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Full text of "John Wilkes Booth; escape and wanderings until final ending of the trail by suicide at Enid, Oklahoma, January 12, 1903"

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I 



The Escape and Wand- 
erings of J. Wilkes Booth 
Until Ending of the 
Trail by Suicide 
in Oklahoma 



The Way of the 
Transgressor is Hard 



PRICE $2.00 



1 1 t"— 



Copyright 1922 
BY W. P- CAMPBELL 
Oklahoma City. Okla. 
All Rights Reserved 



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Capt. E. P. Dougherty in command of 
Pursuing Party. 




Lieutenant L. B. Baker, Col. L. C. Baker and Everton 

Conger planning systematic effort to capture 

Booth and Herrold. 



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The Nine "Conspirators." 




Julius Brutus Booth, broth- Julius Brutus Booth, Sr., 
er of J. Wilkes Booth father of J. Wilkes Booth. 




THE lamurpiED han-d of john wilkes boots. 

AS Read By Prof Bentley Sage. 




"John St. Helen," 1877 





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Finis L. Bates, IS77 



W . I'. Campbell, 1921 



Oklahoma the Mecca for Men of Mystery 



JOHN WILKES BOOTH 

ESCAPE AND WANDERINGS UNTIL FINAL ENDING 

OF THE TRAIL BY SUICIDE AT ENID, 

OKLAHOMA, JANUARY 12, 19C3 




<Sa^^ 



WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 



FOREWORD 



This story is much in the nature of a court suit where- 
in one Boston Corl)ett is accused of killing one J. Wilkes 
Booth at what is designated as the Garrett home in Virginia 
on the 25th of April, 1865. After the prosecution has 
introduced its evidence and "rested," and the defense has 
introduced its defense and the arguments are in, it will be 
up to the readers as jurymen to decide whether the defend- 
ed is guilty as charged and render their verdict accordingly. 
Under court rules, the prosecution has the right to the 
opening and tlie closing of the case; but in this particular 
"suit," the prosecution will say all its say and permit the 
defense to close the "argument." First, there is no "corpus 
delicti" claimed. That Corbett killed a "man" at the Gar- 
rett home on the day alleged is not denied. But, like the 
question of an umbrella being personal property — the court 
decided that it is, but hasn't decided whose. Neither is the 
question as to the killing of President Lincoln at issue, nor 
is it as to who did the killing. These are admitted and 
therefore not an issue. On behalf of the prosecution, Gen. 
David A. Dana will be introduced; or rather a letter from 
him written from his Lubec, Maine, home and published 
in the Boston Globe of November 12, 1897. But before 
introducing this letter — 

Now imagine if you will a large wall card of the 
Equitable Insurance Company on which is a picture of 
Ahe National Capitol and surroundings, including the navy 
yard and approaches to the east Potomac bridge, and. a 
strip of Potomac country some miles south and southeast. 
Then imagine a rather tall man slightly stooped from the 
care of years, dressed in a Prince Albert, buttoned at the 
center, wide brimmed rather low crowned black hat, and 
immaculate black tie from which flashes a small jet. Raven 
hair reaching to the shoulders and \vith a wavy trend; black 
imperial mustache, a rattan cane which he of seeming habit 
keeps twirling in the right hand between thumb and fore- 
finger as he paces meditatively to and fro. Now he stop* 
in front of the capitol picture and settling back on his 
heels gives the card a punch with the end of his cane as 
though he would punch a hole through it. Then as he 
approaches it, "Were you ever there?" he turns to his 
questioner with fixed and piercing eyes as he gives a crisp, 
"Yes," fairly through clenched teeth. "And I shall never 
forget it." Here he drops the subject and sauntering up 
the room a few feet rests his eyes on a large wall map of 
the United States. First, however, tracing with his cane 
to the east Potomac bridge, resting the cane at the farther 
end a brief moment. Then tracing down the stream until 






O o ' 



^' WANDERINGS OF J WILKES BOOTH 



his cane rests at a point where he dwells, remarking: "The 
Sekiah Swamp. Great place for an escaping man. Just 
wade in a way and then down to a rocky beach with fallen 
leaves in which all footprints are lost on passing out of 
the marsli until reaching the road again." Again resting 
the point i.f the cone. From thence on the large map a 
distance where he lingers quite a spell; thence with occas- 
ional stoppings southwesterly through Kentucky and 
Tennessee and into the edges of Mississippi until he 
leachfs a point crossing the Mississippi a few miles below 
where the Arkansas empties into it. Some distance along 
the eastern banks of the Arkansas to a point presumably 
near Fort Gibson where he hesitates a while, then crosses 
and traces up the stream where he halts, withdraws his cane 
from the map, and buries himself in deep meditation. Then 
pointing his cane to the map traces across what was then 
Indian Territory, northeast through what evidently is now 
Oklahoma, Kingfisher and Blaine counties, passing out of 
the territory and into Kansas near Kiowa; thence in a 
northeasterly direction to a point not far south of Omaha, 
where he again takes the cane from the map and again 
muses to himself. Next he traces westerly through the 
then wilds of Nebraska and Colorado and into Utah until 
near Salt Lake City where he veers more directly west- 
ward, resting at San Francisco. Thence down the coast 
through Fresno, near Los Angeles, and into Mexico. An- 
other reflective pause, after which the tracing is continued 
from point to point in Aztec land. Finally the tracing 
ends at about the point where Fort Worth stands. Here 
he leaves oif tracing and paces a few moments, twirling 
his cane with one hand as he meditatively twists at hir; 
mustache with the other, turning with the remark: "Ver 
ily, a rolling stone gathers no moss." 



GENERAL DANA'S VERSION 

The letter was to the Boston Sunday Globe and ws 
run in that publicatirn in the issue of December 6, 1877. 
Among other things Mr. Dana declares that in the spring of 
1865 he had headquarters at Fort Baker, near Washington 
City, .just above the east branch of the Potomac and with'n- 
the lines of the Third Brigade of Harding's Divisirn, 
Twenty-second Corps, commanded by Gen. C. C. Augnr, 
under whom he, Dana, was provost with authority over- 
nearly all of that portion of Maryland between East Pt)t'^-- 
mac and Patuxent. At this time that part of the state wis 
alive with rebels and Dana was commissioned to watch all 
their movements. While patroling this country, says Dana,- 
he learned of a plot against the Federal government, auvt 
that the stroke would probably be aimed at President. 



4 WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 

Lincoln. Dana at once asked for a troop of veteran cavalry 
in addition to the regular provost guard, and the request 
was granted. He established a line of pickets from Fort 
Meigs on the left to a point on the right and gave orders to 
let none enter the city of Wa§hington during the day who 
could not give a satisfactory account of business at the 
Capitol, while from sunrise to sundown no one should be 
permitted to enter or leave the city except in case of sick- 
ness or death. All suspicious persons were to be arrested 
and sent to the Commanding General for investigation. 

April 14 two men appeared before the guard on the 
road leading to Washington from the east. Refusing to 
give their names they were arrested and placed in the 
guard tent from whence they were sent to headquarters. 
This was about one o'clock in the afternoon. In the course 
of an hour or two they gave their names as Booth and 
Herrold. 

About two o'clock p. m. Dana received orders from 
General Augur to release all prisoners and to withdraw 
the guards until further orders. Dana then sent an orderly 
to the officers on the line from Fort Meigs easterly with 
orders to release all prisoners and report to him at Fort 
Baker. On the line from Meigs to Surrattsville, Dana says, 
he went in person and withdrew the guards to his head- 
quarters and that Booth and Herrold were released as 
soon as the orders reached the guards; that they at once 
proceeded to the capitol arriving there about 6:30 p. m. 
Dana says he had guards at each end of the bridge and 
that one guard knew Booth personally and recognized him 
afterwards while riding from the capitol soon after the 
assassinatirin. Dana says he returned to Fort Baker at 
11 p. m. and was eating supper when an officer rode into 
■camp with the news that the President had been shot and 
the assailant and another man had ridden at a rapid pace 
into the country. The guards were at once called and a 
■detachment sent in different directions, after which Dana 
:says he went to the bridge to learn what he could there; 
that on his way back he met a tronp of cavalry, the 13th of 
New York, which was ordered to patrol the river as far as 
Guisi Point and there learn all they could and return to 
Fort Baker. At the bridare he found an orderly with orders 
from AuGTur to report without delay, which he did, and %vas 
ushered into the General's presence, who was at his desk 
with streaming eyes. 

"My God." Augur cries, "if I had listened to your 
advice this terrible thing would not have happened.'' (Now, 
what was that advice?) After a brief conference Dana 
was appointed adjutant-general on Augur's staff with orders 
to use his own judgment as to the best way to capture the 



WANDERIXCJS OF .1 WILKES BOOTH 5 

perpetrators. 'Commanders of all divisions were directed 
to observe all orders of Dana as though especially issued 
by the Commanding General. The first order was that the 
swiftest steamer obtainable should patrol the Potomac as 
far as the Patuxent and seize all boats that could not give 
satisfactory account. Tlien a steamer should be sent up 
the Patuxent and all the boats on that river were to be 
seized as far as Horsehead Ferry. As a reason, Dana savs, 
he had while scouting through Maryland learned that a 
boat would be used by the assassins who would go by 
•land to the Patuxent, thence across Albert river and on into 
old Mexico. 

Dana returned to Fort Baker where he left essential 
orders, after which he, with the cavalry then scouting and 
a small detachment of his own, started on the chase taking 
the road by way of Surrattsville to Bryantown. As they 
passed through the former place all was dark; but an old 
man and woman were found who had a boy sick with 
smallpox. Failing to obtain any information, the old man 
was taken into a patch of woods and strung up to a limb. 
It was a clear night with the moon just rising, its silver 
tints gleaming on the tree tops and the flickering of the 
campfire casting fantastic shadows here and there. Indeed, 
what a weird and gruesome scene it must have been, there 
in the glare of the campfire and of the moon the body of 
a man struggling in a spasmodic effort to free himself from 
the tightening noose. After a few moments, says Dana, 
the man was ordered lowered. Rather than pass through a 
second suspension the man said that Booth and Herrold 
had taken something to eat at Surrattsville, Booth seeming 
to be badly hurt. They remounted and rode toward Bryan- 
town, to where the Dana posse pushed reins. A few miles 
from Bryantown a detachment of ten men under a sergeant 
as patrol guards to watch for suspicious persons in that 
section, was met. From there the Dana party went directly 
to Port Tobacco and gave orders for the men to report 
to him at Bryantown. He ordered the troops to scour up 
the Patuxent and arrest all suspicious persons and report 
to him. The guards afterward admitted that they heard 
the clatter of Booth's and Herrold's horses hoofs as they 
passed by the road leading to Dr. Samuel Mudd's toward 
Bryantown, where Dana says he arrived about 6 o'clock 
p. m. and placed guards on all the roads leading into the 
village with orders that anyone might enter but none could 
leave. About 2 o'clock that afternoon the detachment of 
troops from Port Tobacco returned to Bryantown. Mean- 
time troops had been sent to Woodbine and Horsehead 
ferries and all boats had been seized and all crossings 
stopped. By taking possession of these .positions and seiz- 



WAXDERIN'GS OF J WII.KES BOOTH 



ing the ferry boats the river was thoroughly guarded and 
patroled. 

After Booth and Herrold arrived at Dr. Mudd's, accord- 
ing' to Dana, tlie riding boot was slit and drawn from 
Booth's wounded limb, after which the leg was bandaged 
and splinted with pieces of a cigar box, and a crutch was 
made from a broom handle. After breakfast arrangements 
were made for flight on the instant, should anything happen 
to artmse fear of too close pursuit. Dr. Mudd came into 
Bryantown about two o'clock in the afternoon and re- 
mained until near nine that night, when Dr. George Mudd,, 
cousin of Dr. Samuel Mudd, approached Dana and asked 
ffs a personal favor that Dr. Samuel Mudd be passed through 
the lines, and the favor was granted. 

During the long absence of Dr. Samuel Mudd Booth 
and Herrold grew uneasy, and the latter rode to near 
Bryantown where he hitched his horse to a willow on the 
banks of a small stream that coursed by and watched for 
the doctor to emerge through the lines, after which the two 
returned to the Miukl home, where the fugitives remained 
for the night. Here Mr. Dana interpolates that having 
learned that the two doctors were cousins and rank rebels, 
he summoned Dr. George Mudd, and then and there, to use 
Mr. Dana's own words, "I told him plainly what I thought 
of liim." Now wasn't that awful, to actually scold the 
wicked and perverse rebel, and thus fritter away time? 

The fugitives left Dr. Mudd's next morning and took 
the road for Horsehead ferry. When in two and a half 
miles of there they saw a man about sixty years of age 
leaning on a fence in front of his house, and from him they 
gained the information that Booth rode up and asked for 
a drink of water and also for a drink of whiskey, but of 
the latter the old man had none. On inquiry from the old 
gentleman Booth said he had heard of the death of the 
President from some troops, and asked if there were any 
troops at the ferry. Being told that there were, he said 
that he and his partner were detectives in search of Booth 
and Herrold. When asked what he was doing with a 
crutch Bo0th replied that his horse had fallen on him. 
They then asked the way to Woodbine Ferry and started 
in that direction under spur. When within two miles of 
Woodbine they met an old darkey from whom they inquired 
the distance to the ferry, and being told they asked the 
news, to which the old darkey held up his hands: "Masse 
Lincum done been killed an Woodbine Ferry's chock full 
o' troops." When asked how many the old darkey replied, 
"Golly massa they's swarmin' like bees." The two horse- 
men rode on a short distance and into a mowing field 
where all trace of them was lost. But thev returned to 



WANDERINGS OF J WII^KES BOOTH 



the vicinity of Dr. Mudd's and entered the Sekiah Swamp 
from the east, where they spent two days and nights. 

Dana says he made arrangements for troops to scour 
the swamps, but a heavy storm made it impossible. On 
returning to the swamp the next day Dana found where 
the horses had been tethered and the moss on which Booth 
and Herrold had slept. He also found the pieces of blanket 
used in muffling the horse's feet. 

The dlft'erent movements they made from the time of 
the tragedy to the time of reaching the Sekiah Swamp 
shows that their course was laid out beforehand. They 
knew where to go and who their friends were. 

Sekiah Swamp lies a short distance nearly west of 
Bryantown. It is full of quagmire and sinkholes and ex- 
ceedingly dangerous except by day, and then the greatest 
caution is necessary, even with one acquainted with the 
Swamp. Hence Booth and Herrold must have had a guide 
coming and going. They could never have gotten their 
horses there alone. To have attempted to do so would 
have meant their end. There is a small stream running 
through the swamp large enough to float a small craft". 
It empties into the Patuxent. After leaving the swamp the 
fugitives went to a log cabin in a pine thicket quite a 
distance from any road. It proved to be the dwelling of a 
man named Jones, who had a negress for a housekeeper. 
It was in this thicket the two horses were killed. Here 
Booth and Herrold were kept for two or three days when 
they were taken by boat to the outlet of the swamp to a 
point where the troops were stationed and from there car- 
ried to a point on the Patuxent nearly opposite Aquia 
creek. From there across the Potomac they made their 
way to Garrett's, some fifteen miles from Bowling Green, 

In connection with this letter of Dana's, Historia 
ventures the substtance of another by another author, ex- 
cept not put in print. It was directed to Dana and written 
by F. E. Dumont, who was stationed at the bridge over the 
east branch of the Potomac that was crossed by Booth 
and Herrold coming into and going out of Washington 
City, the fatal night in 1865. Dumont was then a member 
of the old provost guard with headquarters at Fort Baker. 

"Well do I remember," says Mr. Dumont, "I was 
detailed from Company C by Capt. A. W. Brigham, then 
stationed at Fort Mahan with orders to report to you at 
Fort Baker for duty as provost guard. I did so, and was 
employed to guard prisoners and in going to Uniontown 
to search for soldiers without passes. After a short term 
at headquarters I, with others of your command, was sent 
to guard the bridge leading from Washington to Union- 



8 WAXnERIXGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 

town, d(iv,n l)y the Navy Yard. I was stationed at the 
Uniontown end of the bridge, wliere there were srates to 
step people from jroinar across either way, beinjr under 
orders frm Corporal Sullivan, with Sergeant Silas T. Cobb 
at the other end. 

I was present the night Booth and Herrold rode across 
aftrr shooting the President. Wiien Booth rode up I was 
at tiie lilock house on duty and heard him ask the guard 
if anyone had gone through lately and heard the post guard 
answer, "No," and ask Booth what he was doing out that 
late at night, to which Booth made some kind of a reply 
about going to see some one on the T. B. Road. I helped 
open the gate and he rode away with the speed of the wind.s. 
A short time after this Herrold rnde up and inquired if 
any one liad just passed through riding a bay horse. On 
being t' Id tliere Iiad he muttered something about being a 
pretty fellow not to wait for_him. Well, I opened the gate 
and let him through and he dashed off in a hurry. About 
twenty minutes later we heard a great noise and furor 
across the bridge and in a short time got word that the 
President had been shot. I remember when you came to 
the bridge to meet some one who was sitting on the Wash- 
ington side, but never knew who it was until I read your 
letter in the Sunday Globe. I remember your going in 
pursuit, one of Company C's boys, Charley Jones, with 
you." Signed by F. A. Dumont late private in Company C, 
Third heavv artillerv, Massachusetts Volunteers. 



AS RAY STANARD BAKER TELLS IT 

April Ifi, 186.5, Col. L. C. Baker was summoned' by 
Secretary of War Stanton to appear before him at once, 
and early next morning he reached Washington, and ac- 
companied by his cousin, Lieut. L. B. Baker, a member of 
the bureau who had recently been mustered out of the 
First District of Columbia Cavalry. They went at once to 
the War Department and after a conference with Secretary 
Stanton began search for the assassin. 

Up to this time, says Col. Baker, the confusion had 
been so great that but few of the ordinary detective meas- 
ures had been employed and no rewards had been offered. 
Little or no attempt had been made to collect and arrange 
clues in the furtherance of systematic search, which was 
without a directing leader. 

\ reward of thirty thousand dollars was placarded for 
the apprehension of the assassin, the City of Washington 
subscribing twenty thousand and the rest from the War 
Department fund. On the handbill Booth was described as 
beinir five feet eight inches tall, weight about 160 pounds, 
compactly built; hair jet black and inclined to wave at the 



WANDERINGS OF ,1 WILKES 1500TH 9 

bottom, medium length, rear part; heavy brows and black 
eyes; large seal ring on little finger; head inclined forward 
while talking and looks down. Other rewards by different 
states and other ways swelled the amount to two or three 
hundred thousand dollars. Fabulous reports were current 
as to the reward awaiting the capturer of the fugitive — 
the sum being ])laced as high as a million dollars. This, 
immense reward brought forth hundreds of detectives, re- 
cently discharged soldiers, and Union officers; in fact a 
vast hoard of adventurers after the get-rich-quick reward. 
Into the field of .search, and the whole of southern Maryland 
and eastern \'irginia were ransacked and scoured in a mad 
rivalry for the hoard of Xibelung until it would seem 
impossible for anyone to escape, however well his routings. 
And yet ten days later the fugitives were still at large. 

At the , beginning of the search it was on the theory 
that Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy, and 
his cabinet were in the plot, and that Booth and Herrold 
had been inveigled into the game as goats in the hands of 
more skilled companions. Therefore pictures were pro- 
cured of Davis, George H. Saunders, Beverly Tucker, Jacob 
Thompson, and a number of others, all being charged with 
conspiracy. 

Lieut. Baker and a lialf dozen men went into southern 
Maryland to distribute the handbills describing the fugitives 
and to exhibit the pictures. They also made search for 
clues but found themselves harrassed by private detectives 
and soldiers who sought to throw them off the trail in 
the hope of following it themselves. 

On returning to Washington Col. Baker was told that 
his companions had not gone south but had taken some 
other direction, probably toward Philadelphia, where Booth 
had numerous female friends. 

"Now, sir," an.swered Col. Baker, "You are mistaken. 
There is no place of safety for Booth except in the south 
among friends." 

Acting on this belief Col. Baker, Theodore Woodall, 
one of the lower Maryland detectives, accompanying with 
and expert telegrapher named Brachwith. They had been 
out less than ten days when the\' discovered a clu-e from a 
negro who told them that two men answering the descrip- 
tion of Booth and Herrold had crossed the Potomac the 
Sunday before below Port Tobacco in a fishing boat. The 
negro was hurried to Washington on the next rioat. Col. 
Baker questioned the darkey and showed him a large assort- 
ment of photographs, those of Booth and Herrold bein'j at 
once recognized as the parties who had crossed in the boat. 
Baker after a conference with Stanton sent a request to 
General Handcock for a detachment of cavalry to guard his 



10 WANDERLVGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 

men sent ii> pursuit and Baker was ordered to the quarter- 
master's oflFice to arrange transportation down the Potomac. 
On the return of Lieut. Baker he was informed that he 
and E. J. Conger and other detectives were to have 
charge of the party. 

These three men held a conference in which Col. Baker 
explained his theory of the whereabouts of Booth and 
Herrold. In half an hour Lieut. Edword F. Daugherty of 
the 16th New York cavalry, with twenty-five men, Ser- 
geant Boston Corbett second in command, reported to 
Col. Baker for duty, having been directed to go with him 
and Conger wherever they might order. Lieut. Baker and 
his men galloped post haste down the Sixth street dock and 
hurried on the government tug John S. Ide at 3 o'clock 
and that same afternoon the tug reached Belle Plain, land- 
ing where there was a sharp point in the river. Col. Baker 
scoured the river between there and the Rhappahanock. 
On disembarking Conger and Daugherty rode nhead, I>ieut. 
Baker and his men following within hailing distance. They 
stepped at the homes of prominent Confederates to make 
inquiry, saying they were being pursued by the Yankees 
and in crossing the river had become separated from two 
of their men, one being lame, but no one admitted having 
seen them. At dawn the men shed their disguise and halted 
for rest and refreshments. 

Again in their saddles they struck across the country 
toward Port Conway on the Rhappahanock about twenty 
miles below Fredericksburg. About three o'clock they drew 
rein in front of a planter's home half a mile from town 
and ordered dinner for themselves and horses. Conger who 
was suffering from nn old wound was about all in and he 
and the others, except Baker and a corporal, dropped down 
on the road-side for a brief rest. Baker fearing that the 
presence of the scoiiting party might give warning to Booth 
and companions should they be hiding in the neighborhood, 
pushed on to the bank of the Rhappahanock, where he saw 
dozing in the sunshine a fisherman in front of a small 
cottage, his name being Rollins. He was asked if he had 
seen a lame man cross the river within the past few days^ 
to which the iii^n answered that he had, and there were 
other men with him; that he had ferried them across the 
river. Baker produced his photographs and Rollins pointed 
out the pictures of Booth and Herrold. These men, he 
said, were the men. except "this one" pointing to Booth's 
picture, "had no moustache." 

"With this information Baker felt satisfied that he had 
struck a hot trail; that with all the vast army of detectives 
he was within a touchdown of the goal. He at once sent 
the corporal back with orders for Conger and his men to 



WANDERINGS OF .1 WILKES BOOTH 11 

come up without delay. After the corporal had left the 
fisherman, Rollins, explained that the men had hired him 
to ferry tliem across the river on the previous afternoon 
and that just before startinjr three men rode up and 
greeted the fujiitives. Rollins said he knew the three men 
well; that they were Major M. B. Ruggles, Lieut. Bain- 
bridge and Capt. Jett, of Mosby's command. On being 
asked where they went this fisherman drawled out: 

"Well, this Capt. Jett has a lady love at Bowling 
Green and I reckon he went over there." As the cavalry 
came up Baker told Rollins he would have to accompany 
them to Bowling Green as a guide, to which Rollins objected 
on the ground that he would incur the hatred of his 
neighbors, none of whom favored the Union cause. "But 
you might make me your prisoner," with a slow drawl, 
"and thfn I would have to go." 

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, when the march for 
Bowling Green began. Baker and Conger who were riding 
ahead saw two horsemen standing motionless on the top of 
a hill their black forms showing well against the sky — 
probablj' Bainbridge and Ruggles, and Conger and Baker 
at once spotted them as friends of Booth who had in some 
way got wind that a searching party was near. Baker 
signalled the horsemen for a parley, but instead they put 
their necks to their horses withers and hastily sralLncd up 
the road. Baker and Conger made ch^r -. but 'he two 
horsemen at full speed dashed away, and ju:-h as ih'^y were 
about to be overtaken dashed into a blind trail leading from 
the main road into the forest, they possibly being on vigil 
to warn Booth, who was at the Garrett home, of approach- 
ing danger. The pursuers held a briff cnr.ferf^nce, deciding 
not to follow farther but to reach Bowling Green as soon 
as possible. These men. Baker and CmTei- say they were 
afterwards informed, were Bainbridge aiul Rugjrles and that 
Booth at the time was less than half a mile away lying on 
the grass at the Garrett home. Baker says also that Booth 
saw his pursuers as they neared his hiding place. Baker 
and Conger believed Booth to be at Bowling Green fifteen 
miles away, and so they pushed on. 

It was nearinir midnight when the searching party 
clattered into Bowling Green, and with scarcrlv a spoken 
command surrounded the dark rambling hotel, Baker to the 
front door and Conger to the rear from which came the 
dismal barking of a dosr. Presently a light flickered and 
some one opened the door and inquired in a frightened 
female voice what was wanted. Baker thrust his toe inside 
and flinging the door open was confronted by a lone 



12 WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 



woman. At this moment Conger came through the back 
way led by a negro. The woman admitted at once that 
there was a Confederate cavalryman sleeping in the house 
and pointed out the room. With candle in hand Baker and 
Conger at once entered: Captain Jett sat up, staring at 
them: 

"What do you want?" At which he was informed that 
he was wanted. "You took Booth across the river," said 
Conger, "and you know where he is.'' Jett declared that 
they were mistaken — were barking up the wrong tree, as 
he rolled out of bed. 

"You lie," shouted Conger springing forward with 
pistol close to Jett's head. By this time the cavalrymen 
had crowded into the room and Jett caught sight of the 
light glinting against their brass buttons and on their 
drawn revolvers. Jett assured them on his honor as a' 
gentleman that he would tell them all he knew if they 
would promise to shield him from all complicity in the 
matter. 

"Yes, if we catch Booth," was Conger's answer. 

"Booth is at the Garrett home three miles this side of 
Port Conway," said Jett, "if you came that way you must 
have frightened him off." 

In less than thirty minutes the pursuing party was 
doubling back over the road they had just traveled, with 
Jett and Rollins as prisoners, the bridle reins of the 
horses ridden by them fastened to the men on either side. 
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 worn out so they could scarcely 
sit on their jaded horses and yet they plunged and stumbled 
on through the darkness over fifteen miles of meandering 
road, reaching the Garrett home about 4 o'clock on the 
morning of April 26. 

Like many other southern homes the Garrett home 
stood far back from the road with only a bridle gate at 
the end of a long lane. So exhausted were the cavalrymen 
that some of them dropped in the sand when their horses 
stopped, and had to be kicked into -wakefulness. Rollins 
and Jett were placed under guard while Baker and Conger 
made a dash up the lane, some of the cavalrymen following. 
Garrett's home was an old fashioned southern one, with a 
wide plaza reaching full length in front, and with 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 was cautiously 
opened and a man thrust his head out. Before he could 
say a word Baker seized his hand with: "Open the door 
and be quick about it." The man tremblingly complied and 



WANDERINGS OF J WILKES BOOTH 13 



Baker stepped inside and closed the door behind him. A 
candle was quickly lighted and Baker demanded Garrett 
to reveal the hiding place of the men who had been staying 
at his house. 

"They are gone to the woods," the old gentleman 
replied. At this Baker thrust his revolver in Garrett's 
face: "Don't tell me that.'' 

Just at this point Conger came in with young Garrett 
wiio explained to them that if they would not harm his 
father he would tell them where the fugitives were. He 
said the men did go to the woods last evening when some 
cavalry passed by but came back and wanted them to take 
them over to Lauisa Court House. Continuing, young Gar- 
rett told Baker that they could not leave home before 
morning, if at all; that they were becoming suspicious of 
the strangers, and th;«t his father told them he could not 
harbor them. Baker here interrupted with a demand to 
know where they were, at which young Garrett replied 
that his l)rother Iiad locked them in the barn fearing they 
might steal the horses, and he was then watching them in 
the barn. Baker asked no further questions but taking 
young Garrett by the arm made a dash toward the barn, 
when Conger ordered the cavalrymen to follow and formed 
them in such position around the barn that no one could 
escape. By this time the soldiers had found the boy guard- 
in" the barn and had brought him out with the key. Baker 
unlocked tlie door ;ind told the boy that as the men were 
his guests he must go inside and induce thera to come out 
and surrender. But the boy faltered, declaring that the 
men were armed to the teeth and that they would shoot 
him down. But he discovered that he was looking into 
the black mouth of Baker's revolver, and hastily slid 
through tile doorway. 

There was a sudden rustle of corn blades and voices 
in low conver.sation. \]\ around the soldiers were picketed 
wrapped in inky blackness and uttering no sound. In the 
midst of a little circle of light Baker stood at the doorway 
with drawn revolver, while Conger had gone to the rear. 

During the heat and excitement of the chase Baker had 
as.'-utned command of the cavalrvmen somewhat to the 
umbrage of T-ieut. Daugherty, who kept himself in the 
background during the remainder of the night. Farther 
away in the Garrett home the family huddled, trambling 
and frightened. 

Suddenly from within the barn a clear loud voice rang 
out. "You have betrayed me. Leave at once or I will 
shoot you." 

Baker then called to the men in the barn to turn over 
their arms to young Garrett and surrender at once, declar- 



14. WANDERINGS OF .1. WILKES BOOTH 



ing that if they didn't the barn would be fired and there 
would be a shooting match. At this young Garrett came 
rushing to the door begging to be let out. He said he 
would do anything he could but did not want to risk his 
life in the presence of two desperate nnen. Baker opened 
the door and young Garrett rushed out with a bound. He 
pointed to the candle Baker had in his hand, with: "Put 
that out or he will shoot you by its light," whispered in a 
frightened tone. Baker placed the candle on the ground a 
short distance from the door so it would light the space 
in front of the door, then called to Booth to surrender, who 
in a clear full voice replied that there was a man in those 
who wished to surrender, in which he was heard to speak 
the name of Herrold. "Leave, will you? Go. I don't 
want you to stay." At the door Herrold was whimpering 
— "let me out, let me out. I know nothing about this man 
in here." (In fact, did he?) Baker informed Herrold that 
if he would put out his arms he could surrender; but the 
poor frightened wretch hadn't any arms, and Baker wa.s 
so assured by Booth. "The arms are mine," shouted Booth, 
"and I shall keep them." By this time Herrold was pray- 
ing piteously to be let out lest he be shot. Baker opened 
the door a trifle and ordered Herrold to put his hands out, 
which he did, and the moment his hands passed through the 
door tliey were seized by Baker and Herrold was whipped 
out and turned over to the soldiers. "You had better come 
out too,'' said Baker to Booth, who inquired to know who 
Baker was; that he wanted to know if he was being taken 
by his friends or by his enemies. "It makes no difference 
who we .■Tt," was the curt reply, "We know and want you. 
We have fifty well armed men stationed around this barn. 
You cannot escape and we do not want to kill you." 

After a moment of faltering Booth called from his 

cribbed imprisonment that the Captain (Baker) had put 

a hard case up to him, as he was lame; "But give me a 
chance," he said. "Draw up your men twenty yards from 
here and I will fight your whole command." To which 
Baker replied that they were not there to fight, but "to 
take ycu." Booth asked time to consider and was told 
by Baker that he could have just two minutes and no more. 
.\fter a portion of the allotted time had passed. Booth 
called to Captain Baker: "Captain I believe you are a 
brave and honorable man. I have had half a dozen chances 
to shoot you, and have a bead on you now. Withdraw 
your men from the door and I will come out, as I do not 
want to kill you. Gi\e me this chance for my life; for I 
will not be taken alive." Even in this desperate danger 
Booth did not forget to be theatrical. 



WANDERINGS OF J WILKES BOOTH 15 



"Your time is up," said Baker firmly, "and if you don't 
come out we will make a bonfire of the barn." 

Then came a final defy from Booth in clarion tones 
which could be heard by the women cowering on the Gar- 
rett porch several rods away. "Just prepare a stretcher 
for me.'' Adding after a slight pause, "One more star on 
the glorious banner." 

Conger now came around the corner of the barn and 

asked Baker if he was ready. After a nod of "yes" Conger 

stepped noisely hack and drew a bunch of corn husks 

thrcuuh a crack in the barn, scratched a match and in a 

moment the whole interior was brilliant with light. Baker 

jarred the door and peeked in. Booth had been snugged 

against the mow, but now sprang forward, half blinded by 

the glow of the fire, his crutches under one arm and 

carbine leveled in the direction of the flames as if to shoot 

the man who set them going, but he was unable to see on 

account of the darkness outside. After a brief hesitation 

he reeled forward. An old table was near at hand, at which 

Booth cauglit liold as though to cast it upside down on 

the flames, but he was not quick enough, and dropping 

"one" crutch hobbled toward the door. About the middle of 

the barn he drew himself up to full height and seemed to 

take in the entire situation. His hat was gone and his 

dark wavy hair tossed hack from his hish white forehead. 

lips firmly compressed as the riiddy firelight glow revealed 

a pale and palid face. In his full dark eyes there was an 

expression of hatred mingled with terror and the defiance 

of a tiger hunted to its lair. Tn one hand he held a carbine, 

in the other a revolver and his belt contained another 

re\' her and a huge knife, seeming determined to fight to 

the end no matter what numbers appeared against him. 

By this time the flanT-s in the corn blades had mounted to 

the rafters arching the hunted refugee in a glow more 

brilliant than the lights of any theatre in which he had 

ever played. Suddenly Booth threw aside his "remaining" 

crutch, dropped his carbine, raised his revolver and made 

a lunge for the door, evidently with the intention of 

.«hooting down whoever mi.'xht bar his way, and make a 

desperate dash for liberty fighting as he ran. Then came 

a shock that sounded above the roar of the flames. Booth 

leaped in the air, then pitched forward on his face. Baker 

was on him in an instant and grabbed both arms, a pre- 

cautirn entirely unnecessary; for Booth would struggle no 

more. In a jitfy Conger and his soldiers came rushing 

in wihile Baker turned tlie wounded man over and felt 

for his heart. 

"He must have shot himself," remarked Baker. "I 
saw him the moment the fire was lighted. If not, the man 



16 WANDERINGS OF ,) WILKES BOOTH 



who did the shooting goes back to Washington in irons 
for disobeying orders.'' 

In the excitement that followed the firing of the barn 
Boston Corbett, accompanying the cavalry detachment, had 
gone to the side of the crib, placed his revolver through a 
crack, and just as Booth was about to spring to the door- 
way, fired the fatal shot. 

Booth's body was carried out and laid under an applf 
tree. Water was dashed in his face and Baker tried to 
make him drink but he seemed unable to swallow. Present- 
ly, however, he opened his eyes and seemed to understand 
the situation. His lips moved and Baker leaned down to 
hear what he might say. "Tell mother — tell mother — " 
He faltered and tlien became unconscious. 

The flames now grew so intense that it was necessary 
to remove the dying man to the plaza of the house where 
he was laid on a mattress. A cloth wet with brandy was 
applied to his lips, at which he revived a little, then opened 
his eyes and said in a tone of bitterness, "Oh, kill me! 
Kill me quick!" 

"No Booth," replied Baker, "We don't want you to 
die. You were shot against orders." Then he was uncon- 
scious again for several minutes and all thought he would 
never speak again, but his breast heaved and he acted as 
if he wanted to say something. Baker placed his ear to the 
dying man's mouth, when Booth in a faltering and scarcely 
audiljle whisper said, "Tell mother I died for my country. 
I did what I tliought was best." With a feeling of pity and 
tenderness Baker lifted the limp hand, but it fell back 
again by his side as if he were dead. He seemed uncon- 
scious of the movement, and turning his eyes muttered: 
"Hopeless. Useless." And — he was dead. 



THE PROSECUTION RESTS 

Now that you iiave read the story of the pursuit by 
General Dana and the statement from R. Standard Baker 
you are no doubt convinced that the man killed at the 
Garrett home on the memorable 25th of April, 1865, was 
none other than J. Wilkes Booth and that any one who 
would claim that the Enid suicide of January, 1903 was 
Booth should be made president of an Anamias club or sent 
to a lunacy resort. But pause a moment. Who was it 
wrote the account of the killing at the Garrett home, and 
when was it written? Get out from under the dazzling 
light and take a serious look. It was, like the Dana story, 
written a third of a century subsequent to the event; but 
unlik* the Dana story, written by one who, barring the 
lapse of memory after so many years, was in a position, to 
know; whereas, R. Standard Baker was not nearer than 




g:M 




% 

X 

\ 



, :;.--^-i:.--^ifkr}x : -.:sr, \<'xstfk:>^n-e!w.s^^M-^ssr¥£isM''ia^ 



"Ge<;rge" eleven days after eiiibalniing. 




Booth as an Evangelist. 



W A N F) K R I N C; S O F .1 X^' I T K V. S P, O OT H 1 



Washington City to the scene of the tragedy, had no part 
in it nor even in the pursuit; who never saw Booth eitiier 
"before or after," his only connection with the great na- 
tional tragedy was in being a relative of the Bakers who 
did have a hand in the affair. Besides, it was but a collec- 
tion of published and bar room stories embellished with 
lilies of the valley dashed over with sprinkles of new-mown 
hay to give wholesome fragrance to dead matter; for — 
Mr. Baker was a novelist with the imagination of a poet. 
Hence he grew florescent in his account written many years 
after the tragedy. Now his raven locks waved like fairy 
tresses. "Word painters in that day often consulted 
"spirits". This may account for Mr. Baker seeing two 
crutches, and how he came to see him "discard" one of 
them. When all reliable evidence is Booth never had but 
one crutch, and Bainbridge and Rutledge who took Booth 
to the Garrett home declare he abandoned the crutch for a 
large cane. This may be why the "leg came off with the 
boot" when the body was buried at Baltimore. Many other 
tilts of poetic license might be called up. 

The prcsecution closed with the exhuming of the body 
from its tomb in the room of the old prison and buried in 
Mount Green cemetery. It was recognized as the body of 
J. Wilkes Booth by the brother Edwin and Joe Ford, 
proprietor of tiie Ford tiieatre where the tragedy took 
place — recognized liy a gold tooth taken from the dead 
man by the undertaker. Witli a statement that as other 
and the final evidence, it is stated that on removing tlie 
boot from one foot, the limb remained in the boot. 

The prosecution concludes its testimony by introduc- 
tion of a few letters from various persons. All of them, 
bear in mind, contemporaneous with the Dana and the 
Baker statements. One of these is from Gen. Lew Wallace 
who was the Judge Advocate before whom Mrs. Surratt 
and David E. Herrold were tried (court martial). In his 
letter Mr. Wallace says that of "My personal knowledge 
the body was brought to Washington City and buried in a 
room of the old brick jail; that some years subsequent it 
was lurned over to the relatives of Booth and buried in 
Mount Green cemetery, Baltimore." "To my personal 
knowledge" is putting it pretty strong and positive, 'coming 
from so eminent a man as Gen. Wallace; but it may be 
hinted that the General was also a novelist whose Ben Hur 
proved f)ne of the most popular biblical fictions ever given 
to the public — the book, its dramatization for the stage, 
and later, as a movie attraction. 

Gen. Dana writes that to his certain knowledge the 
body was brought to Washington City on the steamer John 
S. Ide and "buried under a slab in the navv vnrd and a 



18 WAXDERIXGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 

battery of artillery hauled over it to obliterate any trace," 
etc. That, too, is pretty strong evidence. 

.\nother witness proves to be a star in the prosecution 
box: William P. Wood of Washington City, who, soon 
after writing his "testimony" — died, in 1898. At the time 
Mr. Lincoln was killed he was a government detective, 
and on receipt of a wire from Secretary Stanton hastened 
to Washington. In speaking of the disposition of the 
Garrett home body he is solemnly certain it was taken from 
the steamer John S. Ide at the wharf in Washington City 
April 27 and transferred by Capt. Baker and his nephew 
Lieut. Baker of the New York 71st Volunteers, and taken 
down the Potomac to an island 27 miles out from Wash- 
ington and buried. 

