About

About the Blog:

The story is a well known one:  On April 14, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln was shot while attending a play at Ford’s Theatre in Washington D.C.  His tragic death the next morning was a stunning blow to a country that had just begun to emerge from the dark shadow of a Civil War that had lasted four long years.  Instantly, and appropriately, Lincoln became an American saint.  He gave his last, full measure for the country and was struck down just after completing his goal.  Abraham Lincoln’s actions and resolve have earned him the title of our country’s greatest president.  His story is told all over this country and it is said that Lincoln is one of the most written about figures after Jesus Christ.

But, there is another part of this story.  It is the story of a young actor driven to extremes.  It is the story of a group of conspirators who were determined to strike back against a government that, they believed, had destroyed the United States they had known and loved.  It is the stories and facts about these individuals that this blog hopes to share.  Not because we agree with their actions or because we share their values.  We learn about them because the darker parts of history can shed the most light on the past.  While the actions they took were abhorrent, the sentiments that motivated those actions were shared by many.

There was a time when those who studied the assassination of Abraham Lincoln were looked down upon by mainstream Lincoln historians. Focusing on the end of Lincoln’s life was deemed macabre and those who studied it were accused of sympathizing with the assassin. The history of the assassination and its characters was largely ignored by popular Lincoln historians. Those who delved too much into learning about John Wilkes Booth and his conspiracy were derogatorily called “Boothies”. However, in recent years, a beneficial shift in thinking has occurred. More and more, historians are coming to understand the importance of those dramatic days in April, 1865 and how they relate to Lincoln’s legacy. While still a horrific crime, it is no longer a period of time to ignore or to speak of in hushed tones. Many of us who study the Lincoln assassination today refer to ourselves as “Boothies” out of pride.  This does not mean we condone the actions of the assassin.  Rather, our moniker states our commitment to studying, analyzing, and interpreting the actions of John Wilkes Booth and others involved in the great American drama that is the Lincoln assassination.  Ignoring and dismissing the lives and actions of the men and women involved in the conspiracy does a great disservice to history and to the memory of Abraham Lincoln.  We cannot truly honor and appreciate the man without understanding the complexity of his death.

As a self pronounced Boothie and teacher, I hope that this blog will be a worthwhile educational source for information about the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. It is a fascinating chapter of history and deserves to be explored and shared. The content on this site varies between serious pieces of scholarly research, travelogues by the author, and the occasional displays of levity. All posts, however, from the serious to the trifling, relate to or demonstrate how the assassination of Lincoln has impacted our world.

I invite you all to follow this blog by email or just come back from time to time. Together, we’ll learn about the death of Abraham Lincoln and the enigmatic man in a burning barn who caused it.

About the Author:

My name is Dave Taylor and I am an elementary school teacher.  For many years, I have been fascinated by the events of April, 1865.  As a child growing up in Illinois, I never understood how anyone could kill Abraham Lincoln, our greatest President.  I started doing more serious reading and research on the matter in high school when I was introduced to the Stephen Sondheim musical, Assassins.  Ever since then, I have found that the rabbit hole that is the Lincoln assassination is infinitely deep.  There are countless branches to the story which all provide fascinating insights into the minds of those involved.

In 2012, I moved from Illinois to the state of Maryland. Being so close to the nation’s capital and the escape route of the assassin has given me the chance to explore my favorite period of history in person. Sharing my visits to the many historical places around me through this blog has become my favorite activity.

In addition to writing and maintaining this blog, I am one of the guides for the John Wilkes Booth Escape Route Bus Tour organized by the Surratt Society. We provide a narrated 12 hour tour of John Wilkes Booth’s escape, from Ford’s Theatre all the way to the site of his death near Port Royal, Virginia. The Surratt Society puts on several tours each spring and fall and also caters to groups that would like to schedule their own private bus tour.  Visit the Surratt House Museum website for more information.

I also enjoy giving speeches and presentations about different aspects of the Lincoln assassination story. A list of my former speaking engagements, press appearances, and published articles outside of this blog appears at the end of this page.

If you have something you’d like to share about any part of Lincoln’s assassination, no matter how minor it may seem, feel free to comment on a post or here on the About page.  If you would like to contact me personally with a question or inquiry you can e-mail me at: boothiebarn (at) gmail (dot) com.

I’d like to thank all of you that have been so supportive of my efforts here at BoothieBarn.  I will strive to  provide thought provoking and interesting posts about John Wilkes Booth and his plot.

