272 



PRESS COMMENTS ON SUICIDE OF DAVID E. GEORGE. 

"Sworn to and subscribed before me this, the 22d 
day of January, 1903. 

(Signed) "GUY S. MANOTT, 

(L. S.) "Notary Public. 

"My commission expires October 22d, 1906." 



273 



CHAPTER XVII. 

THESE ARE PICTURES OF JOHN 
W1LKES BOOTH. 

At the conclusion of my interview with Messrs. 
Dumont and Brown I left the confinement of the 
hotel for the fresh air and scenes of the street. It 
was about four o'clock in the afternoon, the streets 
were thronged with people, as they had been in the 
morning, while men, women and children were hur- 
rying to and fro on the sidewalks. But the crowds 
seemed to have in a measure left the public square, 
where the whole surface of the earth had been worn 
perfectly smooth by the press of human feet. In 
the rear, to the north and west of the little city of 
Enid, could be seen many camps and covered 
wagons, near which staked and hobbled horses 
browsed on the outlying commons. Small camp fires 
burned slowly and watch dogs lay silent on the camp 
grounds, near or under the front wheels of the 
wagons, keeping guard while the master, mistress 
and the children walked the streets of Enid or stood 

274 



THESE ARE PICTURES OF JOHN WILKES BOOTH. 

in groups around the camp grounds. Everywhere 
was that expression of hard, intense feeling that I 
had never seen before at any time, and never expect 
to see again. Why was this? It was said that the 
body of the man who had assassinated President 
Lincoln lay in the morgue in Enid. It was expected 
that this body would be identified by a man who 
should have arrived in the morning. If the body 
was pronounced to be that of John Wilkes Booth 
it was planned to make a great bonfire and burn 
it in the public streets of Enid. Yes, the body was 
to be tied to a shaft and burned while surrounded by 
men, women and children, hooting, shouting and 
chanting triupmhant songs of revenge for the death 
of President Lincoln. And when the savage deed 
was done the flickering flames from the burning 
body of the assassin would have lighted the pathway 
of the avengers as they homeward trod. 

And I, the man expected and looked for with such 
anxiety, walked among them, and they knew it 
not. I stood there, not in fear, not in awe, but in 
bewildered horror as imagination conjured up be- 
fore me the contemplated scene. And as I gazed 

275 



THESE ARE PICTURES OF JOHN WILKES BOOTH. 

about me at these people I asked myself: What 
manner of man was Abraham Lincoln that his mem- 
ory should be thus entombed in the hearts of these 
people, so far removed from him and the scenes of 
his life and death many of whom, in fact, were 
born long years after he had died ? How wonderful 
was this strange appreciation of the man. It was 
a lesson to me, a living proof of the truth that "the 
good men do live after them." About me were men 
and women bowed with age, shaking with palsied 
limbs, earnest men and women in middle life, ordi- 
narily busied with its duties and demands, and 
bright youth, girls and boys, flushed with its dreams 
and hopes, and tender children, all treading the 
paths and streets which led from camp and home 
to the threshold of the morgue, where lay the sup- 
posed body of John Wilkes Booth, silent in self-in- 
flicted death, his own hand avenging the crime it 
had committed. 

Strange, indeed, was this spectacle ! I moved here 
and there among them, watching, wondering, my 
heart beating in unison with the hearts of the strange 
human concourse about me, until twilight came and 

276 




JOHN WILKES BOOTH, AGED 64. 

(11 Bays After Death.) In the Morgue at Enid, Much Swollen 
From the Poison He Had Taken. 



THESE ARE PICTURES OF JOHN WILKES BOOTH. 

the darkness was starred by electricity as the cur- 
rent reached the arcs that light this beautiful city. 
Then I turned and walked back to the hotel, ac- 
knowledging the pleasant greeting of Mr. Brown as 
I entered the dining room. 

Shortly after dinner Mr. Pennaman called for a 
consultation with respect to the disposition of the 
body of Booth. The first conclusion reached was to 
perfectly preserve the body, if it could be done, 
which was much doubted by the embalmer, Mr. 
Ryan, though he promised that his best efforts 
would be put forth to this end. The only defect at 
that time existing was a small black splotch on the 
right cheek just under the eye, which was puzzling 
the undertaker, who said it might be due to coagu- 
lated blood, which would be a bad sign ; then, again, 
the same condition might be brought about by the 
large amount of poison taken, which might or might 
not be conducive to the preservation of the body. 

This question being settled, the second proposi- 
tion was likewise disposed of by Mr. Pennaman, at 
my suggestion agreeing to take out letters of ad- 
ministration on the estate of the dead man, which 

277 



THESE ARE PICTURES OF JOHN WILKES BOOTH. 

would include the body, and this he did. Mr. Ryan 
immediately left us to begin his efforts at absolute 
preservation of the body. 