Another star witness for the prosecution was Capt. 
E. W. Hillard of Metropolis, Illinois, who about the same 
date as the other letters, declares that he was one of the 
four who carried the remains from the old prison room 
(described by Wallace); that the body was taken about 
ten miles down the Potomac and sunk; that the storj' of 
Booth being buried in the navy yard was given out merely 
to satisfy the people. (But Mr. Dana's statement was a 
third of a century after the event.) Still another cock- 
sure witness declares that the body was taken to a sand bar 
of the Potomac and consumed in quick-lime. 

Xow you have the evidence of the prosecution. Would 
you as a juryman, even before the defense has introduced 
an item in rebuttal find Corbett guilty as charged? Pos- 
sibly. But as a matter of form, if for no other reason, 
the defense will present a few statements and circumstances. 
The first is a confession from a man going under the name 
of John St. Helen — made to a friend — Finis L. Bates, when 
he, St. Helen, supposed he was at the gate of eternity at 
Cranberry, Texas, in 1878. 



BOOTH MAKES CONFESSION 

The story here drifts back to the confession made by 
Booth at Cranberry, Texas, in 1878, when he supposed the 
final accounting was at hand. For one peculiar character- 
istic in his temperament was an inclination to moody spells 
of despondency, and when taken ill invariably giving him- 
self up to die, no doubt dividing desire between a hope he 
would and a desire to still hang on longer. It was during 
a spell of illness this confession was made. The village 
physician had been summoned, meantime his friend Bates 
was a frequent visitor at the bedside. Despite all efforts 
of the physician the patient continued to grow worse until 
it seemed evident the time had at last come for the parting 
of the ways. -\nd the physician so informed his patient. 



WANDERINGS OF J WILKES BOOTH 10 

that if he had any arranging to do or any statement to 
make he could not go to it any too soon. Booth then 
requested to see Bates, who was at once notified that his 
friend was dying and wished to see him. In a few minutes 
Mr. Bates was at the bedside. Booth motioned him to bend 
his ear close, he being too feeble to speak in more than a 
halting whisper. "You have no doubt before thi.s," Booth 
started out, "surmised that I was not what I have pretended, 
and that my name is not the one by which you and the 
good people of Texas have known me. But before I begin 
I must exact from you a most solemn pledge that you will 
guard the secret until I am finally laid away," which pledge 
was readily made, "and I feel that with a few quick breaths 
the end will come. I implore that you believe me, for it 
is from tlie lips of a dying man. I also ask that when yoH 
hear my story you will not despise me, something I can 
scarcely expect. Yes, the angel who holds the shears is 
impatient to clip the thread that holds life on its slender 
line. Nor can anyone conceive of a motive for notoriety 
after one is dead and can never know nor appreciate it. 
Besides that nrtoriety is such that no one would be likely 
to desire it, even that no one would relish, even beycng the 
vale should spirits there realize. No, I have only one 
motive — that the world may know that which through all 
thesf" ^-enrs has be^n hidden, that the man who killed Pres- 
ident Lincoln lived to suffer the consequences of his own 
deed, to repent in sack cloth — to pay a thousand fcld the 
penalty — a continuous never-ceasing penalty with the debt 
still owing." Then pulling his listener still nearer he con- 
tinued: "Lock at inc. .Vnd now I shall ask yrii to get 
from under my pillow a small tintype taken by an itinerant 
photographer at Glen Rose Mills some time after you and 
General Taylor visited there July 4, 1877. I want you to 
retain it as a source of identification when I am no more; 
and note from its date that it can be the likeness of no 
other than he who knows that his end is near. T am not 
what T have pretended to be. I am John Wilkes Booth, 
tli'= man who k'lled President Lincoln." The tintype was 
taken from beneath the pillow as requested. Borth gave 
one sad remorseful look at the picture, then motioned it 
away and closed his eyes in a seeming rest. Brmrly was 
applied to the sinking man's lips and his brow bathed to 
revive him, only to court a gentle recline into the ariiis of 
that calm sleep which seems the sleep of death. But fate 
proved the mentor and after a season of halting on the 
dark border. Booth looked up, and the sleep of sleeps passed 
to fitful waking. This was in the morning, and with it 
slight evidences that after all the patient miaht recover: 
at least such the hope of not only immediate friends, but of 



20 



WANDERINGS OF J WILKES BOOTH 



the physician as well, that the patient would soon pull froni 
beneath the raven's shadow. Although for a number ot 
days the case seemed to hang in the balance. After a 
further season of patient waiting, the full recovery of the 
sick man proved a phophesy come true. 

Having fullv recovered Booth became a trifle feverish 
as to what he m"ight have said during his delirous moments. 
On the occasion of a usual visit to Mr. Bates' "ffice he 
was reminded of .the seriousness of the siege through which 
he had just passed: 

"Do vou remember the things I said when I was so 
near the "gates of— I need not mention." Pending reply 
there was an expression of evident anxiety. 

"I remember many things you said," was the respond. 
"Then you have my life in your keeping,— but for- 
tunatelv as my attorney." . 

Mr Bates somewhat evasively replied: "Do you refer 
to what vnu said of your sweetheart and last '"ve.- ' ^^ 
To which Booth in a solemn tone, half to himselt, l 
have had a sweetheart," then recovering; yet more earnest 
to his questioner: "but no last love, and I could not in the 
most wildest delirium have touched a subject so foreign to 
mv thoua-hts, and of such infinite unconcern." Raising In 
deep medlpv between self and self-re.straint he paused, and 
then paced" back and forth a few times Suddenly as if 
da.shing awav som intruding spell tilted his hat_ a trifle 
to one side, "folded his arms in rocking attitude in front, 
accompanied with a few waving pantomimes, straight at 
his .n.estioner: "You perpetuated quite a clever evasion of 
one of the thin-s I did say— something," placing his right 
arm on the auditor's shoulder, the other swung carelessly 
at his >;ide— "something of extreme moment to me inen 
removing his hand from the shoulder faced his auditor and 
in a sort of confessional tone and slight palm-gesture with 
the right hand, "suflPicient now, that on some future day 
when I am in better frame to talk and you to listen, mj^ 
hi^toTV. the secret of my name, you shall more fulh know. 

" "At vour convenience, John— St. Helen. I am sure 
thrit it will h° rf more than curious interest to me. 
Tells Of His Escape and Wanderings 
It was .some davs after when the air was balmy, and 
the sun lowering, sheding lingering tints on the roots ol 
Granberrv. Mr. Bates and Booth took a stroll to the out- 
vkirts of "the citv and seated on a rock, the shadow of which 



reflected in phantom weirdness in the waters below. Here, 
true to promise. Booth unbosomed himself to his confidant, 
jrivin^ an intelligent and minute detail of his life from the 
time when he was before the footlights at the age of seven- 
teen to th« traL'edv which sent him forth a hounded prey 



WANDERINGS OF .1 WILKES BOOTH 21 



for the man-hunter and the professional reward grabber, 
down to his hinding in Glen Rose Mills, and thence to Gran- 
berry and to the very present. 

"Since you have so much of my past in your keeping 
I shall if you care to listen give you still more with which 
to burden the chambers of secrecy until the last parting of 
the ways. I was born on a farm near Baltimore, and at 
once christened as a Catholic to which faith my pepple 
belonged. I am the son of Junius Booth, Sr., and brother 
of Junius and Edwin Booth, the actors. My stage-life 
began at the age of seventeen and continued until the break- 
ing out of the war, having by that time saved up something 
like twenty thousand dollars in gold, which, owing to shaky 
financial conditions in this country, was deposited in Canad- 
ian banks on which I drew when in need of money, these 
checks being readily cashed at any bank on this side of 
the St. Lawrence. My sympathies were wholly with the 
southland, and my enthusiasm In its cause practically ended 
my dramatic career so far as public appearances went, 
except now and then filling some star engagement, the last 
being the one ever memorable at the Ford Theatre the dark 
night of the darkest hour in any human life. Fraternal 
hatred had grown to a violent pitch until it seemed every 
man's hand was at his neighbor's throat. And this was 
not confined to one side in the fearful struggle. Large 
rewards had been offered for the capture of President Davis 
of the Confederacy, in some cases — "dead or alive." What 
were termed the most patriotic airs on the streets of the 
north and around their army camps breathed of this carnal 
spirit, and "John Brown's Body," alternated with "We'll 
Hang Jeff Davis to a Sour Apple Tree," and other ensan- 
guined strains. It was then I first conceived the idea that 
I could best serve my country by planning and carrying 
out a scheme to kidnap President Lincoln and underground 
him to Richmond to be held as a hostage of war in case 
these drastic threats against President Davis should be car- 
ried out," etc. Booth insisted that during the entire sum- 
mer he took the initiative and made no confidences until 
well along in the season. He had made a number of 
cursory .surveys between the National Capitol and Rich- 
mond, Capitol of the Confederacy, searching for the safest 
and most feiitible route. He had made the acquaintance of 
David E. Herrold, a callow-seeming young druggist with 
red hair, and from M'hom he had purchased greased paints 
and other stage cosmetics, and incidently learned that the 
young druggist was quite familiar with the lay of the coun- 
try along and tlirough which I>incoln would have to be 
carried — knew every crook and turn, every secret path and 
bv-wav. He had also learned that the voung man was not 



22 WANDERINGS OF .1 WILKES BOOTH 

nearly so callow as he seemed, but possessed of a secretive 
resourcefulness that could not fail to be valuable. And 
above all, he had learned that young Herrold was the soul 
of loyalty to a friend, and a person in whom the most 
implicit confidence could be placed; that he had steady 
pulse and unflinching nerve — ^bold and daring but still about 
it. It was through Herrold he learned that John H. Sur- 
ratt, who was also a "cosmetic" acquaintance of Herrold, 
wa.s in the secret service of the Confederacy plying between 
Richmond and Canadian points, and hence must be familiar 
with bridle-paths and secret ways along the route. Bearing 
a letter of introduction from Herrold he visited Surratt — 
fir.'^t at the Surrattsville tavern kept by Mrs. Surratt, and 
that the only time he — Surratt — could be caught would be 
during some night as he was traveling through. At this 
meeting he did not meet the mother and confined his mis- 
sion to gathering what he could as to the secret by-paths 
referred to. Soon after this Mrs. Surratt moved to Wash- 
ington City and opened up a rooming house, leaving others 
in charge of the Surrattsville tavern. lycarning through 
Herrold that Surratt would pass through Washington on a 
certain night he paid a second visit — this time at the Sur- 
ratt rooming house in Washington. At this meeting he for 
the first time ntet Mrs. Surratt, but only in a casual way. 
.'Vt this meeting he also, for the first time, unfolded his 
scheme to kidnap President Lincoln. While Surratt ex- 
pressed sympathy with the kidnapping idea he was not en- 
listed in the scheme, but Booth determined that he and 
Herrold would work it out alone, lest too many in the 
plot might cause a leak. He and Herrold made a number 
of trips over the routes both together and alone, and a 
number of plans with dates were fixed to do the kidnappinq:, 
hut something had at each time intervened to balk the 
effort, and they determined that this time they would carry 
out the scheme at all hazards and had just made a final 
survey along the route and were returning to Washington 
to carry out the plot. They stopped over for the night at 
-Surrattsville, and next morning. April 1 1-, 186.5, saddled 
their steeds and started for the National Capitol. On 
crossing the East Potomac bridge they refused to cive their 
names ard v-ere arrested at the 'Xavy Yard end and de- 
tained until the afternoon when they were by- order issued 
by Gen. Augur calling in all guards and discharging all 
prisoners, released. 

They arrived at the Kirkwood Hotel — rendezvous of 
the kidnapping contingents, and where incidentally Vice- 
President Andrew Johnson also roomed. On crossing the 
bridge Booth first learned of the surrender of Lee and 
the fall of Richmond and concluded there was nothing left 



WANDERINGS OF J WILKES BOOTH 23 

to do but leave the country and abandon southland to 
what was believed to be a miserable fate, of disporting and 
sweeping confiscations and official plunder by an invading 
foe. However, he says, about 4:30 p. m. he met * * * 
who taunted him with cowardice, of wincing at the crucial 
period, of faltering at the supreme moment, winding up 
with the hint: "Are you too faint-hearted to kill?" Then 
and there the idea of daring over-came Booth, he declares, 
and that then and there he determined to act on the hint. 
Here with hand raised on high and calling on his maker 
to witness, he avers solemnly that this was the first time 
any idea entered into his mind other than the kidnapping 
of the President. But as General and Mrs. Grant were 
to be guests of President and Mrs. Lincoln and occupj' a 
box at the Ford theatre together, presented a dangerous 
barrier. He was known at the bridge; he and Herrold 
were already under suspicion, having but a few hours 
previous been arrested as suspicious characters in broad 
day when entering the city via the East Potomac bridge, 
and to carry out the idea meant certain death, or seemingly 
so, which belief he communicated to * * *. And that 
it would be impossible to escape through the military lines 
of protection completely surrounding the city. But he was 
assured that arrangements would be made so that Grant 
would not attend the theatre, to which Booth replied under 
such assurances he would strike the blow for vanquished 
and helpless southland. Mr. * * » left the room, return- 
ing in about an hour sayin? it had been effectually arranged; 
that Grant would be suddenly called out of the city; that 
such persons as would occupy the box would not interfere, 
and that he would be permitted to escape by way of the 
route over which he and Herrold had entered the city that 
afternoon; that all guards would be called off by order of 
Gen. C. C. Augur that evening, but if there should be 
guards on the bridge the only requirement would be to use 
the password "T. B." unless more should be demanded, in 
which case the words "T. B. Road." Furthermore, on the 
death of I,incoln, Andrew Johnson, a southern man would 
become President, and that in his official capacity would in 
case of a show down grant full pardon. 

Fired by the spirit of what Booth believed to be patriot- 
ism, and hoping to serve the southern cause, hopeless as it 
then was, as no other man could do, he regarded it as an 
opportunity for heroism for his country; declaring that and 
that alone was behind his purpose; rather than any feeling 
of hatred or malice against the President. And on further 
telling, says Booth, that Johnson would protect the people 
of the south from personal prosecution and the confiscation 
of their remaining land estates. Acting upon these assur- 



WANDKRINGS OF .1 WILKES BOOTH 



ancvs and with no other motive tlian stated he began at 
onre prepiirntion for carrying out the plot by goinp to the 
theatre and among other tilings arranging the door leading 
into the box to be occupied by the presidential party, so 
that he could raise the fastenings, enter the box and close 
the door behind hiui so it could be easily opened from the 
inside. He then returned to the Kirkwood and made his 
derringer ready so it would not miss fire. He then met 
• • • and informed him of his readiness to carry out 
the plot; that about 8:30 they repaired to the Kirkwood 
bar and drank a glass of brandy to the success of the 
undertaking; thence to the street arm-in-arm, and at the 
parting: 

".Make as sure of your aim as have been arrangements 
for your escape, for in your complete success lies our only 
hope." Then being assured that the plot would be success- 
fully carried out Mr. • * • replied: "Then from now 
on a southern man is President of the United States," at 
which a hand-grasp an final good-bye. 

Rooth says that he then returned to the theatre and 
saw the President and party enter the box, and he moved 
position to a con\enient ]inint, and at a time when the pl-^y 
was well before the footlights he entered the box. closed 
the door and fired the fatal shot which imade Andrew 
Johnson President, and he. Booth, an outcast, a wanderer, 
and ever after with the brand of Cain. ".\s I fired." says 
Booth, "the same instant that I leaped from the box to 
the stage my riirht leg becoming tangled in the drapery, 
fracturing my right shin bone about six or eight inches 
above the ankle. T reached my horse in safety which .by 
arrangement was being held by Herrold back of the theatre 
and close to the door. With Herrold's assistance I mount- 
ed and rode at full speed, reaching the east Potomac bridge, 
crossing the same at full pace. On coming to the gate at 
the east end there stood a federal guard who asked, "Where 
.ire you iming?" to which I merely used the letters T. B. 
On a further question easy to answer, "Where?" the full 
password, T. B. Road was given. Without further cere- 
mony the guard called for help in raising the gate quickly, 
when I again put spur for Surrattsville, where I waited for 
Herrold to catch up as prearranged. After waiting a few 
minutes Herrold joined me and we rode the remainder of 
the night until about I o'clock in the morning of April 15. 
when we reached the home of Dr. Samuel Mudd. where my 
right riding boot was removed by cutting a slit in it and 
my wounded foot and leg were dressed by a banding of 
strips of cloth and splints of a cigar box. We remained 
at the ^Tndd h^me the r»>mninder f^f the day, and nt night- 
fall, leaving Ihe 'lit ridintr bnrt. \vp procredrd ( n I'wr 



WANDERINGS OF J WILKES HOOTII 25 



journey, usiuK a crutch luadc from a broom handle. Our 
next liaul up was at tlie liome of a southern sympatlii/.er 
named Cox, about 4 or 5 o'clock of April 16". Mr. Cnx 
refu.'-ed to admit us in the bouse on account of news of tli-i 
President beinj; shot havinfr preceeded us. However, be 
called his manager and instructed bim to bide us in a pine 
thicket near the Potomac banks just back of the planta- 
tion. The manajrer was of medium beigiit, approximately 
my weipbt, but not quite .so tall, swarthy, black eyes and 
bair, with a short irrowth of beard. T called him by the 
name familiarly used when not knowinfi' the true name — 
"Johnny, afterwards Ruddy because we bad beard Cox 
address bin) by that na'ue." Neg'otiations were made with 
Ruddy to deliver Booth and Herrold safely across the 
country to the care and custody of the Confederate soldiers 
under Mo.sby's command on the Rhappahanock near and 
south of Bowlinsr Green: $300.00 dollars beinjr the retainer 
airreed upon. Here Ruddy left Booth and Herrold in hid- 
ings' and started on foot to Bowling Green, a distance of 
something like thirty-five miles, to arrange to meet Lieu- 
tenants Rutledge and Bainbridge at a time and place to 
be made definite, on the Rhappahanock — dividinsr line be- 
tween camps of federal and confederate forces. Ruddy was 
gone from the 17th to the 21st, meantime Booth and 
Herrold being guarded and cared for by Cox's half-brother 
Jones. Ruddy had arranged with Captain Jett, Lieutenant.s 
Rutledge and Bainbridge to meet Booth, Herrold and Ruddy 
at a designated point on the Rhappahanock near Ports 
Conway and Royal at 2 o'clock p. m. of April 22. Whither 
they started on the evening of April 21, crossing to the 
south side of the Potomac 18 miles from the point agreed 
upon through an open country 18 miles to the Rappahanock. 
Of course it would be over-risk to attempt this venture, 
especially as the country was being scoured by federal 
man-hunter.s — soldiers in a vie as to who should keep the 
other fellow off track until bagging the game for the 
"honor" of it: others to throw every one else off track in 
orde rto gain the fabuloiis reward said to have been offered 
without a fifty-fifty divide. Hence Ruddy made a deal with 
a plantaticm darky who owned a pair of bony ponies and 
an old ramshackle wagon. T^ewis, the old darkey, placed 
straw in the bottom of the wagon bed and on this Booth 
was tucked and stretched out so as to take up as little 
visible exterior as possible like a sealed package to prevent 
discovery. More straw and slats were lain across the lower 
section of the wagon box on which an old mattress was 
.spread, old nuilts, blanket remnants, and such other rub- 
bish as a darkey might be expected to possess on making 
an inventory of .stock by way of moving. To make the 



26 WANDERINGS OF J WILKES BOOTH 



outfit more unsuspicious a chicken coop was fastened on 
behind and in this were some old hens and a rooster; with 
straw bedding, feed, and water bowls. The start was made 
on this perilous trip at 6 a. m., April 22, so as to be at the 
appointed place on the Rhappahanock on schedule time. 
Ruddy and Herrold walking behind at such precautious 
distance as not to arouse suspicion should any man-hunter 
appear. Booth had in his inside pocket a memorandum 
book in which was a photo and his diary. There was also 
a photo of his sister, a few personal letters, and a check 
on Bank of Ontario which had been made payable to Ruddy. 
After crossing the Rhappahanock, Lewis remarked with 
excitement that soldiers were coming. Booth overhearing 
decided that it was federal soldiers, and as he was being 
hurriedly dragged out by the heels he had all kinds ef 
spooky visions; but the troops proved to be Jett, Bain- 
bridge, and Rutledge there on the dot. Booth discovered 
at once that on being dragged from his bed of straw his 
memorandum book and other pocket contents had fallen 
out; hence he requested Ruddy to recross the river and 
hunt the old darkey before too late and recover his lost 
treasures. After receiving the check which it seems had 
not been lost out. Ruddy got on the batteau boat; and as 
they verc t^^o dangerously e\pnped to wait, the three, 
Bainbridge, Rutledge, and Booth made a hurry drive for 
the Garrett home about three and a half miles up and off 
from the Potomac road, while it was arransfed that Jett, 
Herrold, and Ruddy should go from there to Bowling Green 
to purchase a shoe for Booth's game foot, and a few other 
necessary items, and make further arrangements for the 
safe delivery within the Confederate lines and that they — 
Ruddy, Jett, and Herrold should be able to join them at 
the Garrett home next evening. W^ith this understanding 
Lieutenants Bainbridge and Rutledge placed Booth on the 
Jett horse and the trio were soon safe in the Garrett home. 
Booth being left with a heavy wooden cane, having "dis- 
carded the crutch," wliile Bainbridge and Rutledge were to 
keep watch from a hill some distance away for any threat- 
ened danger. .About 2 p. m. of April 23 while Booth 
was enjoying a loll on the lawn of the front yard, Bain- 
bridge and Rutledge noticed some Yankees across the 
Rhappahanock and immediately the guards darted into the 
thicket. Arriving at the Garrett home they notified Booth 
to take to tall timber at once without so much as a fare- 
well to his hosts. Bainbridge and Rutledge were evidently 
familiar with the topography and other physical conditions 
of that section and readily instructed Booth just where to 
land, the winds and elbows and other devious contours, and 
there he should listen for a signal from them and they 



WANDl'.RINGS OF J WILKES HOOTH 27 



would join iiiin as soon as safe, whicli was about i p. m. 
Bainbridge and Rutledge were on the scene with an extra 
horse. They rode westerly until about twelve o'clock that 
night, when they rested in the wocds. Giving directions as 
to the further route Bainbridge and Rutledge at last sepa- 
rated from Booth 25 miles west of Garrett's or Port Royal 
and Conway. Booth rode west all that day, then south- 
west until 10 a. m. second day from the Garrett home via 
a dim road. He stopped at a small farm house on a blind 
trail where tliree elderly women took him in, a "wounded 
confederate soldier" for breakfast — self and horse. Here 
Booth rested a few hours, riding the remainder of the day 
and until near 12 at night when he camped in a clump of 
small i)uslies on a small creek bottom some distance from 
the road for the rest of the night. At an early hour next 
morning he took breakfast at the home of an old gentle- 
man and wife; then hurried in a southwest direction for 
some days, where Confederate soldiers were in strong evi- 
dence. Down through West Virginia, crossing the Big 
Sandy at Warfield's in eastern Kentucky, thence two days 
southwest covering about sixty miles where he found shelter 
with a young widow named Stapleton, with a small boy. 
As a wounded Confederate he was safe here, remaining a 
week. Thence south to the Mississippi River where he 
found a safe crossing, and a trifle south of the mouth 
of the Arkansas river. After parting with Bainbridge and 
Rutledge the first night out from the Garrett home Booth 
was accompanied much of the way by Dr. D. B. O'Brannon. 
Reaching the Arkansas he followed it southerly on 
the east bank until near Fort Gibson where he crossed and 
associated first among the Cherokees who treated him ho.s- 
pitably, but they were too highly educated and civilized 
for safety, hence he attached himself to a band of Apaches 
whose women, he says, were rather intelligent and many of 
them really good looking; but the men were not so intelli- 
gent and didn't like the idea of work; especially the chief 
who was excpptiimally lazy, but equally kind as was every 
member of the tribe. 

Crossing the Plains as "Jesse Smith 
In the course of a year he tired of that nomadic career 
and longed again for civilization, to find compani.onship 
consrenial; hence bidding his Indian friends a last han(7- 
shake started across the country' passing through probably 
what are Pottawatomie, Cleveland and Canadian counties, 
then bearing north and crossing into Kansas not far from 
Kiowa; thence westerly hugging the streams until he reached 
Nebraska City where I^evi Thrailkill was fitting out a crew 
to transport supplies for troops at Salt Lake, via horse 
teams. Under the name of Jesse Smith, Booth engaged. 



28 WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 

Thrailkill had a contract with the government to supply 
provisions for the troops at Salt Lake and readily gave the 
stranger a pair of lines. According to Mr. Thrailkill who 
resided near Enid at the time of the suicide, Smith seemed 
to know nothing whatever about handling horses, could 
neither harness nor unharness them, but soon learned to 
handle the lines fairly well. He was such a genial fellow, 
however, that the other teamsters gladly relieved him of 
the task of harnessing and unharnessing, as weJI as from 
camp duties. He was the life and joy of the camp, always 
with a word of clieer, a recitation of some poem or quot- 
ing great dramatists, especially Shakespeare which was done 
in tragedy, pathos or emotion as the case might warrant. 
In fact, he could laugh with those who laugh, shed artificial 
tears and shape his face to any occasion. When near Salt 
Lake, Smith left the train without so much as bidding 
good-bye or drawing his pay. From here it was learned 
that he made direct for San Francisco where after visiting 
his mother and brother he made his way into Old Mexico, 
the only tarry so far as known being at Fresno. In Mexico 
he attached himself to Maximillian's forces, but soon had a 
misunderstanding and was only saved from serious conse- 
quences through the intervention of Catholics, to which 
denom-nr^i'^n It" b^'mtrrd ^r-d "'nf^ a d^vu*- niember. For 
a while he roamed over the lands of the Aztecs in the 
guise of an itinerant priest. 

Becomes A Country Merchant 
From Mexico, about 1871 or 1872, he made his way 
into Texas, stopping at Glenrose Mills at the foot of Bosque 
Mountain in Hood County, that being then the boundary of 
western civilization. Here he bought out a dealer in 
tobacco and carried a small supply of groceries and whiskey, 
the man from whom he purchased moving to Granberry, 
some thirty miles east. Meantime continued the business 
trusting it mostly to a Mexican porter, and occupying a 
rough log house, the rear end as a living room for he and 
the porter, and the front as a "store". It seems that Booth 
either failed to notify authorities of the change or secure 
license required of those dealing in tobacco and whiskey. 
The result was the party from whom he purchased was 
indicted by the government grand jury at Tyler for doing 
business without the required license. The indicted man 
consulted a j'oung attorney who had drifted in from Tenn- 
essee to try his fortune in the land of cowboys and cactus. 
Mr. Bates then called in Booth, who sailed under the name 
of John St. Helen, and with whom he was slightly at that 
time acquainted. He requested of Booth that he go to 
Tyler and thus relieve the innocent from trouble for which 
he, B»oth, was wholly responsible. He asked time to con- 



WANDERINGS OF J WILKES BOOTH 2P 

sider, which was granted. In due time he called on the 
attorney and told him that there were reasons why he did 
not dare risk going to Tyler; that in fact he was sailing 
under an assumed name, and there being so many detec- 
tives and government spies, and others always hanging 
around the Tyler court, the risk would be too great. He 
would, however, do whatever he could, and suggested that 
the attorney take his client to Tyler and there arrange for 
a plea of guilty, which would undoubtedly draw but a 
slight fine; that he. Booth, would furnish the funds. The 
proposition was accepted and Booth whipped out a leather 
wallet containing an amount of shinplaster and the attor- 
ney and his client lit out overland. Arriving at Tyler 
where Judge Brown was the U. S. District Judge and Jack 
Evans District Attorney the matter of plea and fine was 
arranged and the prisoner discharged. The young attornej' 
and his client returned to Cranberry and handed Booth the 
wallet and contents, less the expense and fine. Booth 
seemed highly delighted at the happy result; but manifested 
much concern about his admission of an assumed name. 
Hence he called on the attorney and requested secrecy, 
at the same time handing him a handsome roll, saying "Now 
that you are my attorney with my interest in keeping I 
shall feel from now on safe from exposure, you being the 
only mortal living possessed of the secret. After a time 
Booth moved to Cranberry bringing the porter along, and 
he and the voung Tennesseean became the fastest of friends. 



At the close of the war, Lieut. M. B. Ruggles became 
associated with the New York firm of Constable & Co., 
which his brother Edward S. retired to a farm in Kings 
county, Va. The father. Gen. Dan Ruggles, also retired 
to his Virginia farm. Jett settled in Carlin county, Va. 
but subsequently moved to Baltimore M'here he married the 
daughter of a prominent physician, and took to the road 
as a commercial traveler. But the three in Booth's escape 
finally associated themselves under the firm name of Jett, 
Bainbridge and Ruggles. Lieut. Bainbridge settled in New 
York associated in the firm of Jett, Bainbridsre and Ruggles. 
In reply to letters written as late as 1889 each of these 
gentlemen unhesitatingly give the part they took i-n the 
escape of Booth, and in each case the statement of Booth 
while in Texas is fully corroborated. "While crossing the 
Rhappahanock," says Lieut. Ruggles, "Booth wore a black 
slouch hat pulled down well over his forehead," etc. That 
after landing Booth safely in the Garrett home, they next 
day saw two Federals on horseback in hot pursuit; that 
they, Ruggles and Bainbridge, were signaled for a parley, 
but instead made a rapid dash into the thick underbrush 



30 



WANDERINGS OF .1 WILKES BOOTH 



and reached the Garrett home in time to warn Bootli who 
immediately struck out for the tall timber and interming- 
ling jungles, and then they made their way to safety; that 
when warning Booth he was given a signal by which he 
would know it was they, and that they would join him 
as soon as safety would warrant; that they did go to the 
hiding place of Booth, and together they made a safe get- 
away, very much as related by Booth in his Texas state- 
ment. 

In a letter from the Judge Advocate's office in Wash- 
ington City under date of January 23, 1898, Judge G. 
Norman Lieber and his secretary G. D. Micklejohn join in 
a reply to one asking if it would interest the Department 
to know that John Wilkes Booth was at that day still alive; 
that while the Department had no positive or direct proof 
that the man killed at the Garrett home was Booth, they 
had circumstantial evidence, and any further evidence as 
proofs would not interest the Department. 

Booth, or the mj^sterious strange'-, was traced to Lead- 
ville in the late fall of 1878. Next to Fresno, California, in 
1884; from whence probably he wended back to his old 
haunts at Fort Worth, as per scene in Pickwick bar else- 
where. 



SIDE-LIGHTS ON BOOTH IN OKLAHOMA 

The story now leads into Oklahoma briefly as told in 
the Historia account, which is repeated with such notes 
and remembered incidents of the visit to Waukomis as havp 
lince been discovered or that can be called to mind.. 
(Reproduced from Historia, October, 1919.) 

Although half a century has passed 
since the tragedy in which J. Wilkes 
Booth was the active principal, there 
has been no lessening in reverence for 
the name of Lincoln, nor much in the 
bitterness toward the man who wrought 
his death. This is not confined to those 
still living who have personal memor- 
ories of that day, but the sspirit of 
the parent has been transmitted to the 
son with added energj' to such an ex- 
tent that any reference to J. W^ilkes 
Booth requires a touch of delicacy lest 
censure if not reprimand follow. 

Indeed it means a "path of coals" 
for any one who dares intimate that 
Booth was not the man killed at 




WANDERINGS OF J WILKES BOOTH 31 



the Garrett home in \'irginia in 1865; or that he escaped 
and during his nomadic meanderings made Oklahoma a 
favorite sojourning place until the "ending of the trial" 
at Enid, in January, 1903, via the suicide route. And yet 
there is vastly more evidence in favor of that contention 
than was ever produced that it was Booth who was killed 
at the Garrett home, instead of some one else. However, 
it is not the purpose here to go into details of the tragedy 
further than to throw a little calcium across the tortuous 
path of him, whom for simplicity sake is here designated 
as Booth, although that path was under an alias sky, 
especially that of David E. George; and that path will 
here be confined as near as practicable to Oklahoma, with 
only such other references as may seem tending to es- 
tablish identity of George and Booth as one and the same. 
As a prelude, reference is made to a letter now among 
the manuscripts of the Oklahoma Historical Society and 
which will follow: but before introducing the letter, the 
reader will be carried back to 1897, when it will be re- 
membered by old-timers, especially of Oklahoma City, 
occurred the death of General George H. Thomas, whose 
remains were shipped by his nephew to the old home at 
Portland, Maine. General Thomas came to Oklahoma City 
from Texas. He at once inocculated himself with the 
spirit of the town's active citizenship, and became instru- 
mental in building the city water works, holding 52 shares, 
or a majority stock, which he transferred to the city in 
1892. His son George H., Jr., soon after left the country 
and witli his wife wandered over foreign lands, first to 
Stockholm, Sweden, from whence he wrote friends here 
enclosing a photo of himself and wife on a log angling 
for fish from one of the clear streams of northland. The 
next letter (with photo enclosure) hailed from Russia 
Later he took up a residence in "gay Paree," France, 
from whence he wrote; this being soon after war had 
been declared between Germany and France. George 
suggested a scheme for bringing the Germans at once to 
their knees— simply sending a few Americans over and place 
them on the trenches, and then dare Germany to fire. 
French women, he declared, had been experimented with in 
that role, but the Germans cruelly ignored petticoats" and 
fired througii, over, beyond, everywhere into the trenches. 

The same year in which General Thomas died in this 
city. General Edward L. Thomas, who did service during 
the Rebellion on the C. S. A. side, died at McAlester where 
he had served a number of years as Indian agent for the 
Sac and Fox consolidated tribe. Seeing an account of the 
death of the two Thomases, Mrs. Louisa A. Walton wrote 
a letter from Beverly, N. J., to the commander of the 



32 WANDERING S OF ,1 WIl.KES BOOTH 

U. C. V. at Oklalinina Cily making inquiry concerning a 
certain General Thomas for whom she was searching. On 
receiving such information as was available at this end 
of the line concerning the Oklahoma Thomases, she wrote 
again to tiie Commander of the Oklahoma division U. C. 
v., at that time Captain John O. Casler, now landscape 
gardener at the Confederate home near Ardmore. This 
letter was under Beverly date of April 13, 1898. 

"General Edward L. Thomas is not the man I mean. 
The General Thomas of whom I desire information died 
either in the summer of 95 or 96. I tried to find a little 
record sketch of his war record in Philadelphia! because 
I saw it in the 'Philadelphia Evening Telegraph.' I put 
the paper away carefully, but it was accidentally destroyed 
by one of my servants before I clipped the piece out. 
They do not remember it at the "Telegraph office,' and 
have searched files of papers for it without success; but 
as several editions are published daily and one only filed 
I suppose it was in the edition they destroyed. They 
tell me that Henry 'George' Thomas was a Confederate 
General. 'George' Henry a Union General, and that the 
one in Oklahoma must be the one. He is not, for he, 
(the one I mean), died earlier than '97. I met him in 
Philadelphia in 1863. He fainted on the pavement in 
front of my Aunt's house one summer morning; her 
servants carried him into the house; and we used the 
proper restoratives and sent him in the carriage to the 
depot (Baltimore) when he was able to continue his 
journey. He was in company with a younger man, who 
I never saw again until I saw his face in papers as' the 
murderer of 'Lincoln' (John Wilkes Booth). Their faces 
are indelibly stamped on my memory; also the conversa- 
tion. Though we urged them to tell us their names, they 
refused, though they assured us they were very grateful. 
I think they feared we would betray them because we 
were Union women. No true woman would be guilty of 
such an act, for suffering always appeals to her heart, 
sometimes against her better judgment. My Aunt daily 
left her luxurious home to nurse the sick and wounded 
soldiers at 15th, J. Filbert St. Hospital (now Broad St. 
Station of Pennsylvania Railroad). There were a dozen 
Confederates there at that time, and they were just as 
carefully cared for as the Union soldiers. She lost her 
life from too great devotion to the work. 'Booth' told us 
that his friend had been ill, and in his anxiety to reach 
home had over-estimated his strength. Taking my Aunt's 
hand in his and looking her full in the face, he said, 
'"Would you befriend us if you knew us to be enemies?' 
Her reply wag, 'If thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he 



i 










■* if"-., 







BRVANTOWN. 
The Place Gen. Oana Reach^^d on the Mornlne and Remained 
During the Day of April I5th, 1865. While Booth Was 
Resting That Same Day at the Home ot Or Mudd. Only 
Three and a Half Miles Away 







"' _ ''Wf;!!l?'^i;;';'"'*'"''^;Tv'y'^i|j^^^ 




HOME OP DR JfVDD, 
Where Booth and Hero'.J 3u/ad All NlfhV 




Surrattsville Tavern. 



?¥' 




it^'-^^^=h 












""^ 



K 
H 



Home of Capt. Sam Cox 



WANDERINGS OF J WILKES BOOTH 33 



thirst, give him drink.' 'Yen are a noble woman, and 
have ministered to a man whose life can illy be spared; 
may God bless you for your kindness' was 'Booth's' reply. 
Aunt entered into life eternal December 31, 1864, and 
never knew the names of these men, or the tragic death 
of 'Booth'. Nor did I, until t.incdn's death know who 
Booth was. Nor until over thirty years did I know the 
name of the sick man, until I read his death notice in 
1896 or 7. I was a very ycung girl at the time of this 
meeting and I am the only one living of the quartette. 
I shall never forget these two hours, nor the shock I re- 
ceived at seeing Booth's face as the face of an assassin. 
I had woven a romance arrund him. and expected to see 
his beautiful brow crowned with laurels. Alas for my 
dream. Both men were in citizen dress. General Thomas 
was a medium sized man (short compared with my father 
ard brothcrss who are all 6 foot and over), dark mustache, 
closrly cropped hair, swarthy complexion: had a white silk 
handkerchief knoltrd around h's neck. The piece I refer 
to spoke of his illness in 1863 in Philadelphia, from a 
wcu'^d rn the back of his neck; (that accounting for the 
handkerchief), that when rn his way to join his command 
he was recognized in Baltimore as nn escaped prisoner 
of war; and was taken to Fortress Monroe." So he must 
have been captured the dav after we saw him. I can 
not remember the initials of his name, and he must have 
been in the thirties when I saw him; for he was much 
older than Booth. Since reading that sketch I remember 
that Booth's sister, Mrs. Clark, lived one three squares 
from my Aunt, and I suppose she was caring for him 
in his illness. I think this General Thomas must have 
belonged to a Virginia family. Was there not more than 
one General Thomas in Confederate Service?" 

Neither of the Oklahoma Thomases proved to be the 
one wanted, and she was advised to write to certain parties 
at Richmond, Va., which she did, locating the Thomas she 
was after, but who had died some time previous. 

It seems that J. Wilkes Booth was then associated with 
General Bell in efforts to free Confederate prisoners, for 
which General Bell was subsequently hung by the Federal 
government. One of Booth's beneficiaries was the General 
Thomas for whom Mrs. Walton was searching. He was 
a Confederate and had been taken prisoner, and confined 
in Fort Delaware, from whence by the friendly and sym- 
pathetic aid of Booth he escaped. The General Edward 
I>. Thomas referred to was a Brigadier in command of a 
Georgia brigade, and was an uncle of Heck Thomas, the 
famous member of the "big three'' marshals who gained 
^ch fame in out-law hunting in Oklahoma, and who 



34 WANDERINGS OF J WILKES BOOTH 

with Honorable W. H. Tilghman and Chris Madscn cut 
central figures in Mr. Tilgh-nan's movie — "Last of the 
Oklahoma Outlaws." Heck Thnmas served as cornier for 
his uncle the last three years of Ihe Rebellion, beinp only 
14. years old when he entered the service. Died at Lawton, 
in 1916. 