Dave Taylor at the ALPLM 6-29-2016

Dave Taylor’s previous speaking engagements on the Lincoln assassination:

  • “Southern Hospitality: The Garrett Family and John Wilkes Booth” at the 14th Annual Surratt Society Conference, March 16, 2013
  • “John Wilkes Booth and the Garrett Family” at Historic Port Royal general membership meeting, April 22, 2014
  • “The Lincoln Conspirators” – Panelist with Michael Kauffman and Kate Clifford Larson at the Lincoln Group of New York, March 28, 2015
  • “A House Divided: Edwin and John Wilkes Booth” at Tudor Hall, April 12, 2015
  • “A History of Rich Hill: A Stop on the Escape Route of John Wilkes Booth” at Rich Hill Farm for Charles County’s Lincoln 150th Weekend, April 18 & 19, 2015
  • “The Escape Route of John Wilkes Booth” for the Veteran Motor Car Club of America’s 2015 National Heritage Antique Car Tour, April 19, 2015
  • “The Death of John Wilkes Booth” at the unveiling of the new highway marker for the Garrett farm site at the Port Royal Museum of American History, April 26, 2015
  • Mr. W: Friend of American Liberty” at Historic Port Royal’s 16th Annual Fourth of July event, July 4, 2015
  • “A House Divided: Edwin and John Wilkes Booth” at Tudor Hall, September 13, 2015
  • “The Escape Route of John Wilkes Booth: Rich Hill and Garrett’s Farm” at the Historical Society of Charles County, October 24, 2015
  • “Behind the Walls of Rich Hill” at Rich Hill Historic Site, November 1, 2015
  • “Southern Hospitality: The Garrett Family and John Wilkes Booth” for the King George County Historical Society, November 19, 2015
  • “Choose Your Own Path: The Lincoln Assassination” at the Charles County Public Schools HITS Expo, March 19, 2016
  • “Rosalie Booth: The Eldest Sister of John Wilkes Booth” at Tudor Hall, April 3, 2016
  • “The Collision of the USS Massachusetts and the Black Diamond” at St. Clement’s Island Museum, April 24, 2016
  • “The Lincoln Assassination in St. Mary’s County, Maryland” for the Rotary Club of Lexington Park, MD, May 23, 2016
  • “Huckleberry: The Home of Thomas A. Jones” for the Maryland House and Garden Pilgrimage in Charles County, May 28, 2016
  • “The Murderer: John Wilkes Booth and the Plot Against Lincoln” for the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, June 29, 2016:

  • “The Lincoln Assassination in St. Mary’s County, Maryland” for the Rotary Club of Charlotte Hall, MD, July 19, 2016
  • “The Escape Route of John Wilkes Booth” for the University of Maryland Association of County Agriculture Agents, October 4, 2016
  • “Rosalie Booth: The Eldest Sister of John Wilkes Booth” at Tudor Hall, October 9, 2016
  • “An Evening with John Wilkes Booth” for the Friends of Rich Hill and the Society for the Restoration of Port Tobacco, MD, March 3, 2017

  • “Assassination ‘Extras’: Their Hidden Histories” at the 18th annual Surratt Society Conference, April 1, 2017
  • “John Wilkes Booth in Port Royal, Virginia Walking Tours” with Kate Ramirez in Port Royal, April 22, 2017
  • “Rich Hill Open House” with Kate Ramirez for the Friends of Rich Hill, April 23, 2017
  • “Junius Brutus Booth, Jr.: The Eldest Brother of John Wilkes Booth” at Tudor Hall, May 7, 2017
  • “‘You know best, Captain’: The Executed Conspirators in Lincoln’s Assassination” for the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, June 27, 2017

Press about Dave Taylor

  • Interviewed by Charles County Government Television on March 27, 2015:

John Wilkes Booth Escape Route Bus Tours narrated by Dave Taylor

  • April 4, 2015 for the Frederick County Bar Association
  • April 25, 2015
  • May 2, 2015 for the Southern Maryland Civil War Roundtable
  • September 12, 2015
  • September 19, 2015
  • October 11, 2015 for the General Meade Society of Philadelphia
  • April 23, 2016
  • July 23, 2016 for the National Press Club
  • September 17, 2016
  • September 24, 2016
  • April 8, 2017
  • April 29, 2017 for Krouse Travel
  • May 20, 2017

Dave Taylor’s published work on the Lincoln assassination:

Coauthor with Kate Ramirez of the “Assassin’s End” Highway Marker at the site of the Garrett Farm in Caroline County, Virginia.

Knife World Magazine – “Cloak and Daggers: Cutting Through the Confusion of the Lincoln Assassination Knives” April, 2013.