Mr. Pennaman remained with me, going to the 
depot and saying good-bye. For, my mission being 
now completed, I paid the bill of Charles O'Connor 
of New York and took the *bus for the depot. On 
arriving at the depot we found the train would 
be on time, in fact, over the undulating prairie the 
beacon light of the engine could be seen rising like 
a star above the horizon; it grew larger and larger, 
then rushed onward until the ponderous engine and 
heavy train slowed down to stop at the station. Un- 
like the Arab, I did not fold my tent and quietly steal 
away, but boldly took the southbound cannon ball 
of the Rock Island. On this train there was much 
discussion of the tragic affair at Enid; every pas- 
senger had his or her own theory as to the suicide 
and proper identity of David E. George, while some 
wise men asserted that it was all a fake on the part 
of the citizens of Enid to advertise that little town 
and let the world know there was such a place. 
These and kindred expressions were heard on all 

278 



THESE AEE PICTURES OF JOHN WILKES BOOTH. 

sides. There was an old man on the car who had 
evidently belonged to the Federal army, for I over- 
heard him saying something about belonging to 
post so-and-so of the G. A. R.'s, a man who had dis- 
tinguished himself, in my mind, for having more 
brains and less tongue than the majority of the 
others. He said : ' ' Well, boys, if the man who killed 
himself at Enid is Booth, he has not yet been so 
identified, and it 's reported that he left considerable 
of an estate, and judging others by myself, I would 
say, if he had been a dear, misguided dead relative 
of mine, with an estate of thirty or forty thousand 
dollars, I surely would have looked him up and been 
chief mourner, and shed tears like our crocodiles 
on a sandbar in the sunlight of an August midday 
on a Southern beach. My sorrow would have found 
vent like unto the sound of foghorns at sea. Then, 
too, I would not have been particular as to the char- 
acter^ or appearance of my very dear relative, the 
main point being was he dead, very dead; did he 
haver the property and was it mine. Then, too, I 
understand that this man confessed to his identity 
as John Wilkes Booth, and that he has never been 

279 



THESE ARE PICTURES OF JOHN WILKES BOOTH. 

identified as David E. George, therefore he must be 
John Wilkes Booth, for in God's name what had this 
man to gain by such a confession? Could it add to 
his pleasures, or could it profit the dead? And 
since by his own hand he died, notoriety could not 
have been his purpose. No. For what good does 
notoriety do the dead? No, as to me, I had rather 
be a living private than a dead general. ' ' 

What this old man said put me to thinking, look- 
ing for the motive a man could have in taking his 
own life and the confession of a crime on his dying 
bed which he did not commit, which could only 
bring upon him the contempt and condemnation of 
all men. On the other hand, if this man had been 
George, the fake, it would have been his glory to 
have impersonated Booth while he lived, to have 
masqueraded as a notorious murderer, that he might 
have enjoyed while he lived a character akin to the 
village bully, the red-eyed-gentleman-from-Bitter- 
Creek style, a personal character usually as cowardly 
as it is contemptible. And today I find no reason 
so satisfactory to nature as that Booth, burdened 
with the crime he had committed, conscience- 

280 



THESE ARE PICTURES OF JOHN WILKES BOOTH. 

whipped and at bay, ended his life by his own hand, 
willing that his taking away should be deliberate, 
that he should yet have time and opportunity to 
confess his crime; for I can conceive the horror of 
men who die without the opportunity to confess, for 
remember we have prayed from our infancy up, "De- 
liver us from sudden death." 

The man who commits suicide does so from a mo- 
tive, for a purpose, being insane does not change the 
purpose, the motive, death preferred, superinduced 
by sorrow of heart or insanity of mind or a desire to 
die as a punishment to one's self, or in reparation 
of our wrongs to others. 

Who can so well take his own life as the man who 
takes the life of another- by assassination ? It is the 
man of deliberation who assassinates. It is the man 
of deliberation who suicides. The acts are kindred 
of purpose the immediate taking of life by vio- 
lence, premeditated and deliberate as a wicked and 
depraved purpose, or for a wrong, imaginary or real, 
by the assassin. 

281 



THESE ARE PICTURES OF JOHN WILKES BOOTH. 

In truth it can be said that the man who sheds 
blood with the assassin's hand, by his own hand his 
own blood, will most likely be shed. 

"While on our train plunged as if mad with fright, 
the engine with her five-foot driving wheels meas- 
ured the length of her burden over tracks of steel 
on time that must soon land us at El Reno. Then 
I felt the pulsation of lessening momentum, I heard 
the signal cry of the air brakes, the touch of assum- 
ing power and the echo of the wings of the wind as 
they wound us within their folds, when motionless 
we stood, while the engine was throbbing with its 
pent-up power and hissing from its cylinder heads 
as if angered at this intrusion and delay. I looked 
and we were at El Reno, in the midnight hours. Then 
I was off for the Kerfoot Hotel, for a few hours of 
rest. 

I retired with orders to be called for a ten o 'clock 
breakfast. Going upstairs, I found that by incident 
I had been given room sixty-four, the very one oc- 
cupied by George, or Booth, the greater part of the 
past two years, during his residence at El Reno, he 
having left this very room for Enid just forty-one 

282 



THESE ARE PICTURES OF JOHN WELKES BOOTH. 

days before his suicide. Retiring, tired, restless, 
worried, yet rewarded, I pillowed my head with its 
feverish brain to enter the land of sleep, an exile 
from the cares of life. 