Verily this Walton inquiry seems in some respects 
rather coincidental, inviting to the field of speculation. 
Why comes from the far east westward half way across 
the continent to Oklahoma this weird Booth incident at 
this particular time when he was in wanderings on the 
border fringes of th's very section? And then the name 
of Henry "George" Thomas, the "George" being quoted — 
the name under which Booth went at th^ time rf com- 
mitting suicide at Enid five years later. What force was 
behind it all? Cculd it have b^en the Aunt referred to 
by Mrs. Walton? and if so, might she not have had other 
Booth maUeis under veil which the world will never 
know? There are other transpirirgs wljicli seem coinci- 
dental that might lead to the field of speculation: Boston 
Corbett, who killed s^me ere. alleged to be Booth, at the 
Garrett farm in 1865, drifted west into Kansas at thi.. 
particular seasrn, where he subser-uenlly b'came sergeant 
of thp Kansas Senate; thence to Texas wliere Booth spent 
the '70's, and asa'in in later days, and wh^re he. Corbett, 
went mad and died. It mav be called to mind th^t Boston 
Corbett shied clear as pcssible rf the Booth episrde matter 
and that any inadvertant reference to h's part in the 
Garrett home tragedy crused a discernable quivering, a 
slight voice-tremor and biting of the lips. So far as" the 
Historia min knows, Boston Corbett never mentioned the 
name of Booth, his only reference being, and that only 
when the question was pressed: "We — killed a man." in- 
variably using the "we." Another thing may not be 
altogether out of the line of coincidentals: That at the 
very date of the Walton letter — that is, the same year — 
1897, General D. D. Dana emerged from his garden at 
the old Maine home for the first time to give to the 
-world through the Boston press his account of the tracing 
of Booth so minutely throughout his wanderings, from 
crossing the Potomac bridge to Bryantown, to Dr. Mudd's, 
the Cox home, the Patuxent river, the Potomac; the neigh- 
ing of his horses and their slaughter to keep them silent; 
what Bnrth said, how he now and then turned in his 
saddle — his very thoughts, uttered and unuttered, during 
these hide-and-seek dodglngs until the final "ending of the 
trail" at the Garrett home and burial of the remains 
"under a slab in the navy yard near the jail," according 
to General Dana, and at various other places at the same 



WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 35 



time, as stated by various other eminents. Indeed what' 
a line of inconsistencies, incoherencies, discrepancies aind 
coincidentals conspire to set the mind wondering, and the 
imagination wandering tlirough vauge fields of speculation f 
Even the writer is not wholly immune from the arrows 
of the speculative archer, although he was in conscious 
existence at the time of the trngedy which left its in- 
delible impression. In fact it f('l to his lot to assist in ^ 
receiving telegraphic reports of this tr;:gedy from tli h ur 
of firing the fatal shot to the closing of last ceiei i !-'.ies 
over the remains of the d: :id presiden.. During th '80s 
the writer filed this report with the Kansas Hist^'rlcai 
Society, which be was partially instrumental in establish- 
ing during a meeting of the Kansas editors at Manhattan, 
April 9, 1879. In taking this report from the wires the old 
Morris system was used — indentures on a paper ribbon 
which automatically unwound from a reel much like those 
used today only in movies where the young stock gambler 
unwinds and reads the market's up and down to see 
wiietlier he wins and gets the girl, or goes broke and loses 
her. The report was transcribed on long sheets of yellow 
"onion peel" paper, and made quite a voluminous roll. As 
the writer had never been in the East and Booth had 
never be< n in the West before the great national tragedy,- 
there had been no physical meeting with him. Yet por- 
traits of the tragedian as given in the press and in maga- 
zincii immediately following the assassination and subse- 
(juent. were strongly engraved on memory's scroll. If the- 
affirmative is permi.'^sible in.'^tead of guess, the first meet- 
ing was at Topcka, Kansas, some time in the middle '80s. 
Passing tlie Crawford restaurant, then tlip leading provin- 
der shop in the city, a gentleman was noticed occupying a 
chair just outside and near the open door, leaned back in a 
safe angle against the wall. The stranger was in a rather 
nonchalant mood, gently twirling a small cane between the 
thumb and forefinger of one hand and as gently twisting at 
the tips of his raven black imperial mustache with the 
other. The writer dropped into a chair nearby, whereat 
. the stranger released his chair from the wall and brought 
it to a square position. This stranger was in a neat-fitting- 
suit of black, coat of Prince Albert pattern, and the hat 
of the Stetson order, though with a rim somewhat broader 
than the usual. Hir hair was jet black, of silky texture, 
and inclined to curl or wave at the bottom. On squaring 
the chair, the stranger cast a hasty glance at his visitor, 
then cast his eyes a trifle down, with a meditative expres- 
sicn, at tlie sau'C time bringing tlie hand in which he 
held the cane to his mustache as he gave the tips anothi^r 
grntle twist. Then he again leaned back against the wall. 



96 WANDERINGS OF J WILKES BOOTH 



and looking into the upper blank recited a few lines in 
a truly dramatic vein, though rather low. Cutting short 
as if to recover from inadvertancc, he once more brought 
his chair to a square position. The writer was impressed 
at the strangeness of the stranger, at his dramatic bear- 
ing and ventured a trifle familiarity. Slapping the stranger 
on one knee, who at first gave a quick stare between re- 
sentment and surprise, but in an instant assumed an at- 
tentive pose. It flashed upon the mind of the writer that 
his new and ephemeral companion was either a theatrical 
man or a dramatic reader. Acting upon this he arose and 
gave an inviting glance down at the stranger, who als« 
arose. As a test to surmise, the writer remarked: "I be- 
lieve I will take a walk over to the new theatre." (But 
recently erected, a block or so west of the Crawford.) 
"The new the-a-tre." the stranger remarked, as he slightly 
inclined his head and peered up from beneath black silken 
brows. Raising his countenance and with a side glance; 
"then you have two the-a-tres, (not exactly questioning, 
nor exactly in surprise, but in seeming effort to disguise a 
knowledge of the fact.) With this he stepped to the 
writer's side, slightly resting one foot as he placed a 
hand on one slioulder, more friendly than familiar. "I 
presume we shall meet again — possibly." (The latter word 
in a tone of question half aside.) "I hope so," was the 
reply. "I like to meet people, and never meet anyone with- 
out a hope of meeting again. Excuse proverbial Yankee 
curiosity in asking j'our name, and I may sav, your line." 
"Well," he returned, slightly turning as he twirled the 
cane and twisted at his mustache a moment, "I have pot 
been bold enough to ask your name nor your profession. 
"Campbell,' was the immediate interpose: "and yours?" 
"Let me see," with a trifle meditative pause, then looking 
his questioner straight in the eye, "how does Thomas, or 
Johnson strike you, with a traveling suit, for instance?" 
With this, the stranger lightly pressed the writer's shoul- 
der, and in a manner that bordered on seeming regret at 
parting, turned away and leisurely passed inside the res- 
taurant twirling his cane. While there was so much 
peculiar about the incident, the exact date cannot now be 
recalled. A few years after, while on a Rock Island 
train somewhere between Pond Creek and Kingfisher, a 
gentleman entered from another car and seated himself 
by the writer. There was something in the appearance 
of the newcomer whidi at once impressed "Where have I 
seen that face before," was the first unuttered flash. 
There was the black curving eyebrows, the black imperial 
mustache, the black flowing hair, all of which called back 
the incident at Topeka; but this man was in gray clothes 



WANDERINGS OF J WILKES BOOTH 37 



of business cut, and a Scottish plaid cap. At Enid one of 
the occupants of the seat just in front got off, while an- 
other man entered and took the seat, placing a grip on 
his lap, on whidj was visibly lettered "C. Carlton." He 
also carried a bundle of show programs in which the new 
seat-mate seemed .specially interested. Tapping the young 
man lijrhtly rn Ihe shoulder, a program was handed over 
before he had time to speak. This he held up in front of 
him with a sort of critical quiz. "Do you belong to the 
profesh?" was asked by the young man, at which the seat- 
mate peered over the edge of the program with a staring 
frown. "The pro-FESH !" as if it was the term that 
l^iqued. "No!" And the seat-mate hid his ire behind the 
spread program a moment. Then as if to amend for in- 
advertent breech, he asked: "Where do you perform?'' The 
last word after a pause ,as if trying to coin some word 
commensurate with "profesh." "O-o— let me see," said the 
young man, scratching below and behind the right ear. 
"We show all over — everywhere," with an air of pomp. 
"•I mean your next stand." "Oh," and the young man 
referred to his memorandum. "At the El Reno theatre." 
"So! And they have a the-a-tre at that village," with a^ 
humorous twinkle. .At this juncture Kingfisher statioih 
was called and the writer got off the train, reflecting on 
the peculiar long "a" in theatre that called up the Topeka- 
incident. In fact this long "a'' like an unbidden tune, 
kept up its intrusion for some time. 

Referring to this incident on the train, the writer 
calls to mind that in 1893 Charles Carlton, with blonde 
hair, etc., put on "Nevada the Gold King" at the Kingfisher 
hall with a local cast, Miss Henrietta Parker (now Com- 
den) in the leading lady role. Mr. Camden, J. S. Ross, 
Dr. Spangler, Miss Mize, Mina Admire, being among others, 
of the cast, the writer as "Nevada." 

The third meeting with the mysterious stranger — and 
right here it may be well to state that at neither of these 
meetings did the writer recognize the part.v referred to as 
Booth, nor does he now know that it was him. Hence in 
designating the party as Booth is wholly in the presump- 
tive. It was at the Waukomis Hornet office during the 
afternoon of January fi, 1903, when he stopped immediately 
in front of the door, planting one foot on the entrance silT 
where he paused seemingly to be recognized before enter- 
ing. The stranger had black hair, brows and mustache 
and was dressed in a black suit, the coat being Prince 
Albert, tlie hat of the Stetson pattern, the entire showing 
the ravages of wear, but dean. There was the little cane 
between thumb and finger going through involuntary twirl- 
ings. There was a noticeable furrowing in the features. 



38 WANDERINGS OF .1 WITKES BOOTH 

and beneath the veneerinp black a slijrht trace of gray, 
▼ifiible, however, only on closest observation, and recallable 
only through subsequent events. "Well, come in and look 
out," said the writer as he noticed the stranger, who 
stepped inside. The wear of years were such that the 
writer did not at first identify the newcomer with any one 
whom he had ever met before; although there were out- 
lincis on memory's wall that read a previous meeting some- 
where at some time, but where? There was a classical 
bearing, a manly pose of gentility that stamped him as 
no common tramp, and this was decidedly emphasized with 
his first utterance. Tipping his liat slightly, working the 
little cane and looking- straight face-to-face with the 
writer, and in a pleasing voice of culture, inquired: 
"Have I the pleasure of addressing Mr. Campbell?" reach- 
ing his hand as the cane became idle. "That's my name," 
returned the writer as he reciprocated the gentle grasp of 
hands. The newcomer referred hurriedlv to a memoran- 
dum, then: "W. P. Campbell?" "W. P.— that is the name I 
go by, at least." At this the stranger seated on a high 
stool which stood near the door, and resting one foot on the 
floor, gave the little cane a succession of twirls and his 
mustache as many twists, then looking the writer square in 
the eye, and with seriously inquisitive tone: "Did you 
ever know any one to go by a name not really his own.'' 
"I may have known many, without knowing it," was the 
reply. The stranger dismounted from the stool and walked 
slowly to and fro in a meditative way for a moment, with 
the now familiar cane and mustache feature. "If not too 
busy," again taking position on the stool, half sitting, with 
one foot on the floor. "Always busy, never busy," replied 
the writer, taking a seat near the stool with his feet 
cocked on the desk: "Fire away." Again, quite deliber- 
ately climbing from the stool the stranger drew near, wit"h 
such peculiar expres.einn on his countenance that the writer 
involuntarily arose and squared himself face to face with 
}iis questioner. The stranger stepped back a very brief 
pace as if to give his gestures play. Then closely eyeing as 
if to rivet attention, and with index finger as close as 
rourtesy wnrrnnted, with dramatic pantomine: "Before 
leaving Fl Reno — I came from there — I was directed by 
Mr. Hensley to call on you, the same by Mr. Eyler (prob- 
ably Ehler) ns T came through Hennessey." "Very kind 
in my friends," the writer interposed, "but what's the 
drive ?" "Exactly," as the stranger readjusted him- 
self ssquare face to face, preceding with slow yet deci- 
sive index-finger gestures and dramatic head accompani- 
ments. "It is a story, the — story — of my life!'' with strong 
emphasis on the last three words. "A story (pause) that 



WANDERINGS OF J WILKES BOOTH 39 



will startle — that will make the very world set up and 
take notice." For a moment there was a mutual eyeing, 
he seemingly to note the impression he had made; on the 
writer's part more in a puzzle as to what it all meant- 
After a moment's suspense, the stranger began a to-and-fro 
meditative pace with cane and mustache accompaniment. 
"My friend," said the writer, "from what I have seen of 

you " The stranger turned abruptly, and in a tone of 

surprise suppressed inquiry: "You have seen me before?" 
"I surely have." The stranger took a half sitting posture 
on the stool closely eyeing the writer and with seeming 
unconsciousness of it, slowly twisting at his mustache. 
"But just when and under what circumstances — didn't I 
meet you in Topeka once?" continued the writer, meeting 
the starry gaze of the stranger, who, with a downward 
glance: "Possibly," then resuming his recent attitude, "I 
have — I think I have been there."' The stranger had 
descended from his perch on the stool, and began a medi- 
tative to-and-fro as he replied without looking up: "I — 
HAVE been ther^." "As I said," continued the writer, 
as the stranger seated on one corner of the desk, one foot 
resting on the floor as he side-faced to the writer. "If 
you will permit me," once more continued the writer, 
"from what I have seen of you, and I need not go back 
of this meeting, right here, and from yrnr manp^r, yrur 
bearing and language — everything, I should judge you 
capable of writing your own story." "Possibly — probably — 
that is so," returned the stranger as he stepped from the 
desk and leaned back with both hands resting on the 
stool behind him. "But it wouldn't be me," quickly shift- 
ing the drift and again assuming the former position on 
the desk corner. "How would it seem to you to be your- 
self, and yet not you? No matter what you write, or say, 
or do, whatever your achievements, how high your ambi- 
tion may reach — it is not you " Getting from the 

desk, and facing the writer, with strong index-finger, "NOT 
YOU!" Turning with the last words and slowly pacing, 
in a fairly pathetic undertone, semi-solus: "Not me." In 
a sort of rambling way that comported with his mind, 
evidently, the stranger alternated with the stool position, 
and uneasily to-and-froing, cane and mustache fingering, 
and talking in a fragmentary way as bits of his story were 
brought out, mixed with inquiries seemingly to test the 
writer's familiarity with Washington life, and the Potomac 
country. 

Classing the stranger as more than an ordinary man — 
dramatic reader past the meridian of use; or a one-time 
knight of the footlights, now too tedious to be entertaining, 
yet too noble for slight, the writer made casual notes 



40 WANDERINGS OF J WII KES BOOTH 

merely cut of respect, being frequently admonished with: 
"Now, just a minute, I'm not quite ready for that." 
Finally I asked the stranger's name. With an intimation 
that more about him would be pleasing. "I advertise as 
a painter." ".Scenic?" "No — well, I guess I could paint a 

scene — with, a brush, but " and he started as if to 

leave. "There's a joh in this town, if you care for one. 

A brand new building " Without waiting for further 

details, th? stranger replied, "Thanks, my friend; however, 
I wi'l not rppnse lonkinnr over your new structure." We 
started. When about midway of the street, Scott's opera 
hcjise was pointed out, with the remark: "You see, this 
little town is on the may — even has a theatre of her own. 
"Rather ssnall place for a the-a-tre." Here the stress on 
the "a" was as had been the case on two other occasions. 

"The prrpiietor wants a set of scenery, and " "Many — 

ruiiierous tlianks," came as an eniphatic interpose, as he 
placed rne hand on tlie writer's sh ulder — the same thrill- 
ing touch as that in the Trpeka incident. "I would not 
Ih'nk f r a nni'irnt rf such n jrh; the the-a-tre has all 
the reverse rf charms for me." To avoid further embar- 
la.ssing th? stranger, the writer remarked that the weather 
vas quite rn.)!\yable f )r January. "Enjoyable no doubt to 
Ihrsc capable of cnjrymcnt," returned the stranger. Just 
thfn on fncing cast the evening sun cast long shadows in 
front. "Tlie davs are growing ^hoitcr," said the writer as 
h" rlancrd at tlif' shadows. "Yes, and as the days grow 
th'irter, the shadows lengthen." said the stranger as he 
swiped al^ng the shadows with his cane. "Did you ever 
chase a shadow?" casually enquired the writer. After -a 
moment's pause in seeming reflection the stranger replied 
as a slight sigh escaped: "They have chased me — are ever 
chnsing me." Slf^w in semi-solus: "Shadows of the past." 
Then with a sudden shift as if to recover: "Shadows of the 
past wouldn't be a bad title for — say — a story, eh?" To 
vhich the writer remarked in half query: "Why not 'Lights 
and Shadows?'" The sti anger prodded with his cane a 
T^mment, then in drawn words and serious tone: "Suppose 
there were no lisrhts?" To which: "With^^ut lichts th^re 
'would be no shadows — haven't you ever had lip'li'^s flit 
mthwart your path?" The stranger gave a nervous twirl of 
the cane and a twist at his mustache: "Verv seldom and 
far between, one — to say how long ago would be to give 
away my age. The other — no matter. I>ike tho one of 
boyhood days, it was fairly dazzling, but only a flicker, a 
transitory beam that lured a moment with promis"; then — 
merged with the shadows." 

On returning to the office before entering, the straneer 
made as if to leave, but was persuaded not to be in a rush. 



WANDERINGS OF J WILKES BOOTH 41 

"Oh, no," he casually returned, he assuming a pose against 
the stool while the writer resumed a seat at the desk and 
began indifferently fumbling at a bunch of pencilings. Just 
then as the writer lifted his hand a sudden whiff of 
wind blew a few sheets of manuscript in pencil from the 
desk to the floor. The stranger was quick to arrest the 
flying pages, and handing them over remarked: "Brain, I 
presume, of — black lead." • Receiving the pages with due 
thanks: "No — simply .jottings of little thoughts as they 
come up to file away," handing the stranger a few pages 
which he read to himself with growing interest as he 
pantomimed. "You, too, must have bowed at the shrine 
where beauty awakens love. I think I discover elements of 
histrionic flights. Were you ever* on the stage?" He was 
informed to the contrary except in an amateur way. Just 
then the writer arose and began rubbing and shaking his 
right leg to stimulate ciiculation. "Rheumatic?" inquired 
the stranger. "No — merely an uneas>' feeling caused by a 
rupture sustained during the rebellion." "Ah, I see." Then 
"I notice it is the right limb," as he advanced his left 
foot and lifted the pants leg an inch or so as if to indicate 
that he, too, wore a scar. 

As if quoting: "Ah, what have we here?" Holding 
the penclings up before him: "Never ask for a kiss, and 
you'll never be refused one." Glancing at the writer: 
"And never get one." To which the writer replied: "That 
will be up to you." After a moment in seeming attempt 
to parry words: "But as purchased soueeze of the hand 
never reaches beyond the wrist, so purchased kisses die on 
the lips." The writer taking a side-glance at the stranger: 
"Who said anything about purchasing? Just take it. Stol- 
en kisses are sweetest, any way." Another moment in a 
parry study: "But it is only the mutual kiss of love that 
binds heart to heart." Then casually giving his mustache 
a twist and his cane a twirl as he took a pace or two. 
"However, you have taught me a lesson. But, I fear me, 
my friend, the lesson comes too late." Half in solus: "If 
I had only thought of that back there — not so very long 
ago." Long breath as he twirls cane. "What might have 
been." Once more he scanned the pencilings until his eyes 
restfd on something which seemingly interested him, if not 
giving worry. After a careful scanning: "Ev^ery Caesar 
has his Brutus." Turning to the writer and somewhat 
nervously tapping the pencilings with fore-finger: "Why 
— why' did you write that?" knitting his brows. Then as 
if to cover any lapse: "But not every Caesar hath his 
Anthony to bury him and — to praise him with covet cen- 
sure." At this point the stranger seems to have first 
noticed a vased calla recently presented by a friend: "You 



42 WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 

seem to be somewhat esthetic as well as — er — romantic. 
With your permission," as he takes the vase from the top 
of the desk and gently strokes the bloom: "Ah," holding 
up a tribute to the calla written on a card he first reads a 
few lines, with pantomimes, then seemingly involuntarily 
reads audibly: 

"O, Calla — Love's emblematic flower, 

Fair blush on white, a brief alluring dower. 

And yet while beauty lingers on thy bloom. 

How sweet, how delicious thy perfume, 

O, Calla! Transient as thy folds so fair, 

Is love that lures, then seals us in despair! 

A moment holding in thy bewitching spell, 

Like love that halts ,then bids abrupt farewell. 

O, Calla, frail — how soon thy beauties fade; 

And fall like hether-down from summer glade! 

Thy charms though brief — a momentary lure. 

And yet how .sweet the moments they endure! 

Like love that halts, then bids abrupt farewell. 

Still memory holds on lips thy chrismed kiss." 

The writer never thought much of the tribute, but as 
rendered by this stranger it seemed great. There was em- 
phasis, in gesture and tone the most highly eloquent and 
dramatic of anything the writer was ever privileged to 
hear or observe. Possibly to some extent from the fact it 
touched that vain spot all possess to some degree. 

On returning the pencilings the stranger stood a mo- 
ment as if to mark any impression his "eloquence" may 
have made, asked the time of day. On being cited to an 
office clock, Hoyt's "Hole in the Ground" was brought into 
requisition with a cute twinkle: "Mr. agent, is your clock 
right?" Again as if to note impressions. "I see you have 
changed garments under the spout — " said the writer, "and 
as usual, got soaked." With this he remarked that perhaps 
it was so late the story might be postponed and 
inquired if the writer would be in Enid soon. 
On being informed that he often went there: "Come 
Saturday and we can go more into details." "All right," 
replied the writer, scarcely expecting to do so. "You can 
locate me by inquiry at the Watrus Drug Store — I am not 
much on the street." At this, he took the writer warmly 
by both hands, and looking him straight in the eye in the 
manner that was a cross between affection, regret at part- 
ing, and a sounding of thoughts. "You need not walk," said 
the writer, reaching into his pockets to bring forth car 
fare. "No offense, I assure you, and I accept your kindly 
suggestion for the deed, but I have plenty of funds — 
enough, at least, and to pay you well for what I am sure 
you will undertake to do. There are so many things 



WANDERINGS OF J WILKES BOOTH 43 



money cannot buy," as he gave a warm grasp of hands; 
"such as that friendship I am more than persuaded I shall 
find in you." Still holding hands, but turning as if 
choiring back some bitter emotion — "Good-bye." Then 
facing the writer, and with a firm hand-grasp, in a tone 
of confidence: "You are a man; you have enjoyed the best 
in life, yet tasted of its bitterest dregs — no — not the bitter- 
est — 'Only perhaps that slight potion all men taste. A 
man — I may trust you with — but there has been no secret — 
as yet revealed. Remember Saturday; and once again- 
good — no; au revoir." After a warm graisp, he let go 
hands, and headed for the station. 



Before closing the chapter one other incident is brought 
up. It was only a week or so since that Col. James DufiFey, 
who was a police official at El Reno, when George stopped 
there, but who is now employed at the state capitol, ex- 
hibited a photograph to the Historia scribe with the 
remark: "Gaze on that and tell me if you ever saw it 
before" — this viithout the least hint as to who it was. "I 
surely have," replied the writer as he glanced at the face," 
Col. DuflFy still holding the photo in his hand. "That is 
the man who called on me at Waukomis in January, 1903, 
and who a week later committed suicide under the name 
of David E. George— J. Wilkes Booth." "You are mis- 
taken," said Col. Duffy, assuming a super-positive atti- 
tude. "John Wilkes Booth was killed at the Garrett 
home in Virginia, April 25, 1866, by one Boston Corbitt. 
I am sure of this because David E. George, while in a 
'spiritually' talkative mood told me so himself — in El Reno 
— only a short time l)efore committing suicide. George 
said he knew J. Wilkes Booth was dead, 'because,' 
said he in a dramatic way, 'the next day after he was 
killed, the body was taken down the river to a lone island 
twenty-seven miles from Washington and secretly buried 
there.'" David E. George might have added that '"I know- 
that John Wilkes Booth is dead, because the body was 
taken to Washington City and secretly buried in a room 
in front of the navy building near the old jail, and a piece 
of artillery drawn over the place to obliterate it. ' Further 
because the body was taken down tihe Potomac ten miles 
from Washington, and weighted with stones and sunk. 
Also, because the body was taken to a secluded spot be- 
tween the Garrett farm and the Potomac and placed in 
a pit and consumed by quick lime; because the body wa.s 
taken to Washington City and secretly buried in the yard 
of the old penitentiary, from whence it was subsequently 
exhumed and given to the Booth family and buried in 
Green Mount Cemetery, Baltimore, where a marble marks 



44 WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 

; the head of the mound (unnamed, however.) I know that 
John Wilkes Booth is dead because the doorkeeper at 
Ford's theatre, who was an intimatet of Booth's and who 
assisted in the Green Mount ceremonies, declared it wag 
NOT the body of J. Wilkes Booth. Ais still more in- 
vincible proof that J. Wilkes Booth was the man killed 
at the Garrett home the fa<;t may be cited that the 
j^overnment, so secure in its convictions decided not 
to submit the body for identification; nor was a single 
cent of the va.st reward ever paid. Further — the body 
was quick-limed, drowned, buried — variously at various 
places and curiously enough by different agencies at one 
and the same time; so let it go at that. He it dead, dead, 
dead! numerously dead." After quoting "George," Col. 
Duffy handed the photo over, with: "Now look at the 
back of the card." On the back was found inscribed the 
names, "J. Wilkes Booth," taken at a spiritual seance in 
New York, 1894, by the mother of the Du Fonts, famous 
the world over as powder manufacturers. 

A friend of Historia states that durinj? a conversation 
only a few days ago, Mrs. Anstein of El Reno, at whose 
hotel Booth (under name of George) stopped for many 
months, dechired her belief that George and Booth were 
the same. She .«aid she was quite well acquainted with 
him, and recalls many things which now more than at the 
time, convince her. At one time, she says, when he was 
slightly under the influence of liquor, some one gravely 
offended him, at which the offender was dramatically in- 
vited to pass on or be passed on, which he reluctantly 
did, and passed on, muttering an implied or construed 
threat. "That man has no business fooling with me," said 
^he irate Booth (or George), turning to Mrs. Anstein, 
side-gesturing toward the retreating offender. "He don't 
know who he is fooling with — I killed a thousand times 
better man than him — he mustn't fool with me." Then calm- 
ing. Booth said to Mrs. Anstein in a confidential tone: 
"Can you keep a secret?" At which Mrs. Anstein replied 
in a careless way, "Did you ever know a woman to keep 
a secret?" Booth bit at his under lip as he turned away. 
"I sincerely believe George, as we knew him. had at that 
moment in mind telling me his secret," said Mrs. Anstein. 
The fourth and last time the writer saw Booth was at 
Enid, at Pennyman's northeast corner of the public square. 
He was standing with his back to the inner wall, his head 
sligh-tly bent forward, and his voice once so resonant with 

f charming melody, gave out no sound.. Gray was dusting 
through the brows, the mustache and long wavy hair, the 

■ artificial dyes used in keeping them in raven hue gradu- 
ally fading away. The starry lustre of once captivating 



WAXDERINGS OF J WILKES BOOTH 45 

ryes was sealed under closed lids. The hands were white 
and sinewy, folded listless across the breast. The face was 
a trifle swollen, over it a faint pallor of wraith, and yet 
a delicate smile of ineffable sweetness as one in pleasant 
dreams. It was death. That voice which once so thrilled 
and charmed, gesturing with eloquence fairly sublime, and 
held captives in its miraculous power, whether in Taming 
the Shrew, or in soliloquies over the browless Yorick, ray 
kingdom for a horse, or over his Desdemonia smothered 
in a pillow of Jealous -rage. Never again; forever hushed. 
And as Undertaken Pennyman closed the hinged lid over 
the ashy face, the old thought came— "Verily the way of 
the transgresser is hard." One so young, so ripe in beau- 
teous treasure, the world in readiness to prone before his 
mild sweet will, backed by ancestral glory the future un- 
folding a promise of kindly worth and benefaction. But 
he loved his southland too well and not wisely. At this 
phychic time of dreadful consequence, "a bloom doomed in 
the budding," by one impetous rash act, ill-judged and 
bound in a spirit of revenge, or misconceived duty, matters 
not. Condemned a wanderer, to face an unforgiving world, 
shunning familiar haunts and loved people, under tht 
ban of remorse, in the shadow of dread and mortal fear. 
"Myself, and yet — another!" A pent-up life of hateful 
suspense, longing for some ear to listen to his story which 
he dares not lisp lest treachery lurk in the wake of false 
friendship; but the time of dissolution nears. On a couch 
of excruciable pain, in last mortal anguish, struggling with 
remorse, eternity in view, the gates ajar, as entering the 
dark arcanum where no mortal poinard may ever pierce — 
he dares. But the story, although there is still material 
for a large volume, is already too long, much more so 
than was intended. Besides, it seems needless to tamper 
further with public patience in recital of the confessions 
made in the cypress shades. The revelation to Mrs. (Rev.) 
Harper, to Mrs. Simmons, to Mrs. Bears, and others of 
his most intimate and trusted acquaintances. These with 
affidavits may be found in El Reno, Enid and outside 
publication of date of the final climax, in January, 1903. 
Those who followed the event will readily recall these 
things. Hence, let the gates close behind the departed 
soul — forever shut out from the mortal whirl; forever to 
wander in mystery land where spirits reft of dissoluble 
mould revel in cypress bowers in blissful harmony with 
sweet-tuned choristers, or tread to sounds discordant among 
spectral forms ever in the shadow of disconsolate gloom. 



+6. \yAXDP:RIXGS OF .1 WII.KF'.S BOOTH 

ENDING OF THE TRAIL 

According to promise the writer visited Enid the follow- 
ing Saturday and made inquiry at the Watrus Drug Store 
:fOr Mr. George, but he had not shown up as yet, it being 
• then near time for the north-bound train. The writer, not 
deeming the matter of immediate importance told Mr. 
Watrus he would be back the next Saturday; but before 
that day came, George had passed beyond the pale of inter- 
A'iews. The sad sequel will be approached through refer- 
ence to the story of Booth's visit at Waukorais as published 
in Hlstoria of October issue, 1919, giving a brief 
account of the suicide of John Wilkes Booth under the 
assumed name of David E. George, at Enid, January 12, 
1903. The purpose was not to go into details of the trag- 
edy of 1865 — merely a brief of Booth's itinerary in Okla- 
homa. But the edition was soon exhausted with so many 
requests for extra copies coming from every quarter of the 
known world that it was decided to reproduce the 
brief with such additions and preludes gathered from stray 
notes taken at the time of Booth's visit at Waukomis, which 
have since been found, and from refreshed memories of 
what took place during the visit. Also from the stray 
pages sent by an Enid friend who wrote that they were 
from a book published by one Finis L. Bates, of Memphis, 
Tennessee, soon after the suicide at Enid. It appears that 
nn rend'ng telegrams announcing the suicide and the mys- 
tery in which it was wrapped, Mr. Bates came to Enid to 
find out if it was an old Texas friend whom he had known 
at Glen Rose Mills and at Granberry, as John St. Helen 
during tlie .'seventies, and bringing with him a tintype of 
his friend tnken by a traveling pliotographer at Glen Rose 
Mills in 1878. On comparing the tintype with the em- 
balmed George there was no dnubt whatever that the 
cadavar was that of John St. Helen. Besides what is 
gathered from the stray notes and recalled from incid^ents 
of the booth visit at Waukomis, Historia takes more or less 
license with the stray leaves sent from Enid, especially 
portions in which the confession made by St. Helen to Mr. 
Bates at Granberry in 1878 when Booth, or St. Helen had 
given up to die. Death-bed confession to Mrs. Rev. Harper 
of El Reno in 1902, and letter from Gen. Dana, Gen. Lew 
Wallace, and various other persons throughout the country. 

Among otlier papers found on George one was in his 
bosom requesting that Finis I>. Bates of Memphis, Tenn., be 
telegraphed to coiwe immediately and identifj' the body as 
that of John Wilkes Booth. (Letter lost). Arriving at 
Enid he met undertaker Pennyman, and on showing him 
a tintype of Booth taken at Glen Rose Mills in 1877 Mr. 
Pennyman was overwhelmed, fairly dumfounded. "We need 



WANDERINGS OF J WILKES BOOTH 47 



no picture to identify this man in your presence. He is 
the man." Bates was then given a view of the embalmed 
cadavar, and although he had not seen his client St. Helen 
for several years he at once recognized it as his old Texas 
friend, to whom the confession was made. On examination 
of the body every distinguishing mark of Booth was found 
—the embrasure where the shin had been fractured, the 
stiff and curved forefinger in which Booth invariably car- 
ried n small rattan cane to cover the defect; the slight scar 
and droop of one eye brow. On opening the trunk were 
found wigs, paints, cosmetics, and other theatrical trap- 
pings. The hair and mustache had evidently been kept 
well dyed, for after death they began gradually to crawl 
out from under the dye, giving the hair and the mustache 
a steel gray hue. 

Although Mrs. Harper's statement is quite »:-ng, but 
it is so interesting and pointed that it is given at length — 
that is her first statement, her second simply corroborating. 

"Mr. George, if thai: was his name, resided in the 
Territory for a number of years, and always seemed well 
supplied with money, the source no one knew except him- 
self. This money came in regular remittances. My ac- 
quaintance with him led me to believe he was a different 
person from what he represented himself — David E. George, 
the painter. He was eccentric and although claiming to be 
a house- painter, he did no work. (Painted at one house, 
})ut made a very mess of it). He was possessed of the 
highest degree of intelligence, always maintained the bear- 
ing of a gentleman of culture and refinement; in conversa- 
tion was fluent, polished and captivating, discussing subjects 
of the greatest moment with familiarity and ease. He had 
few ^Lssociates and was gloomy except he would brighten up 
occasionally, sing snatches of stage songs and repeat Shakes- 
peare in an admirable manner. Frequently answered ques- 
tions by quoting from some great author. At one time the 
young people of El Reno put on a play, and one of the 
cast being ill, Mr. George filled the place to the admiration 
and entertainment of all present. When surprise was ex- 
pressed at his superb interpretation on the stage he replied 
that he had taken some part in drama when a young man. 
He told different stories regarding his people. One time he 
said his father was a doctor and that he and a brother 
were the only children: then his mother had married again 
and had three children (half brothers to him) living in the 
Indian Territory. Then again he seemed lonely and de- 
clared that he had no relatives in the world. He was not 
only mysterious, but erratic, quick-tempered and excitable 
at times. He said he was never married. He seemed con- 



48 WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 

stantly under a cloud as though something in the past was 
pressing him. Seemed pleased to have people understand 
he was in trouble and appreciated sympathy. He remained 
with the Simmons family three months and treated every 
one with greatest kindness and consideration. Never do I 
remember his referring to the history of his life or that he 
was other than David E. George until the time he thought 
he was going to die — about the middle of April, 1902. He 
had gone up town, returning soon after where he entered 
the room where Mrs. Simmons, Mrs. Beers and myself 
were seated. He made some casual remark about the fine 
weather for the time of year then went to his room. In the 
course of about fifteen ?iinutes he called for us and said: 

"I feel as though I were going to be very sick," and 
asked me to get a mirror. For some time as he lay on the 
bed he gazed at himself in the glass. Mrs. Beers said she 
could see the pupils of his eyes dilate and believed he had 
taken morphine. Being uneasy, I got him a cup of coffee 
and insisted until he drank it, but when I mentioned sending 
for a doctor he raised himself up in a dramatic and peculiar 
manner and voice while holding the mirror before him: 
"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." With a passionate utterance that 
brought tears to our eyes. As I turned to hide my emotion 
be called to me stating that he had something to tell me. 
"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, 
simply thinking he was nut of his head and asked: "Who 
was .\braham Lincoln?" "Is it possible you are so ignorant 
as not to know?" he asked. Then took a pencil and paper 
and wrote in a peculiar but legible hand the name, "Abra- 
ham Lincoln." 

"Don't doubt it," he said, "I am John Winces Booth, 
I am dying now. I feel cold as if death's icy hand had me 
in its clutch closing my life as a forfeit for my deed." 

He told me he was well off; and seemed to be perfectly 
rational: knew me and where he was, and I really thought 
in fact he was dying, vhen he exacted a pledge that I 
would kee]i his secret until he was dead, — adding that if 
any one should find out now that he was John Wilkes 
Booth they would take him out and hang him, and the 
people who loved him so well would despise him. He told 
me that people in official life hated Lincoln and were impli- 
cated in bis assassination. He said the haunt of being de- 
tected constantly preyed on him and was something awful 



WANDERINGS OF J WILKES BOOTH 49 

and that his life was miserable. He said that Mrs. Surratt 
was innocent and the thought that he was responsible for 
her death as well as that of others stalked ever before him 
like ghosts that would not down. He said he was devoted 
to acting but !vid to give it up because of his rash deed, 
and the thought that he had to run away from the stage 
when he loved the life of acting so well, made him restless 
and ill-tempered. He said he had plenty of money but had 
to play the roll of a workman to keep his mind occupied. 

In the meantime Doctor Arnold arrived and as a result 
of his skillful treatment the patient recovered. After this 
he was very solicitious for weeks and questioned me as to 
what he had told when sick unto death. I answered that' 
he had told me nothing of importance, but he seemed to 
know better. One day while I was looking at a picture of 
Lincoln he 'asked the reason to which I replied that I 
always admired Lincoln. 

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

"One peculiar feature of Mr. George, or Booth, was 
that one eye brow was somewhat higher than the other. 
I have noticed him limp slightly, but he said it was rheu- 
matism. That the man had a past, we all knew, but what 
his secret was remains unknown except in so far as he may 
have told be truthfully." 

On the evening of Jaruary 13 I was startled and 
surprised to read in the Enid News of the suicide of David 
E. Georne of El Reno, with whom I first became acquainted 
in March, 1900, in El Reno at the home of Mr. Simmons. 
Mr. Harper went down in the morning of the 14th and 
recognized him and told the embalmers of a confession 
made by David E. George to myself. I went to the morgue 
with Mr. Harper on the 15th and recocnized the corpse of 
David E. George as the man who had confessed to me in 
El Reno that he was John Wilkes Booth, and as brevity has 
been enjoined on me I will simply re-affirm my former 
statements made in detnil by David E. George to me at 
El Reno, about the middle of April. 1900. Signed by Mrs. 
R. G. Harper before A. A. Stratford, notary public.' 

LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT 

The suicide made three wills under the name of David 
E. George. The first of these was executed at El Reno 
June 17, 1902, in which he hrqueaths "To my friend .\nna 
K. Smith, of El Reno, Oklahoma, "all my property, both 
real and personal, of whatever kind and description." An- 
other iiirairraTih recites: "Having .special faith and confi- 



50 WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 



dence in George E. Smith, of El Reno, Oklahoma Territory, 
I hereby designate him executor of this, my last will and 
testament to serve without bond." Witnesses: Frank 
Anstine and W. T. Beeks. Here follows the usual jurat 
of witnesses. 

Another "last will and testament" is of such importance 
that it is given in full: 

I, David E. George of the County of Garfield and 
Territory of Oklahoma, being of sound mind and disposing 
memory, do make, publish and declare this to be my last 
will and testament, hereby revoking all former wills by me 
made. 

1st. I give, devise and bequeath to my nephew Willy 
George,'if living, the seven hundred acre tract of land which 
I made proof upon before the Dawes Commission about 
four years ago, which tract of land is located m a body in 
the Chickasaw Nation, I. T., about ten miles southeast of 
Marietta, I. T., and within two miles of the Delaware Cross- 
ing of Red River. The intention of this gift, devise, and 
bequest is to give to my said nephew all of said tract of 
land, but in the event that I am not granted by the Govern- 
ment the whole of said tract then my said nephew shall 
have all of said tract so granted by the Government to me. 
I further provide that in the event that my said nephew is 
not alive tlien I give, devise and bequeath all of said tract 
of land or so much thereof as may be granted to me by 
the Government to the Sisters of Charity of Dallas, Texas. 

