To many of the readers of BoothieBarn, the Surratt Society Conference on the Lincoln Assassination needs no introduction. Held annually for the last thirteen years, the conference is a social and educational gathering of those interested in the drama that played out in April of 1865. It attracts Civil War buffs, amateur historians, and noted authors in the field of Lincoln’s assassination. It is organized and put on by the Surratt Society in conjunction with the Surratt House Museum. This year the conference is being held on the weekend of March 15 – 17, just two weeks away! The Surratt House offers two bus tours on the Friday and Sunday of the conference weekend. The bulk of the “conference” part takes place on Saturday, March 16. The day’s events consist of a full breakfast, three presentations, a full lunch, three more presentations, an author’s hour, a social hour, and an evening banquet with entertainment. The Surratt Conference is hands down the most stimulating and fun gathering of minds in the Lincoln assassination field.
This, the 14th annual conference, has the following wonderful speakers and topics being presented:
- Betty Ownsbey, author of Alias “Paine”, will be presenting new information on conspirator Lewis Powell in advance of the new second edition of her book.
- Dr. Tom Bogar will give a thrilling look into the stories and people who worked backstage or were performing at Ford’s Theatre the night Lincoln was assassinated. This is in advance of his new book, “Backstage at the Lincoln Assassination’.
- Dr. Blaine Houmes, M.D., who gave a phenomenal talk two years ago at the conference, will return examining more, “Medical Mysteries of the Lincoln Conspiracy”.
- Dr. Kenneth Heineman will present about Thomas Ewing, the lawyer who defended conspirators Dr. Samuel Mudd, Samuel Arnold, and Edman Spangler at the conspiracy trial of 1865.
- Wesley Harris, author of an upcoming book about the weapons of the conspirators, is following up on last year’s presentation and giving us an even deeper look at the “Tools of the Assassins”
- The entertainment for the evening banquet is a sit down with Erik Jendresen, the mastermind behind the recent “Killing Lincoln” docu-drama that debuted on NatGeo. Erik will talk about his experience researching and filming this wonderful piece.
In addition to these doctors and experts, the organizers of the Surratt Conference also made the mistake of asking me to speak. I am both honored and terrified at this opportunity. Here’s the little bio they put together about me:
DAVID TAYLOR, a second grade teacher, formerly of Illinois, has relocated to Maryland to be closer to the assassination story. A Life member of the Surratt Society, Mr. Taylor has contributed several articles to the Society’s Courier newsletter. Mr. Taylor enjoys thoroughly researching various facets of the assassination, and writes about them on his online blog: http://www.boothiebarn.com. Although his research has taken him down many different avenues from weapons, to Ford’s Theatre playbills, to a conspirator’s family quilt, he has always held a special interest in the Garrett family of Caroline County, Virginia and their surprise houseguest, John Wilkes Booth. In his talk, Mr. Taylor will discuss the Garretts, their accounts of what transpired the night of April 26th, 1865, and the legacy Booth’s visit had on their lives.
The subject of my presentation, as stated, is the Garrett family who unknowingly housed John Wilkes Booth from about 3 o’clock April 24th until his death in the early morning hours of April 26th. I have done considerable research about this family, finding them to be my main interest in the assassination story. I am deeply honored that one of the attendees of the conference is going to be a descendant of the Garrett family who has greatly helped me in my research. The two of us will be meeting and talking with folks during the Author’s Hour. In anticipation for the conference, I’ve changed the header image on the blog to one of the pictures I have discovered (and photoshopped) of the Garrett House.
If you have not already done so, consider signing up for the conference which is housed at the Colony South Hotel and Conference Center in Clinton, Maryland. For more information, or to sign up, call the Surratt House Museum at (301) 868-1121. The cost is $190 per person.
I look forward to seeing you there. Please though, only bring one tomato per attendee. More than that and it will take forever to clean up the stage for the speaker that follows me.
P.S. You may notice a lack of postings here on BoothieBarn for the next two weeks. This is due to the fact that I am focusing my free time on my conference presentation. Thank you for understanding.