Rap, rap, rap sounded on the door, and I was 
awake. The night was gone and the morrow had 
begun. First to breakfast and then on the street 
I looked with interest on each thing because it was 
to me a city new and strange. Then, too, an addi- 
tional interest was lent because it was the last known 
home of John Wilkes Booth, the murderer, the as- 
sassin of President Lincoln. I looked with wonder 
and astonishment at the evidence of wealth, civili- 
zation and refinement around me. I passed the 
banks with their hoarded wealth. I passed the mer- 
chants who held their wares behind plate glass 
fronts. I passed the homes of the press, from which 
were issued the daily papers. I looked upward to 
see the towering churches and cathedrals with spires 
which point to the dial of heaven, builded by the 
hands of reverent men. 

El Reno then can not be the home of soulless peo- 
ple, of murderers and assassins alone, for I met and 

283 



THESE ARE PICTURES OF JOHN WILKES BOOTH. 

intermingled with its people, its bankers, its mer- 
chants, its editors and its ministers, and all I found 
to be just, honorable and God-fearing people, who 
spurned, as you do, the murderer, and would punish 
as you would the assassin. Men who would turn 
pale and women become agitated at the realization 
that they, in fact, had known am? associated with 
John Wilkes Booth for more than two years without 
ever knowing his identity. 

I shall never forget my meeting with Mr. Grant, 
then the proprietor, publisher and editor of the Re- 
publican, a daily paper of El Reno, who when I 
called on him, requested to see my pictures of John 
Wilkes Booth, and who recognized them to be like- 
nesses of David E. George. When told that George 
was, in fact, John Wilkes Booth, Mr. Grant expressed 
great astonishment and indignation at the idea that 
George could possibly have been John Wilkes Booth. 
Finally, putting his head forward for a moment, as 
if in thought, he said: "I tell you what I will do. 
If you will go with me to the El Reno State Bank 
and show these pictures to Mr. Bellamy, one of the 
officers of that bank, and when you show the pic- 

284 



THESE ARE PICTURES OF JOHN WILKES BOOTH. 

tures to him don't say who they are, and if he recog- 
nizes them, as I have done, as being true likenesses 
of David E. George, then I am ready to admit that 
John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of President Lin- 
coln, has been a citizen of our town in the person of 
David E. George." 

His proposition was accepted, and over to the bank 
we went, some few blocks away. Walking to the 
desk of Mr. Bellamy, I was properly introduced and 
handed him the tintype picture which St. Helen had 
left with me in Texas, as well as the photographs 
which had been taken for the identification of D. 
E. George as Booth. On handing the pictures to 
Mr. Bellamy I asked him, "Who is this man in the 
picture?" Without hesitation he replied, "Why, 
this is David E. George in his younger days. ' ' Then 
followed the recognition of the pictures as those of 
David E. George by the other officers and employes 
of this and other banks, as has been heretofore men- 
tioned. 

Mr. Grant accepted the situation and said, with 
some emotion, "I shall write this matter up fully in 

285 



THESE ARE PICTURES OF JOHN WILKES BOOTH. 

my paper tomorrow morning." Whether the publi- 
cation was ever made I am not advised. 

I next found myself with Mr. Hennley, owner, ed- 
itor and publisher of the Daily Democrat, of El 
Reno, who had known David E. George well, and 
readily identified him from the pictures which I 
have just mentioned as having been identified by 
Mr. Grant, Mr. Bellamy and others. 

The city editor of the Democrat, a gentleman 
whose name I believe was Brown, and who had re- 
moved to El Reno from some "Western city a short 
time before to enter the employment of Mr. Henn- 
ley, became interested in our conversation and was 
handed the pictures by Mr. Hennley. He instantly 
said: 

"I never saw David E. George, and I know noth- 
ing of him, but these are the pictures of John Wilkes 
Booth." 

"Did you know John "Wilkes Booth personally?" 
I asked him. 

"I did, and I knew him well, personally and on 
the stage. I regarded him as the greatest actor of 
his day on the American stage, and never missed an 

286 



THESE ARE PICTURES OF JOHN WILKES BOOTH. 

opportunity to see him. I saw him and heard him 
m Baltimore and New York often, and in Washing- 
ton also, where I was connected with the Federal 
army, and saw him on the streets, frequently meet- 
ing him and speaking with him as a personal ac- 
quaintance. I remember that I saw him for the last 
time on the street only a short time before the as- 
sassination. I also know other members of the 
Booth family and could not be mistaken about this 
picture. 

' ' I was in Washington City at the time of the as- 
sassination and later, when the body of the man 
claimed to be Booth was brought there, and owing 
to the secrecy and the mysterious manner of handling 
that body after it reached Washington there was 
a belief, quite general among the members of the 
Federal army with whom I came in contact, that the 
body held was not that of John Wilkes Booth. These 
recent developments in the discovery and identifica- 
tion of John Wilkes Booth have been no surprise 
to me." 