2nd. I give and bequeath to my friend Isaac Bernstein, 
all money that may be collected from the life insurance 
policy I hold of $3000.00 in the Knights of Pythias Lodge 
No. 701 of Dallas, Texas, or any other Knights of Pythias 
organization or lodge, also my watch, trunk and all my 
wearing apparel. 

3rd, I give and bequeath to my friend George E. 
Smith late of El Reno, O. T. all money that may be col- 
lected from my life insurance policy of $2500.00 in the New- 
York Mutual Life Insurance Co. of New York — after he 
shall pay from the proceeds of said insurance all my just 
debts, expenses of my last illness and all funeral expenses. 

4th. I give and devise and bequeath to my friend S. S. 
Dumont the sum of ojie hundred dollars. 

5th. I give and bequeath to my friend L. N. Houston 
the sum of one hundred and one note signed by J. W. 
Simmons for $350.00, note dated at El Reno, O. T. July 3, 
1902 and which matures two years from said date. 

6th. I give, devise and bequeath all my other property 
not otherwise dispose^ of both real, personal and mixed, 
whatsoever and wheresoever the same mar be to the Roman 
Catholic Church of EJ Reno, Oklahoma." 



WA NDERINGS OF J WILKES BOOTH 51 

7th. Imposing special confidence in the integrity and 
ability of my friend L. N. Houston I request that he be 
appointed executor of my estate and that he be not required 
to give bond. 

In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand this 
31st dav of December, 1902. 

DAVID E. GEORGE. 
Signed, published and declared by the said David E. 
George to be his last will and testament in the presence of 
"us who at his request and in his presence and in the pres- 
ence of each other have hereunto subscribed our names as 
witnesses thereto, this the dav and date above written. 
R. B. BROWN, Post Office, Enid, O. T. 
CHAS. S. EVANS, Post Office, Enid, O. T. 
CHARLES O. WOOD, Post Office, Enid, O. T. 
Filed this 16th dav of January, 1903, in nrty office. 
M. C. GARBER, Probate Judge. 

(No. 1) 

In Record of W^ills, Page 4.6-45 

Enid, Oklahoma, Jan. 13, 1902. 

I am informed that I made a will ft few days ago and 
I am indistinct of having done so. 

I hereby recall every letter, syllable and word of my 
will that I may have signed at Enid. 

I owe Jack Bernstein about ten dollars but he has my 
watch in pawn for the amount. 

D. E. GEORGE. 



In reference to certain lands in the Chickasaw Nation 
varinu.«ly bequeathed by Booth in his will, in reply to 
inquiry Mr. Clark Wasson, superintendent of the Five Civil- 
ized Tribes, writes under date of Muskogee, July 27: 
"You are informed that the names of David E. George and 
Willy George do not appear upon any of the approved 
rolls of the Chickasaw Nation. Prior to approval of the 
Choctaw-Chickasaw agreement of July 1, 1902, ratified by 
the Choctaws and Chickasaws September 25, 1902, all of 
the lands in those two nations were held by the members 
thereof in common, etc. You are further advised .that the 
first allotment of land to enrolled citizens and freedmen 
of the Chickasaw Nation was not made until April 10, 1903." 



Replying to inquiry, F. S. M. Clefment, superior of the 
Sisters of Charity at Dallas, Texas, states that nothing was 
known there whatever of this man (David E. George), etc. 
"We do not think we are the Sisters interested." The writei* 
is then referred to the Sisters of Charity of St. Paul's 
Ho.spital. Dallas. 



32 WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 

WHAT THE HAND REVEALED 

Bently Sage, the eminent palmist, made a special trip 
to Enid to examine the hand of the notorious character, 
with the following reading as a result: 

"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 impulse and are carried to 
extremes by the impressions of the instant. They are what 
science might term impractical. Of bright purpose and 
brilliant promise, they almost invariably fail to materialize 
their ideas. They are etherial and poetic. Their hopes are 
rarely fulfilled and they are not only a disappointment to 
themselves, but they disappoint their friends by their fail- 
ure 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 peculiar- 
ities 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, because of his effervescent en- 
thusinspm and optimism, but he never came down to earth 
from the heights of imagination, and remained pleasure- 
loving, jovial and incomprehensible, was subject to mood.s 
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, especially is this true of this individual hand. He 
was repelled by a gross nature, but still he had a large 
faculty for friendship and a strong desire for intellectual 
and genial friendship. 

"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 thoroughly the balance of this dis- 
quisition it will be necessary to take the hand in subdivisions 
and describe each division. 

"I will begin with the thumb, which is of tinusual 
length. All thumbs show the possession of or lack of 
leadership, will power, control, integrity, reasoning, plan- 
ning, 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 analyze them carefully, 
generally depending on observation and the acts of others. 
.\t the base of the thumb is the mount of Venus — Venus 
was the mother of Love — Venus indicates the desires rf life 



WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 68 

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-e.stcem. This man had great ambi- 
tion and great aspirations. He was sensijtive to a fault, and 
the crosses and triangles found upon this mount indicate 
that his ambitions were never realiz.ed. His life was ma- 
terially affected by disappointments and hopes that were 
never realized. At the base of the second finger is the 
mount of Saturn, which indicates the talents and gifts of 
the individual. His would have been literature, music, art 
and imitating. Being full of inspiration he could have 
developed the talents of art and imitating which, together 
with an entertaining disposition and gestures that were 
smooth and appropriate, he possessed the faculty of making 
every moment pleasant to those in his society. He was a 
man of dcgance and charm. 

"The mount of .Vpollo, 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 undevel- 
oped, 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 ba?f of thf little fineer 
indicates the domestic nature of the individual. This man 
was Inyal to true companionship, but he could love but one. 

"The line of heart at the base of the fingers, .starting at 
the index finger, signifies marvelous powers of the occult 
and spiritual intuitions. It also indicates 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, imitation and romance, showing him to be of a 
sentimental 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. 
.\nd the end of the line turning upward to the region of 
vitality 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 had a great deal of 
trouble and went through many trying experiences, and 
who could not rely upon friends for hrlp, 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 



54- WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 

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." 



DEFENSE ON THE STAND 

Here it was well to bring further evidence as to the 
identity of the Enid suicide in verification of the idea that 
he was as he claimed in his dying words to the landlady 
where he roomed; that his right name was John Wilkes 
Booth; that it was he who killed President Lincoln, etc. 
. As [before stated a weak point of Booth's was an 
inclination to moody and despondent spells, especially when 
attached by disease or recovering from the effects of too 
heavy spells at the jug, and on such occasions he invariably 
gave up to die, and manifested strong indications that he 
would seek the cup of bane to end it all. And invariably 
when under these spells he seemed to pine for some one on 
whose confidence and secrecy he could depend — some soul 
cmpanion that he might unbosom pent-up longings to give 
to the world what was hidden beneath his ever-restless 
bosom, feeling that in death would be his surest balm for 
the wfaried and worn wounds of conscience; but he always 
waited to the point where he considered there was no chance 
of recovery, and then, and only then, would he made a 
confidant of someone, invariably exaclty a solemn pledge 
of secrecy until his spirit should take its dark pilgrimage 
to the unknown. 

City Editor Brown of the El Reno Democrat on being 
shown the Texas tintype declared that he knew nothing 
whatever of David E. George, (being a new-comer) ; but 
these are pictures of John Wilkes Booth. Mr. Brown said 
he was personally and well acquainted with John Wilkes 
Booth both on and off the stage. I considered him as the 
greatest actor of his day in America and never missed an 
opportunity of seeing him — after in Baltimore, New York 
and Washington City where I was connected with the 
federal army. I remember seeing him on the street in 
Washington City only a short time before the tragedy. I 
also know others of the Booth family and can not be mis- 
taken about these pictures. (The tintype and the one sent 
by Dana.) He says he was in Washington at the time the 
body claimed to be Booth was brought in, and owing to the 
secrecy and mysterious way of handling that body after 
it reached there created a belief quite general in the federal 
army that th body was not that of Booth. 

Mr. U. S. Brown subsequently ran a paper at Cashion, 
a small station between Kingfisher and Guthrie, and served 



WANDERINGS OF J WILKES BO OTH 55 

one term in the Oklahoma legislature. The writer was in- 
timately acquainted with him and has often heard him 
speak of his acquaintance with prominent members of the 
stage, especially with John Wilkes Booth. He had no hes- 
itancy in declaring that in his opinion Booth was never 
killed; in fact, Mr. Brown declared, he was almost sure 
the man going under the name of George was Booth. "If 
not," remarked Mr. Brown to the writer while witnessing 
a performance at the Overholser — between acts — "it need 
never again be said that the Lord never made two things 
exactly alike." Mr. Brown went from here to Wisconsin 
where he died a few years ago. 

Every important daily in the Missouri Valley including 
St. Louis, and two of the leading dailies of New York, had 
representatives on the ground at Enid, and not one of them 
that did not practically declare that the suicide could be 
none other than Booth. One of these dailies — the St. Louis 
Republic, stated editorially that there had always been a 
mystery surrounding the Booth matter; that there had 
always been serious doubt as to the party killed at the 
Garrett home, especially the suspicious secrecy of the de- 
partment and the fact that no one was given an oppor- 
tunity to examine the body when thousands could have 
readily identified it, were it really the body of Booth. 
There could be but one explanation: That the public was 
at such fever heat that it was deemed best to satisfy that 
public spirit, and that after pronouncing the body as that 
of Booth the Washington authorities seemed determined to 
keep up the delusion rather than acknowledge the weakness 
of its investigation. 

The Enid Wave of January 22, 1903, while expressing 
doubt as to the suicide being Booth admits that "The evi- 
dence of Mrs. Harper as to the fact that George confessed 
to her in El Reno at the time he expected to die that he 
was none other than J. Wilkes Booth, together with the 
striking likeness to the assassin and the demeanor of the 
man in producing parts of Shakespeare's plays and songs 
around the saloons lends a possibility to the case. Be- 
sides, it is well-known that the government was never quite 
sure of the death of Booth ♦ • • xhe most remarkable 
circumstance surrounding the dead man, as leading to his 
identification as Booth is the fact that his right leg was 
broken just above the ankle. Then again comes the re- 
markable likeness to Booth as given in Grant's memorial. 
With these links come others, such as the fact that Booth 
was born in 1839 and was twenty-six years of age when 
the national tragedy occurred, and would be 63 now if still 
living, which is the exact age of George as shown by papers 



"iti WAXDERIXGS OF J WILKES BOOTH 



* * * Mrs. Harper, the wife of the Methodist min- 
ister firmly believes that the suicide is Booth, and there 
are numerous others about here who believe the same thing 
on account of comparisons and peculiarities of the dead 
man. 

And here is another from H. M. ^\Jlen, editor of 
Harper's Weekly, who declares in a letter of January 22, 
1S9S, he hasn't the slightest doubt that the rumor that 
John Wilkes Booth "is still alive" (1898), that frequently 
reached Edwin Booth, the actor, and brother of John 
Wilkes Booth. 

In 1892 the Atlanta Constitution contained an account 
of the Booth matter in which the claim was made that 
after the tragedy he made his escape to New Orleans 
where he sailed for the Holy Land, remaining abroad for 
several years. That on returning he took up a residence 
in Mississippi where he then — 1892 — lived. This statement 
so far as Booth being in Mississippi goes to corroborate 
the statement of * * * who declares he met him there 
about that time. 

Soon after the appearance of the Booth article His- 
toria received a newspaper clipping containing a statement 
from a Mrs. Chapman who says her husband was with the 
Booth pursuing force, and that he always claimed Booth 
had been killed. While Historia has no record of any. one 
named Chapman with the Booth pursuing force it is' not 
unlikely that such a person was among the thousands who 
took part in the memorable chase. It isn't likely however 
that Mr. Chapman saw the man killed at the Garrett home, 
otherwise some record would show the fact. He was prob- 
ably among others. Nor does Mrs. Chapman claim that 
her husband had ever seen Booth alive, hence would not 
have recognized him dead. 

Now that Mayor Ryan of Enid declares that the suicide 
David E. George was not Booth and assigns as his reason 
that "Gcosge had grey eyes," it will be in order for some 
one else to also declare that the suicide was not Booth and 
assign as his reason that George had red hair. 

J. F. Pennick writing from Detroit, Michigan, under 
date of March 8, 1921, says while at the public library in 
that city he noticed a little magazine called Historia to 
which his attention was especially attracted by a portrait 
on the front page. He at once recognized it although he 
says it had been a quarter of a century since he looked 
into the fact of "John Wilkes Booth." "I read in that 



WANDERINGS OF J WILKES B OOTH 57 

paper your account of the suicide at Enid," says Pennick, 
"which I must confess fairly startled me; for I had believed 
to that moment that Booth had been killed at the Garrett 
home soon after the assassination. I have a photo of 
Booth handed me by the great actor in person rnly a few 
months before his rash act, in 1865, and except the picture 
produced by you shows a little more trace of time you 
could scarcely tell them apart. I was so wrapped up in 
your account that I asked privilege of retaining the copy 
of Historia, but the librarian refused to let it go out. I 
wrote enclosing stamp for an extra copy which I received 
and have kept, reading and rereading your account until I 
am persuaded you have the matter pretty well under con- 
trol. I would send the photo I have were I not afraid of 
losing it in the mails; for I wouldn't lose it for any su!n. 
However, if you desire I can have a ccpy made and send 
you for comparison." A subsequent request was made fnr 
Mr. Pennick to send his copy but we failed to receive 
a response, yet the letter was not returned, the envelope 
containing return card. — Editor Historia. 

Levi Thrailkell with whom the Enid suicide crossed the 
plains was absolutely positive as to identification. He said 
when camped on the South Platte some two hundred and 
fifty miles out from Nebraska City he received a visit fri^ni 
a number of distinguished gentlemen connected with the 
Union Pacific survey, including General Augur who had 
come from the Laramie country to meet the Uni'->n Pacific 
contingent among who were Lieut. Wheelan and Dr. Terry. 
I made a search for Jesse to aid in entertaining the visitors, 
but he was not in camp, nor did he appear until next morn- 
ing after the visitors had left, and then with his blankets, 
having slept under a clump of bushes, as he said. I ex- 
pressed regret that he was not present to meet the dis- 
tinguished visitors. He made various inquiries such as — 
if they were government officers, if they seemed on the 
trail of any one, etc. On being assured that they were all 
in a way government officers but were simply out there on 
Union Pacific survey matters and as guards over track and 
survey crews, the Indians being sullen at that time. "I 
should liked so much if you could have met these gentlemen, 
especially General Augur — " At the mention of Augur 
Jesse drew a short breath with, to himself with knit brows 
— "Augur!" then recovering: "Thanks, I don't care to be 
"bored," with evident aim to play on the name. He said 
he detested government "hounds" as he called them, espec- 
ially in uniform. On being asked why, he simply shrugged 
his shoUder, with — "Why does a Jew detest a grunting 
pig?" looking me straight in the eye. He seemed anxious 



g8 WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOO TH 

to know if cur course lay in the direction of the Augur 
headquartres, he being then in command of the Wyoming 
department. I informed him that while our course lay in 
the dhecticn we would not probably pass within several 
miles of the grvernmcnt contingent. From this on, Jesse 
Smiih seemed like a different man — as if anxious and dis- 
tressed over something — thought but little of then, but now 
recalled quite well. As before stated, he left us before 
reaching Salt Lake without a solitary "good-bye" or draw- 
ing a penny cf his wage." 

Mr. Terry MrComas under St. Louis date of November 
2, 1919, says: "Passing through Muskogee in your state 
en my way from Colorado to this city I ran across a copy 
cf a small publicTtion at the Melton Hotel in which was a 
story ab'-ut Booth with a small picture of him. This pic- 
ture called to mind an incident of my trip from the states 
to Colorado. Along about the first of July, 1876, I camped 
near a goodly stream skirting a mountain (the Bosque, 
I think), in northwestern Texas. Not a great way was a 
water wheel grist mill and small store in which was kept a 
few Grrnceries, tobacco and whiskey, I making purchase of 
the latter two items. I found in charge of the shack a 
very stiikinc: figure who seemed to take life easy, a Mexican 
parter waiting en custmers. I was importuned to remain 
over until after the 4lh of July as there was to be some 
sort of cflcbration there, some noted western border gen- 
eral, whose name I cannot now recall was to be the orator. 
I remained and was surprised at the dramatic way in which 
the storekeeper presided as toastmaster. On seeing the 
picture in the small publication referred to the face of the 
Texan came up vividly. If I ever heard the name of the 
Texan it has escaped my memory. I intended writing you 
before leaving Muskogee but failed to do so. I am making 
my home here on Franklin Street, and would appreciate a 
copy of your paper and also the next one and will be 
glad to remit." 

Dr. H. W. Gay declares that he knew Booth in 1857; 
that while a prisoner of war at Fort Donaldson in 186-5 
he was shocked to learn of the tragedy at Washington, 
and more so that his old actor friend Booth was charged 
with the deed. "Though but a boy when I first knew 
him," says Dr. Gay, "in appearance he was one of the 
most accomplished young men I have ever come in contact 
with. All who knew him well became captivated by him. 
He was one of the most hospitable, genial souls to be met, 
and in company was always quoting Shakespeare or some 
other classic poet. I read the account of his capture and 
death at the Garrett home, and never doubted until 1869 



WANDERINGS OF J WILKES BOOTH 59 

■when I was living in what is now Tate county, Mississippi. 
One evening near dark a young man rapped at my door 
and assked permission to be taken in for the night; that 
he was one of the ku klux klan ran out of Arkansas by 
Powell Clayton's militia. -I soon recognized this man," says 
Dr. Gay, "as an erratic fellow. During his stay at my 
house he told me that John Wilkes Booth was not killed at 
the Garrett home as generally believed, but made his 
escape, spending a short time in Mexico with Maximillian's 
army, but soon got into trouble and his life was only saved 
by his being a Catholic. He also told me the manner of 
Booth's escape after the assassination, of his mazeppa ride 
from the Ford theatre to the east Potomac bridge, his per- 
mission to proceed on giving the password, his trail via 
Surrattsville, Bryantown, etc. Here follows the precise 
routes given in the Booth confession in Texas, and later 
as traced on the wall map in Waukomis. 

There are among questions intricate in connection with 
the Booth matter. It may be recalled that when Booth 
was dragged from the darky Lewis' wagon after crossing 
the Potomac he lost his large pocketbook in which were a 
photo of Agnes Booth, a few personal letters and a check 
for three hundred pounds on a Canadian bank; that being 
closely i)ressed by pursuers Booth asked the man Ruddy to 
recross the river and if possible find the old darky and 
secure the pocketbook and bring it to the Garrett farm 
after he and Herold had been to Bowling Green to secure 
a shoe for Booth's lame foot and other supplies which 
would not be earlier than two days from that date. Mean- 
time it will al9o he recalled Booth had given Ruddy a check 
for three hundred pounds on a Canadian bank in considera- 
tion of services in finding safe escort to within Mosbv's lines 
near Bowling Green. On the body of the man killed was 
found various papers, a check for three hundred pounds on 
a Canadian bank, a photo of Agnes Booth and a couple of 
personal letters addressed to Booth. The findins of these 
items on the dead body would in the absence of contrary 
proof lead to no other conclusion than it was Booth. This 
wns given at the time as a reason why no further evidence 
uit dfpippcl necessary, probably why the bodv was not 
f— hilvtpri f'-r idrntification unless^ rumors of other reasons 
thnua-h undercurrent at the time were more than rumors. 

Speaking of the Enid suicide, the El Reno Democrat, 
then edited by Hon. Tom Hensley, at present a member of 
the Oklahoma state senate, savs in edition of June 3. 1903: 
"From the evidence at hand there is no doubt the man who 
died in Enid last January and who was supposed by some to 
be John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of President Lincoln, 



60 U ANDERINGS OF J WILKES ROOTH 

was really the man, he being identified bj- many who knew 
Booth before and during the war and since. After the 
death of the man certain papers were found on him led to 
the opinion that he was the fugitive assassin," etc. 

The Perry Republican under date of June 5, 1903, said 
in regard to the Booth case, "It is now fully developed that 
the man who committed suicide at Enid was none other 
than John Wilkes Booth. Junius Brutus Booth, nephew 
of John Wilkes Booth, identifies the picture nf David E. 
George as that of his uncle John Wilkes Booth. 

"It has always been known by the Booth family that 
John Wilkes was alive and they have been in constant com- 
munication with him ever since the tragedy of 186.5. This 
knowledge is what prompted the nephew and the brother, 
Edwin, as well as other meiiibers of the family to make 
certain remarks abcut the supposed grave of John Wilkes. 
They well knew that the body in the grave was not that 
of John Wilkes. From the time of Booth's supposed cap- 
ture in 1SG5 until January of this year J. Wilkes Booth 
has been in almost constant touch with his friends. Being 
an actor, and also being secluded in the wilds of Texas and 
the Indian Territory, and through the anxious eff'orts of 
relatives and friends to preserve his life it has been an easy 
matter for him 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 in the Federal archives which go to 
show any direct or positive proof of the death of Booth. 

"At the time of the suicide of George in Enid and his 
claim to be none other than John Wilkes Booth, the Repub- 
lican expressed belief in the confep«!ion of the man. All the 
facts in the case point to the truthfulness of his death-bed 
statement." 

S. S. Dumont, proprietor, and B. B. Brown, clerk of 
the Grand Avenue, made oath that they knew the suicide 
who on the 3rd day of December, 1902, and the 13th day 
of January, 1903, registered at their hotel as David E. 
George, that a tintype picture shown by F. L. Bates was 
in every w^ay a perfect likeness in every feature of the 
suicide. This oath was subscribed before Guy S. Manott, 
notary public. 

From the St. Louis Post Dispatch under Enid date of 
June 3, 1903: "Junius Booth, the nephew and actor, identi- 
fies from photographs, etc., the man, David E. George, as 
his uncle, John Wilkes Booth." 

Enid Wave of January 27, 1903: "David E. George, a 
wealthy resident of the Territory, who committed suicide 
here, announced himself on his death-bed to be John Wilkes 



WANHERINGS OF J WILKES BOOTH 81 



Booth. He said he had successfully eluded the officers after 
the shooting and since had remained incogniti. His state- 
ment caused a sensation. Physicians examined the body 
and slated the man to be 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 jump- 
ing from the president's box at Ford's theatre. .\11 the 
time George has received regular remittances of money from 
unknown sources, and telegrams arriving yesterday and to- 
day ask that the body be held for identification. It is 
claimed that one telegram came from the address of George 
E. Smith, Colfax, Iowa, the same as the mysterious money 
remittances. Mr. Smith on arrival commanded that no 
other jieison be allowed to view the remains, and promised 
to return for the body later. iMr. Smith was asked if 
Georcf li;id ever confe.s.sed anv of his life's history to him, 
to wiiich lie answered: 'Well yes, to some extent. He 
had a past of which I do not care to speak at present. • * * 
He may be Booth.' " 

Same publication of January 21, 1903: "The Wave's 
force has been searching closely for data and evidence to 
sustain or obliterate the report that the remains lying in 
the F>nid morgue under the name of David E. George could 
possibly be John Wilkes Booth. * * * The Wave is still of 
the opinion that the possibility of the dead man being all 
that is mortal of John Wilkes Booth remains in doubt, but 
it must be admitted that the evidence goes to show that if 
George was not Booth he was his double, which in connec- 
tion with his voluntary confession to Mrs. Harper makes 
the case interesting and worthy the attention of the attorney 
general's department of the United States. 

The December, 1901, number of the Medical Monthly 
Journal was devoted almost exclusively to the consideration 
of the assassins of presidents of the United States and of 
European potentates. In that pamphlet was printed a por- 
trait of Booth with a write-up as to his character, a physical 
and anotomical description. It said the forehead was kep- 
halonard, the ears excessively and abnormally developed 
inclined to the satanic type; the eyes were small, sunken 
and unevenly placed; the nose was normal; the facial bone 
and jaw were arrested in development, and there was a 
partial V-shaped dental arch; the lower jaw was well- 
developed. 

"Yesterday the editor, in company with Dr. McElreth 
visited the corpse and compared it with the above descrip- 
tion of Booth, and we must acknowledge that the dead 
man shows all the marks credited to Booth in every partic- 
ular. The satanic ear is not much larger than the ordinary 



ti2 WANDERINGS OF J WILKES BOOTH 

ear, but the lower lobe clings close to the side of the head 
instead of projecting outward like the ordinary ear. The 
eyebrows of the dead man are not mates in appearance, 
which fits the description." (It may be remarked in this 
connection that every measurement as taken of the Enid 
suicide exactly fits the measurements of Booth as given in 
Geant's Memoirs.) 

On reading accounts of the suicide at Enid, Col. M. W^. 
Donnelly, one of the best known newspaper men in the 
west wrote: "I am strongly inclined to believe that the 
man who committed suicide is John Wilkes Booth. In 1883 
I met George although I never knew his name and don't 
know whether he went under that name or not. He im- 
pressed me. I had seen Edwin Booth and had some knowl- 
edge of the appearance of the Booth family." Here, Mr. 
Donnelly says he some time later took editorial charge of 
the Fort Worth Gazette and had forgotten all about meet- 
ing George or whoever it was at Village Mills until one 
night while in the Pickwick hotel bar-room with Gen. Pike, 
there on legal business. Major Michie of LaGrange, Tenn., 
Capt. Powell, then mayor of Fort Worth, and Lon Scurlock 
of the Cleburne paper. Capt. Day of the firm of Day & 
Maas was behind the bar. Mr. Donnelly here gives the 
story of the young man coming in at which Gen. Pike threw 
up his hands with: "My God! John WMlkes Booth!" and 
became so excited that he had to be assisted to his room. 
Mr. Donnelly refers to Temple Houston agreeing to make 
search for the stranger, substantially as related elsewhere 
in this volume: "I never saw Booth, but have seen pictures 
of him and am convinced that the Enid suicide was him. I 
am also convinced that the venerable author of 'Every 
Year' believed it was Booth." 

One of the highest compliments ever paid John Wilkes 
Booth was by Secretary John Hay the eminent statesman 
and pnet who as last as the first part of 1890 wrote in 
part that he "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." Then in regard to the escape: "Booth 
in his flight gained the navy bridge (East Potomac) in a 
few minutes and was allowed to pass the guards, and shortly 
afterward Herrold came on the bridge and was allowed to 
pass; a moment later the owner of the horse rode by 
Herrold 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 misht 
even have made his escape to some foreign country. • * • 



VV'yVXDERINGS OF T WTT,KES BOOTH 63 

It is easy to hide among sympathizing people; many a 
union soldier escaping from prison walked hundreds of miles 
through the enemy's country, relvjng only upon the friend- 
ship of negroes. Booth from the time he crossed the navy 
yard bridge received the assistance of a large number of 
friends. With such devoted assistance he might have wand- 
ered a long way. • » • From the nature of things he might 
have escaped." 

Col. Edwin Levan of Monteray, Mexico, wrote a story 
in which he declared that a man whom he believed to be 
Booth, but giving his name as J. J. Marr, roomed with 
him during the winter of 1868 in Lexington, Ky.; and he 
openly told the man that he believed him to be Booth, 
which met no denial; but shortly after "Marr" left Lexing- 
ton, where he had held out as a lawyer, but did no practice. 
Levan says that he subsequently learned that "Marr" settled 
in Village Mills, Texas, and from there went to Glen Rose 
Mills in Hood county, Texas. 

What power influenced Gen. Augur to call off the 
guards about Washington the fatal night of April 14, 1865? 
What superior influence was brought to bear on General 
Grant to have him suddenly leave Washington that same 
evening after it had been arranged he should occupy a box 
with Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln at the Ford? Who furnished 
Booth and Herrold with the pass word that let them cross 
the bridge? Why were they permitted to pass at so late 
an hur when, as John Hay puts it, "the only honest man 
of the three" was not permitted to pass. Could Booth or 
Herrold either of them or both have accomplished these 
things? Of courses not. Then — It is said a fool can ask 
questions a wise man cannot answer. 



KNEW BOOTH IN WASHINGTON 

Among the many citizens of Enid who were there in 
1903, one of them seems to have been specially interested 
in George. This is George Fairgrieves, at present a dray- 
man. His mother was in Ford's theatre M'hen the tragedy 
occurred, saw Booth make the famous leap as he held a 
dagger aloft and cried "sis semper tyranus." In 1903 when 
the saloon was a popular resort for night-idlers of Enid, 
young Fairgrieves usually held an evening chair at either 
Blondie's Hot Dog or the Whitehouse, both on the west 
side of the square, faro being "without limit" at each. 
Here George spent an occasional night, but seldom took 
a hand in any of the games except when he should notice 
some unsophisticated fellow at the table to be fleeced by 
the gang. On such occasions George would get into the 
game, evidently for the sole purpose of making a killing 



6i \\^\NDERIXGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 

so as to save the young unsophistic; usually taking the pot 
and handing the young tenderfoot back his losings with an 
admonition: "Young man, beware of the other man's 
game." The night before the suicide young Fairgrieves, 
Andy Morrison, Lee Boyd and a few others were present 
where George was pretty well in his cups. On one of his 
friends advising him that he would best go to his room, 
George tipped his glass with a pleasing smile, 

This my last token of esteem! 

This the final of a fruitless dream. 

Then drink once more from the spirit glass! 

For this the ending! No more! Alas! 

The tides are here and we must sever-;-- 

Again to mingle greetings never! 

No more — "tis our last drink together!" 

Like chaff we're drifting here and hither, 

We go, we go — we know not whither: 

Drifting! Drifting down fate's river. 

No more we'll meet in reckless pleasure' 

No more we'll tread to revel's measure! 

So here! Our souls more sadly pressed-- 

One more drink— to lend the spirit rest. 

Yet drink no draft of parting pain; 

That parting greet with merry frain. 

For here our social tares shall wither 

To drift as lightened blows of hether. 

As on we go! We go — we know not whither. 

Drifting! Drifting down fate's river. 

There was an eloquence that fairly thrilled and a 
pathos that would have stirred us all to greater depths had 
we even suspected that the lines were from deeper than 
the lips. It was the last I saw of poor Gerge until I saw 
him at the morgue. Poor old chum — David E. George as 
we knew him. He was always so kindly disposed, a com- 
moner though always immaculate in dress and deportment. 
He seemed to me like some rich, refined idler whose time 
hung havy and who was trying to forget something. He 
was a consumate elocutionist, quoting classic authors with 
a readiness that made him a captivating guest. I shall 
never forget the kindly admonitions which fell from his 
lips, and to them I feel that I owe much. As to his being 
Booth, of course I do not know, except I can't believe he 
would have said he was on a dying couch without it being 
so. Besides, an Irish chum of mine told me right after 
the suicide that he, my Irish friend, knew Booth when he 
was a young man; knew the marks that would be found on 
the suicide if indeed he was Booth. My Irish friend in- 
sisted on my accompanying him to the morgue, and there 



WANDERINGS OF J WILKES BOOTH 65 



every mark, including the scar over one eyebrow was found 
Lee Boyd, at present the veteran telegraph operator of the 
exactly as my friend had described. Mr. Fairgrieves says 
Rock Island, Enid, who was also at the Ford Theatre the 
night in question and could no doubt recall the scene "at 
parting." The lines were penned by the author of this 
volume a number of years previous, but had never been 
published. The only way George could have gotten hold of 
them, the writer thinks — they must have been among the 
pencilings handed him during his Waukomis visit. And 
one of the greatest assets of a dramatic artist is his faculty 
of committing to memory. One reading at any number of 
lines can be repeated at will. 

SAW LINCOLN SHOT. 

William J. Ferguson was a call boy at the Ford, and 
had been given occasional minor parts on the stage. On 
the night of the tragedy he had the part of Lieutenant 
Vernon, the Mid-Shipman, in place of Courtland Hess who 
was unable to take the assignment. Young Ferguson, then 
only 16, had a "hair breadth escape" from being either 
strung up or sent to Dry Tortugus. He was well acquainted 
with Booth and sometimes) looked after his horse. On this 
night he was requested to hold the animal, which it seems 
had two deformities — blind in one eye, and "wouldn't stand 
hitched." But on this occasion young Ferguson was too 
much occupied "on the ship" and Ned Spangler, a scene 
shifter was requisitioned as hoss-holderj but his duties 
were such on the stage that he turned the reinsi over to 
Joe Burroughs, a bill carrier and general handy about tha 
theatre. The latter escaped being sent up or swinging with 
the other "conspirators" from the fact that he did not re- 
ceive the reins directly from Booth, but from Spangler who 
was sent to Dry Tortugus for the "crime." Besides, the 
lad was knocked down by Booth as he mounted, presum- 
ably to keep him from raising a cry. Mr. Ferguson is so 
far as the writer can learn, one of the only three living 
stage characters who were with Our American Cousins. 
Since that day he has developed into one of the foremost 
actors on the American stage, and is still in that line, 
though transferred mostly to the screen. He also makes 
contributions to various magazines, one of his articles ap- 
pearing in the American Magazine of August, 1920, under 
the title of "I Saw Lincoln Shot!" This Is the most com- 
plete and authentic account yet given — he being the only 
person who saw Booth almost continuously from the mo- 
ment he entered the theatre until landing on his horse af- 
ter the fatal shot. The portrait in this volume illustrated 
the American Magazine story. 



66 



WAXDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 



I was standing in the front entrance just off the stage, 
says Mr. Ferguson, wlien Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln, accompan- 
ied by Major H. R. Rathbone and Miss Clara Harris were 




in the balcony box to the right and directly in front of me 
about thirty feet away. At my side was Miss Laura Keene, 
and I was just on the eve of "speaking my piece" follow- 
ing a soloquy by Harry Hawk as "Asa Trenchard." The 
second scene of the third act had been reached, when sud- 
denly a shot rang out close to where the President was sit. 



WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 67 



ting in a rocking chair hidden from the audience by drap- 
ery and the wooden walls which shut off his balcony box. 
There was a puff of smoke. The President's head sagged 
forward. The same instant Booth sprang to the front of 
the box, grasping the rail with his right hand, a bowie in 
the left. From the balcony box to the stage is a direct 
drop of twelve feet. As Booth was in the act of springing 
over, Major Rathbone rushed forward and grabbed him by 
the coat tail, but his hold was broken as Booth lunged 
back and gave a vicious thrust, inflicting an ugly gash in 
the Major's left arm. In vaulting over the rail Booth's 
spur caught in the drapery, at which he made an ariel 
whirl and fell in a lump on the stage. Almost instantly 
however, he was on his feet, and rushed across the front of 
the stage toward the entrance where Miss Keene and I 
were standing. Dimly I recognized that the President had 
been shot, and I knew that Booth, withi whom I was well 
acquainted, and with whom I talked only a few hours pre- 
vious, had done the deed. His olive complexion, and his 
handsome oval face was blanched to a deathly white. His 
black eyes blazing, his lips drawn firmly against his teeth 
as he panted in pain from his fractured leg, in another mo- 
ment he had run between Miss Keene and myself, pushing 
us apart and back against the walls of the entrance. I 
felt the hot breath on my cheek as he shoved me with his 
left hand, the knife flashing before my eyes. Back of the 
wings was a narrow passage wliich led to a door in the 
rear wall entering into an alley. Miss Jenney Gourtney, 
one of the players and William Withers, leader of the or- 
chestra, were in the passage and blocked the path of 
escape, but as he rushed down this passage. Withers turn- 
ed in surprise at the commotion and received a slash in his 
coat. By this time I had partially recovered from my daze 
and followed Booth as far as the angle in the wall when 
he dashed through the rear door, leaving it open behind 
him. Little Jonny Burroughs who was holding Booth's, 
horse was shoved to the ground (Burroughs says he was. 
knocked down and given a swift kick) as Booth sprung in- 
to the saddle and dashed off under spur. Not to exceed 
forty seconds 'elapsed between the firing of the shot and 
flight. 



68 WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 



RODDY MAKES HIS INITIAL BOW 

One of the most important bits of information touch- 
ing the escape of Booth comes from Mr. W. P. Carneal, 
postmaster of Lent, near the Garrett farm. Here the first 
mention of the name Roddy is made, except in the Booth 
confession. "Bill Rollins and a man named Roddy crossed 
the river with Booth and Herold." Mr. Carneal encloses 
the only statement ever made by any member of the Garrett 
household which will through this volume be given publicity 
for the first time. The statement is from William Garrett, 
eldest son, who was an "eye witness" as well as an "ear 
witness" to the Garrett home affair from first to last. 

One evening a while before dark, says Garrett, a couple 
of men on horseback and in Confederate uniforms came to 
our place, having with them another young man who had 
no uniform but had a sore leg. They wanted the crippled 
young man taken in until arrangements could be made to 
get him a place of safety. At first father didn't want to 
do it, but the Confederate officers said they would see that 
he got into no trouble, so the young man was taken in and 
the two calvarymen paced off to keep picket and give warn- 
ing if any federals came up, so the crippled man told us. 
He stayed in the kitchen that night where brother Jack and 
I sleep. The next evening when the crippled man was In 
the front yard on the grass the two cavalrymen came up 
as fast as they could, said something about they must get 
to the woods, so one of them took the crippled man on the 
horse and they started toward the heavy woods this side 
of the Port. One of the cavalrymen started toward Bowl- 
ing Green. They were in such a hurry that they didn't 
say goodbye or if they would come back. That night broth- 
er Jack and I kept awake much of the time thinking the 
men might come back, and father told us not to let any 
more strangers stay there. Awhile before day when it was 
as dark as charcoal outside I heard some one tap on the 
back door. I crawled out of bed without making any fuss 
because I didn't want to wake father and mother who were 
asleep up stairs. So I opened the door but it was so dark 



WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 69 



I could only see that there were two of them and one was 
larger and seemingly older by his voice, but the younger 
one done most of the talking. He said they had come a 
long ways on foot and was going to some court house but 
was too tired to go any farther without rest, and they 
wanted a place to stay. I told them father didn't want to 
let any strangers stay there, but if they would be careful 
and not wake the folks they could stay awhile. They said 
as they might want to leave at any moment they would 
prefer some outhouse or crib, so they could go there with- 
out disturbing the "old folks" as they called them. I told 
Jack to not for anything wake father and mother and the 
men would be gone so they needn't know they had stayed 
there. So I showed the strangers to the crib. It was so 
dark you could not see your hand before you, but I knew 
the place so well I found the crib door and let them go in 
where there was hay and cornstalk blades for them to 
rest on. I stopped around awhile to see that they didn't 
take the horses as they had none. Pretty soon I heard ft 
noise at the house and hurried there where a lot of men 
in Union uniforms and one of them an officer had the 
door open demanding that a light be lit and "that damn'd 
quick," he said. Just then I heard mother raise the upstairs 
window and ask who was there and what they wanted. "No 
matter who we are — we want a light." Then I heard 
father coming down stairs and he lit a candle and when 
he went to the ooor another officer came up and said "you 
have some one in here and we want him." Father tried 
to tell the new officer that there had been a man there 
but he wouldn't let him. "We are not going to listen to 
any of your excuses," said the officer, "where is he." Then 
father told him they had gone. "Gone where?" said the 
officer, and father told him to the woods. Then brother 
Jack began ransacking the house to see if the crippled man 
had come back. But the officer grabbed father and pulled 
him on the porch and called for a rope and said he would 
swing him to one of the sycamore limbs. I then told them 
not to harm father and I would tell them. "Father is 
scared. He don't know," I said. I was grabbed by the 
arm like all savage and I saw I had to tell them something, 
so I told them, "they went to the crib. I'll show you where 
they are." One of the officers took the candle and we 
went to the crib, but it was dark as could be in there and 
not a sound. Pretty soon there was a rustle in the fodder 
and the officer said I must go in and tell the man in there 
to give up his arms and surrender. I didn't want to go but 
he said I must, and he called to the man in there that he 
would send me in for the arms and he must surrender. 
Just then there was whispering, showing that there was 



70 WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 



more than one in there. One of them said to the other he 
could "go and be damned; I don't want you here any way.'* 
As soon as I got in the man inside snatched up something 
I thought was a gun and told me to get out, that I had 
given him a cold deck, or something, and I rushed back 
to the door and told them the men in there were armed 
to the teeth and would shoot me. I was let out and the 
officer again called for surrender or there would be a bon- 
fire and a shooting match. But one of the men in the crib 
said: "There is a damned young fellow in here who wants 
to give himself up. As for me — I want time to study." 
The officer told him he could have just two minutes. Then 
one of the men inside told the other to "go, you damned 
coward! I don't know you! You have betrayed me and I 
don't want you to stay." and, continues the statement, "He 
kept cursing him to the last." About this time some one 
set fire to some hay and poked it through a crack and 
almost as if it was a powder house the whole inside of the 
crib was ablaze, and for the first time the men inside could 
be seen, although they could see those outside. One of the 
men at once began "running" from one side to the other 
looking for a way to get out or a crack to pop any one 
who got in the way. The door was broke open and one 
of the men grabbed the young man and piled on top of him 
and was dragging him out when some one shot through a 
crack and the other man inside bounded toward the door 
and fell on his face. In an instant one of the officers was 
on him and his clothes was afire. The young man was taken 
outside and tied to a tree, and the other man was taken 
out before he burned and carried to the porch and put on 
some planks with an old coat and a pillow for his head. 
"Who was it got shot?" asked the young man who had ffiven 
up. "You know well enough who it was," answered the 
officer. "No, I do not know who it was." "Yes. you do," 
said the officer. "You know it is Booth." "No, I tell 
you, I don't know it w.as Booth," said the young man. "He 
told me his name was Boyd." (This corroborates a state- 
ment made by Captain Dougherty with the addition that: 
"Herold told me afterw'ard that he met this man by acci- 
dent about midnight after the tragedy; that they crossed 
the Potomac at Mathias Point together." Captain Dough- 
erty further mentions the home of Dr. Stewart as one of 
the stopping places of the fugitives.) 