I next went to the Anstien Hotel and met the pro- 
prietors of this house, where David E. George first 

287 



THESE ARE PICTURES OF JOHN WILKES BOOTH. 

put up on moving to El Reno. On showing the pic- 
tures to them they at once identified them in the 
following authentic manner: 

"El Reno, Oklahoma Territory, Jan. 23d, 1903. 
"To Whom it May Concern: We, N. J. Anstien 
and G. F. Anstien, proprietors of the Anstien Hotel, 
situated in the city of El Reno, after examination 
of the tintype picture and photographs shown us by 
F. L. Bates, of Memphis, Tenn., say that the same 
are true and correct pictures of one D. E. George, 
or a man who claimed to be of that name. This man, 
George, boarded at this hotel for a long time. We 
knew him well, and do not hesitate to pronounce 
the pictures shown us to be those of this man, and 
we fully corroborate the statements of Messrs. Du- 
mont and Brown, as fully as if incorporated in this 

statement. 

(Signed.) "N. J. ANSTIEN. 

"G. F. ANSTIEN. 

' ' Sworn to and subscribed before me this, the 23d 
day of January, 1903. 

(Signed.) "FRANK MEYER. 

(L. S.) "Notary Public. 

"My commission expires 6-12-05." 

288 



THESE ARE PICTURES OF JOHN WILKES BOOTH. 

The Messrs. Anstien said: "It was plain to be 
seen that the man who called himself George was 
not a painter ; that, in fact, he did not know how to 
properly mix paints or to spread it after it was 
mixed, but his taste was good, his idea of the ar- 
rangement of colors with respect to blending them 
into harmony was splendid, and as a paint talker he 
was a success, but as a practical labor painter he 
was a dismal failure. "We supposed this to be the 
reason why he did not work at what he claimed to 
be his trade. Then there was the further fact that 
he always had plenty of money and was prompt at 
the payment of his bills, whether he worked or did 
not work, which made it a matter that, in fact, did 
not concern others. 

"When George, or Booth, bought the cottage for 
thirty-five hundred dollars he lacked a small amount 
of having enough money to pay cash for it. He 
came to the office and requested this amount as a 
loan for a few days. The money was handed him 
without a question or a note, and promptly on the 
day agreed upon for its return he came in and paid 
the money. Where it came from was a mystery, 

289 



THESE ARE PICTURES OF JOHN WILKES BOOTH. 

but that did not concern us, so long as he kept his 
word. And during the long time that he boarded 
at this hotel he met all his bills with equal prompt- 
ness and satisfaction. He was regarded as the soul 
of honor by those with whom he came in contact, 
personally or in a business way, and while he was 
queer, or what we would commonly call cranky," 
and as the elder man said, ' ' always spouting poetry, 
everybody liked him. I told him that he knew much 
more about Shakespeare and other books than he 
did about painting and paint brushes. 

" 'If you (Mr. Anstien) could spread and display 
it in certain places as well as I can you would not 
need to keep a hotel/ Booth had replied on one of 
these occasions. (Do you catch his meaning to 
spread and display paint on the actor?) 

The elder Anstien says that "after these little un- 
pleasant sallies," Booth seemed to take a dislike to 
him, which was regarded as the principal reason for 
his changing his boarding place. 

The cottage which Booth bought was sold by him 
about a year before he committed suicide, after he 
went to the Kerfoot Hotel. 

290 



THESE ARE PICTURES OF JOHN WILKES BOOTH. 

There is one fact that has struck me with great 
force respecting the identification of Booth, and 
that is, he affected the same style of dress during his 
entire life. It will be noticed that his dress at twen- 
ty-seven, thirty-eight and sixty-four are practically 
the same. He always wore a black semi-dress suit 
style, of the best fabrics, always with the turndown 
Byron collar and dark tie. His dress at the time he 
committed suicide was of the same character, his 
suit being tailormade, new and well pressed, his 
pants well creased, his shoes new patent leather and 
his hat a new black Stetson derby. This style of 
dress, it seems, being a physical characteristic of 
John Wilkes Booth. 



291 



CHAPTER XVHI. 

READING THE PALM OF JOHN 
WILKES BOOTH. 

After remaining in El Reno about forty-eight 
hours, having completed my investigation of Booth 's 
identity, I returned to my home in Memphis, Ten- 
nessee, without further incident. Scarcely had I 
reached home, however, when I was recalled to Enid 
by the administrator of Booth's estate. On my re- 
turn I found public sentiment in Enid much quieted 
down and it was no longer necessary for me to im- 
personate the character of another. I found that 
two men supposed to be in the secret service of the 
United States government which fact they did not 
deny had requested and been permitted to view 
the body of Booth. They were provided with pic- 
tures of John Wilkes Booth, which they compared 
with Booth's body, and having satisfied themselves 
that the body was that of Booth, they appealed to 
the Territorial legal authorities to compel the bur- 
ial of the body, without denying at any time that 

292 



READING THE PALM OF JOHN WILKES BOOTH. 

the body was that of John Wilkes Booth. But be- 
fore I reached Enid the matter had been satisfactor- 
ily arranged, in what way I did not at that time 
learn, and I found the body unburied and in a state 
of perfect preservation, still being held for further 
identification, challenging, as it were, those in au- 
thority, or those of contrary opinion, to show that 
this body was not that of John Wilkes Booth. 