The statement was s'^-n'-d bv William Garrett in the 
presence of Postmaster Carneal. 

Now, who were "they" so rften referred to? 



WANDERINGS OF J WILKES BOOTH 



71 



Captain Jett whose word 
seemed a pledge not only to 
the pursuers, but also to the 
government, he being a wit- 
ness in the conspiracy court 
to identify Herold, states that 
after parting with Booth, Her- 
old and Roddy at the ferry — 
Booth and the two lieutenants 
headed for Garrett's. He 
{IllilHl ^ ''%s^ ,^FWlL "^^t saw Herold the following 
'/ //// /ll/^'\. V^^^^Mwr W' t*''*y in Bowling Green where 

he remained until after sup- 
per when he started on foot 
for Garrett's. "And that was 
the last I saw of him," says 
the Captain, "until next morn- 
ing as he was dragged from 
a barn as a prisoner; and I 
then recognized him as the 
party I saw with Booth while 
crossing the river," and who 
I saw in Bowling Green the 
next day." Did the captors point to the stretcher and 
ask: "Is that the party with whom you saw this young 
man at the ferry?" They did not. Captain Jett had 
pledged to tell nothing but the truth, and like most south- 
ern young men, that word was considered inviolate. Sup- 
pose the Captain had been asked to identify the dead man 
and he had said: "No. That is not the man." Blewey! 
Up goes glimmering ever\' gleam of promise so near fulfill- 
ment. Glory turned loose to mingle with nil. And thnt 
"mount of laureat lustre." Leastwise, Captain Jett was 
saved the embarrassment of having to choose between his 
pledge to thp pursurers and iiis pledge to see tlie crippled 
man to a safe harbor. 




And referring to the arrest of Captain Jett at Bowling 
Green. The first demand was that he reveal the where- 
abouts of the parties he had helped cross the river. This 
was embellished by the polish on Conger's gun. "He is on 
the road to Port Royal," replied the Captain. Then as if 
to anticipate any embarrassing query such as "how do you 
know?" he side-stepped. "I thought you were from Rich- 
I'-id. hut if you came by the Garrett farm you may have 
t", -^fi Iv-,. off." Was the Captain merely stalling: or did 
he in t':\(t Uncw? May it not be that while either Ruggles 



72 WAXDERIXGS OF J WILKES BOOTH 



or Bainbridge were escorting Booth to the woods the other 
was headed for Bowling Green to post the Captain, which 
could easily have been done by one on a swift horse before 
the arrest of Captain Jett. 

In summing up the statement of young Garrett it may 
seem somewhat significent that he nowhere uses the word 
■"cripple"; nor of any tumbling and lunging and hobbling 
about either out or within the crib; no act or word that so 
much as suggests a "cripple". No. As soon as the fire 
started, the victim began "running" from first one side to 
the other. Even the little item of a crutch, let alone two 
of them, is not mentioned. Before him arose no plume of 
honors; no glint of gold, all hinging upon whether the man 
captured was Booth "dead or alive." The sympathies of 
the young man were all on the side of the southland, and 
naturally if he had any incentive it would be to throw the 
pursuers off the track and stop the hunt by identifying the 
man on the porch as Booth. Young Garrett did hear some- 
things. For instance he heard the older man in the crib 
tell the other to "Go, you damned coward!" and "he kept 
cursing him to the last." Does this sound like Booth to 
who many think that smacked of the vulgar or profane was 
abomniable? In fact that was a family trait in the Booth 
household. Doesn't it sound more like a river man — a 
Roby, or a Boyd, for instance? "You have betrayed me." 
Does that sound like Booth in branding as a damned 
coward one who had stood faithfully by him through thick 
and thin. Who had staked all — honor, position — his very 
life, having just then abandoned safety within the Confed- 
erate lines in order to be at the side of his greatest of all 
friends — his god-father, as it were? Such expressions, such 
suspicions might, not seem so far-fetched coming from a 
comparative stranger who could easily imagine that he had 
been inveigled into the jaws of death to make vicarious 
sacrifice that a bosom friend might escape. 

Before closing reference to Mr. Carneal's letter: Every 
effort to secure trace of any one named Roddy or Boyd has 
been disappointing. In answer to innumerable letters to 
old-timers within a wide radius of Ports Royal and Conway 
and Mathias Point, has invariably resulted in replies that 
"Never heard of any one going by either of these names." 
The name of Roddy is unknown, unmentioned until receipt 
of the letter from Mr. Carneal. Now, where did that mys- 
tpri-n« name "Roddy" come from — ho^v did it reach tlie 
ear of the immediate Garrett household? It could not have 
come from the Booth confession; for that had not been 
given to the public. Booth could not have gotten it from 
the Garrett's; for this is the first time any statement from 
any member of the Garrett house has ever been given to the 



WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 73 

public. As to the other conjurable name — Boyd. In an 
early day an adventurer named Boyd — first name may have 
been Rodney — settled on a ranch in the then wilderness of 
Virginia at a point some miles below Mathias where Booth, 
Herold and Boyd crossed the Potomac. But he has long 
since dropped from earth and his name from memory. 
That these two names should be so wholly unknown among 
old-timers would indicate that both of these characters — 
if indeed thej' were not one and the same, must have 
dropped out as suddenly and mysteriously as they dropped 
in. Again — where could young Garrett have gotten it un- 
less it was drbpped by one of the "two strangers" either 
before or after entering the crib? For further question 
let the distant cavers answer. 

Now, honor bright — who among all those giving state- 
ments concerning the killing at the Garrett home was in 
better shape than was young Garrett; with no incentive 
save to give acts and words as they are remembered by him 
without varnish or evasion. Before him no vision of honor 
or profit loomed; certainly without ambition to "see his 
name in print," else he would not have waited so long. 
No incentive of the most precious of all rewards — conscious- 
ness of having done a duty to receive that acclaim — "well 
done, thou good and faithful." On the other hand here 
was a company of brave and daring men as ever donned 
a uniform, as loyal to duty, to their country as any men 
on earth, not a fibre in the make-up of one of them that 
wasn't of pure metal; not an impulse that needed either 
hope of honors or reward to stimulate to deeds of heroism, 
of valor. That fabulous rewards were in waiting, that 
honors were sure to those who should avenge the death of 
America's most beloved, however high heaped the golded 
bushel, as a stimulous this could have entered only uncon- 
sciously. Nor should be held lightly the long and arduous 
search through heat and all kinds of inclement weather, 
fatigued to the verge of exhaustion. "Vigilant in watch, 
"with little to eat and less sleep," so worn-out that some of 
them "dropped from their horses to rest a spell on the 
wayside sands." Their only conscious stimulous the song 
of victory almost in hearing, the crown of honors fairly 
within grasp, and the patriotic acclaim of a grateful people, 
their toil and sweating all at an end. Yet take account: 
What confusion, what a heterogenious conglomerate scram- 
ble of disorder, every man a general, discipline lost in the 
dense of that "darkest hour before day." In the enemy's 
countrv where for aught they knew numbers untold were 
in ambush. At least one desperate man with his life at 
stake and armed to the teeth, in that crib where he could 
pick off those outside by the candle light while he was 



74 WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 

invisible to them. Stillness vieing in its awe with the hush 
of death; no sound, scarcely breathing save now and then a 
low murmur, a rustle of the hay beneath the shuffling feet 
cautiously feeling a way for some chance to take a "leap 
in the dark," perhaps take a shot at any one who should 
happen in range. Indeed, what scope for imagination as 
these tired and gaulded men circled cautiously aoout, one 
dodging here, another in there, each for self, every whisper 
of the winds, every rustle of the forest leaves coming up 
like kelpy voices from the caverns of unfathomable. Ordi- 
narily, testimony given in harmony and exactness by sev- 
eral witnesses et literatum and in situation tends to 
strengthen; but the reverse in this case. That all the var- 
ious "eye v/itnesses" on the government side, amid such 
anxiety and confiusion in dense darkness as wraiths of nights 
pipe low whisperings add dismal to the weird, should tell 
their stories in such exact harmony — smacks rather of the 
conned and coached, under legal skill. 



A QUESTION OF IDENTITY 

"Yes, but didn't Booth's brother and John Ford, one of 
his most intimate friends, identify the body buried at Green 
Mound Cemetery as John Wilkes Booth?" Of course they 
did. Up to that time there was a growing belief that seem- 
ed fast becoming' universal that Booth was not killed at 
the Garrett home. Thousands of vigilant eyes were on the 
watch, thousands of man-hunters were ready with vulture 
greed to pounce upon him if still alive; some for the re- 
puted fabulous rewards, some for the "honor," some be- 
cause they liked the smell of human blood. Suppose that 
body had not been identified as that of Booths? What 
was more natural than that the family and his immediate 
friends would say to the world: "Call off your sleuths for 
Booth is dead." There were at least two "eye-witnesses" 
whose consciences were too tender for trusting; that might 
if they didn't think it was Booth, say so — Clara Morris and 
Blanche Chapman, both of whom had been on the stage 
with Booth. To these the injunction "After you have seen 
put vour fingers to your lips and keep mum." And they 
did even as enjoined, except that Clara Morris simply 
shook her head, with: "Poor unfortunate John Wilkes 
Booth; so kind, so full of hope and promise. Of course I 
can not condone his rash act; but it wasn't him; it was 
the spirit of those higher up, of influence and of baser de- 
signs who knew his dauntless courage, his fidelity to any 
trust imposed on him." And again shaking her head 
"these are the real assassins. Booth was but the instru- 
ment in their hands." 



WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 75 

SEEMS UNTHINKABLE 

In the opinion of the writer one of the weak points in 
the Texas confession is where Booth makes the direct 
charge that he received his first impulse to other than 
kidnap the President only a few hours before the fatal shot', 
from a party named. For details, see page 19. It may be 
that he got his first idea of killing at the conference stated 
in the confession. In fact, there is a preponderence of 
evidence that up to that time kidnapping was the only 
thing ever hinted by Booth to his co-conspirators or any 
one else, not even to his closest confident. As to the con- 
ference referred to, that is not among the unthinkables, 
for it is in evidence that only a short time before the hour 
designated, the private secretary of the party referred to 
delivered him a card on which' appeared: "Don't want to 
disturb you. Are you at home?" Signed J. Wilks Booth 
in his recognized hand-writing. But what transpired, the 
purpose and results of that conference, if indeed it was 
more than a mere friendly call — that is something differ- 
ent. Such a meeting should not be construed as strange, 
for it may be noted that Booth's great versatility, his en- 
tertaining ways and attractive personality insured him ac- 
cess to the best of homes and gave him companionship 
with the elite including the most eminent union statesmen 
regardless of the well-known sympathies of him with the 
South. Even Union army officers were not averse to mix 
in with the clever artist and mingle toasts over the bar, 
not infrequently until tongues took on strange activity, a 
condition not so much under the ban of censure then as in 
later years. And in such condition, men were liable to 
say strange things, do strange things — which would not 
for a moment have found utterance or action in sober 
moments. It is not always true that persons do and 
say only the things they think when sober. More often 
quite the contrary. Disease is but a branch or element in 
nature which invariably seeks way of least resistance. In- 
toxication is a disease and nature-like seeks way of least 
resistance in its attacks on the faculties of the patient, 
stilling first the weakest or easiest to resist and then the 
next, and so on until the weaker faculties have been "put 
to sleep" giving the pre predominating one full sway. It 
that trends to music, the patient wants/ to sing; if com- 
batativeness he wants to fight; if amativeness he wants to 
fondle over you, etc. It may be possible that "drink of 
strong brandy" referred to in the confession with others 
"before and after" got in its work of "putting to sleep" 
the conservative faculties and the very words said to have 
given Booth his first notion of killingj may have been ut- 
tered — words that in sober moments would have choked. 



76 WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 

Booth was in no sense trivial but very much matter of 
fact, taking everything seriously; hence took these maud- 
lings to heart as if really meant and acted upon the ir- 
reverent hint. 

It was an open secret if not more that the most perfect 
amity did not exist between Mr. Lincoln and the Vice- 
President, which is indexed by a single incident: One day 
as Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln were walking down Pennsylvania 
Avenue the Vice-President was noticed some distance be- 
hind coming in the same direction. "Why is that fellow for- 
ever following me?" remarked Mr. Lincoln with a frown. 
Many of the most eminent statesmen of the Union side had 
no use for the vice-president, partically, perhaps, because 
he was a southern man, but probably most out of partizan- 
ship on behalf of the chief executive. This feeling found 
emphatic expression through impeachment proceedings 
wherein the vote of either Senator Ross of Kassas or 
Trumbull of Illinois, both republicans, would have hurled 
the new president from his chair in humility and disgrace. 
And so strong was that feeling toward the president that 
the two republicans who refused to vote "guilty," signed 
their death-warrant. It may be pertinent to here state that 
Mr. Lincoln also had his enemies — not confined to south- 
ern people, but many of the big fellows of his own side had 
no use for him politically — those who expected to reap a 
great harvest by despoliation of the conquered states, felt 
that Lincoln would prove a Gibralter between them and 
that spoliation. They feared him because of the wonder- 
ful hold he had on the people — in fact no ruler was more 
beloved and revered by the subjects of any country. That 
these profiteering adventurers would go to the length of 
counternancing any rash measures in getting him out of 
the way is scarcely believable; but that he was in their 
road is more than open secret. Again, his hold upon the af- 
fections of the people was a source of jealousy that was 
more than casually observed. That there were "enemies 
within the ranks" was hinted by a number whose state- 
ments in regard to the difficulties with which the govern- 
ment had to contend in its pursuit of the fugitives were 
given. 

Now as to the change which Booth claimed "came over 
the spirit of his dreams," that soon after the mystic hour of 
the last conference at the Kirkwood on the evening of the 
tragedy. Booth sent for his co-conspirators to meet him at 
the Herndon, where for the first time the first hint of kill- 
ing was given; that the attempt to kidnap on March 18 had 
failed, and Richmond now being under Federal control 
making the plot to kidnap impossible, he decided to change 
the plan to that of killing the President. This suggestion 
seems to have come to Aztferodt and Payne like a thunder 



WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 77 



clap from a clear sky. After a round at the bar of bane 
as If to clear away the fog, these co-conspiratois, each put 
In a flat veto — they had agreed to aid in capture but not 
to kill. "All right," said Booth. "I wili do the job alone, 
but I want you to have one more, and perhaps, last drink 
together." Payne declined, but Azterodt — was never 
known by his closest friends to decline. Meantime young 
Payne, then only eighteen years old, sought a quiet corner 
to himself. Now, thi^ poor devil of a George A. Azterodt 
was only a common boat-maker of Port Tobacco by .which 
name he was generally known, considered harmless as he 
was worthless. He had three distinct yet blending char- 
acteristics — inordinate cowardice, inordinate boasting 
when full to a certan degree, of what all he wasn't afraid 
to do; and of an inordinate! tasts for squirrel whisky, and 
of never letting up when once on the tank wagon until too 
full for utterance, let alone action. Another round at this 
bar and Azterodt was at the boasting point; but neverthe- 
less, when Booth said to him : "I have decided that you 
shall take care of the Vice-President," the spirit of bravo 
gave way to its opponent and there was another flat "No, 
siree. No killin' for me, and I jist won't da it." But when 
told that he would be hung anyway, Aterrodt manifested 
that he could stand one more "last drink together." After 
which Booth took leave, while Azterodt proceeded to forti- 
fy himself by staggering out and, to use his own words, 
"wanered over the city taking a fresh drink at ever^- cor- 
ner and between." He then gave his routing — from the 
Hemdon to the Kirkwood just long enough tr take one 
more; thence to "Oyster Bay," where, it appears he was at 
the time the fatal shot was fired — many blocks from the 
scene; "thence to the Union; thence to the Kimmel; 
thence to the stock yards where I hoped to get a bunk with 
my friend Brisco, but failed. I then went back to the Kim- 
mel and tumbled in about two o'clock in the morning." 
Being dead broke, he left without paying the bill and car- 
ried the key to stave off discovery of his absence. At 
Georgetown he pawned his pistol for ten dollars and went 
out to stay with his cousin in Montgomery county, some 
miles out. There he busied himself doing chores and work- 
ing in the garden with no attempt at hiding or of avoiding 
being seen. He was there arrested on the 19th by Provost 
McPhail and Wells to whom, on pledge of reprieve, he 
made a full breast of his part in the plot from start to fin- 
ish. He was hung, however, along with Mrs. Surratt, 
Payne and Herold. There being no substantial evidence 
against Dr. Mudd except that he dressed a wounded man's 
leg, and scarcely a particle of evidence against Sam Ar- 
nold, Ed Spangler, except that he was shoving scenes on 
the stage when the shot was fired, and Mike McLaughlin, 



78 



WANDERIXGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 



except that he had been seen in company with Booth as 
thousands of others had, they were let off with terms "at 
hard labor at Dry Tortugus." John H. Surratt was some- 
where In Canada about that time, but subsequently return- 
ed and gave himself up, receiving a term in prison. ' 




Jefferson Davis 



Andrew Johnson 



Of course, the adroit and resourceful lawyer might 
take the circumstances of Booth's card, the fact that the 
vice-president was in his room punctuallj' at about half- 
past four and kept close to it until some time after the fa- 
tal hour, leaving it but once, about time for 7 o'clock lunch 
and a nightcap — putting this and that together, including 
the personal interest at stake as well as the supposed safe- 
ty of the south from spoliation the adroit lawyer might 
weave quite a web. Also, that the universal reputation '^f 
Azterodt as an inordinate coward when in physical condi- 
tion, and an inordinate bravado when too full to act, he 
would be just such an instrument one would assign a job 
he didn't want done, and feel sure it would not be done. 
That is order to still suspicion then rife to some extent, the 
gate-post must be marked to make it appear the party was 
slated as one of the victims instead of being one of the 
conspirators. That Booth well-knowing the superb fitness 
of Azterodt as a gate-marker with loud letters, and that he 
could be relied upon to tank to the paralizing point in the 
shortest possible time, the assignment to "take care of the 



WANDERINGS OF J WILKES BOOTH 79 



vice-president " was left to him. Powell alias Payne — he 
kept his own counsel, but meantime the fires of patriotism 
from his standpoint were burning. The blood of two 
brothers killed by the "yankees" was still crying out: "Re- 
venge! Revenge!" From the tryst he made his way and 
bided the time he deemed as the propitious moment, and 
then the story of his attack on Secretai-y Seward is too 
thoroughly known in history to need repeating here. 



A PRESUMPTION ON THE CRUELITY OF MAN 

The solemn trudge on the way from Bowling Green to 
the Garrett farm was described as a gloomy and fatiguing 
one of darkness and stifling dust — moonless and starless; 
so dark that although the road was the main traveled thor- 
oughfare from Bowling Green to the Rappahannock, it 
was so dark the horses were given the rein to follow the 
trail as best they could. So dark that one of the party had 
to get off his horse and "feel his way" to the gate of the 
lane leading to the house. In fact, so dark the party didn't 
know they were near the gate until they "were up against 
it." It was that "darkest hour before day" when the party 
arrived in front of the house. It was so dark that the out- 
lines of the crib-prison could scarcely be traced except 
under search-light of a lone candle which Col. Baker held 
in his hand. So dark that when Herold got out he whisp- 
ered to Baker to "put out the candle or he'll see to shoot 
you by it." Dark, pitchy darkness when the dying man was 
carried to the house, and a single candle was' the only ray 
of light. There is no evidence that the usual invitation for 
"friends to pass by and view the deceased," was extended. 
Instead, Capt. Dougherty says, he immediately sewed the 
dead body up in a blanket, which, "as soon as light enough 
to see" was dumped into a wagon and trundled to the 
wharf to be put aboard boat for Washington City. Another 
thing worth repeating: Not one of those at the capture had 
ever seen Booth except Conger, who at one time got a 
glimpse of him while bowing to a curtain call at the Ford 
when it was crowded to its utmost capacity. And even then 
it was not Booth the citizen, but a bewigged, powered, be- 
whiskered stage-made character in costume of antique 
ages; Vissar crowned, pomp and strut of ancient knight- 
hood. In fact in disguise as complete as stage-art could 
conceive. To claim that the body Dougherty sewed up in 
a blanket was in any way a protype of the stage-made char- 
acter of centuries back is too preposterous for considera- 
tion. The facts are: they supposed they "had him treed." 
The trappings found on the body of the victim, it was but 
natural to take it for granted that it was Booth. And right 



80 WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 



here note: It was brought out as a port of tlie evidence 
against Herold that at least a portion of these same trap- 
pings was found in Herold's coat pockets at the Kirkwood 
next day after the tragedy. Might it not be reasoned that 
Herold had taken charge of the other Booth belongings — 
more secured from the Darky Lucas' wagon and while in 
the crib, before surrendering, he decided to shift them into 
the pockets of the man who he said was a stranger to him, 
so these incriminating trappings might not be found on 
his person? Besides, except the bill of exchange that 
might not have been found on any desperate man: knife, 
pair of pistols, belt, holstei', cartridges, pipe and carbine. 
They were expecting to see Booth, and that expectancy 
became father of the decision that it was Booth. But it was 
not Booth Conger saw through star-dimmed eyes by the 
famt flicker of a lone candle as he looked down into the 
distorted face of agonizing death, a ghostly visage grimed 
and sooted, seered and singed, reddened eyes in dying 
glare half closed, and brows furrowed with that dread 
siege of awful suspense, hair singed, blood-clotted and dis- 
heveled, the last words gurgling up through a clogging 
throat — those sweetest of all words "Tell Mother—" the 
blue lips quivering and the body writhing beneath the 
weight of chains that bound it oni the rack of excruciable 
torture. To identify such a picture of limp inanimate clay 
In citizen garb from a mere glimpse of an ancient agile 
king in costume no human being had ever! worn for cen- 
turies, seems unthinkable. Such evidence would be dis- 
credited in any court between that great highest trihunnal 
where love and mercy rules, and the lowest court of hades 
where sightless eyes glance, from grim sockets, and phos- 
phorescent shades in appearance sway before the rushing 
gu-t- rf b,,,,.-^-,- 'uries as souls a sultry penance fry for 
sins born of the flesh. 

*It was stated that every heart heaved with compassion 
and every eye was dimmed with tears— not of condone- 
ment, but of pity at the gruesome scene of a mortal body in 
the last throes of pains at parting with its immortal soul- 
companion of over half a century, the last throb of expir- 
ing hopes, all dreams of fancied "honors" vanished. 

If indeed that was Booth's body taken to Baltimore for 
re-interment the noted dramatic artist must also have been 
up in the "black art," for did it not while down in that 
dark grave in the old jail shift the blanket in which Dough- 
erty sewed it up for a prince-albert and other presentable 
togs? And did not that boot which Dr. Mudd took from 
the wounded leg perform the "feet" of being on exhibition 
at the Smithsonian Institute and at the same moment 
"come off with the foot" at the Baltimore morgue? Veri- 



WANDERINGS OF J WILKES BOOTH 81 

ly for, "ways that are dark" and trickS( that would make 
old Loki as a toad seem common-place, that jail birdi was 
peculiar. 



THE RAPPAHANNOCK FERRY 

Captain Willie S. Jett belonged to the Ninth Va. caval- 
ry, Mosby's command, and had just been appointed Con- 
federate commissary agent and was on his way from Fau- 
quier to headquarters in Caroline county. At Bowling 
Green he was joined by Lieuts. A. M. Bainbridge and R. B. 
Ruggles, also of Mosby's command. At the Rappahannock 
ferry near Port Conway, and owned by Bill Dawson but 
operated by a man named Jim Thornton, they were met 
by Herold, who first gave his name as Boyd, and saying 
his brother had been wounded in a skirmish near Peters- 
burg and wanted to be taken across the lines. On being 
told that his, Jett's party, had not just then the facilities, 
Herold gave his right name and begged that his "bother" 
be taken to some safe place until arrangements to get with- 
in Mosby's lines could be made. Just then a man dragged 
out of an old wagon and it was noticed he had a crutch. 
Herold then in an excited tone stated: "We are the assas- 
sins of the President." Then pointing: "Yonder is John 
Wlkes Booth who shot the President." Booth then hob- 
bled up and was introduced. Another man came up and 
was introduced as (the real) Boyd. 

Jett says he left the others on the boat and rode to 
Port Royal where he hoped to find a place for the 
"wounded Confederae," as he was to represent Booth. Af- 
ter a number of unsucessful efforts, Jett called at the home 
of Capt. Catlipt, but he was out of the city. Jett then re- 
turned to the boat and they all crossed the river, Booth 
on Ruggles' horse. 

On noticing that his new friends wore Confederate 
uniforms! Booth asked as to their command at which Rug- 
gles replied that they belonged to Mosby's command. On 
being asked as to where he belonged. Booth replied that 
he was a member of A.' P. Hill's Corps. Jett says he no- 
ticed the letters "J. W. B." on Booth's hand. 

After landing, Booth had a hasty talk with the man 
giving his name as Boyd, when the latter started to re- 
cross the river. Jett says that after directing Herold 
and his companion to go to the home of a Mrs. Clark not 
far out from Bowling Gree, he went to that City. 
Next day Herold and the other party reached Bowling 
Green, remaini"<? until evening when they left for the Gar- 
rett homp w^-ere they expected to find Booth. That was 
the la^-t Je\f 9,r\w of e'ther of them until as a prisoner he 



82 WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 



saw Herold, also as a prisoner, at the Garrett home. As 
he left the ferry, Jett says Ruggles and Bainbridgej as per 
arrangements started with Booth for the Garrett home 
about three and a half miles out on the Bowling; Green 
road. (Jett's arrest at Bowling Green given on another 
page.) 

Miss Dora C. Jett of Fredericksburg is a daughter of 
the late J. B. Jett, who for a number of years presided as 
judge at Stafford, Va., but subsequently resigned and 
went to St. Paul, Minn., where he died several years ago. 
In a letter, Miss Jett says that although Captain Jett re- 
sided in the same Westmoreland county, relationship be- 
tween the two families was never established. 

The writer had the pleasure of meeting] Judge Jett in 
company with Col. Lawson who had Confederate command 
at the Battle of Fredericksburg, but then returning from 
the unveiling of the Lee monument at Richmond which the 
write* also witnessed. He found both of these gentlemen 
courteous and companionable, and above all, taking the de- 
feat of their southland philosophically, ready to bury all 
prejudices and take those who contended against them by 
the hand once more in a spirit of brotherhood. 



DO DREAMS SOMETIMES COME TRUE? 

The writer had been busy from just after supper until 
a late hour of the night wading through the day's accu- 
• mualtion of letters mosting in reply to inquiries concerning 
the Booth matter. Finally after the last of the bulk had 
been glanced over he fell into a brief dose in which Old 
Somner began grinding out "In reply to yours" by fits and 
starts of waking and again dropping into the vista of Mr. 
Som. About the only "reply to yours" due but not yet 
received was a letter addres.sed to "Mr. Pittman, Fishhook 
Bend, Miss." However, as he had subsequently discovered 
that there was no postoffice at Fishhook Bend, he scarcely 
expected his letter so directed would ever reach its destina- 
tion. But try all he could to dismiss the whole Booth 
matter with its replying "to yours," the ghost would not 
down, but kept stalking like an intruding shacJow in his 
dreams. Finally one came — a real fairly well arranged 
epistle for one from dreamland] It was, as seen in that 
dream letter on coarse print paper in pencil, rather shaky 
hand, and slightly disconnected by the fits and starts of a 
moment's rousing from the dream spell, to be taken up 
when the spell again came on. This dream letter went on 
to say that the writer of it had "received yours, and in 
reply," etc. To quote by filling in to make connection com- 



WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 83 



plete, "I got the letter which I suppose was meant for me, 
but was not surprised except as to how you came to single 
me out. Only a short time ago I saw a paper in which 
was a picture that called up a long time ago when I saw 
the same face though not a mere paper one. My father 
was named Walter Pittman, but ususlly called "Pitt," and 
when he died and left me a little tad just beginning to 
toddle his brother took me down to the river where he 
lived in a hole in the bank and had some canoes and a log 
raft taking people across when the river was too full to 
ford. I only had one playmate of near my size, a little 
colored river boy, and we had heaps of fun in its way. I 
would sit '^Mose" on a hill of sand and throw mud balls 
at him, never failing to hit him square between the eyes 
when he would tumble on his back, then sit up again as if 
on springs, shake his head and roll his eyes and smile as 
he waited for another blow. He did the throwing a couple 
of times but hit me only once, and then I didn't set up 
again like I was on springs, but waited for him to shake 
the life into me. One evening two men came to the river 
on horseback. One of them had on a grey uniform and 
had all kinds of guns and revolvers and belted knives until 
he looked like an arsenal on horseback. He was a grim 
looking fellow silent as a sphynx. The other had on a 
rather slouched black hat and a cloak that gattiered at the 
throat and when he got off of the horse it reached almost 
to the sand. He was such a fine looking young man with 
keen black eyes, black silky hair and mustache, just such 
a face as the one in that paper. He took a step or ?o 
toward me and walked as if he had a sore foot; then he 
reached out and took my hand in his and it was white and 
velvety as a woman's, and his voice was so mild and kind 
that I wasn't afraid. After wiping my face he gathered 
me up and gave me the first kiss I ever had after my 
mother died and that was when I was too young to remem- 
ber. Then he asked 'if there was any place around where 
he could get some whisky. But before I could speak, father 
came up from the bank as wet as though he had been 
bathing with his clothes on, but he just gave a shake of his 
body and was as dry as the stranger seemed to be. ' Father 
told him that the only way to get any whisky was to catch 
a fish that had been baited with the stuff and squeeze it 
out. At this the stranger smiled and replied: "For the 
love of — show me the fish !" Just then he reached way 
down into a pocket in his cloak as if he was going to pull 
something out. "What, have you got arms on you," father 
asked with an air of astonishment. The stranger jerked 
both hands from under the cloak and swinging them in the 
air: "Do I look as if I had no arms?" One hand was 



84 WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 

empty, but in the other was a big cane. Then came a 
deep shadow over his face and as he put his arms under 
the cloak and settled back on his feet holding the cloak so 
that the folds lapped in front, as he fairly pierced father 
through with searching eyes. Just then a long fish started 
to climb a stake that stood a ways out from the shore to 
which a canoe was fastened. Quick as a flash the stranger 
raised one hand still under the cloak and said excitedly: 
"There's the fish! Just see how straight I can shoot with- 
out "arms." Bang! and the fish fell over into the canoe. 
"My God!" exclaimed the stranger. What have I done?" 
With this he made a lunge for the canoe and gathered me 
up in his arms and began smothing back my hair. Turning 
to father who was in grins over the joke and with im- 
ploring hand: "Before my maker I thought it was a fish!" 
Just then there was a sharp report followed by a slowly 
dying rumble like the echo of a cannon against the far 
hillsides. A sudden crash. And the writer rose to a sit- 
ting posture in the bed and began rubbing his eyes to be 
sure he was alive, and if so, awake, when there was another 
slight clap accompanied by a faint flash, and he could see 
the rain drops strike the window pane, but soon the sky 
was clear. The writer refuses to admit that he believes in 
dreams, and yet he never awoke from a pleasant one with- 
out feeling more at ease than if it had been of the horror kind. 
Believe or not in dreams, that dream letter like the ghost 
of night referred to would not down. It kept intruding 
with its weird story on flat coarse print paper written with 
a fiat hand, from somewhere. Although not expecting a 
reply to the Pittman letter the writer confesses to dis- 
appointment at not finding one on his return to the office. 
However, a later mail brought a number of "answers," and 
among them to the writer's surprise, one was postmarked — 
not at Fishhook Bend, but "From Walter Pittmann, Beula, 
Miss." On reading the letter which to the writer's con- 
fusement rather than surprise, it was on coarse print paper 
and in pencil. After stating that the letter had found its 
way to Beula and referring to having seen a paper in a 
law office at Meridian sometime before with a picture of 
Booth in it, etc., it went on to state circumstances when he 
was a lad; but the substance of this real letter is no nearly 
a verbatum duplicate of the dream one, except it takes up 
the thread where the dream letter dropped it, to give it 
would amount practically to duplicating. After referring 
to the two strangers minus the fish and little Mose episodes, 
the real letter was the stranger cross the river, where after 
taking (then) young Pittman jr. in his arms and squeezing 
him till, the letter states, "my breath was about gone," he 
asked to be directed to a boat house which father had told 



WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 85 



him before crossing was moored a mile or so above and 
where he might be able to get some whisky and find lodging. 
He said he didn't care for the lodging, only a place to 
rest awhile as: he had a long way before him. He bade 
father and me goodbye, and that is the last we ever saw of 
him. Next evening, one of the young women who "clerked" 
at the river house, who was known as "Happy Kate," a 
really handsome and modest young woman for one in that 
position in that place, came down to our dugout and asked 
if a young man who crossed the river the night before had 
been back. "What kind of a looking fellow was he?" 
asked father. "There are so many people who come this 
way." In a fit of ecstacy, Kate declared that he was "the 
handsomest man I ever saw in all my life!" Father began 
teasing her about her handsomest — love-at-sight beauty 
when she buried her face in her hands and began crying. 
Father being one of the most tender hearted men, couldn't 
stand "a woman's tears," so he sought to make amends. 
"He was not like so many other men who come to the 
river," said Kate. "Such a beautiful face, such beautiful 
eyes and hair, so polite to every one; and while there he 
never said one vulgar or profane word. And he told such 
lovely stories and quoted poetry so that although it was 
nearly morning when he left we could have had him remain 
always. He drank only a little, stating that he must keep 
his head or — he didn't say what. And when he smoother 
back my hair and told me I was too good a young woman 
to always live such a life, his hands were so soft and white. 
I told him I had no other life open, and he asked if I had 
a father or a mother. And on speaking the word "mother" 
tears crept over his face and he turned away to hide then). 
I told him I had neither and asked if he had any father 
or mother. "I have^ — a mother," as he choked back emo- 
tion, "but — she is—" "Dead?" I involuntarily uttered. "Well 
— not to me, but — I — I am to her." and he dropped his 
head into my lap for a moment as he fairly sobbed. But 
he soon brushed up and again smoothing back my hair: 
"Poor little one. And you have nobody to care for you? 
Well, you can not say that hereafter." He seemed so 
earnest and kind, I could have embraced and showered him 
with — kisses, which I know he would have shunned. I then 
told him I had an uncle John somewhere among the Indians 
with some kind of a store. His last name was either Boke 
or Drake. I told him I used to get letters from him but 
it had been so long I had forgotten where they were from." 
"An uncle!" half to himself, "indeed." Then he arose: 
"And so you have an uncle among the Indians?" I nodded 
"Yes, or did have." "Strange," he said. "I may run across 
him." I then asked him if he was going to the Indian coun- 



86 WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 

try and he replied that he was headed that way "to bury 
myself among the wildest tribes I can find until I am 
rested, and then — " "And — " before I could finish: "To 
Old Mexico where the hounds of the law can never reach 
me." By this time it was light enough to see to travel and 
he after bidding all the rest goodbye and — " Kate blushed. 
"My God!" Kate fairly wailed. "He said he would maybe 
find my uncle and I am sure he meant that he would then 
take me away from this place of — " After consoling Kate 
with a few words of cheer and hope father remarked; 
"Foolish girl. To go wild over a strange man simply be- 
cause he is handsome." With this Kate threw her arms 
wildly in the air. "No, no, not on that account. No, no. 
He was a man, a real man ! I would follow him to the end 
of the world. Yes, and sell my very soul to pay my way." 
With this poor now unfortunate Kate, with her face 
buried in her apron, started in the direction of the river 
house where she never arrived, and that is the last she was 
ever seen, in that section at least. Some of the river house 
people thought she had drowned herself as she had often 
threatened to do. Others, that she had made for the Indian 
country to find her uncle, and — her hastily formed "idol 
of clay." 

Father, as I called Uncle Walter, said he had seen 
Booth a number of times, both on and off the stage. Rode 
with him on a boat from Vicksburg to New Orleans, and 
got well acquainted with him. He had also seen his t)rother 
Edwin many times. "And," my father Walter &ays, "I am 
as sure as can be that the voung lame stranger was John 
Wilkes Booth." 

Father often related another circumstance some thirty 
years previous when two strangers rode up to where he 
was shacking at this same Fishhook Bend, and only one of 
them wanted to cross, the other intending to return to 
Tennessee. The one who crossed proved to be the newly- 
elected governor of Tennessee (Gen. Sam Houston), who 
said he was going to visit the Cherokees for a vacation, and 
possibly might later be heard from farther south. 



QUERKS AND QUEER QUEERIES 

A farmer planted a mellon seed on his own land; the 
vine crept through a crack in a partition fence and a mel- 
lon grew on another man's land. Who was entitled to the 
mellon? A duck once laid an egg and a hen hatched it. 
Which was the mother? A man once owned a boat which 
he tied to a wharf with a straw rope. Another man's bull 
went on the boat and ate the rope. The boat was stove to 



WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 87 



flinders and the bull killed. Should the man who owned 
the boat pay for the bull, or the man who owned the bull 
pay of the boat? How old was Ann? After you have 
disposed of these problems satisfactorily, tackle the ques- 
tion as to who was killed at the Garrett home in Virginia, 
and what became of the body. If Dana tells the truth, it 
was buried in the navy yard and a battery of artillery 
drawn over it to obliverate the grave. If Col Woodward 
tells the truth, it was taken down the Potomac and burned 
in quick lime. If Lew Wallace tells the truth, it was bur- 
ied in a room of the old jail and subsequently taken up and 
reburied in Green Mound Cemetry, Baltimore. If Col. W. 
P. Wood, who was superintendent of the old jail and 
should have known just who was buried in there, and 
where, tells the truth, he and three others took the body 
up and buried it in the Potomac. Now, who in thunder 
was it buried in Green Mound Cemetery? 

As to the man killed at the Garrett home, it may be 
recalled that at the great conspiracy trial? Messrs Dana, 
Conger and Corbett each testified that the man in the crib 
was heard to say to young Herold, "Get out of here you 
damned coward, I don't know you — you have betrayed me. 
I don't want you in here." Also that after Herold had sur- 
rendered he wanted to know who had been shot in the 
crib. "You know who is was," said Lieut. Baker. "No, I 
do not," replied Herold. "Yes you do — you know it was 
Booth.." To this young Herold declared: "I tell you I do 
not know it was Booth. I didn't know the man in there, 
except that he told me his name was Boyd; and I never 
saw him until several miles out on the night of the' flight 
when he overtook me and rode with us to Mathias Point, 
where we crossed the river. (Boyd Hole is a point on the 
Potomac near Mathias Point.) Thake this and the thou- 
sand and one other circumstances, including the statement 
that the government had no direct or positive proof that 
the man killed at the Garret home was Booth, and the pre- 
ponderance of evidence that Booth was a live physical en- 
tity years later, is it not reasonable to believe that the 
mar\ killed at the Garrett home was Roddy or whoever it 
was came in from Bowling Green with Herold just before 
the arrival of the pursuing party near two o'clock in the 
morning? Of course it's up to you jurymen to say whe- 
ther or not Boston Corbett is guilty of — not killing "a man" 
but of killing John Wilkes Booth. 

Unless you are par with the conspiracy trial judges 
who were thene to convict rather than try, your verdict can 
be but one way — "not guilty of killing the particular man 
named in the '■^''"ge." 



88 



WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 



A STAIN THAT WILL NEVER WASH OUT 

MRS. MARY E. SURRATT, Whose sentence of death 
by a tribunal organized to convict was a travesty on jus- 
tice; wliose execution pales to insignificance the execueion 
of Caville who was an admitted spy using her cloak as a 

nurse under employ- 
ment by the German 
governmetn to aid ally 
prisoners to escape; 
whereas, there wasn't 
sufficient evidence of 
anything criminal prov- 
en against Mrs. Surratt 
to have sent her to a 
work-house twenty-four 
hours. She was the 
mother of John H. Sur- 
ratt admittedly in the 
secret service lof the 
Confederacy, and who 
stopped with his moth- 
er when passing thru 
the national capital on 
his trips between Cana- 
da and the Confederate 
capital. Booth had vis- 
ited the Surratt home a 
couple of times to see 
the son John H. He 
had stopped at many, 
many other hotels and rooming houses, not only a couple 
of times but often. Payne had stopped at her rooming 
house two nights having been introduced to her and the 
daughter Emma as a young Baptist preacher, by one 
Heightman, who was a regular roomer there, and who 
paid for young Payne's room. The evidence was undis- 
puted that both Mrs. Surratt a ad her daughter when Payne 
gave another name on the second night, forbade Height- 
man bringing him there again. Azterodt stayed only one 
night at the Surrat rooming house and that, too, at the 
instance of this same Heightman. Mrs Surratt and the 
daughter didn't like his appearance and forbade him ever 
coming into her house again, and he never did. There 
was not one scintility of proof that Mrs. Surratt took any 
part in or knew of any of the plots, not even to kidnap, that 
would weigh with any unprejudiced jury, except that given 
by this same disreputable Heightman who said that she 
wanted him to ask her lessor Lloyd at Surrattville to get 
some things ready which was said to be a carbine and 




WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 89 

knife left there to be secreted until called for. etc. This 
was the extent of the "incriminating evidence." All by a 
witness who subsequently boasted that he was under the 
employ of the Confederate government to hatch plots and 
confer with Confederates in Canada and notify the Con- 
federate government of results. At the same time under 
pay of the Federal governmnt to give it first sight and 
knowledge of such information. But the killing of the 
nation's idol, the one greatest of all loved characters had 
set the Northern heart ablaze for atonement; and like the 
ancient god who demanded his nurse of blood it must be 
the blood of innocence. That national craving for blood 
must be satisfied, and it proved not the policy to draw it 
from the main arteries. 



Hamilton Roby, Roddy or Boyd. 

During a brief visit in Oklahoma City Dr. Lawrence 
True Wilson, traveling for the Methodist denomination in 
prohibition work, the writer was highly entertained. Inci- 
dentally the doctor is preparing an Epworth lecture on the 
escape of Booth. During the conversation Mr. Wilson said 
he at one time had an intimate friend — Sam Colona, who 
when in Washington City put up with a cousin by the same 
name. While taking a boat at Princess Ann, Maryland, 
for a trip to Mexico, Mr. Colona says he noticed a man who 
had just "walked the plank" ahead of him; a fine looking 
gentleman, exquisitely dressed, long wavy raven hair, keen 
black eyes and mustache. "There," says Colona, "I saw 
some one who I was sure would be a fine companion, so on 
landing on the boat I inquired of the stranger if he thought 
it would leave on time. "Sure — you will be the last to 
board." Noticing that I was in uniform, he inquired if I 
had yet secured a statesroom, at which I replied I had not; 
that I was a soldier and used to hard knocks and would 
sleep on the chairs." After eyeing me a moment and work- 
ing at his mustache as he twirled a small cane: "You will 
do no such thing. Yonder is my statesroom and you shall 
occupy a bunk in there with me." Of course, the olfer was 
accepted and togetlier we traveled until landing at Vera 
Cruz. And let me say I found the man who after T told 
him my name was Sam Colona, said his name — "or will be" 
— he added, "John St. Helen." We secured a job in a 
box factory at Vera Cruz, I on the outside and he an 
inside clerical position. "I finally got tired of Mexico," 
says Mr. Colona, "and told St. Helen that I was going back 
to God's country and he must go with me; that I could 
muster enough to set us up in "business." But St. Helen 
demurred. "No, my best of friends, when we part we will 



90 WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 



never see each other again. I dare not tell you why, for 
if you knew it would make your hair stand on end." With 
this he shifted the conversation. In a few days after I told 
St. Helen that I was going and he could at least go as far 
as the boat with me. We started, but when in about half 
a mile of the wharf St. Helen stopped and remarked as 
he extended his hand: "If you must go, I suppose it 
means our parting and it may as well be right now. I 
nii.irht find some one at the river I don't want to see." 
After a few dcslutary remarks he said: "Well, my dear 
friend — but before we finally part I am constrained to 
unbosom myself, feeling that I can trust you with— a 
secret," as he reached over and fairly whispered. Again 
shaking my hand fervently: "Good-bye, my best of friends, 
but — " squaring face to fame: "I am John Wilkes Booth, 
and now you know something no one else on this earth 
knows except myself. Please — do — give no hint that may 
start the blood-hounds on my track." With this John 
St. Helen and I parted. 

Claimed Booth Was Her Father. 

0.n btincr questioned as to what he knew about a 
handsome young blondine roaming around claiming that 
John Wilkes Booth was her father. "I know only this," 
replied Mr. Wilson: "Some two years ago, among num- 
rrcus daily visitors to the house where Lincoln died was an 
r^-"Of'dincly hp;uitifiil young woman — a pronounced brun- 
ette with large dreamy black eyes and wavy silken hair 
who asked if she could be shown a picture of John" Wilkes 
Booth. One was brought from an adjoining room which 
the young woman scanned a moment and then pressed it 
passionately to her bosom, at which the housekeeper left 
the room in disgust as she declared that any one would 
press the photo of Booth to her bosom. Presently however 
she returned only to find the young woman in a histeria of 
sobs. This softened the housekeeper's heart and she placed 
an arm about the girl and told her not to cry. "If you 
only knew the circumstances," said the young woman as 
she looked up pitcously pleading: "John Wilkes Booth 
was my own father". Then returning the photo after one 
more tear-dimmed glance and pressing it to her bosom, 
she thanked the kind hostess and took leave, first saying 
that slip lived in El Reno, Oklahoma, to where she would 
return in the course of a few days. 

It seems that when the Kiowa-Comanche country was 
opened in 1901 "George" drew a lucky number and secured 
a claim near Hydro adjoining one secured by a bu'T-^m 
widow who had drifted in from Texas to take a number 



WANDERINGS OF J WILKES BOOTH 



91 



in the land lottery. "George" was seen to visit the little 
slab home of the aforesaid buxom and on one or two 
occasions they visited El Reno — on the same day. Nosey 
ones declared they could see a family resemblance and were 
bold enough to inquire of "George" if the woman was a 
relative. "Excuse me," he added, introducing the woman, 
"This is Miss St. Helen, a — no, not exactly — my sister." 
Subsequently he admitted that the woman was no relation, 
that he merely introduced her as a josh, etc. This set 
Madam Rumpus a going and it was soon whispered that 
"George" and the buxomite had been married by a Hydro 
justice. And soon after the suicide in 1903 the woman 
gave birth to a girl whom she had christened St. Helen, 
and soon as mother and daughter were able to travel they 
lit out ostensible for Texas, and were ever after lost from 
the sight of Oklahomans. If still living, the girl born in 
1903 would have been a trifle beyond the teens at the time 
Mr. Wilson alleges the pretended daughter of Booth visited 
Washington. However, one thing seems evident: If either 
"George" or Booth ever had a handsome young brunette 
daughter with laughing eyes and raven hair, she never 
debuttcd into either El Reno or Enid's social circles of 
Four Hundred. 



Fully conscious of the risk 
taken in giving so much con- 
cerning the personal of John 
Wilkes Booth, especially that 
which seems favorable, the 
temptation to add just one 
more brand to the risk is too 
strong for resistence. It is 
the benutiful tribute paid the 
unfortunate actor by that 
most lovcable and purest of 
all actresses that ever graced 
the American stage — Clara 
Morris as she was called, al- 
thougli her real name was 
Clara Morrison, the last sylla- 
[ble being lost when she gave 
I her name to the stage salary 
clerk on her first appearance 
[before the footlights. Clara 
Morris, born in a humble 
sparcely furnished room in 
Canada on a St. Patrick's 
night when the brown of earth 
and tree and bud had cloaked in a smother of fleecy down 




92 WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 

which softened into rain. The night was drizzly and the 
berg was a scene of disorder and the blood of Erin mingled 
— the orange with the green as the parade went on. A 
clap of thunder and as arion pierced the mists, there was 
an infant cry in that humble room, and soon the coming 
woman wonder of American purity on the American stage 
gave her first test of lung power. Her father was described 
as a "large handsome Canadian with a broad smile." A 
moral pervert who abandoned the coming mother and haunt- 
ed her from place to place until she was after years of 
hiding from him relieved at announcement that he was 
dead. But here was wealth in poverty's guise — a wealth of 
energy, of a mother's effection, a daughter's undying love 
and devotion. From the lower round to the highest forged 
Clara Morris until the very stars were in reach. In her 
beautifully written Life on the Stage, one section or period 
is devoted to her association with the Booths. In glancing 
back over two crowded and busy seasons, she says, one figure 
stands out with such clearness and beauty that I can not 
resist the impulse to speak of him, rather than of my own 
inconsequential self. In his case so far as my personal 
knowledge goes there was nothing derogatory to dignity 
or to manhood in being called beautiful, for he was that 
bud <yi splendid promise blasted in the core before its full 
triumphant blooming — known to the world as a madman — 
but to the profession as "that unhappy boy," John Wilkes 
Booth. He was so young, so bright, so gay, so kind. Of 
course there are two or more different persons in every 
one's skin, yet when we remember that actors are not gen- 
erally in the habit of showing their brightest, their best 
side to the company at rehearsal, we cannot help feeling 
both respect and liking for the one who does." Miss Morris 
here gives an account of the sword bout between McCollom 
and Booth wherein the latter showed such coolness in the 
very shadow of death as the life blood seemed to flow in a 
torrent down his cheek from an ill-advised thrust from 
(McCollom's sword. How the wounded man forgot his own 
pains to sooth the tortured mind of the one who had 
wrought the wound. Self lost in anxiety for his compan- 
ion — visible index to Booth's love of human kind and read- 
iness to sacrifice and sink self that other might be relieved. 
Of how, although fairly exhausted from the loss of blood, 
the actor insisted on finishing the bout in true fighting 
skill until the last stroke fell as demanded in the lines. 
"Why, old fellow," he said to the grieving companion, 
"You look as if you had lost the blood." And so with 
light words he sought to set the unfortunate man at ease, 
and though he must have suffered much mortification as 
well as pain from the eye that in spite of all endeavors 



WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 93 

would blacken, he never made a sign. He was like his 
great elder brother, rather lacking in height, but his head 
and throat and the manner of its rising from the shoulders, 
were truly beautiful. His coloring was unusual, the ivory 
pallor of his skin, the inky blackness of his densely thick 
hair, the heavy lids of his glowing 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 silky mustache, and a laugh in his eyes. 

One thing I shall never help admiring him for. When 
a man has placed a clean and honest name in his wife's 
care for life, about the most stupidly wicked use she can 
make of it is as a signatory to a burst of amatory flatteries, 
addressed to an unknown actor, who will despise her for 
her trouble. Some women may shrivel as though they 
were attacked with "peach-leaf curl," when they hear how 
these silly letters are sometimes passed about and laughed 
at. "No gentleman would so betray a confidence." Of 
course not. But once when I made that remark to an 
actor who was then flaunting the food his vanity fed upon, 
he roughly answered: "And no lady would so address an 
unknown man. She cast away her right to respectful con- 
sideration when she thrust that letter in the box." That 
was brutal. But there are those who think like him this 
very day, and, oh, foolish tamperers with fire, who act like 
him. 

Now it is scarcely exaggeration to say that the sex 
was in love with John Booth, the name of Wilkes then 
but seldom used. At depot restaurants those fiercely un- 
willing maiden-slammers and coffee pot shooters made to 
him swift and gentle offerings of hot steak, hot coffee, hot 
biscuits, crowding around him like doves around a grain 
basket, — leaving other travelers to wait on themselves or 
go without refreshments. At the hotels, maids had been 
known to enter his room and tear asunder the already 
made up bed, that the "turn-over" might be broader by a 
thread or two, and both pillows stand perfectly at a proper 
angle. At the theatre — good heavens, as the Clyte turns 
upon their stalks to follow the beloved sun, so old or 
young, our faces smiling turned to him. Yes, old or young, 
for the little daughter of the manager who played bat the 
Duke of York came to the theatre each day, each night of 
the engagement arrayed in her best gowns, and turned on 
him fevered eyes that might well have served for Juliet. 
The manager's wife, whose sternly aggressive virtue no 
one could doubt or question, with the air of art waved 
and fluffed her hair, and softened thus her too hard line of 
brow, and let her keen black eyes fill with friendly sparkles 
for us all — yet, 'twas because of him. And when the old 



94 WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 



woman made to threaten him with her finger, and he caught 
her lifted hand and uncovering her bonnie head stooped 
and kissed it, then came the wanton blood to her cheek as 
if she had been a girl again. 

His letters, then, from flirtatious women! and alas, 
girls, you may well believe were legion. A cloud used to 
gather upon his face at sight of them. I have of course 
no faintest idea that he lived the godly righteous and sober 
life that is enjoined upon us all, but I do remember with 
respect that this idolized man when the letters were many 
and the rehearsal was on, would carefully cut off every 
signature and utterly destroj' them, then pile the unread 
letters up, and, I do not know what their final end was, 
but he remarked with knit brows as he caught me watch- 
ing him at his work one morning: "They," pointing to the 
pile of mutilated letters, "they are harmless, now, little 
one, their sting lies in the tail." And when a certain free 
and easy actor, laughingly picked up a very elegantly writ- 
ten note and said: "I can read it, can't I, now the signa- 
ture is gone?" He answered shortly: "The woman's folly 
is no excuse for your knavery. Lay that letter down, 
please." 

I played the Player-Queen to my great joy, and in the 
Marble Heart I was one of the group of three statues in 
the first act. We were supposed to represent Lais, Asphasia 
and Prhryne, and when we read the cast, I. glanced at the 
other girls (we were not strikingly handsome) and re- 
marked gravely, "Well, it's a comfort to know that we 
look so like the three beautiful Grecians." 

A laugh at our backs brought us suddenly around to 
face Booth who said to me: "You satirical little wretch, 
how do you come to know these Grecian ladies? Perhaps 
you have the advantage of them of being beautiful within." 

"I wish it would strike outward, then," I answered. 
"You know it's always best to have things come to the 
surface," 

"I know some very precious things are hidden from 
common sight, and I know, too, you caught my meaning 
in the first place. Good night." And he left us 

Another touch of that superb nature cropped out when 
the three were going under inspection for position. Jt hap- 
pened that one of the trio had immaculate limbs, another 
passable attractive arms; but the third, she had limbs that 
resembles more a pair of broomsticks. When Mr. Booth 
came in his Greek garments and had examined numbers 
one and two, as he gently lifted the drapery of number 
three, there was an involuntary smirch of the mouth as 
thougli he had just tasted a lemon; but witli his wonted 
diplomacy he hastily lowered the drapery and remarked. 



WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 95 

"I believe I'll advance you to be the stately and wise 
Asphasia." The central figure wore her drapery hanging 
straight down to her feet, hence the "advance" and con- 
sequent concealment of the unlovely limbs. It was quickly 
and kindly done, for the girl was not only spared mortifi- 
cation, but in the word "advance" she saw a compliment 
and was happy accordingly. Then my turn came; my arms 
were placed about Asphasia, my head bent and turned and 
twisted, my right hand curved upon my breast, so that the 
forefinger touched my chin. I felt that I was a personified 
simper, but I kept silent and patient until the arrangement 
of my draperies began — then I squirmed anxiously. 

"Take care! Take care," he cautioned, "You will sway 
the others if you move." But in spite of the risk of my 
marble make-up, I faintly groaned: "Oh, dear, must I be 
like that?" 

Regardless of the pins in the corner of his mouth he 
burst into laughter, and taking a photograph from the 
bosom of his Greek shirt, he said: "I expected a protest 
from you. Miss, so I came prepared; don't move your head 
but just look at this." 

He held the picture of a group of statuary up before 
me: "This is you on the right. It's not so dreadful, now, 
is it?" And I cautiously murmured that if I wasn't any 
worse than that I wouldn't mind. 

Next morning I saw Mr. Booth running out of the 
theatre on his way to the telegraph ofi'ice at the corner, 
and right in the middle of the walk starring about him, 
stood a child — a small roamer of the stony streets, who had 
evidently gotten far beyond his native ward to arouse mis- 
givings as to his personal safety, and at the very moment 
he stopped to consider matters Mr. Booth dashed out at 
the stage door and added to his bewilderment by capsizing 
him completely. 

"O, good Lord, baby, are you hurt?" exclaimed Mr. 
Booth, pausing instantly to pick up the dirty, tousseled 
small heap and stood it on its bandy legs again. "Don't 
cry, little chap," and the aforesaid little chap not only 
ceased to cry but gave a damp grimy smile, at which the 
actor bent toward him quickly, but paused, took out his 
handkerchief and first carefully wiping the dirty Tittle nose 
and mouth, stooped and kissed him heartily, put some 
change in each freckled paw and continued his run to the 
telegraph ofi'ice. He knew no witness to the act. To kiss 
a pretty clean child under the approving eye of mamma 
might mean nothing but politeness, but surely it required 
the prompting of a warm and tender heart to make a young 
and thoughtless man feel for and caress such a dirty forlorn 
bit of babyhood as that. 



96 ^vA^'r)^:RlNGS of j. wilkes booth 

DR. JECKLE AND MR. HYDE 

Of course there are always two sides to every question 
and this is not an exception. You will find a number of 
the best and most reliable citizens of El Reno who will tell 
you that they were intimateh' acquainted with Georpre the 
painter, sometimes called crazy George because he was 
supposed to be more or less daffy. That they knew him 
to their financial sorrow, for he was a consummate beggar, 
living from hand to mouth on what he could beg or 
borrow and on garbage from, the back alley dumps. He 
was in short an intolerable saloon bum and loafer, with 
scarcely intelligence enough to mix paint or spread it. 
Ragged and uncouth to a disgusting degree, a veritable 
male Fanchon except that the soil of ages mingled with 
the wear of his grimed wardrobe. His shirt had been once 
white, but he had no change, slept in them, until an expert 
could not have told whether they had been made of muslin 
or old army blankets, filthy and repulsive in every way. 
Illiterate, the idea of his being able to quote a passage in 
Shakespeare too silly to mention. He received a small 
stipend at stated times and this was invariably hipothecated 
over and over before it came. His face was occasionally 
"clipped" but never shaven and his hair was a mass of 
strubly coarse bristles. As to any woman on earth becom- 
ing stuck on such a miserable misfit would be laughable 
were it not ridiculous. This is the picture of George the 
painter as drawn by such observers as Meyer, one of 
El Reno's leading real estate men, by Mr. J. W. Baldwin, 
and others. The late Bob Forest so painted him in poetic 
metre. He bothered Bob to the limit of endurance about his 
stipend being delayed. But there were two painters in 
El Reno sailing under the name of George. This was one 
of them. He was not George the cultured gentleman, of 
such manly grace and stage bearing who had Shakespeare 
and other classic authors on his tongue's end. This was 
not the painter George who put up at the best places 
and had access to the most fashionable circles, whose clothes 
were of the finest cloth and latest pattern, who was a very 
Beau Brummel in dress, almost painfully clean and tidy. 
This was not the painter who committed suicide at Enid 
under the name of David E. George. But the painter 
George of whom the El Reno gentleman referred to speak 
quite knowingly. The painter George of their acquaint- 
ance was the prototype of the figure they drew in every 
particular. But instead of putting up at elite places he 
occupied an old abandoned thresher's cook-shed in a bs^k 
alley on a back street. Here he slept and ate his garbage 
— Crazy George Thrower who died at the Canadian county 
poor farm a year or so ago. 











Booth crossing plains as "Jessie Smith." 



.«^' 




Darky Lucas, with Booth Secreted. 




•f.-cv"* 



THE SL'KUES HOME OF DR STEWART. 

Near Where Was C'btalned the Old Negro and His Wagofi so 

H&ul Boollj lo the RappahanDOck Klver. 



WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 97 



I 



"I presume I was as well acquainted with the man 
known as David E. George as any one in El Reno," said 
Ex-Chief Wm. D. Robar of El Reno to the writer some 
weeks ago. "I saw him almost daily, being then chief of 
police. Those who picture him as being either uncouth or 
ignorant, of being a saloon bum or of dressing shabily, 
surely have the wrong painter in mind; for there was 
another character doing odd paint jobs who went by the 
name of George, and he would exactly measure up to the 
picture as drawn with bum habits." Here Chief Robar 
told the story of George Thrower who died at the poor 
farm a year or so ago. David E. George was immaculate 
in dress and was the personification of politeness and kindly 
manner. During all the time I knew him I never saw him 
overly excited but once. He and John Sames, brother of 
Mrs. Simmon ■; with whom he roomed, had taken a few 
drinks when Sames, who was inclined to get quarrelsome 
when in his cups, started up some kind of an argument, 
winding up with hitting George on the back of tne head 
when he wasn't looking. At this George became terribly 
excited and this grew to a rage. He said he had done 
nothing to offend, and that only a coward would attack a 
man from behind. With this George started to the house 
for a gun. His temper was such that I was afraid some- 
thing serious might happen, so I sought out Sames and 
warned him that he was playing with fire. "That man is 
liable to pop you over on sight," I told Sames, "and the 
best thing you can do is to keep under cover until I can 
quiet the matter. Pretty soon I saw George emerge from 
the hotel with an ominous survey up and down the street. 
I leisurely walked over and sought to calm him, in which 
I succeeded to an extent that he gave me his gun, remark- 
ing that if it were not that the sister had been so kind to 
him he would make the brother eat dirt. Thus ended the 
matter and the two were soon friendly once more. George 
told me that he didn't think he was either brave or coward- 
ly; that he had passed through many thrilling and some- 
times dangerous scenes but always managed to keep his 
head. He said one time while painting a house in Texas 
he saw a lot of cowboys come tearing through the streets. 
"I was at the very top of the roof astride the comb 
when: Bang! Whiz! one of the cowboys had taken a shot 
at me and the bullet came so close I could almost taste 
it. Scared? Well, I should say so! How I ever got down 
from the roof has always remained a mystery; but I man- 
aged to do so somehow without breaking my neck. All I 
remember after that frightful "Whiz," is I found myself 
sitting on the edge of the porch below wondering what was 
Ml the wind. I went into the building which was vacant — 



98 WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 



except in one corner was a carbine with just one load in 
it. I gathered the gun and took a secluded position at one 
end of the porch. Just then I caught a glimpse of the 
same cowboy who had been so familiar with me while I 
was hugging the room, a crack rang out and that cowboy 
fell from the saddle, and was pickel up plugged through 
and through. To this day no one but myself knows who 
fired that shot except that you now know." Chief Robar 
says if George had ever been married or had a daughter he 
would certainly have known it, "for," says he, "I flatter 
myself that George trusted me with fullest confidence, and 
I am sure he would have let me know something about it."' 



WHYFORE THESE WILLS? 

The question may be asked: "If the Enid suicide was 
not George, why did he make a series of wills in that 
name?" And now this question— Why not? He was yet 
alive. For half a century he hod been "leaping from crag 
to crag" like the sweet valkyre, fleeing from a merciless 
pursuer. Big rewards for his capture "dead or alive" were 
still in waiting, should he be discovered, and of those who 
held his secret, at least five persons, three of them were — 
women, mind you! Women! 

Of course those acquainted with the excellent women, 
of their great probity and exemplary, daily life know that 
not one of them that would not suffer death on the rack 
rather than break such a pledge. But as to "George"— his 
acquaintance with them had been comparatively brief; and 
besides, his natural distrust of every one — of the whole 
world, it is quite different. 

One of these five confidents had in effect betrayed him 
by notifying the government that he was still alive. Of 
this it is more than likely "George" knew, and may have 
speculated: Suppose the department instead of saying it 
would be of.no interest ti knew that Booth had not been 
killed. It had said the reverse? Why wp.s the department at 
Washington queried, not onlv orce. but twice? And may 
not the knowledge that these queiie^ had beer made have 
had something to r o with "J \r\ St. Hel'ei" sudde-^.'.y leav- 
ing Texas for parts rot conf dec" to a'^y one. rft ev^-^ to 
his supposed closest friend a"d CTfirle t. Th?.t pri cinal 
woman in whom he had c'l^fi^'ed was eve-^. "ow r^ Fiid. 
"George" knew that the lure cf ro^d ou'-weie'-.ed a'l other 
considerations. The glittering heard of the Nfebellungs! 
For this has honor, virtue, life i*^self been staked. Some 
rn doubt there were immune from the tempting lu -e: but 
who? This other man? These three women with a double 
incentive — they were of the nor'^h where the ver%- v-'mf of 
Booth was held in execration. Fcr one or both incentives 



^ 



WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 99 

might one of these throw confidence to the winds and put 
the vulture hounds of hate, the adventurer, the devotee 
of gold, the man-hunter who gloates in the game — on his 
track? Even though holding pledge as sacred, might not 
the vessel leak? Something must be done to keep up the 
delusion of the name by which he is known in that region. 
But what? He had jumped from post to pillar, assuming 
first one name and then another. He had resorted to ev- 
ery resource at his command. The idea of making a will 
intruded; not a private will under lock and seal, but a pub- 
lic will open for inspection by the public. In fact he call- 
ed in double the number of witnesses required, and they 
of the most prominent men of the city. But still the 
spectre would not down. At every turn was met some one 
who had known Booth before the tragedy. In fact Enid 
seemed a very mecca for such. 

Levi Thrailkell, with whom Booth crossed the 
plains lived in Enid. A very asylum of Booth-knowers. 
And conceive of what spooks, what apparitions an imagina- 
tion like that of the forensic, poetic Booth might conjure — 
one constantly chased by "shadows of the past." Every 
mysterious glance, imperious tone and manner voices a 
search for the secret within from the sign without. Every 
foreward query a covet trap for his" ensnarement. 

The evident purpose of the will served more than one. 
It set the reporter quizzing. In fact, the ink was scarcely 
dry on the signatures until he was pulled to one side by a 
United Press correspondent, who in a sort of imperious 
tone and manner voices: "Is your name George? Is that 
your signature?" pointing to the name George. "I wrote 
it," was the laconic evasion. He sought companinship in 
the flowing bowl, and the name^ of it was legion, omnipre- 
sent in that day, in that town. This but etherialized the 
substance and gave wings to fancy and stimulance to imag- 
ination until sunshine resolved into darkness. Stars of 
the night were but vigil eyes from arial towers searching 
for the beast in the hidden lair. Before him, behind him 
and on either side of him stalked phantom guards armed 
and bearing clanking chains. Above his pillow grinning 
fauvettes hovered in suitings of firery red, horns and spik- 
ed tails, dinning his ears with sepulchral groans and taunt- 
ing mimics. It was the parting of the ways. Next morn- 
ing he went to the Watrus Drug Store and purchased sev- 
eral grains of strychnine for the purpose, so he stated, of 
"killing a dead hound." He has scarcely reached the walk 
until like a nemesis of the dark that same United Press cor- 
respondent collared him and with reportorial gall sought 
a poison stoi-y from him. This again set the imagination 
on a rapid whirl. However shaky may have been his de- 
termination, it now become a thing of steel. Returning he 



100 WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 

asked the proprietor, Eugene Watrus, for another dose of 
strychnine — ten grains, failing to mention that he had had 
made a purchase from the clerk, who had just been reliev- 
ed tor breakfast. This time he said he wanted to kill a 
pestiferous cat. Mr. Watrus tried to persuade him to use 
something else, and explained to him the awful agony that 
poi-^oa involved. At first the suggestion of agony seemed 
to have effect and "George" started as if to leave, but re- 
turned and in a sort of c^ireless indiffeient way said he 
guessed he would take the strychnine "Wliat's a few 
iiangs? They won't last long. I'll thake the poison to the 
cat and take chances." In less than an hour "George" was 
discovered in his room writhing in all the agonies Mr. 
Watrus had described. In a moment of less pangs — the 
forerunrer of the end, he motioned for the physician to 
put hi- ear close to his lips, and in faint whispers: "I am 
John Wilkes Booth. In my bosom you will find a request 
to telegraph * * Bates — " The sentence unfin- 
ished. The spirit of John Wilkes Booth took its way into 
the mvsterious unknown. The request referred to was that 
Finis L. Bates of Memphis. Tenn., be telegraphed to come 
at o-^ce that he might identify the body as John Wilkes 
Booth. 

Eugene Watrus, was and is still one of the foremost 
citizens and business men of the city. His people have 
honored him twice by an election to the State Sei-ate, in 
which he served with exceptional credit. In spaking of 
the suiside. Senator Wtrous said had he known of the pur- 
chased from his clerk, Frank Corey, he certainly woujd not 
have let the man have the second dose. 



BATES THE PIONEER BOOTH FAMILY 

Soon after the appearance of Historia, October, 1919 
issue, the editor was told that one Finis L. Bates, an attor- 
ney at Memphis, Tenn., had gotten out a book on the 
Booth matter. A copy of Historia was at once sent to 
Mr. Bates followed by a letter requestinj; a copy of the 
book with offer to remit for same. Not hearing anything 
from the matter for a number of months a second letter 
was sent in which it was stated that the writer had since 
run across additional notes taken during the Waukomis 
visit and recalled a number of incidents in addition to those 
contained in Historia, and that the same were at his, Mr. 
Bates', service should he desire them. This letter met the 
same silence as did the first and the matter was dropped so 
far as attempting to get action upon Mr. Bates was con- 
cerned. Meantime, however, brief notes and clippings kept 
coming in. some of the latter without indication as to the 
source. One clipping was from the Boston Globe of Decern- 



WAN DERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 101 

ber 12, 1897. Another (from Hon. Rollin Britten of Kan- 
sas City) containing clippings of Mrs. Chapman's state- 
ment. One from a Fredericksburg, Va., firm with a few 
names from whom information might be secured. One from 
the Baltimore American containing a public statement from 
those attending the ceremonies in burying the body supposed 
to be Booth's in Green Mound Cemetery, Baltimore, includ- 
ing a statement from the proprietor of Ford's theatre and 
his doorkeeper. (See subsequent statement from Mr. 
Maxey practically counter to the first.) A most valuable 
asset came from Enid which included a few stray leaves 
from the Bates book and a number of portraits and views 
evidently contained in the same volume, and a manuscript 
(typewritten) volume by Hon. Edmond Franz. All these 
were preserved with a possible view of future utilization. 
Thus until something over a year ago when a young man 
came here in search of material for a second edition of 
the Bates book and said he had been directed to call on 
the writer for any additional data he might have. He said 
Mr. Bates had received Historia and the letters referred 
to, and he, the young man herein, supposed their receipt 
had been acknowledged. He was furnished all the addi- 
tional data availabel from this end, with a pledge that he 
would see that a copy of Mr. Bates' book would be sent 
at once and one of the new edition as soon as printed. 
But nothing further was heard from either the young man 
or Bates, nor was any copy of the book received. How- 
ever, the writer began research for additional material, 
writing to every one from whom any information might be 
secured, including departments at Washington. The result 
was that sufficient material was collected to induce the 
writer to get out a book on his own account, making good 
use of the clippings, brief notes, stray leaves referred to, 
and interviews with numerous persons of El Reno, Hen- 
nessey, Enid and Oklahoma City. With his volume com- 
pleted the matter was put in type. After the appearance 
of Historia. issue of July, 1922, containing an advance sec- 
tion of the book, Mr. W. J. Moore of Oklahoma City having 
read the same brought in one of the Bates books which 
he had secured while visiting in Memphis. He says that he 
and Mr. Bates were old neighbors and close friends back 
in Tennessee: that while on a visit thc-e two years ago 
he was privileged to see the cadavar of Booth which, it 
seems, was shipped to Bates soon after Pennyman, the Enid 
undertaker, moved to Indinm. 

There are but few substantial masters in the Bates 
volume not contained in this volume. However, there are 
some with which license is taken in the way of a sort of 
adendum. In the Bates book considerable space is taken 



102 WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 

up with a review of the life and character of Lincoln and 
of the Booths which is such universal historic note that it 
will be omitted in this volume; except to say that the 
unfortunate John Wilkes Booth came from histrionic stock 
on his father'ss side. The elder Booth — grandfather of the 
subject, was probably the most renowned Hamlet the stage 
has ever produced. John Wilkes' father was Junius Booth 
the eldest, famous in his day as a tragedian. Two brothers 
— Junius Brutus and Edwin were exceptionals on the stage. 
Another brother was Sidney Booth. Other relatives in- 
cluded Dr. Booth, Creston Clarke, a noted Hamlet of the 
90's; Sister, Asia, who had two daughters — Dollie Clarke 
Morgan of New York and Advienne Clarke of Brighton, 
England. Agnez Booth was generally accredited as a sister 
of John Wilkes, but such was not the case. She was a 
Scandinavian young woman of great charm and possessed 
of stage talent. After securing a divorce from her hus- 
band, named Perry, she married Junius Booth, brother of 
John Wilkes, a son being born, Junius Brutus Booth, Jr. 
On his mother's side, the great-grand-father was John 
Wilkes, the eminent British reformer, which as Lord Mayor 
of London conveyed the right of suffrage to the common 
people. He was noted as the most unhandsome man in all 
Europe, but through that uncouth exterior shone a soul 
so full of the sunlight of human sympathy and love that 
gave halo to the face and form. Mrs. John Wilkes, on the 
other hand, was renowned for her exquisite tieauty. It was 
from this pair of opposites originated the saying: "Be&uty 
and the Beast." The assocites of Booth numbered among 
them the most eminent actors of the day, and some of 
them yet stand out as pre-eminents of histrionic favor — 
McCullum, Joe Jefferson in such plays as the "Marble 
Heart," Hamlet, etc. Clara Morris, the subsequent famous 
nun of charity and love, as Generieve in the Two Orphans. 
Charles W. Bishop, Blanche Chapman in Why Smith Left 
Home. But the list would prove tedious. 

Mr. Bates certainly handled his subject with wonderful 
tact, displaying a faculty for getting at the bottom of 
things. Throughout the volume creeps unmistakable evi- 
dences of pains-taking and perseverance, and genius in 
selection and sequential arrangement, with clever arguments 
and criticisms. Notwithstanding Mr. Bates ignored all cor- 
respondence and at least intended favors from the writer, 
it is deemed but just to pay this compliment to the con- 
ceded pioneer of systematic effort to unravel the Booth 
mysstery. Indeed his stray leaves aided much in the prep- 
aration of this volume and saved the author much time and 
correspondence. There is one item in the Bates volume, 
however, that, is somewhat susceptible of criticism. After 



WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 103 

having his client and friend "John St. Htlen" aver on a 
supposed death-bed that the first time any idea of killing 
the president entered his brain was only a few hours before 
its consummation; then Mr. Bates digs up an inscription 
written fully a year previous to that time (1865) in which 
the life of the president is threatened, and the inscription 
declared to be in Booth's handwriting. Thus, unwittingly, 
perhaps, rather than intentionally, discrediting that portion 
of his client and friend's confesssion. Another criticism lies 
in the fact that after accepting thi*. confession under a 
snlenin pledge of secrecy until the author of it should be 
dead and beyond the possible pale of vengeance, Mr. Bates,, 
his client and friend still alive, deliberately notifies the 
department at Washington through inquiring whether or 
not information that Booth was not killed at the Garrett 
home but was at that time (1898) still alive. Notwith- 
standing Judge Advocate John P. Simonton wrote (as an 
individual) that while he had no direct or positive proof 
that the man killed at the Garrett home was Booth any 
information to the contrary would be of no interest. Mr. 
Bates continued to press the matter by a second letter to 
the department, receiving from Judge Advocate General 
G. Norman Lieber practically the same reply, and diplo- 
matically suggesting that the matter there end. The nuerv 
might not be altogether impertinent: Suppose the depart- 
ment had expressed desire to receive Mr. Bates' proffered 
proof that Booth still lived. What then? Did Mr. Bates 
have in mind the violation of his pledge of secrecy? Of 
commercializing the secret by turning his client and friend 
who had placed such confidence in him, over to th'' aveng- 
ing hnnd of mercenary man-hunters? The charitable con- 
clusion may be that Mr. Bates merely chose this manner of 
seeming betrayal for the purpose of drawing from the 
government what it knew in the premises. Yet it would 
seem that Mr. Bates, being a lawyer, might have adopted a 
less hazardous way, such as simply calling upon the depart- 
ment for what evidence it had, etc. But after all, the writer 
prefers to concede to Mr. Bates only the most serious and 
conscientious motives, with no thought of betrayal of his 
client and friend for commercial or any other reason. 



BOOTH AS AN EVANGELIST? 

During the 90's Mr. W. H. Holmes of Oklahoma City 
was at the head of an opera company, he doing high tenor 
and his wife sopranno. In either 1892 or 1893 he and the 
madam were at Atlanta. Ga., and attended and sang In the 
choir at a revival then under fall blaze directed by an itin- 
erant evangelist calling himself David Armstrong and who 



106 



WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 



CROSSED THE PLAINS WITH BOOTH 

Through courtesy of the son — Finis, this volume con- 
tains a family grouping of Levi Thrailkell with whom the 
Enid suicide crossed the plainss as a teamster in 1867 or 
1868. Mr. Thrailkell was a native of Holt county. Mo., an 




Family Group of Tevi Thrailkell 



early-day merchant at Caldwell, Kansas. Moved to the 
Strip in 1893 and secured a homestead adjoining Enid. 
He was a confederate during the late war between the 
States. Died at Enid three years ago. The son with his 
little family reside in Enid, but are preparing to move to 
the western part of Oklahoma. The grouping takes in Mr. 
and Mrs. Thrailkell, daughter Ruth (Hope), son Finis and 
wife, Mabel (Bussard), an extremely beautiful Oklahoma 
product, likely in face and figure and capable of throwing 
a movie smile that would make one of Mary Pickford's 
supremest efforts look like a mere stage grin. Mr| Finis 
Thrailkell and his wife are very devoted and take great 
pleasure in their home and their little "sister" also shown 
in the grouping. 




WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 107 

STOOD ON THE BRIDGE AT MIDNIGHT 

Sergeant Cobb was a witness in 
the conspiracy court and identified 
Herold as one of the parties who 
crossed the bridge. No possible 
blame attaches to the two sergeants 
for permitting the refugees to cross; 
for they were in possession of the 
pass word; nor were they to blame 
for refusing to permit "the only hon- 
est man of the three" to cross, as he 
did not have the pass-word, and 
when this was given the sergeants had no alternative. The 
same is true as to the third party whom Secretary Hays 
designated as the "only honest man of the three," because 
he had neither the pass word nor the key, and these two 
young men were under orders and would have been liable 
to punishment for disobeying instructions had they passed 
the "only honest man of the three." They were there to 
obey orders and not as aliens to pass on midnight men's 
morals; and their subsequent record shows that they were 
true soldiers to the core. 

Sergeant Silas T. Cobb who with Sergeant F. A. De- 
mond raised the gate to let Booth and Herold cross the 
Potomac after the tragedy was a star witness in the con- 
spiracy trial? The password used was from a station 
known as "T B," about five miles out from Surrattsville, 
and the road leading thereto is known as the "T B Road." 
The party not permitted to cross referred to by Secretary 
Hay as "the only honest man of three," was John Fletcher 
in charge of the livery stables owned by N. A. Naylor, re- 
lative of Harold, where Booth kept his horse. Fletch had 
hired a roan horse to Herold who agreed to return it not 
later than ten o'clock that night (of the tragedy) but who 
instead made his get-away on the said roan. Young Her- 
old was evidently a trifle pressed for the long green as he 
tried hard to jew Fletcher down a dollar, but the Shylock 
liveryman insisted on his pound of flesh and said — "five 
plunks or no horse." 