During this visit I learned that Mr. L. Treadkell, 
who had employed Booth as a teamster, as hereto- 
fore mentioned, was then living within nine miles 
of the city. I at once communicated with him and 
he came in. On being shown the tintype picture of 
St. Helen, so often referred to, he readily identified 
it as the picture of Jesse Smith, his teamster in the 
early part of the year 1867. He also identified the 
picture of Booth at the ages of twenty-seven, thir- 
ty-eight and sixty-four as being pictures taken from 
one and the same man, the only difference being the 
matter of age. 

During this visit Bentley Sage, the well known 
palmist, made the trip to Enid for the express pur- 
pose of examining the palms of the now notorious 

293 



READING THE PALM OF JOHN WILKES BOOTH. 

character, whose body lay in the morgue at Enid, 
known as George, and identified as John Wilkes 
Booth. The reading follows: 

"I discover this hand to be of the spatulate type, 
from which I learn that the subject was emotional, 
erratic and governed almost entirely by inspiration. 
Persons who have this hand are controlled by im- 
pulse and are carried to extremes by the impressions 
of the instant. They are what science might term 
impractical. Of bright purpose and brilliant prom- 
ise, they almost invariably fail to materialize their 
ideas. They are etherial and poetic. Their hopes are 
rarely fulfilled and they are not only a disappoint- 
ment to themselves, but they disappoint their 
friends by their failure to accomplish the real and 
material things of useful and practical life. 

' ' This subject was no exception. His intellect was 
keen and wide awake and took in the details and 
peculiarities of everything he saw, but he lacked the 
faculty of applying his mind toward the execution 
of his ideas. Like all those of a spatulate type, his 
vivid reason was the admiration of his associates, 

294 



READING THE PALM OF JOHN WILKES BOOTH. 

because of his effervescent enthusiasm and opti- 
mism, but he never came down to earth from the 
heights of imagination, and remained pleasure-lov- 
ing* jovial and incomprehensible, was subject to 
moods of melancholy and morbidness. These latter 
characteristics, however, belong to those of the 
spatulate type. It is the non-fruition of hope to 
which this moodiness is due in the spatulate hand. 
It is the sensitive hand that is easily repulsed, espe- 
cially is this true of this individual hand. He was re- 
pelled by a gross nature, but still he had a large 
faculty for friendship and a strong desire for intel- 
lectual and genial companionship. 

"Let it be understood that the foregoing is a 
study of the whole hand, which, owing to its peculiar 
class, being that of the spatulate, is weak in many 
respects. In order to correctly understand through- 
out the balance of this disquisition it will be neces- 
sary to take the hand in subdivisions and describe 
each division. 

"I will begin with the thumb, which is of unusual 
length. All thumbs show the possession of or lack 

295 



READING THE PALM OF JOHN WILKES BOOTH. 

of leadership, will power, control, integrity, reason- 
ing, planning, logic and stability. 

"In this thumb I find a man of unbending nature, 
one who is set in his opinions and ideas, and one 
whom facts impress strongly, but who did not ana- 
lyze them carefully, generally depending on obser- 
vation and the acts of others. At the base of the 
thumb is the mount of Venus Venus was the 
mother of Love Venus indicates the desires of life 
acting upon the line of heart. His mount being full 
and broad at the base, indicates the emotional and 
sentimental. The mount of Jupiter at the base of 
the index finger shows pride, ambition and self- 
esteem. This man had great ambition and great 
aspirations. He was sensitive to a fault, and the 
crosses and triangles found upon this mount indi- 
cate that his ambitions were never realized. His 
life was materially affected by disappointments and 
hopes that were never realized. At the base of the 
second finger is the mount of Saturn, which indi- 
cates the talents and gifts of the individual. His 
would have been literature, music, art and imitat- 
ing. Being full of inspiration he could have devel- 

296 



READING THE PALM OF JOHN WILKES BOOTH. 

oped the talents of art and imitating which, together 
with an entertaining disposition and gestures that 
were smooth and appropriate, he possessed the fac- 
ulty of making every movement pleasant to those 
in his society. He was a man of elegance and charm. 

"The mount of Apollo, located at the base of 
the ring finger, indicates the success of past, present 
and future, and in this particular case I find the 
mount to be undeveloped, showing that he had not 
reached the height of his ambitions, and showing 
that he had lived under many heavy strains, due to 
past failures and excitements. 

'The mount of Mercury at the base of the little 
finger indicates the domestic nature of the individ- 
ual. This man was loyal to true companionship, but 
he could love but one. 