According to various statements by eminent men Booth 
was buried in as many places as thfe proverbial cat. By 
Dana in the navy yard where a battery of artillerj' was 
drawn over the sepulcher to obliterate where it was. Ac- 
cording to Lew Wallace, Judge Advocate who tried Herrold 
and the other conspirators, the body of Booth was buried 
in a room of the old jail in the penitentiary where it laid 
for several years — until exhumed and sent to Baltimore. 
According to Woodward it was taken seven miles down 



108 WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 

the Potomac and sunk in the river. According to another 
the body was transferred from the John S. Ide to a boat 
and taken to an island twenty-seven miles from Washington 
and there buried. Still another had a hole dug on a sand 
bar and the body burned with quick lime. And, mind you, 
each and every one of these undertakers was positive, speak- 
ing from personal knowledge. And, too, it may seem a 
trifle strange when you reflect that the body of the Garrett 
home victim was not exposed to view for the purpose of 
identification when there were thousands who could have 
done so and forever put to rest any doubt. 



STATESMAN AND PATRIOT JUST THE SAME 

Lew Wallace, then being the only living member of 
the military court which tried and convicted Herrold, Mrs. 
Surratt, and others, wrote under date of January 25, 1898, 
that to his "certain knowledge" the body of John Wilkes 
Booth was buried in a room of the old penitentiary prison; 
that after a time at the request of friends, the remains 
were taken up and transferred to Baltimore when they now 
lie "under a handsome marble monument erected to his 
memory," etc. 

Lew Wallace was not extremely warm-blooded. 
Smouldering, calculating eye, coarse visage and hair which 
in his younger days was worn to his shoulders; crisp, of 
iron nerve, playful conscience and strong convictions easily 
changed. Tlie first political speech the writer ever heard 
was by Lew Wallace who was (1852) democratic candidate 
for the Indiana state senate, Crawfordsville district, against 
Dr. Fry; while Dan Voorhies, even then in his youth known 
as the "Tall Sycamore of the Wabash," was democratic 
candidate for the lower house against Tom Wilson. Hand 
written posters had been tacked on school house doors and 
a few other public places announcing that on the coming 
Saturday night "The Honorable Lew Wallace" would speak 
at the Sugar Creek school house, about four miles out from 
Crawfordsville; that "Hon. Dan Voorhies" would also speak. 
That evening Brother Dan and the writer strided one of 
father's horses, Dan in front, and hiked off to hear our 
first political speech. The little log school house was 
crowded to the roof. Wallace was the first speaker, and 
ascending the platform proceeded to shuck his kid gloves 
and toss his hat to one side. With his left hand he clutched 
a staff which reached from the platform to the under side 
of the clapboard roof. One flight only is recalled. Giving 
his head a jerk to sling his long hair behind his ears, which 
fete he frequently performed, he raised his eyes to heaven 
and his good right hand up toward the flag that floated at 



WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 109 

the staff top. "I would rather sink and p:o down to the 
lowest depths under that glorious old banner of liberty,'' 
pressing forward with his toes at the word liberty, "than to 
float the highest tide on the rotten, damnable" — last word 
really damnable, — "leaky old craft of black abolitionism." 
The last word with a pompous Jerking under the chin. 
The Tall Sycamore followed and received the greatest ova- 
tion, both before, during and after. 

This speech is recalled more vividly perhaps on account 
of it being the first the writer had ever heard, and from 
a little campaign jingle current: Hark from the tomb, 
a doleful sound, mine ears attend the cry — Tom Wilson now 
is under ground, and so is Doctor Fry. Alas, alas, that this 
should be, their hopes so soon to fade; big tears upon their 
cheeks I see, and groans the air pervade. 

Now comes into the limelight another version. It is 
from William P. Wood of Washington City, who died in 
1898. At the time of the assassination Wood was in the 
detective service of the government and was in Cincinnati 
when the fatal shot was fired. On receipt of a special wire 
by Secertary Stanton he hastened to Washington. In 
speaking of the burial of the body of Booth, Wood says 
it was taken from the steamer John S. Ide at the wharf 
in Washington, April 27, 1865; that it was then taken from 
the steamer by Capt. Baker and his nephew, Lieut. Baker 
of the N. Y. 71st Volunteers, and transferred to a boat 
and taken down the Potomac and to an island 27 miles 
out from Washington and buried there. 

There are numerous mysteries surrounding the wliole 
Booth affair. For instance of the several hundred thousand 
dollars reward not one cent of it was ever claimed much 
less paid. Again, there were thousands in Washington City 
who knew Booth and who could have readily identified 
him; but for some reason none were permitted to see the 
body except just one person — Gen. Dana who never saw 
Booth alive. Still again. It will be recalled that one of 
the main identifying features of Booth when taken up from 
the old penitentiary or jail prison for reburial in the 

cemetery at Baltimore was that when the boot was attempt- 
ed to be withdrawn from the right foot the leg came off 
with it. Whereas it is of record that Booth wore no boot 
on the injured leg; that Dr. Mudd had removed it and 
at the very time when this was accepted as testimony that 
the exhumed body was that of Booth the identical boot was 
on exhibition in the National Museum in Washington City. 



110 



WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 







HERALD'S SISTER 

Miss Cassie Ferguson writes 
from Baltimore that not long 
since among a lot of old 
papers secured at the Amer- 
ican office for "reading mat- 
ter" and carpet underwear, 
was a copy of a paper called 
Historia, in which "I notice 
you are getting up a book 
about the Booth escape. I 
was awfully interested In It, 
because my uncle was a near 
nL'ijThbor to the Herolds who 
you mention. He says they were mighty clever good peo- 
ple, kind and best of neighbors. In an old scrap book I 
found some pictures and one of them I send you as you 
may want to use it. This is one of David Herold's sisters, 
the youngest, I believe, who, uncle says died from grief soon 
after her brother was hung. Isn't it terrible that a mother, 
and sister must be the ones to suffer just because some 
one has led their boy or brother astray? For my uncle says 
Davy wasn't a vicious boy, only sort of frivolous and con- 
.fiding. The family was always afraid some one would lead 
him into trouble and his folks into sorrow. And this is what 
was done to poor Davy Herold. My uncle Calement has an 
office in Washington and spends most of his time there. 
If you want him to and will write I am sure he will be glad 
to write you somethini: about Booth who he always said 
was never captured." 



BOOTH AS A FENCER 

In 1906 — possibly a year or so later — while talking with 
Charley Scouten, an old Kansas friend then living in EI 
Reno, a member of the Knights, in regalia, came up and 
made a few good natured passes at me with his sword. 
"This reminds me," said Charley of a little incident at the 
depot five or six years ago. A couple of lieutenants from 
the fort were on the platform waiting for a south-bound 
train and were putting in time at sword parrying. Among 
Ihe lookers-on was a fine looking fellow who had been 
hanging around El Reno for a few years, known to some 
extent as "the Bard of Avon," owing to the eloquence he 
was able to throw into passages from Shakespeare and 
other classics. He became interested almost to excitement 
and kept dodging about interferring as an umpire trying 
to keep tab on the plays. "Maybe you'd like a bite at 



WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH HI 



this, old chap," said one of the soldiers in a rather aggra- 
vated tone. For a moment the "bard" looked daggers, and 
snapped out: "Old chap!" but soon recovered and without 
further word reached for the sword held by the other 
soldier who readily turned it over. The "bard" gave the 
sword a cursory survey including metal-test bend. Then 
with left hand behind him and sworn in the right he began 
with a few fancy flourishes and in an instant was in tiercing 
position, with: "Come after it — YOUNG chap, good and 
hard; for that's the way I'm going after you." But few 
passes until the lieutenant was fairly "under the ropes." 
With a look of vengeance he raised his sword as if to make 
a down plunge at his rival; but in an instant — snap! and 
the lieutenant's sword was in two parts. Withoua a word 
the "bard" stabbed his sword into the platform boards and 
leant on his hands resting on the sword hilt, as he gave 
his mustache a twist and looked his antagonist square in 
the eye with a sort of humorous twinkle. After a moment 
thus he straightened up as if to draw the sword from its 
board fastenings, with: "Perhaps — YOUNG chap, we had 
better change swords. It would be about the even thing — " 
But .iust then another snap! and there were two woulded 
swords each broken in about the middle. "Well, providence 
was always considered a gentleman of equity," as he exam- 
ined the shared sword. "We are now on equal footing," as 
he squared as if to continue the contest. "No! Thanks! 
I've had my lesson and will never call you an 'old' chap 
again. You're the real game and can wear the belt." 
"Well, so be it; but suppose we step over the way and have 
our friend here," patting Scouten on the shoulder, "find 
something to make us forget it." But just then the train 
pulled in and the two uniforms with sharded swords got 
aboard for some point west — perhaps Fort Sill. Just then 
Abe Rhoades who owned the largest bar in El Reno, joined, 
and Scouten started to repeat the depot scene. "No need," 
said Abe. "I was there, and as soon as the challenge was 
accepted I knew what would happen. The citizen was the 
man George who killed himself at Enid. I had seen him 
do a few stunts before. He told me once that he came near 
becoming a "spirit" as he said, by fooling with a sword." 
(In this connection it may be noted that Booth, wore a 
scar and one eye slightly dropped from a wound gotten 
during a stage bout with McCullom."> 



112 WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 

ROBY'S BROTHER STILL LIVING 

A brother of Hamilton Roby sometimes referred to 
as Roddy, Rowdy, or Boyd, is still living some thirty 
miles out from Washington not far from Laurel, Md. This 
brother recalls quite vividly the Garrett farm tragedy 
wherein all trace of his brother Hamilton was lost — "Who 
possibly paid vicarious sacrifice." The writer not knowing 
the brother's popstoffice address has been unable to get in 
direct touch with him. Mr. Jed Bliss of Bowling Green 
was cited to and a letter was sent him, but it seems he 
was absent and after about despairing of ever getting a 
reply, Mr. Bliss writes from New Orleans: "Your letter 
after chasing me about — to Mobile, then forwarded here 
is at last to hand. I regret that I can not recall the post 
office of the gentleman to whom you refer, but may be 
able to do so when I reach home, not before the last of 
October. I only know that he is a brother of Hamilton 
Roby who is said to have been the party who with Jirn 
Thornton was at the time working on Captain Sam Cox's 
farm out a ways from Mathias Point and who in company 
with the Captain's brother-in-law, Gib Jones, secreted Booth 
in a thicket and carried grub to him until other arrange- 
ments could be made. He is said to have gone by a num- 
ber of aliases for some unknown reason and never without 
arms — an intelligent fellow, but frightfululy profane. Roby 
is also supposed to be the party with whom Booth nego- 
tiated for safe escort to Mosby's camp, giving him a. check 
on a Canadian bank for pay. Sorry I did not get the 
paper you say you sent — Historia, but presume I will get 
it on my return." 



While looking up days in Enid for this volume Hon. 
Edmond Franz, one of the large property owners of Gar- 
field county, presented a typewritten article which he pre- 
pared and read before the literary club of that city a year 
or so ago, made up exclusively of the George suicide. 
This manuscript contains from 12,000 to 15,000 words and 
would make quite a volume. It is exhausive data of the 
tragedy until the suicide at Enid. But there is nothing in 
it that has not been secured through other sources, save a 
few expressions from Enid people and a number of con- 
clusions by the author — these being logical and decidedly 
pointed. Mr. Franz could well afford to have his little 
volume gotten out in book form, and it would need scarcely 
and "editing" being so cleverly and ingeniously written and 
arranged. 



WANDERINGS OF J WILKES BOOTH 



113 



ACTOR PAYS COMPLIMENTS TO THE BOOTHS 

Through the courtesy of Hon. George Horace Larimer, 
editor of that excellent American magazine, printed with 
exceptional editorial genius and discretion, the Saturday 
Evening Post, a copy of the issue of August 20, 1920, has 
been received. This number was specially desired on ac- 
count of an article written by Mr. Jefferson Winter, a well- 
known actor, wherein the Booth family forms the prin- 
ciple text. While John Wilkes Booth and others of the 
family receive considerate at- 
tention, the greater part of | 
the article, making several 
pages of the Post, is confin<>(l 
to the stage and domestic 
career of Edwin Booth. It is 
one of the finest sketches ever 
penned by any member of the 
iiistronic profession — a real 
reminiscent eulogy, fairly sub- 
lime from first curtain to fin;i) 
climax. No more excellent 
tribute was ever pair to any 
member of the footlight craft, 
and it betrays a gift in words, 
selection and painting and 
in happy arrangement seldom 
possessed by the actor. While 
Mr. Winter was at the time of 
the great sad tragedy lyina 
on the parlor floor on his back 
dressed in a diaper and 
sucking Edwin Booth's thumb 
cotic," he has evidently madi^ 
vast research, and being him- 
self one of the most eminent 
actors on the American stage 
has put him in touch of every 
avenue that leads to and 

from the footlights, and therefore gives to his reminis- 
cences added interest. In this sketch the now niVtionall.y 
known tragedian has contributed a real gem to the literary 
pages of histronic character. The story is well-balanced 
with portraits of Edwin Booth. One of these in his favor 
it a bust pose in which he has often "set" for a profile; 
another shows him seated, with his little daughter Edwina 
at his side standing with one arm affectionately around her 
fallier'? f^h' ulder, her right had clasped in his left, both 
looking ou':— '^lif> with such bewitching sweetness and he in 




114 WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 



that dear solemn calm yet with a usual sunlit smile fairly 
ineffable. This picture was taken in 1864; "with Elsie 
Leslie, the Original Little Lord Fontelroy," in 1889. The 
third represents Mr. Booth seated with his little son be- 
tween his knees looking up with filial pride and evidently 
drinking in some lesson of noble promptings. The last is 
a standing figure as shown in this item. 



A MISTAKEN NOTION PREVAILS 

A statement is frequently made — one to the writer 
as late as the present year October (1922) that every person 
who ever attempted the life of any of our Presidents was 
a Catholic. Some of these .statements are the result of 
ignorance — inexcusable ignorance, but most of them are 
made through downright and milicious intent by those who 
know better. Two attempts were made on the life of Jack- 
son, in both cases by parties of his own politics and religious 
faith. Lawrence was an English Congregationalist and a 
supporter nf Jackson for the presidency. Booth who shot 
President Lincoln was a Catholic. Azterodt's shrine was 
the saloon bar, his gnd the demijohn, in whos? worship he 
was so persistent and continuous that the Quaker received 
little of his attention. Payne — (Powell) poor ill-environed 
was born in Alabama, taken to Georgia and thence to Live 
Oaks, Fla, where the father. Rev. George W. Powell, was 
pastor of the Baptist church at the time of the tragedy. 

'Mrs. Surratt adhered to the Catholic faith, but 
as she nor any of the other "conspirators" had any- 
thing to do with the killing of President Lincoln they can 
be consistently passed. Guitteau was a Presbyterian mem- 
ber of the Oneida Colony and stumped his state for the 
man he killed. Golcos' father was an Ohio town marshal 
and a Methodist. The son was a member of the Young 
Men's Republican club, etc. The fact is, neither race, 
politics nor religious faith had anything whatever to do 
with the matter. 



An effort was made to get the name of the party pros- 
ecuted at Tyler, Texas, in 1877-8, for selling liquor at 
Glen Rose Mills without a license when in fact "St. Helen" 
was the real offender; but Deputy U. S. District Clerk 
Geo. C. Burruss writes that every vestige of the records 
were destroyed by fire that same year. 



WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 115 

A TOUCH OF ROMANCE 

Theatre-goers of Oklahoma City who were here during 
the season of 1900-1 will doubtless recall among the 
dramatic troops playing this circuit, the Charley Stater 
company starring Miss Varsey as leading woman and her 
husband, Walter Frain, doin gmale leads. Miss Varsey was 
a young woman of remarkable beauty, of matchless grace, 
and possessed of the most immaculate charms — a happy 
compromise between the brunette and blonde types, long 
Tiowing hair, thrilling bust, large lustrous eyes. She was not 
only clever as an actress, but also did acrobatic turns which 
added the heroic to the romantic. While making head- 
quarters at El Reno one of her greatest admirers was a 
man of perhaps forty-five, though so well preserved he 
might have been taken for much younger. He was about 
five foot eight, weighing perhaps 170 pounds, of rather 
slender build, inclined to gaze down slightly when in con- 
versation except at times when his keen black eyes would 
lock the listener square in the eye-to-eye with significant 
searching. His hair was jet black, rather silky and inclined 
to wave at the bottom, near the shoulders. In conversation 
he was the perfection of suavity and good breeding, every 
evidence of a man of high culture and polish, melodious 
voice full of sweet flowing, and withal a most magnetic 
personality. He, in fact, became desperately infatuated 
with the beautiful Miss Varsey, and undertook to write a 
drama with her as the leading lady and himself as 
main support. During an engagement at the Overholser in 
Oklahoma City the fond amour came in with the company, 
but kept almost painfully aloof from any of the member*, 
even his dear charmer except at rehearsals of the part she 
was to take. He registered at the Grand Avenue hotel 
under the single name — "Devoli," and was understood as 
being from Milan, Italy, although betraying not the least 
trace of Italian in either manner or language, except that 
he was of the Italian brunette cast, commanded the dialect 
fairly well and possessed the proverbial pleasing polish of 
the elite of Roman. Except at ]ii""]i li n- n^r' nt "^li^a'-sals 
where but a very few select were admitted he kept close 
to his room, his bosom companion being one Johnny Her- 
mirage of which he seemed fond, although during- his stay 
here he did not let his "liquid chum" get the best of him. 
This was David E. George wjieri at Kl Reno where lie had 
resided for two or three years — the same unfortunate man 
who committed suicide at Enid in January, 1903. The 
v'iter has made strenuous effort to get a line of the play 
'^'"rred to which was to be staged as "Shadows of the 
Past:" hn* '-ithout avail except a few situations and skel- 
letin lines on this tenor: 



116 WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 



Parlor. Devoli dis. slowly pacing as he carefully twirls 
a small cane in one hand and twists at his black imperials 
with the other; now and then a pause and solus lines. 

"Ah, me Lady Fine! Me Lady Fine! And such eyes! 
So large and glowing — gems that ravish with their lustre. 
Orbs that give to the luminary of day but a pale radiance." 
Sits astride chair with face buried in hands, resting on 
chair back a moment. Rouses, rubs eyes, long sigh. "Ah 
well! Me Lady Fine! If only she were here now!" Rises. 
"Yes, if she were but here! Me Lady Fine! To lead from 
under these — shadows of the past. Me Lady Fine!" Dra- 
matic ecstacy. 

She, entering: Did'st call, Mosenior Devoli?" 

He with good-hu'.nored smile and cavalier courtesy. 
"Me Lady Fine! Senior is quite sufficient; hence — " 

Pete enters, stops, looks wise. "Ye'p, Subflsicant," 
Crossing: "D — d — drap de — devil"- scampers off with coon 
snicker as Devoli casts withering glance. 

Then to her: "Did'st call? Yes! To thee! To thee, 
me Lady Fine!" Takes her hands: "I called to the skies. 
An angel came! Thee! Thee!" As if to take license she 
finger to lips in caution. He: "Your pardon! A thousand 
pardons! Not for kingdoms and crowns — " Sudden: 
"Porter! Porter! Some wine! Some wine!" Taps table 
witli cane impatient. 

She: "Art not feeling well. Senior?" 

He: "Yes— No! It is here! It is here!" Head- 
heart. As if slightly dizzv: "The blinds. The — Porter! 
The blinds!" 

She dextrously turns curtains aside, windows up. "See! 
How beautiful shines the evening sun." 

He, recovered: "Yes; but how dim compared with 
thine own superior orbs! Me Lad}' Fine!" Takes her 
hands passionately. 

She shifts to arm-in-arm: "To the garden. Senior." 

He: "Yes! To the garden — anywhere away from 
these — shadows — -of the past." 

She, diplomatically unarming: "Out there in the open 
where there are no shadows. W^here all is light. Beneath 
the elms where all is shade." 

He as they start off arm-in-arm: "To the garden! To 
the elm shades! To the end of the world with thee, me 
lady—" 

The drama is said to have been ingeniously laid around 
one whose past is a continuous haunt, forever in the 
"Shadows of the Past." The plot is set with poetic gems, 
classic and thrilling climax. Flowing in a harmonious blend 
rf lights with — "Shadows of the past" which the life of the 
subject is intended to portray. 



WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 



117 




WHAT DR. ZIEMANN REMEMBERS 

Dr. Chas. Ziemann of Oklahoma City says that during 
the late fall of 1900 or early winter of 1901 he saw Miss 

Varsey, leading woman 
in the Stater Company 
who were playing at 
the Overholser, ia one 
cf hei emotional roles, 
and as he remembers 
her she was a woman 
of wonderful charm 
and beauty, absolutely 
superb ii her redition 
of the part; in fact a 
young actress of strik- 
ingly fascinating per- 
sonality. One afternoon 
while at the Times- 
Journal office he met 
as he first supposed, 
one of her leading male 
supports, but who prov- 
ed to be quite another 
<kai;icter. The stranger also possessed rare personality 
a .(1 i/earing. He was dressed in a Prince Albert and 
iMther broad-brimme-i Stetson and wore an immaculate 
lie. His hair was of silky texture worn to reach the 
shoulder, and inclined to wave a trifle. He was a type 
that impressed to an extent that on passing out I made 
bold to introduce myself at which he handed me a small 
card on which was printed some name I have forgotten, 
representative of a dramatic publication the name of 
which 1 have also forgotten. You are just the individual 
I'm looking for,' 1 remarked, says the doctor. The strang- 
er gave a peculiar glance then "Well?" as if "The hell you 
are" to use the doctor's trite expression. Glancing at the 
card: "1 see you lepresent a dramatic paper." Another 
"Well," when I continued. "I think I could furnish you a 
pretty good item." This seemed to unwrikle hasty 
brows, and the stranger at once seemed more at ease. "I 
would be pleased to look over your— item." With this he 
took me very lightly by one shoulder with: "Let's step 
over to my room and we will investigate what you have." 
At the entrance to the bar of the Grand Avenue I suggest- 
ed that we might 'lubricate' as I called it, before pioceed- 
ing. But the stranger in a diplomatic way excused him- 
self, remarking that while he was in no wise 'averse to the 
elixir' he seldom ventured to a bar. but suggested that he 
would wait until I 'lubricated' which I declined with the 



I 



118 WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 

remark that I was neither in particular need nor desire. 
On ascending to the second, which was the top floor, I was 
led down the hallway to the extreme east end of the build- 
ing where the door was swung open with a motion for me 
to proceed, proffering a chair while he took a sitting pos- 
ture on the table corner. Then with; "If you will excuse 
me," he took from a drawer in the dresser a flask of bead- 
ed fury and from the mantle a tumbler, remarking as he 
poured, "I will introduce you to — " drawing the cork 
which he held in his mouth as he decantered — "my bosom 
companion, Mr. John Hermitage." Handing me the tum- 
bler he took quite a stiff pull at the flask then placed It 
back in its moorage. Here I drew out the card he had 
given me; but he reached for it and wrote in bold pencil- 
hand on the reverse side: "David E. George" and pointing 
to the new inscription handed the card back. "You see," 
he said, "I am able to support more than one name, even at 
the same time and in the same place; but that is the name 
I go by at El Reno where I make headquarters." Seating 
on the bed facing me he explained that he had but one 
chair as he seldom entertained, then looking me square in 
the eye: "And so you are a play-writer. Well," with a hum- 
orous shrug of shoulder, "I never meet a play-writer with- 
out calling to mind" — rising and pantoming dramatic- 
ally — "how the aspiring youth who fired the Ephesian dome 
outlived the fool who built it." 

Then shifting his seat on the bed he related a scene. 
where boquets were being showered on the actor in an 
emotional role amid encores that fairly deafened, some one 
ambled across the stage. "Who is that?" whispered a gen- 
tleman in the bald-head row to his seat companion. "O, 
that's only the damfool who wrote the play." Quite en- 
couraging," I ventured; "but then I'm only a novice with 
a long way ahead of me in which to reform. "Just to show 
you," said George as he excused himself and drew a roll of 
hieroglyphoid manuscript from the stand drawer, "that I, 
too, am a fit subject for the foolkiller." Straightening up: 
"It is only in skeleton and it isn't likely any one but my- 
self could get much out of it," as he unrolled as if to read. 
"If you think you can stand it — "Anticipating I interposed: 
"Sure I should like to hear it." After scanning over a page 
or so to himself as if to get the thread, with a few pantom- 
ies, he read aloud in a truely dramatic tone, with equally 
dramatic gestures and flighly poses. But it has been so 
long ago I don't remember any of it, except I now recall 
something about shadows and "My Lady Fine," or some- 
thing like that. I remember distinctly he of a sudden got 
excited and yelled for the porter to bring some wine. The 
writer here exhibited the scene reputed to have been a 
part of the Booth contemplated play at which the doctor 



W ANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 119 

grew fairly excited with interest. "That sounds very much 
like it; and since you have mentioned it, I am now quite 
sure the title was as you have — "Shadows of the Past." 
This, says the the doctor is the last he saw of George ex- 
cept a glimpse of him and some woman as they entered 
the opera house sometime in the forenoon "to rehearse," as 
he supposed. "O, yes," added the doctor, I remember that 
George said he was writing the play for, as he put it, "the 
most charming little stage-witch that ever captivated an 
audience. Loving? Well, so far as my experience has 
been — more lovable than loving." I may also add that I 
handed George a few advanced pages of my effort to tempt 
the fool-killer which he read with occasional gestures, then 
handing the pages back, merely remarking that they were 
really clever, and if the plot was a trifle less local might 
be worked into a success." 

BOOTH VISITS THE EL RENO THEATRE 

Mr. Chas. W. Stater whose dramatic company with Miss 
Jessie Varsey as leading woman and Walter Prain as male 
support was among those playing this circuit which in- 
cluded Enid, Kingfisher, El Reno. Oklahoma and Guthrie, 
with headquarters at El Reno, writes from Long Beach, 
California, that he was personally and well acquainted 
with the man going under the name of David E. George at 
El Reno; that he remembers the many pleasant evenings 
they spent together. He says one of George's characteris- 
tics was an inordinate appetite for baked duck, and "he 
and myself frequently went duck hunting and whenever 
we failed to bring down any game, George could be de- 
pended on * * * * We had baked duck just 

the same. George told me that Booth was not killed at 
the Garrett home, as was generally supposed," writes Mr. 
Stater, "and more than once told me how he got away. He 
also said that Booth visited my show almost every night 
and sat in the roost and paid my show the highest compli- 
ment. I never knew that he was Booth until after the 
suicide; then I knew my friend David; E. George was in 
fact Booth. You are on the right track Mr. Campbell. 
George told me many things, but it has been so long ago 
that much he told me has been forgotten. As to the play 
you mention, I know but little except from hearsay but am 
Inclined to think you have hold of the right string if you 
can only follow it to the end. Now, friend Campbell, I do 
not care for notority in this connection. You are the first 
soul I have mentionel the matter to, not even to any of my 
own family." 

On arriving in Oklahoma City a few days ago to visit 
his son Gordon who is in the law practice in Oklahoma 
City, on being shown a scene and a few lines of the reput- 



118 WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 

remark that I was neither in particular need nor desire. 
On ascending to the second, which was the top floor, I was 
led down the hallway to the extreme east end of the build- 
ing where the door was swung open with a motion for me 
to proceed, proffering a chair while he took a sitting pos- 
ture on the table corner. Then with; "If you will excuse 
me," he took from a drawer in the dresser a flask of bead- 
ed fury and from the mantle a tumbler, remarking as he 
poured, "I will introduce you to — " drawing the cork 
which he held in his mouth as he decantered — "my bosom 
companion, Mr. John Hermitage." Handing me the tum- 
bler he took quite a stiff pull at the flask then placed it 
back in its moorage. Here I drew out the card he had 
given me; but he reached for it and wrote in bold pencil- 
hand on the reverse side: "David E. George" and pointing 
to the new inscription handed the card back. "You see," 
he said, "I am able to support more than one name, even at 
the same time and in the same place; but that is the name 
I go by at El Reno where I make headquarters." Seating 
on the bed facing me he explained that he had but one 
chair as he seldom entertained, then looking me square in 
the eye: "And so you are a play-writer. Well," with a hum- 
orous shrug of shoulder, "I never meet a play-writer with- 
out calling to mind" — rising and pantoming dramatic- 
ally — "how the aspiring youth who fired the Ephesian dome 
outlived the fool who built it." 

Then shifting his seat on the bed he related a scene. 
where boquets were being showered on the actor in an 
emotional role amid encores that fairly deafened, some one 
ambled across the stage. "Who is that?" whispered a gen- 
tleman in the bald-head row to his seat companion. "O, 
that's only the damfool who wrote the play." Quite en- 
couraging," I ventured; "but then I'm only a novice with 
a long way ahead of me in which to reform. "Just to show 
you," said George as he excused himself and drew a roll of 
hieroglyphoid manuscript from the stand drawer, "that I, 
too, am a fit subject for the foolkiller." Straightening up: 
"It is only in skeleton and it isn't likely any one but my- 
self could get much out of it," as he unrolled as if to read. 
"If you think you can stand it — "Anticipating I interposed: 
"Sure I should like to hear it." After scanning over a page 
or so to himself as if to get the thread, with a few pantom- 
ies, he read aloud in a truely dramatic tone, with equally 
dramatic gestures and flighly poses. But it has been so 
long ago I don't remember any of it, except I now recall 
something about shadows and "My Lady Fine," or some- 
thing like that. I remember distinctly he of a sudden got 
excited and yelled for the porter to bring some wine. The 
writer here exhibited the scene reputed to have been a 
part of the Booth contemplated play at which the doctor 



WAND ERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 119 

grew fairly excited with interest. "That sounds very much 
like it; and since you have mentioned it, I am now quite 
sure the title was as you have — "Shadows of the Past." 
This, says the the doctor is the last he saw of George ex- 
cept a glimpse of him and some woman as they entered 
the opera house sometime in the forenoon "to rehearse," as 
he supposed. "O, yes," added the doctor, I remember that 
George said he was writing the play for, as he put it, "the 
most charming little stage-witch that ever captivated an 
audience. Loving? Well, so far as my experience has 
been — more lovable than loving." I may also add that I 
handed George a few advanced pages of my effort to tempt 
the fool-killer which he read with occasional gestures, then 
handing the pages back, merely remarking that they were 
really clever, and if the plot was a trifle less local might 
be worked into a success." 

BOOTH VISITS THE EL RENO THEATRE 

Mr. Chas. W. Stater whose dramatic company with Miss 
Jessie Varsey as leading woman and Walter Prain as male 
support was among those playing this circuit which in- 
cluded Enid, Kingfisher, El Reno, Oklahoma and Guthrie, 
with headquarters at El Reno, writes from Long Beach, 
California, that he was personally and well acquainted 
with the man going under the name of David E. George at 
El Reno; that he remembers the many pleasant evenings 
they spent together. He says one of George's characteris- 
tics was an inordinate appetite for baked duck, and "he 
and myself frequently went duck hunting and whenever 
we failed to bring down any game. George could be de- 
pended on * * * * We had baked duck just 

the same. George told me that Booth was not killed at 
the Garrett home, as was generally supposed," writes Mr. 
Stater, "and more than once told me how he got away. He 
also said that Booth visited my show almost every night 
and sat in the roost and paid my show the highest compli- 
ment. I never knew that he was Booth until after the 
suicide; then I knew my friend David; E. George was in 
fact Booth. You are on the right track Mr. Campbell. 
George told me many things, but it has been so long ago 
that much he told me has been forgotten. As to the play 
you mention, I know but little except from hearsay but am 
Inclined to think you have hold of the right string if you 
can only follow it to the end. Now, friend Campbell, I do 
not care for notority in this connection. You are the first 
soul I have mentionel the matter to, not even to any of my 
own family." 

On arriving in Oklahoma City a few days ago to visit 
his son Gordon who is in the law practice in Oklahoma 
City, on being shown a scene and a few lines of the reput- 



120 WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 

ed Booth play, he ejaculated: "I declare, I had not thought 
of that play for nearly twenty years, but now recall the 
situation and every line as you have it. I recall another 
scene where a large spaniel makes a bound as if to feast on 
lady fingers and sweet meats, at which the heroine be- 
trays fright: 'Wouldst take fright at so frail a thing, my 
Lady Fine, with charms to soothe the savage breast. Nay, 
nay, If Sir Bowser should touch thine velvet hands 
'twould be but to caress them.' With this the animal 
makes a threatening demonstration toward Devoli who 
simply proffers his hat. Sir Bowser, as Devoli addresses 
him, takes a glance at the proffered hat, then starts a 
retreat, but stops when Devoli snaps his finger and gives 
a whistle. 'Sir Bowser, said he, 'wouldst be rude in the 
presence of my Lady Fine?' indicating toward his Bowser- 
ship. 'Allow me,' making a courtsy and waving with hat 
as if he were introducing some nobleman to a queen. 
Then pats Sir Bowser on the head and indicates toward 
the heroine at which Sir Bowser sits on his hinders with 
outstretched paw. Turning to the heroine^ 'why, my Lady 
Fine, I am pleased to be your protector, but you need none. 
Sir Bowser's ivories would sink back in the gums should 
he press thine hands urgently,' etc. 



Mrs. Elliott Alton who with her (late) husband did 
the poster billing for all the shows making Oklahoma City 
says she was well acquainted with Miss Jessie Varsey, 
leading woman in the Stater Company which had headquar. 
ters at El Reno, and had Oklahoma City on its routing 
card; that she was one of the most lovable characters she 
ever met, beautiful as a Venus, and acceptionally clever 
as an actre3s. Medium height and passionate bust, large 
eyes and a wealth of flowing hair — a happy compromise 
between the brunette and blonde — just such a personally 
as would be liable to appeal to a man of "George's" taste 
and temperament. Mrs. Alton recalls a gentleman who 
was here to get estimates on printing and posting for a 
play he said he was writing with a view of having Miss 
Varsey as leading cuaracter, himself as lead support. The 
gentleman referred to said in an off-hand way that he was 
k own as George. As Mrs. Alton remembeis it he gave the 
title of his proposed as — "I can't really remember," she 
sayn, "but there was something about shadows in it." As to 
the brief scene and few lines given herein, she says she has 
a dim recollec'ion of having witnessed one of the scenes 
during a rehearsel; and on being shown this scene, she 
say j she rather thinks they are about right; in fact she 
nrw recalls the situation and at least a part of the dia- 
logue. 



WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 121 



"DON'T MENTION NAME PLEASE" 

In securing material for a story like this many snags 
are run against such as the person who gives information 
only on pledge of name being withheld. Next to the evi- 
dence of "an eye witness" this sort is valueless only as 
corroborating. The "eye witness" is universally introduced 
where there is no substantial foundation. War books are 
full of statements by these vendetta characters of straw, 
and there are always a few fools who take it as "evidence." 
For instance, a middle-aged woman of El Reno states that 
she was well acquainted with Miss Jesse Varsey, the young 
actress for whom "Shadows of the Past" was written. She 
was also more or less acquainted with the mysterious author 
of the drama. In ff^ct, had often accompanied Miss Varsey 
to the theatre, and one one occasion had she and her 
"gentleman friend" at her home for tea. She said Miss 
Varsey became confidential at one time, saying she had 
gotten a fearful secret from George; that he was not the 
person he pretended to be, after which he, George, seemed 
leary, insistently cautioning strict confidence. She said 
after getting this secret she, too, became suspicious, or 
rather afraid of the man. He was too realistic, especially 
in one scene where he is supposed to go into a jealous rage. 
Miss Varsey said she became so alarmed at what might 
happen that she declared the matter off so far as she was 
concerned. And the El Reno "eye witness" said this was 
no doubt the reason Miss Varsey left the city abruptly and 
unaccompanied, buying a ticket to Chickasha, but really 
intending to go on to Dallas; that it was evident the es- 
trangement . had somehting to do with George going to 
Dallas sometime afterward where he took violently ill and 
placed himself under treatment at St. Joseph's Hospital 
there. In fact, said the "eye witness" the man George 
seemed a different person, grew gloomy and despondent 
with endeavor to "drown his grief in the bowl of bane." 



RELATED TO BOOTH, BUT— 

An elderly gentleman residing in a goodly town not 
far from El Reno admitted he was a relative of John 
Wilkes Booth, but wouldn't have his people know it for 
anything. He said he had met the man George at El Reno 
face to fact often but not a word was ever exchanged 
with him. "On one occasion," he said, "I noticed George 
eyeing me closely, and if he had been observant he would 
have noticed I was eyeing him with equal scrutiny. Pres- 
ently he approached and a moment looked me square in 
the eye; then reaching my hand gave it a warm grasp. 



122 WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 

turning his face slightly away. Then with a tender look 
he lisped, scarcely audible, "You are — " He again turned 
his face slightly ascant as a tear trinkled down one cheek 
and his lips quivered. He ga%e my hand a firm grip and 
walked away. I was sure but not certain, he was a second- 
cousin with whom I had romped in our boy-hood days; 
and I am equally sure but not certain he recognized me. 
That was the last I ever saw of him until next day after 
the suicide, when I visited the corpse in the morgue, but I 
was too much overcome to more than glimpse, then take a 
first train for home. Like the El Reno woman, the name 
must under no circumstances be used. This condition, of 
course, side-tracks the statements of booth as worthless, 
and they are only given here to illustrate what one has to 
contend with in gathering material for a volume like this. 
Mr. Bates could no doubt have given much more in his 
book had he resorted to the "eye witness" or the "by all 
means never reveal my name," which he seems not to have 
done except in the case of some one who furnished the 
statement that many families by the name of Roddy resided 
near Port Royal, etc., which made the statement practically 
worthless, though no doubt legitimately secured from a 
legitimate source. 



Mr. J. N. Roberts, young attorney of Oklahoma City, 
says he resided in Hennessey at the time David E. George 
was there and knew him intimately; that he and his bro- 
ther were associated together in the painting business and 
took small contracts for various jobs. He says George was 
a peculiar fellow, rather close-mouthed except when tanked 
up, a condition not few nor far between. On these occas- 
ions he would grow quite glib, and among other things 
would recite sketches from Shakespeare and other classic 
authors; and often say things about himself which seemed 
to worry him when sobered, sometimes endeavoring to 
laugh them off as jokes. On one occasion while under a 
dope-spell in Apache expecting to die, he made a confession 
to one of the prominent citizens that he was no common 
painter, nor was his true name George, but J. Wilkes 
Booth. On getting over the death-fever he denied the 
confession vehemently, that it was simply dope-jokes, etc. 
Mr. Roberts also remembers that George took part in a 
play being staged by the young people of El Reno, but is 
unable at this date to give the name of the play or the part 
George took. Mr. Roberts also remembers something 
about a play George was writing for a Miss Varsey of the 
Stater Company, and had often spoken to him about the 
play which be claimed he was preparing for "a little Ven- 
us," as he styled her, with whom he gave strong indica- 



WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 123 

tions of being enrapt. The name of this play Mr. Roberts 
has also forgotten, but is inclined to think "Shadows of the 
Past" which had been suggested was the name — at least 
there was "shadows" somewhere tangled up with either 
the play or the plot and possibly both. "From all I can 
gather," says Mr. Roberts, "and recalling so many peculiar 
characteristics of George and occasional remarks dropped 
not thought much of at the time but recalled after the sui- 
cide, I verily believe that George was in reality what he 
said he was when he supposed he was dying — John Wilkes 
Booth." 



In a more recent interview with Mrs. Anstein she said 
to the writer that she was with Mrs. Rev. Harper in com- 
pany with Mrs. Beers and Mrs. Simmons at the time Booth 
made his confession. "I now believe he intended making 
a confession to me, but grew suspicious over the suggestion 
I made when asked if I could keep a secret. I replied in 
such a careless way. 'Why, I'm a woman.' Further, his 
fear may have been no less on account of the manner in 
which I answered when he wanted to know if I was a north- 
ern or a southern woman, to which I more inadvertantly 
than intentionally replied in a sort of pickwickian evasion, 
yet in a way that in all probability left an impression that 
I was not only a northern woman, but a prejudiced partisan 
woman of the north." 



This calls up a circumstance related by Mrs. Anstine: 
George just returned from painting a house at Lochridge, 
a station on the Fort Smith & Western between EI Reno 
and Guthrie, and was a trifle browned and fagged. He 
had started for his room when an elderly man and woman 
canve in accompanied by a young woman in her late teens 
— a niece who made her home with them. It seems that 
while on the painting job George got acquainted with the 
family, including the niece, who lived near, and, aj was his 
habit, he made himself agreeable especially with the niece 
whom he petted and flattered on her rustic beauty, what 
an excellent wife she would make, and how unfortunate he 
had been not to meet her before becoming so hopelessly 
old, and joshing on that line which with him was only 
stage play, but which seems to hav ebeen taken seriously 
by the niece if not on the part of her uncle and aunt, 
who no doubt concluded from his apparel and generous 
display of banknotes that George must have wads of lucre 
and was only doing odd jobs for recreation, and that they 
might as well have a bit of his surplus. On entering the 
hotel the old gentleman said with more or less commanding 
that he had come to see "the man who did. the painting at 



124 WANDERINGS OF J. WILK ES BOOTH 

Lochridge." At this, George, who had not gotten out of 
hearing came in and was at once pounced on rough shod by 
the uncle while the niece stood back timid and fairly tear- 
ful. "You damn scoundrel," was the first volley. "You 
petted and made love to my niece, sir! Yes, and you 
promised indirectly if not in downright words to make her 
your wife! And now, damn you — you came away and 
never so much as left the poor girl a line. You've got 
the dough to gallant around and wear tailor clothes and 
make love to innocent young girls, and you must at once 
make good, either with my niece or come across with some 
of your pile, if you don't by God I'll — " By this time 
George's temper was up, and with eyes that fairly flashed 
fire. "You can't blackmail me for a cent, you onry — vaga- 
bond, I once killed a much better man than you, and there's 
the door! Take a hint or by the gods I'll — " with a 
double emphasis on the "I'll." It is not thought, says Mrs. 
Anstine, that the old people and the niece let any grass 
grow under their feet on the homeward track. The matter 
was never again brought up by George, nor did the old 
farmer ever again visit the Anstine. 



Mrs. Annette Blackburn Ehler of Hennessey, where 
"George" stopped for several months prior to going to El 
Reno writes that she was well acquainted with him, she 
being at that time editor of the Press-Democrat which 
George visited quite often. "I am firmly convinced that 
"George" was J. Wilkes Booth," she says. Mrs. Blackburn 
later became the wife of Mr. William Ehler, one of the 
pioneer merchants of Hennessey, and was one of th.ose who 
recommended that "George" call of the writer, then con- 
ducting the Waukomis Hornet as one capable of writing 
his "George's" life-story, and that he could trust the writer 
t keep inviolate any thine told him in confidence. Mrs. 
Ehler is a life-member of the Oklahoma Historical Society 
and a leader in the social and women's political life of 
Kingfisher county. 



Hon. Dan W. Peery of Carnegie, Oklahoma, was well 
acquainted with the El Reno man of mystery, and Indeed 
grew chummy with him to an extent that he bet ten dollars 
with him one time on the Democratic ticket and — lost. "I 
knew he was no common man," said Mr. Peery, "the very 
essence of politeness and culture, kindly natured, versatile 
and extremely well posted on all important subjects — an 
inveterate Shakespearean juggler who could quote almost 
the entire works of the "Bard of Avon." Mr. Peery says 
that George intimated that he was a brother of Senator 
George of Mississippi, which he took for granted until ap- 



WANDERINGS OF J WILKES BOOTH 125 

pearance of the Historia article some years ago. In this 
connection the writer has made diligent search and does not 
find that the late Senator George ever had a "Wandering 
Willie" brother or any other relative, remote or near, by the 
name of David. 

Ex-editor Maxey of the Kremlin Journal claims to have 
been in the Ford theatre the night of the tragedy nf 1865, 
and there saw Booth leap from the stage. He declares, 
however, that the Enid suicide was not Booth. This, al- 
though he never saw Booth but that brief moment when the 
Ford was a confusion, and did not see George at all. 
Squire F. E. Hills of Enid was in Washington when the 
body of the man supposed to be Booth was brought in. 
Mayor Ryan who embalmed George says the body was not 
that of Booth and gives a remarkable reason: That the 
suicide had GREY EYES; although every one else with 
whom the writer talked who claimed to have known George 
— either at Enid, Hennessey, or El Reno say without reserve 
that George had black eyes. Mr. McKonkay, of the Enid 
Art Shop was a photographer at Enid in 1903 and made 
photos of George. He also knew him well while residing 
at Hennessey. Knew him as David E. George who claimed 
to have come there from Texas; that he was a painter and 
he, Mr. McKonkay, was dealing in paint materials. He 
says George did no painting except on little jobs, and that 
iroved that he knew nothing about the business. He says 
George was a hail fellow with some, but rather choice in 
his associates, seemed pleased to have friends whom he 
could implicitely trust, was a classical fellow, with evident 
stage leanings. He said George was often broke, being 
extremely profligate when he had funds. He owed the 
landlord at Hennessey a vast sum of lodging and board at 
one time, but finally paid every penny. He seemed to 
receive regular remittances from Texas, from somewhere 
in Iowa and often from Canada. 

What unseen hand — what unknown force inspired so 
many o write of Booth about the same time — 1898? The 
writer had a few hours lay-over at a station on the Blue 
Valley railroad in Kansas, during May, 1877 — long before 
mental and wireless telegraphy became certain, a- pile of 
lumber being the only evidence that it was a station. To 
kill time he did a lot of penciling on "scratch-paper", one 
sentence running. "And this message came sfiundin*? 
through the hollow chambers of the air?" So with the still 
voice of 1898. Was it the spirit of Booth whisperinpf 
"through the hollow chambers of the air," to be uncon- 
sciously picked up by the susceptible ear? 



126 



WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 



'""" i'"";' ; i*v,«.:!i;^! 




*!, -"S 






Tom Powell, Mayor of Fort Worth when Pike fainted 
on seeing Booth; Temple Houston who was at the Pickwick 
bar when Pike fainted. 

Houston was a son of the noted Gen. Sam Houston, 
first and only President of the Texas Republic. Temple 
moved to Oklahoma on the opening of the country in 1889 
and went into the law practice at Woodward where his 
widow is now postmistress. An altercation with Al Jen- 
nings resulted in the killing of Jennings young brother, 
although not by Houston, but by a friend who took up the 
fight. This killing is claimed was more or less responsible 
for Jennings becoming an outlaw and serving time in the 
federal prison at Columbus, Ohio. Being pardoned by 
Roosevelt he returned home and at once dived into politics, 
being democratic nominee for prosecution attorney of Okla- 
homa County; then came near being nominated for gov- 
ernor on that ticket. Jennings' "Beating Back" in book 
and on the movie screen has given him a prominence seldom 
gained by one who ever served a term as an outlaw, his 
movie having been on the screen in almost every country 
of the civilized world. As a side-line Jennings is also doing 
evangel work. 



WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 



127 



BOOTH'S "GOD-FATHER" RECOGNIZES PHOTO 

Probably no man on the 
American stage was more 
competent to pass on the 
identity of Booth than was 
Joe Jefferson, the eminent ac- 
tor, who, on being shown a 
copy of a photo witii no in- 
timation except that it was 
taken in 1877, and the sub- 
ject was known as John St. 
Helen, exclaimed after scan- 
ning the picture: "Well, I 
must confess you have me in 
a corner in asking who that 
likeness reminds me of," said 
Mr. Jefferson. "It is not only 
the likeness of John Wilkes 
Booth, but is his real picture, 
although there is a trace of 
care and a sprinkle of years 
added since last I saw him, 
only a short time before 
the tragedy. Can it be pos- 
sible?" as he placed his fingers 
to his cheek in a semi-thinking mood. "I had been led to 
believe that Booth was killed at the Garrett home, although 
many have doubted it. But — well, if that isn't a picture of 
John Wilkes Booth — it IS!" as he handed back the photo. 
Mr. Jefferson was a sort of god-father to Booth, having 
taught the young aspiring Maryland farm-boy his A B C's 
on the stage taking him under his wing at the age of 
seventeen and grooming him until he became a close second. 
On the same being shown Junius Booth, Jr., also with- 
out a hint other than it was the picture of St. Helen he 
declared it to be a picture of his uncle, John W^ilkes Booth. 
"And I am positively not mistaken." 




TOO COMMON TO BE CURIOUS 

To be singular or curious, a thing must be out of the 
ordinary, which this is not: That so far as the writer's 
knowledge runs not a solitary member of the legal fratern- 
ity was ever hauled up and tried for "conspiracy" to either 
kidnap or kill the president, although hundreds, yes — thou- 
sands of that profession were openly and flagrantly known 
to have aided with means and counsel in these alleged con- 
spiracies, and their names well-known to the Union author- 
ities, and just where they could be found any hour of the 



128 WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 

day or night. One of these immunists went so far as to 
make a public offer over his own signature through the 
Selma Dispatch that for a certain sum he wound undertake 
to kill President Lincoln, one-half down and the other half 
on completion of the job. This was C. N. Baylee, of 
Oanawa, Alabama. Why such manifest and distinguished 
immunity to a special class except on the theory that most 
of the prosecutors and trial judges had at some time or 
another been members of that profession and as the lawyer 
whispered in the ear of the jurymen that "we of the pro- 
fesh must stand together," or an idea to that import. What 
is true of the legal profession is equally true of the soldiery, 
not one of who wore an official stripe was e ver hauled up 
much less strung up on cinspiracy charges. 



AS ANOTHER INSTANCE 

As other cases in point may be mentioned Captain Jett 
and Lieutenants Bainbridge and Ruggles whose aid in 
Booth's escape was admitted and openly avowed. They 

were not only permitted to go 
free but were never so much as 
arrested (except in case of Jett, 
and then only to insure his ser- 
vices as escort to the hiding place 
of Booth) but were on closing of 
the war actually accepted into 
full fellowship in the north as 
well as in the south — scarcely 
subjected to criticism. And yet 
it is questionable if there is a 
living soul today who regrets that 
these men were given a chance 
to show to the world that their 
valor in war was fully equalled 
by their good citizenship in civic 
life, in the enjoyment of peace and comfort, no wreaths 
of mourning in their household or doling plooms from the 
family roof on account of that vengeant, if not mercinary 
spirit which sent so many not thus favored into ignorinous 
exile or the city prepared for dead criminals, their families 
to go forth with the brand of infamy, shunned as outcasts 
from society. That Jeff Davis, General Lee and the great 
army of those who fought to dismember the government 
were permitted to go free and live out their allotted time 
in pleasant pursuits as honored citizens held by all sections 
in highest esteem, even to the extent of having vast monu- 
ments erected over their mounds. 




WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 129 

A RETURN TO BOSTON CORBETT 

Boston Corbett was born in England but came to 
America upon arriving at, young manhood. His real first 
name was William, but as Boston was the first landing 
place he took the name of that town and was never after 
known by any other, although regular stipends came to him 
from England in his old name. He married and after his 
wife died went to Baltimore and became extremely pious. 
So much so that on meeting a couple of women of the 
street one night he beseeched them to change their life and 
live right. He reached his room in a very shiver of excited 
passion and then and there determined to place himself 
beyond the pale of such temptation, he drew from the 
dresser drawer a razor and — his beard was always of 
a snowy texture and his voice rather feminine. He was 
an enthusiastic Union man and entered the service, enlisting 
under the name of Boston Corbett. He proved so earnest 
and fearless that he was placed second in command of tne 
Booth pursuing party. About the time the Booth rumor 
epidemic broke out — 1898, he drifted west to Kansas where 
he at once became a hero as the supposed avenger of the 
death of the nation's greatest idol. He was chosen sergeant- 
at-arms of the senate where he created a wild sensation 
by arming with a brace of big revolvers and adjourning 
both houses of the legislature. He became so violent that 
he was locked up. Judge George A. Huron of Topeka was 
appointed guardian to receive his pension and look after 
him. He was sent to the hospital but escaped and could 
never be definitely located thereafter, so Judge Huron 
writes. He could be heard of being first in this place and 
that, but like the proverbial katydid, was always some- 
where else. Like the El Reno George, there were two of 
him and like the said El Reno painter they differed widely 
in appearance and manner. Boston was of small stature, 
slightly effeminate, whereas the other was a large coarse 
featured and mannered individual. The latter at one time 
lived near Medford, Oklahoma. When Boston Corbett's 
pension had accumulated to the amount of about twelve 
hundred dollars, Corbett No. 2 put in an appearance and 
claimed that he was Boston Corbett and made affidavits in 
order to secure the pension. But he was so crude that he 
was soon landed in the Atlanta federal prison, .being con- 
victed in the L^. S. Court at San Angels, Texas, of attempt- 
i""- to defraud the government. This spurious "Boston" 
„,..t ,,T^f]pv the name of John at places and William at 
others. 



13Q WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BO OTH 

THE MAN WHO THREW PIKE INTO A FIT 

The following was written under Fort Worth date of 
October 21, 1919, nearly three years ago, but got misplaced 
and was not found until after the page preceding had been 
printed. It is signed by Jos. (or J as.) Smith: 

Mr. Editor: While at the Pickwick hotel a short time 
ago I saw a paper with a small picture in it which took me 
back a good many years — the middle 80'&. I and Betsey 
(my wife) were in Fort Worth and stopped at the Pickwick. 
Along towaids evening just as Tom Powell and I came 
from the bar room a number of others went in, and in a 
few minutes two men came out with another man between 
them, too drunk (as I then supposed) to get out alone. 
He was pale and shaking all over, and I afterwards learned 
he had been frightened by seeing someone who he thought 
was dead. We lived eight miles west, and when some three 
miles out a man was noticed under a large post oak by the 
side of the road. AVhen I drove by he hailed me and asked 
if I had some whisky. I told him I did not, and then he 
asked if there was any place around where he could stay 
all night. At that time houses were scarce in these parts. 
I told him if he could put up with being crowded he could 
stay at my house. He thanked me and got in but insisted 
on sitting behind the seat on the edge of the wagon box. 
W^hen we got home he seemed nervous and so shaky I 
gave him a pint flask fuli of good-stuff whisky and he 
measured down about two-thirds of the flask, but when I 
shook my head he kept raising his thumb until about one- 
third way down when I nodded that he could have that 
much. "Why, you said you didn't have any whisky, but if 
this isn't whisky — well — " He took another mere taste and 
handed the flask to me with thanks. He was such a hand- 
some and uncommon young man that I couldn't help won- 
dering who he could be out in this wild sandy country afoot 
and alone. I asked him where he was from and he said 
it would be easier to tell where he was not from. I then 
asked where he was going and he said it would be still 
easier to tell where he was from. Concluding he didn't care 
to talk of himself I did not ask him any more questions. 
After his drink he became cheerful and talkative and after 
supper kept us up very late telling funny stories and getting 
off poetry and such, sometimes in a drama way that was 
very interesting. Next morning he looked so dry that I 
gave him a small bit from the fla?k for which he was pro- 
fuse with thanking me, and I told him he could take the 
flask with him. He wanted to pay, but I told him we in 
Texas never let any one jIctp <-"+ of doors if we knew it, 
nnr be hungry and never thought of taking anything. After 



WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 131 



shaking hands with me and Betsey he gathered up our little 
Tommy and almost smothered him with kisses as he squeezed 
him to his bosom, and I feel sure he had tears in his eyes. 
Betsey and I have often talked of the fine strange young 
man, and when we saw your paper we both declared it was 
a picture of the young man who had rode out and stayed 
at our house back there in the 80's. 

Bill Liddle was at the Pickwick the same night and 
could no doubt give you more about it than I can. He 
lives at either Waco or Wichita Falls, and you might try 
both places to be sure. 

(Mr. Liddle was written, and in reply said he remem- 
bered the circumstances related. . He says he and Mayor 
Powell had just taken a nip at the bar and were passing 
through the hotel lobby when they met a number of men 
going in. One was the editor of the paper, another was old 
General Houston's boy, and one was evidently from Cle- 
burne. There were a couple of others, both strangers to 
me. Just as we stepped into the hotel a young man came 
in at the front door which was open, and after looking about 
as he twisted at his mustache and played with a small cane 
in the other hand he leisurely went into the bar room. In 
a few minutes two men came through the door with another 
man between them. He was white as a ghost and seemed 
in a state of complete collapse. Mr. Powell told me the 
man was the distinguished General Pike and that he had 
fainted on seeing a dead friend appear at the bar. Mr. 
Liddle gave a number of references of old-times at Fort 
Worth and other near points. 



"I SAW LINCOLN SHOT" ADENDOM 

See Page 66. 

I rushed back to the entrance, and looking across to 
the President's box saw Mrs. Lincoln standing and wring- 
ing her hands and crying hysterically, while the Major was 
leaning over the end of the box. the sleeves of his blue 
uniform red with blood as he shouted: "Stop him! Stop 
that man!" 

"I am going to the President's box." said Miss Keene. 
On entering we found a doctor and a couple of others there 
making hasty' examination of the wound. The President 
was unconscious, his position unchans^ed. I covld see the 
wound, a small blue spot behind the rieht ear, not blpedin«r, 
Hi'=; fnce normally a parchment-like hue, was now dead 
white. Mr. Lincoln was not moaning, not even breathing 
heavily — practically still as if dead. Lyine on the floor 
was the pistol — a single barrel Derringer with large bore. 

Miss Keene bent over Mrs. Lincoln trying to quiet her^ 



132 



WANDERINGS OF .1. WILKES BOOTH 



The gowns of both bespattered with blood from Rathbone's 
wound. 

Mr. Ferguson here describes the scene at the house 
where the president was taken. He wholly discredits the 
old gag about Booth crying "Sic semper tyranus" as he 
touched the stage. He was more bent on a get-away. In 
the course of an hour or so, Mr. Ferguson wrung down 
the Ford Theatre curtain never to rise again. The govern- 
ment purchased the building and converted it into a mu- 
seum. 

Here follows a review and numberless reminiscenses, 
one being the meeting a number of actors in a room near 
the Ford, among them John Wilkes Booth who occupied a 
jovial nonchalant recline on the bed. Three months later 
Mr. Ferguson saw in that same room on that same bed, the 
dying President — Abraham Lincoln. The entire story and 
incidents as given by Mr. Ferguson would make several 
pages, every line of interest. 




■m^^^^^ 



Referring back to Booth's Texas confession wherein 
he states that Lieutenants Bainbridge and Ruggles stood 

guard near the Garrett home 
to warn him in case of ap- 
proaching danger, finds full 
corroboration in the state- 
ment of various government 
witnesses including General 
David D. Dana who declaues 
that while in pursuit of the 
fugitives he saw on a ridge 
after crossing the Rappahan- 
nock two cavalrymen on horse- 
formed in 
^ ._ ^ the evening 

'j^i-- /''**|,- ^f| ' background. Believing them to 
v^!^V >ifc V ' t)e Confederates, but not sure of 
it, he challenged the cavalrymen 
for a parle.y, but instead, "they bent 
their necks to their horses' wethers 
and under spur soon disappeared into 
the heavy underwood between the 
ridge and the Rappahannock." Here, 
General Dana says he abandoned the chase. 

Notwithstanding the confession of St. Helen, Mr. Bates 
some way connected it with the Herrolds and that though 
I was not personally acquainted with him, although I saw 




nA/W/ ) *'r''il'l ' ^^^^ two cavalrymen 
f^ ( I ' •\:''''ll'v ^^^^ whose outlines 
--HS^Z^i! Wi^ sillouhette against t 



WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 133 



him a number of times in his younger days, and recall 
numerous allusions to his family resemblance to the Bootns, 

According to request from Gen. Dana, Mr. Bates sent 
a copy of the Texas tintype with no intimation as to who 
it was supposed to represent. In due time Gen. Dana 
returned the picture, stating: 

"Your favor of January 8 just to hand, and I must 
say I was surprised at the turn things took, for I expected 
the likeness of, or that it would have at least some of the 
features of that man Herrold you wrote me about, but it 
seems it was Booth instead. Can this be J. B. Booth, 
brother of John Wilkes? 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," etc. 



A letter with an Upper Zion, Va. postmark, starts 
out with the assertion that "the people of this section take 
no stock in the George confession. The record shows that 
he was killed at the Garrett home, and that ought to settle 
it," etc. What record? There was no inquest, no verdict 
of any sort as to who was killed at the Garrett home. Nor 
is there any record of any authenticated identification. Not 
a line of record anywhere, not even in the war department. 
Nothing but the newspaper accounts sent out by space- 
writers and novelists of the Stanard Baker imagination. 
True, there was evidence brought out at the conspiracy 
trial tending to show that John Wilkes Booth was killed 
at the Garrett home; but this is simply extraneous evidence 
brought out to incriminate certain alleged conspirators on 
trial, for entirely another alleged offense — the killing of 
the President. Booth was not in that court, either in 
person or by counsel and therefore there were no cross- 
questions. Every witness had his say without let or hind- 
rance. Yes, Mr. P. M. — what record? The letter cites to 
numerous persons who it says might be able to furnish in- 
formation desired, all of whom were written, but .=0 far 
not a reply has been received. Besides, this letter was 
unsigned without even a hint as to the author. The only 
reason it is accredited to the postmaster is: He was the 
only person written to at that postoffice. The letter does 
not even say "yours received," "in reply to yours," or any 
other intimation as to authorship. 

"Your friend at Upper Zion, further writes Mr. 
Gibbs, is evidently in error as to Captain Jett dying in 
an insane asylum; for it is well known that he lived a 
number of useful years after the conflict and finally died 



13 J. 



WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 



in tlie Williamsburg hospital from the effects of a wound. 
And speaking cf tlie Captain: He was an exceptionally 
bright young man with a frank open countenance that was 
at once as assurance that he was true to any trust imposed 
on him, mild, yet firm and active. Another thing was his 
pronounced resemblance to the Booths, especially to Edwin; 
so much so that many believed he must have been in some 
degree related to that household." But vast inquiry and re- 
search fails to reveal any such relationship. 



One thing seems clear — that if the prosecution is no 
more certain as to who was killed at the Garrett home than 
it is of what became of the body, it is surely not overly 

certain about anything; not 
enough to warrant paying any 
(if the rewards still available. 
Even Boston Corbett who was 
second in command and who 
was not only at the killing, 
but actually did the killing, 
admitted that he had never 
seen Booth, but only supposed 
at the time, that it was him. 
But. shucks! V,'hat's the use? 
There are so many like the 
old gentleman who on seeing 
the picture of a giraffe on a 
circus poster declared he just 
knev.- "there haint no sich an- 
imal." And even when shown 
a real live one under the tent 
he toddled off shaking his 
head: "I don't care. I jist know there haint no sich 
animal." 




Still you are not satisfied with the evidence contained 
in this vohime? You must be like a circus "razor-back" 
the writer once ran across. Several years ago one of the 
circus characters of the west was J. T. Johnson who started 
out with a "Big New York" tent and would up with an 
Uncle Tom sheet, a two-piece band, a goat, his daughter 
Mollv and a couple of "tent men" known to circusdom as 
"razor-backs." While in Atchison one of Johnson's razor- 
backs came down the street hatless and shirtless, liable to 
arrest for wearing a September morn garb, had not the 
dust of ages so begrimed the fellow that no one could have 
sworn whether he had a shirt on or not. Walking up to 
Johnson he said: "J. T., I gotta have seventy-five cents." 
■"J. T. gave his Captain Kid mustache a jerk, and piercing 



WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 



135 



the razor-back throufrh with his fiery glance: "Seventy-five 
cents? Why, what the hell's the matter with you? Don't 
you get to hear the band play, and don't you get to lead 
the goat in the parade? And don't you get to see my 
Mollv walk tlie slack wire? What more do you want? The 

earth?" 

TRICK OF THE BLACK HAND 

As a further evidence that Booth had the black art 
down at a whif and ancanting finger-flip, just look upon 

this migratory boot 
which was through one of 
those whifs and finger 
flips endowed with a sort 
of omnipresence like the 
redoubtable Booth — on 
exhibition in the Smith- 
sonian Institution and at 
the Baltimore morgue at 
the same moment. Not 
onlv that, but the proud 
spirit down in that dark 
vault "revolted" at the 
idea of appearing in se- 
lect company among old 
Baltimore chums with 
only one boot, command- 
ed its presents for the 
bootless foot. But then 
it was a "rented" boot at 
which the proud spirit 
also revolted, and with 
another whif and finger 
snap, behold! the "rent" 
disappeared. 

This "feet" coupled 
with the calling from the 
tailorshop that dress suit 
for the Baltimore party 
and the gift of omni-presence so manifest may account for 
the various "resting places" the remains have found during 
the corps corporial ceremonies, of his katydid and mys- 
terous — now here, now there appearance and disappear- 
ance in the flesh the past half century. 

Miss Jennie F. Allensworth, postmistress and general 
merchant at RoJlins Forks, Va., writes that Mrs. E. M. 
Baker, daughter of Will Rollins who owned the boat on 
which Booth crossed the Potomac lives at Boague, Va., but 
it is too late to get action on Mrs. Baker. 




136 WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 





Number required on sta^e during performance: Actors, 
19; scene shifters, 4; carpenters, 2; gas man, property 
man, promoter, 3. Total, 29. 

Disposition on stage at time of tragedy. 

A Harry Hawk as Trenchard D Gas man 
B Miss Laura Keene, leading E Stage manager Wright 
C Wm. T. Ferguson, Vernon F. Wm. Withers, Jr., Orch. 

General Chart. 

3-4 President's box 18 Center door to scenes 

4-5 Doors to President's box 19 Fence with gate 



6-10 Passage entrances 

11 Back door to back alley 

12 Door to dressing rooms 

15 Governor to gas light 

16 Prompter's desk 



20 Martin house 

21 Set dairy 3x13x13 

22 Bench 

23 Table and (2) Chairs 

26 Hole in wall to hold door 



WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 137 



ILLUSTRATIONS 

Azterodt, Geo. A., in conspiracy group. 

Arnold, Samuel, in conspiracy group. 

Baker, Col. L. C, with pursuing party. 

Baker, Lieut. L. B., with pursuing party. 

Bainbridge, Lieut. A. M., aided Booth in escape. 

Bates, Finis L., taking Booth's confession. 

Bates, Finis L., as attorney in Texas, 1872. 

Booth, Junius Brutus, father of J. Wilkes. 

Booth, Junius Brutus, brother of J. AVilkes. 

Booth, Edwin, brother of J. Wilkes. 

Booth, Junius Brutus, Jr., nephew of J. Wilkes. 

Booth, J. Wilkes, in conspiracy group. 

Booth, J. Wilkes, on first reward broadside. 

Booth, J. Wilkes, in tintype taken in 1877. 

Booth, J. Wilkes, in 1877 confessing to Bates. 

Booth, J. Wilkes, in El Reno, 1899, as George. 

Booth, J. Wilkes, in 1892 as an evangelist. 

Booth, J. Wilkes, in 1903 after suicide. 

Booth, as "George." taken in 1898. 

Cobb, Sergeant Silas T., who raised gate for Booth. 

Conger, E. J., with pursuing party. 

Corbett, Boston, with pursuing party. 

Dana, Gen. David D.. in pursuit for Booth. 

DeMond, Sergeant F. A., raised bridge for Booth. 

DeMond, F. A., in family group, 1918. 

DeMond, Miss Florence, in family group. 

Davis, Jefferson, president confederacy. 

Ferguson, Wm. T., actor. 

Houston, Temple. 

Herold in conspiracy group. 

Herold. Emma, sister of David E. 

Jefferson, Joe, actor. 

Johnson, Andrew, vice-president. 

McDougall, Michael, in conspiracy group. 

Morris, Clara, actress, as Genevieve. 

Powell, Ex-Mayor Tom T., Ft. AVorth. 

Spangler. Ned, scene shifter, in conspiracy group. 

Surrnft. Mrs. M-nrv F... in f^on^niracv group. 

Surratt, Mrs. Mary E., separate portrait. 

Surratt, John H., in conspiracy group. 

Varsey, Miss Jessie, for whom Booth wrote play. 

Bryantown, Street View. R-^rith crossing the plains. 

Home of Dr. Mudd. Map of Potomac river, 

"-me of Cnpt. Sam Cox. Diagram of Ford's stage. 

Booth spcreted in wagon. Booth's hand. 

'To-'>e of Dr. Stewart. Booth's migratory boot. 



138 WANDEHINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 




T.-.|ru-r,-'.»0.1 I* H 



WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 139 



NOMENCLATURE IN THIS VOLUME 

(*) denotes deceased. No state name indicates Okla- 
homa. (**) indicates receipt of valued information, to all 
of whom acknowledgment is hereby extended. 

Allen, C. A., merchant and P. M. at Baity, Va. 
Allen, H. M., reference to Booth in Harper's Weekly. 
Alton, Mrs. Elliott, Oklahoma City, knew Miss Varsey. 
Anstine, Mrs. Frank, at Booth's El Reno confession. 
*Anstine, Frank, witness to George's El Reno will. 
Admire, Miss Mina, in Kingfisher local cast, 1893. 
*Augur, C. C, in command at Washington in 1865. 
*Arnold, Samuel, sent to Dry Tortugas as conspirator. 
*Azterodt, Geo. A., hanged as conspirator. 
*Baker, Col. L. C, with pursuing party at Garrett's. 
*Baker, Lt. L. B., with pursuing party at Garrett's. 
Baker, Ray Stanard, writes of pursuit and capture. 
Baker, Mrs. E. M., daughter of Will Rollins. 
*Bainbridge, Lt. A. M., Conf., aids Booth in escape. 
Bainbridge, Gen. Dan S., father of the lieutenant. 
Bainbridge, Ben, brother of Lieut. A. M. 
Beeks, W. T., witness to George's El Reno will. 
Beers, Mrs. Wm., at Booth's El Reno Confession. 
Bates, Finis L., Receives St. Helen's confession. 
*Bell, Col., hanged by government as Confederate spy. 
Billingsley, A. P., postmaster at Port Conway. 
Bishop, Chas. B., actor, at Baltimore obsequies. 
"Boyd", Roddy alias, crosses river with Booth. 
*B()oths — J. Wilkes, Edwin, Agnes, Junius Jr., St. 
Britton, Hon. Rollin J., Attorney, Kansas City, Mo.** 
Bronson, Edgar S., El Reno American, Sec. Press Assn. 
Brown, B. B., witness to George's Enid will. 
*Brown, Hon. U. S., El Reno Democrat, knew Booth 
*Browning, W. A., private secretary to Vice President. 
Burrus, A. C, U. S. Dist. Court Clerk, Tyler, Texas.** 
* Burroughs, Johnny, held Booth's horse. 
Camden, Guy, in Kingfisher local cast, 189.7. 
Carleton, Chas., directs "Nevada" at Kingfisher, 1893. 
Carneal, Postmaster at Lent, Va., near Garrett farm.** 
Chapman, Mrs., Kansas City, husband at Garrett's.** 
*Chapman, Miss Blanche, on stage with Booth in 60's. 
*Cobb, Sergeant Silas T., at bridge when Booth crossed. 
*Conger, Everton B., with pursuing party at Garrett's. 
Connelley, Wm. E., Kansas Historical Society.** 
Cox, Captain, cared for Booth near Mathias Point, Va. 
*Courtney, Miss Jennie, in "Our American Cousins." 
Davis, .\d.j. Robt. J., War Department. 
*Davis, Jefferson, president Southern Confederacy. 



140 WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 



Davis, Lt. Ben J., Signal Corps photographer. 
*DeMond, Sergeant Fred. A., at bridge when Booth 

crossed. (See family group.) 
♦Dougherty, Capt. Ed. P., in command at Garrett's. 
Donnelley, M. W., saw Booth when Pike fainted. 
Dufifej^, Col. James, Oklahoma City, has George photo. 
Dumond, S. S., proprietor Enid hotel, place of suicide. 
Ehler, Mrs. Annette Blackburn, Hennessey, knew Booth. 
Ely, Sims, clerk executive dept., Washington City.** 
Eakins, E. A., Enid.** 

Evans, Chas. S., witness to George's Enid will. 
Fairgrieve, Frank, Enid, mother saw Booth at Ford's. 
Ferguson, Miss Cussa, Baltimore. 

Ferguson, Wm. T., actor writes — "Saw Lincoln Shot." 
*Fletcher, John, in charge of livery stable. 
Fitzhugh, Hon. St. George R., Fredericksburg, Va.** 
*Gay, Dr. H. W., saw Marr (Booth) in Miss., 1869. 
Garber, Judge Milton, Enid, prob. Booth will. 
*Garrett, William, saw Roddy at Garrett's home. 
Gillstrap, Harry, sec. to Emanuel Herrick, M. C.** 
*George, David E., (Booth), suicides at Enid. 
*George, Willy, devisee in will — unknown. 
Gore, Hon. Thomas P. writes of Miss Georges.** 
Grant, Gen. U. S. billed to be with President. 
Harper, Mrs. Rev. Jake, Booth conf. 
*Hays, Sec. State John, writes tribute to Booth. 
*Harris, Miss Clara, in box with President. 
Hensley, Senator Tom, El Reno, knew Booth.** 
Hensley, Frank, El Reno Peoples Press.** 
Hill, Capt. A. P., Enid, saw Booth in Washington. 
Hilliard, Capt. Edwin, helped sink Booth body. 
*Herold, David E., hung as Booth accomplice. 
Holmes, Prof. W. H., Oklahoma City, saw Booth in Ga. 
Hoilnway, Judge Wm. T., Port Royal. 
♦Houston, Temple, saw Booth when Pike fainted. 
Houston, L. N., Enid, executor George will. 
Huron, Judge George H., Corbett guard. 
Jefferson, Joe, actor, recognized tintype. 
Jett, Capt. Willie S., aided Booth in Escape. 
*Jett, Judge J. B., Minn., no relation to Capt. Jett. 
Jett, Miss Dora, daughter of J. B., Fredericksburg, Va. 
Jiiley, Peter A., photographer N. Y. Hist. Society.** 
*Keene, Miss Laura, in "Our American Cousins." 
Levan, Capt. Edwin, saw Booth in Ky. and Mexico. 
Lane, Harry, actor, Equity Association, N. Y.** 
Liddle, Bill, Waco, Tex., Saw Pike Faint. 
*Lieber, G. Xorman, Judge Advocate. 



WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 141 



♦Lincoln, Abraham, assassinated by Booth. 

I>ocke, Hon. Victor, Jr., Ind. Attorney, Muskogee.** 

Lorimer, George Horace, Sat. Eve. Post.** 

Lubbe, Lt. Albert J., U. S. Signal Corps.** 

*Maas, Capt., at Pickwick Bar. when Pine fainted. 

Madsen, Chris, U. S. Marshal, Guthrie.** 

*McLoughlin, Michael, sent to Tortugas as conspirator. 

Meigs, Captain, in Ft. Worth when Pike fainted. 

McComas, Terry, saw St. Helen (Booth) in Texas, 1876. 

Musgrove, Asst. P. M. Clyde, El Reso. 

*McPhail, Provost to whom Azterodt surrendered. 

Mize, Miss, in Kingfisher local cast, 1893. 

Moore, Col. AV. J., Oklahoma City Booth cadavar. 

*Morris, Clara, Booth's Genevieve — was at Baltimore. 
Moxey, Basel, Ford doorkeeper, Baltimore. 

Munsen, F. G., clerk adj. department, Washington.** 

*Naylor, N. A., owned livery where Booth kept horse. 

Nichols, N. B., editor El Reno American.** 

*0'Brannon, Dr. A. D., accompanied Booth on escape. 

Parker, Henrietta, in Kingfisher local cast 1893. 

*Pavne (alias for Powell), Lewis, hung as conspirator. 

Pennick, F. W., Detroit, Mich., has photo of Booth.** 

Pennyman, Enid, undertaker who embalmed Booth. 

*Pike, Gen. Albert, fainted on seeing Booth, 1884. 

Powell, Hon. Tom T., mayor of Ft. Worth in 1884. 

*Powell, Rev. Jos. W., Live Oaks, Fla., father of Lewis. 

Pittman, Walter, Buela, Miss.** 

*Rathbone, Maj. N. R., in president's box. 

"Roddy" or "Boyd", crossed river with Booth. 

Rollins, Bill, Rappahanock. 

Ross, J. S., in Kingfisher local cast 1893. 

Rowe, C. R., citv editor Lance-Star, Fredericksburg.** 

Robar, Ex-chief "Wm. D., El Reno.** 

Roby, Hamilton, (Roddy or Boyd). 

Sage, Professor Beatty, Enid, reads Booth's hand. 

Secane, Lt. Col. A. G., Signal Corps, Washington. 

*Scurlock, L. C, at Pickwick bar when Pike fainted. 

Scott, Major Hugh, L^. S. Veterans Bureau.** 

*Simmons, Mrs. J. W., at Booth's El Reno confession. 

Smith, Anna K., devisee in George's El Reno will. 

Smith, Geo. E. (Prog), special friend of Booth. 

Smith, Wm. C, book dealer, Cincinnati.** 

*Spangler, Ned, Ford scene man, sent to Tortugas. 

Spanglcr, Dr., in Kingfisher local cast 1893. 

St. Clemens, F. S., Superior Sisters at Dallas, Texas.** 

St. Helen, John, (Booth's Texas alias), 1872-84. 

*Stanton, Edwin M., Secretary State, 1865. 

Stater, Chas. W., Los Angeles, knew Booth in El Reno. 



142 WANDERINGS OF J. WILKES BOOTH 



Stater, Gordon, Atty. Oklahoma City, son of Chas. W. 
Stratford, A. A., notary in George's Enid will. 
Steuart, Henry L., Oklahoma City, in re Booth will. 
Sturgis, Hon. Henry J., Enid Atty. in George affair. 
Stewart, H. B., city editor Baltimore American.** 
*Surratt, Mrs. Mary E., hung as conspirator. 
*Surratt, John H., conspiracy suspect. 
*Taylor, Gen. J. H., with Booth at Glenrose Mills. 
*Thomas, Gen. Geo. H., Oklahoma City. 
Thomas, Geo. H., Jr., France in 1909. 
*Thomas, Conf. Gen. Henry George, McAlester. 
♦Thomas, Conf. Gen. Wm." L., sought by Mrs. Walton. 
*Thomas, Heck, Lawton, nephew of Henry G. Thomas. 
*Thornton, Jim, rowed Booth and Herold across river. 
*Thrailkell, Levi, with whom Booth crossed plains. 
Thrailkell, Finis (See family group). 
Trdd, Lee, knew Booth in Enid. 
Thrower, (Crazy) George, El Reno. 
Varsey, Miss Jessie, for whom Booth wrote play. 
*Voorhies, Dan W., statesman in 186.5. 
♦Wallace, Gen. Lew, in conspiracy trial. 
Wall, A. J., New York Historical Society.** 
Walton, Mrs. Louisa, writes from Beverly, N. J. 
Wasson, Hon. Clark, Ind. Supt., Muskogee. 
*Weightsman, Lewis J., witness in conspiracy trial. 
*Wells, Provost to whom Azterodt made confession. 
Weaver, Hon. Claude, postmaster at Oklahoma City.** 
White, Miss Marion C, Cavendish, Vt.** 
Wilson, Lawrence True, Washington City. 
AVinter, Jefferson, actor, on Booth reminiscence. 
Wood, Chas. O., witness to George Enid will. • 
W^ood, Capt. A. W., helped bury one of Booth's bodies. 
*Wood, Col. Wm. P., helped sink Booth's body. 
Woodward, Major, helped burn Booth in quick lime. 
*Woolard, Col., Maryland detective. 



ERRATA: — In a few places "Rutledge" should read 
"Ruggles". Green "Mount" should read "Mound". But 

the most annoying error will be found on page in the 

last two words in an item about Mayor Ryan, which sh<juld 
read "read Hare," instead of "red hair." This last error 
was marked in proof, but not corrected; again in the 
revise, but not corrected, and then in page prodf. but still 
not corrected. 



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