' ' The line of heart at the base of the fingers, start- 
ing at the index finger, signifies marvelous powers 
of the occult and spiritual intuitions. It also indi- 
cates honor, wisdom and tender devotion, and in 
this case proves one worthy of nature's divinest 
gifts. His head line turns quickly downward across 
the line of destiny into the regions of harmony, imi- 

297 



READING THE PALM OF JOHN WILKES BOOTH. 

tation and romance, showing him to be of a senti- 
mental and impractical nature. The line of life indi- 
cated around the base of the thumb, which is clear 
and well defined, shows he would have lived to reach 
a ripe old age under favorable circumstances. In 
the illustration of this hand is shown many fine 
lines spraying downward from the life line, which 
denotes loss of vitality and mental force. And the 
end of the line turning upward to the region of vi- 
tality is a fatal sign with serious reverses in health. 
From the location and broken line of the face he 
appears to have been a person during his life who 
nad a great deal of trouble and went through many 
trying experiences, and who could not rely upon 
friends for help, but who had to shape his own 
career. 

"The most interesting element in the study of 
palmistry is that of dates at which important events 
in the life of the individual have taken place, or may 
be expected to take place. And in the reading of 
this hand, to go into all of the events of his past life 
would take more than three pages of this paper, 
for under favorable conditions he would have lived 
to a ripe old age." 

298 



CHAPTER XIX. 

JOSEPH JEFFERSON IDENTIFIES JOHN 
WILKES BOOTH. 

Being a constant attendant at the theaters at El 
Reno, Enid, Oklahoma City and Guthrie in the early 
part of December, 1900, Booth was much struck by 
the genius of the leading lady of one of the com- 
panies then playing in these towns, beginning at 
Enid. In fact, Booth regarded her as a genius and 
sought an introduction through her manager, claim- 
ing at the time to be a correspondent of the Dra- 
matic Mirror of New York, and giving his name as 
J. L. Harris. This young lady is a woman of the 
highest type and character, and finally the relation 
of pupil and instructor was established between 
them, Booth, the supposed correspondent, going 
with the company from Enid to El Eeno, Guthrie 
and Oklahoma City for the purpose of coaching, 
watching and training the young actress after his 
own peculiar manner of acting. Being satisfied .vith 

299 



JOSEPH JEFFERSON IDENTIFIES JOHN WILKES BOOTH. 

the capability of this actress Booth, or Harris, as he 
was known to her, made her a proposition, saying 
that he (Harris) was writing a play to be put on 
the stage for the seasons of 1903 and 1904, entitled 
"A Life Within the Shadow of Sin" (Booth's life), 
and desired that she, the actress of his choice, should 
play the leading role in the presentation of this 
play, and that he himself would take an active part, 
as manager and actor. This agreement having been 
reached, preparations were being made in 1902 for 
the proper staging and putting this play before the 
American people, but some imforseen occurrence 
over which neither of them had control rendered it 
impossible to put the play on for the season of 
1903-4. This was learned and understood between 
them through correspondence, and the matter was then 
given no further consideration. Mention is made of. 
this fact to show the bent and inclination of George, 
Booth or Harris, the actor, and as a further incident 
in the identification of Booth. 

Believing that if any living man would recognize 
John Wilkes Booth from the tintype picture of John 
St. Helen that man would be Joseph Jefferson, of 

300 



JOSEPH JEFFERSON IDENTIFIES JOHN WILKES BOOTH. 

whom I hail heard St. Helen so often speak when 
discussing the successful peoples of the stage, and 
I sought this best authority at the first opportune 
time. Mr. Jefferson, who had known John Wilkes 
Booth since his boyhood and from the time Booth 
first went on the stage at the age of seventeen, was 
in the same stock company with him. Among the 
members of this company being Mr. Jefferson, Ed- 
ward Adams and John Wilkes Booth, at the age of 
seventeen playing Hamlet, Mr. Adams playing 
Laertes, and Mr. Joseph Jefferson, then being 
twenty-nine years of age and playing the grave dig- 
ger. Learning that Mr. Joseph Jefferson was play- 
ing in Nashville, Tennessee, and that the next day 
he would reach Memphis, together with his com- 
pany for the same purpose, I wired him at Nash- 
ville for an interview on his arrival in Memphis, 
which was accorded me. And as per arrangement 
I called on Mr. Jefferson at the Gayoso Hotel, in the 
city of Memphis, on the 14th day of April, 1903, 
just thirty-eight years to the day from the assassi- 
nation of President Lincoln. We had a long and 
most interesting interview, and when I handed Mr. 

301 



JOSEPH JEFFERSON IDENTIFIES JOHN WILKES BOOTH. 

Jefferson the tintype picture, so often mentioned 
herein and recogniezd as John Wilkes Booth, he 
took the picture in his hand, saying: 

"This is John Wilkes Booth, if John Wilkes 
Booth was living when this picture was taken. ' ' He 
continued to hold the picture in his hand and in 
front of his eyes during the entire interview, which 
lasted more than two hours. I should not say, and do 
not mean to convey the idea that Mr. Jefferson kept 
the picture constantly before his eyes, but that he 
held it the entire time, making long studied examina- 
tions of it during the interview and finally said : 

"This, sir, I should say, is John Wilkes Booth, but 
he is older than when I saw him last. I have not 
seen him since a short time before he killed President 
Lincoln, at which time I think he was about twenty- 
seven years of age." After this Mr. Jefferson gave 
me the history of John Wilkes Booth, from his boy- 
hood up as well as the history of John Wilkes 
Booth's entire family. And in this connection as a 
matter of history I deem it my duty to say that I 
was impressed with the idea that Mr. Jefferson was 
by no means surprised to see a picture of John 

302 



JOSEPH JEFFERSON IDENTIFIES JOHN WILKES BOOTH 

Wilkes Booth at the age of thirty-eight, and gave 
expression to no more surprise than to ask, "Where 
did you get it?" My explanation to that inquiry, 
which was quite extended, was listened to with 
seeming great interest and approval by Mr. Jeffer- 
son. 



303 



CHAPTER XX. 

JUNIUS BRUTUS BOOTH IDENTIFIES HIS 
UNCLE, JOHN WILKES BOOTH. 

While Mr. Junius Brutus Booth was in the city of 
Memphis, playing an engagement at the Lyceum 
Theater in support of Mrs. Brune, I sought an intro- 
duction to him, and by pre-arrangement was ac- 
corded an interview at my office, which lasted for 
several hours, being of much interest to myself as 
well as Mr. Booth. At this meeting, because of my 
former meeting and friendship for and close associ- 
ation with John St. Helen, I was enabled to recount 
to him much of the private history of the Booth 
family, which was enjoyed by Mr. Booth with an 
interest equalled only by his astonishment. 

After conversing with Mr. Booth for some mo- 
ments I handed him the now famous tintype of John 
St. Helen and asked him 
is this man?" 

304 



JUNIUS BRUTUS BOOTH IDENTIFIES HIS UNCLE, 

Mr. Booth took the picture, held it in his hand 
several minutes, looked at it critically, walked over 
to the window to get a better light on it and looked 
at it long and earnestly, finally to my intense sur- 
prise he suddenly exclaimed, wringing his hands in 
grief and excitement: 

"Was my father's confidence in me a lie, and did 
he indeed, die with the secret that my uncle still 
lived untold on his lips?" 

After several minutes he controlled himself with 
great effort and said to me : 

"This is a picture of my uncle, John Wilkes, Mr. 
Bates, and the best one of him that I have ever seen. 
There is much that I want to say to you, many ques- 
tions I must have answered, but this discovery has 
so astounded and shocked me that I must leave you 
now. I want to talk the whole matter over with my 
wife, who is with me in this city. She will under- 
stand me and my feeling in this matter. To have so 
nearly met my uncle, and to find that he has been 
dead less than a month is very distressing." 

Being again overcome by his feelings, Mr. Booth 
ended the interview, we separating with the promise 
to meet again the next morning. 

The following morning promptly at the time ap- 
pointed Mr. Booth walked into my office. "We 
talked long and earnestly. I told him again the 

305 



JOHN WILKES BOOTH. 

story of John St. Helen's long life in the West, of 
the story he had told me of himself, his crime, 
and his wanderings. Mr. Booth listened, intensely 
interested, with excitement and often with tears in 
his eyes, to the ricital, for the first time hearing the 
whole story, just twenty-eight days after the self- 
inflicted death of the uncle whom he had never seen, 
and had always believed to have been killed years 
before by Boston Corbett. 

After much further conversation Mr. Booth re- 
quested me to call a stenographer, that he might 
furnish me a voluntary statement of identification of 
the picture as John Wilkes Booth. I called Miss F. 
,Wolf, who took down the following interview, which 
was signed and delivered to me by Mr. Booth, whom 
I count it a pleasure and a privilege to have met, 
and shall remember with great kindness. 

MR. BOOTH'S VOLUNTARY STATEMENT OF 

IDENTIFICATION. 

"Mr. F. L. Bates : 'I hand you, Mr. Junius Brutus 
Booth, a tintype picture which was taken at Glenrose 
Mills, Hood county, Texas, on or about June, 1877, 
and which was handed to me by one John St. Helen, 
as a means of at some future time identifying John 
Wilkes Booth. Will you kindly examine this picture, 
and in your own way identify the same?" 

306 



JUNIUS BRUTUS BOOTH IDENTIFIES HIS UNCLE, 

"I, Junius Brutus Booth, of the city of Boston, 
Massachusetts, recognize the likeness of John Wilkes 
Booth, not only in comparison with other photo- 
graphs and pictures of said John Wilkes Booth, but 
I can also trace a strong family resemblance and a 
likeness to different members of my family in the 
said tintype. 

"I am the oldest son of John Wilkes' brother, 
Junius Brutus Booth, was born in Boston January 
6th, 1868. Those now living having any direct re- 
lation to John Wilkes Booth are first, myself and my 
brother, Syndey Booth, 16 Grammercy Park, New 
York; Creston Clarke, 16 Grammercy Park, New 
York; Wilfred Clarke, New York; Dollie Clarke 
Morgan, Vendome Hotel, New York; Adrienne 
Clarke, Brighton, England, children of Asia Booth, 
the sister of John Wilkes. Marion Booth, daugh- 
ter of Junius Brutus, said John Wilkes ' brother, also 
being my half sister, New York. 

"The family of John Wilkes Booth's father, 
Junius Brutus Booth, the elder, and his wife, Mary 
Booth, consisted of my father, Junius Brutus Booth 
the eldest, Rosalie Booth, Asia Booth, Edwin Thomas 
Booth and Joseph Adrian Booth. Subsequent or 
prior to my father's birth there was another son, 
who died in infancy. 

307 



JOHN WILKES BOOTH. 

< 

"The Clarkes mentioned are connected with John 
Wilkes Booth by the marriage of his sister, Asia 
Booth, to John Sleeper Clarke. 

(Signed) "JUNIUS BRUTUS BOOTH." 

"Witness: F. L. BATES." 

"I, a stenographer, wrote the above on the type- 
writer at the dictation of one signing himself as 
above, Junius Brutus Booth. 

(Signed) "MISS F. WOLF." 

"Personally appeared before me, a notary public 
in and for the county of Shelby and State of Ten- 
nessee, Miss F. Wolf, who after being duly sworn, 
made oath that she was the stenographer who wrote 
this hereto attached typewritten instrument at the 
dictation of one who signed himself as above, Junius 
Brutus Booth. 

"Signed at Memphis on this 21st day of February, 
1903. 

"H. C. SHELTON, 
"Notary Public, Shelby County, Tennessee." 

Mr. Junius Brutus Booth is the oldest living 
nephew of John Wilkes Booth. 

By the authority of these identifications of the tin- 
type picture of John St. Helen as being that of John 
Wilkes Booth by his nephew, Junius Brutus Booth, 
and the late Joseph Jefferson, the veteran actor and 
the world renowned Rip Van Winkle, supplemented 

308 



JUNIUS BRUTUS BOOTH IDENTIFIES HIS UNCLE, 

with the evidences contained in this book, I an- 
nounce it as a physical fact that John Wilkes Booth 
was not killed on the 26th day of April, 1865, at the 
Garrett home in Virginia, but that he escaped, spent 
a roving life in exile, principally in the western 
part of the United States of America, and died by 
his own hand, a suicide, at Enid, Oklahoma Terri- 
tory, on the morning of the 14th day of January, 
1903, at the hour of 6:30 o'clock a.m. 

And thus the story of the life and fate of John 
Wilkes Booth, the assassin of President Abraham 
Lincoln, is told. 



FINIS. 



309 



tuuon. 

DID BOOTH ESCAPE AFTER 

LINCOLN'S! ASSASSINATION? 

Regarding the rumor that John 
Wilkes Booth escaped death after 
Lincoln's assassination. 

When I was in Oklahoma City 
some twenty years ago, a gambler by j 
the name of R. L. George died and | 
papers were found in his possession \ 
which might lead one to believe he ! 
was Booth. In any case he had been | 
in close touch with members of the I 
ex-Confederate Cabinet and letters 
were discovered showing that at dif- 
ferent times he had received large 
sums from men prominent during the 
life of the Confederacy. 

This same R. L. George ran a 
gambling house in San Antonio, 
Texas, for a number of years, and 
was tangled up in varied and numer- 
ous gun-battles. 

Secret service men investigated 
the rumor at the time of George's 
death and reported it as a false lead, 
but I do know that all sources of in- 
formation were suddenly shut off and 
the body disposed of muy pronto. 

Two years ago I was in south 
Maryland, and talked to many old- 
timers who know Booth, Mrs. Cassatt 
and others .implicated in the escape 
of Booth. I visited Dent's meadows 
where he made the crossing- to Per- 



simmon Point across the Po 
There seems to be a definite i 
standing in that section that th 
killed >,y Sgt. Corbott near F 
icksburg was not Booth. This 
is hard to trace, ELK most rumo 
In fact to this day no one in 
secti6n seems to want to talk 
about the matt r. 

P'ather Matthews at Chapel 
Md., whose father was accused 
ing implicated in the plot, U 
that Mrs. Caasatt had ahs* 
nothing to do with Booth's t 
but she was convicted and 1 
because it was proven th 
changed horses at her place. 

John Payne, of Washingtoi 
raised ne.r Fredericksburg n 
tells me that it was general! 
lieved tliat Booth escaped, an 
a negro was burned and the i 
te,d on hi s carcass. 
- Is all hearsay it mi 
possible; to have some 
the newspaper tiles in OK 
ami -jet the straight dope on G 
death. Anyway his leg ha< 
broken in the same place as I 
--his :ii>pe;ir;incc tallied lette 
dicated he was Booth and MUI 
put the oft pedal tip the 
mie-bty quick. Take, "jit" for wl 
worth. 

Gently Booth v 

H^was supposedly .slim while 

in a barn, the barn Burned a 

us afterwar^" "iclentiliei 

i-rl A. Shannon. In Adv 

::ine !'<>r January. 

PREWELfllOll