Published in the Surratt Courier:

  • “Emerick Hansell: The Forgotten Casualty” November, 2010
  • “Cloak and Daggers: Cutting Through the Confusion of the Lincoln Assassination Knives” March, 2012
  • “Michael O’Laughlen: Quilter” August, 2012
  • “The Escape Attempt of Dr. Mudd” November, 2012
  • “A History of Rich Hill” January, 2014

Contact Info:

Questions, comments, or inquiries about speaking engagements can be sent to: boothiebarn (at) gmail (dot) com

78 Comments

78 thoughts on “About

  1. patricia sherzer Marshall

    Very interesting. I am a multi generational admirer of Congressional Cemetery….have grandparents, gr.grandparents and number relative interred there, right by the beautiful chapel. I look forward to your emails. We have driving the Booth route several times… it is all so haunting.

  2. Dave Grimm

    Just discovered you. I am a docent at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, in Springfield, IL. The place in the museum where I’m usually stationed is the Ford’s Theater section of Journey II. I’ve had a life-long interest in Lincoln in general, the Civil War, and the Assassination. I, too, will look forward to your e-mails.

    • Thanks for commenting, Dave. I’ve only been to the ALPL&M once but I was very impressed with how family friendly and interactively the museum was able to portray Lincoln and his life. I did get a strange look from one of the docents when I asked if he would mind taking my picture with Booth. He asked, “You sure you want a picture with the bad guy?” which made me chuckle.

      Thanks for reading!

      Dave Taylor

  3. my great great great grandfather was in Ford’s when that happened. do u give any credit to the booth mummy story?

    • Thanks for commenting Tom and congrats on your ancestor’s run in with history.

      While I find the mummy story fascinating and entertaining, there really is no factual basis behind it being John Wilkes Booth. There are countless pieces of evidence that prove John Wilkes Booth was killed at Garrett’s farm. At his autopsy they went through a detailed identification process noting the same details we use to identify John Does today. They used dental records (Booth’s gold plug) and distinguishing markings (his JWB tattoo) which alone would be enough today to identify a body. Not to mention the number of people, from the soldiers at Garrett’s to those present at his burial, who identified the deceased as Booth. There is no doubt in my mind, Booth died on April 26th, 1865.

    • While I’m not very well versed on the Lincoln funeral train as many others in the community (Roger) are, I’m going to recount what could be a factoid that I can’t seem to find a source for. I don’t know where I read it and I’m not sure it’s even true, but it’s something that I find fascinating if it is. I recall reading some source that stated that, before the advent of the television, more people witnessed the passing of Lincoln’s funeral train than any other event in American history. That’s to say that the sight of Lincoln’s funeral train as it passed through and by town and cities, was the most observed object and event in our history. It would not be until images began being transmitted on the television that more people saw one identical thing. To me, this fact, if true, is amazing. It perfectly shows how vital Lincoln was to our country.

  4. Tim Gilmartin

    I’m interested in the USS Montauk connection. My hometown is Montauk, NY. Many years ago, the US Navy department told my father that there were no artifacts left from the Montauk, save the log book which is in the National Archives. I just saw the steeering wheel from the Montauk!!
    Lincoln and Mary visited the Washington Naval Yard on the day of the assasination; supposedly the went on board the Montauk. Anyone know for sure? That info could also be recorded in the log book.
    Thank you, Tim.
    Timgilmartin@msn.com

    • Tim,

      My knee jerk reaction is for you to contact Barry Cauchon and John Elliott through Barry’s blog: http://awesometalks.wordpress.com/

      These two men are working on a book about the imprisonment of the conspirators, and have done a lot if research on the monitors. Leave a comment on Barry’s blog and I’m sure they’ll be able to help you.

      Thanks for reading!

      Dave

  5. Stephen

    Update to your entry on John M. Lloyd’s headstone at Mt. Olivet Cemetery. Took photos of it today. Amazing his proximity (100 yards south) of Mrs. Surratt’s grave, which is visible from the site.

    • I thought you all might like this little bit of information. John M. Lloyd actually purchased the cemetery plot in December of 1865. At first, I began to wonder, if he was worried how long he might live after the trial. Unfortunately though, during that time he and his wife lost a small child that died in Piscatawy (sp.?). Since they were at the Surratt House/Tavern up till that point it seems…do you think that after the child’s loss, they finally decided to go back to Washington DC? If my memory is correct, John is buried with two of his small children in the plot…I know for sure at least one….and I am almost positive about the second child, too. Funny thing, from family records, John was a large man, well liked by everyone. I do think THIS is VERY interesting, NO ONE that I have read of contemporary writers have ever really commented on him, other than to say he might have been an alcoholic. Has anyone else ever read much about him? Thanks. Martha Edwards Smith

  6. Good Morning Dave
    My name is Kieran McAuliffe and I am the creator of the John Wilkes Booth Escape Route map. You possibly have a copy of it. I would like to announce that I have re-issued the map and it is now available on Amazon, as well as some historic sites such as Ford’s Theatre and the Surratt House Museum.
    The map is thoroughly reworked, more detailed with new information learned in the ten years since the first printing. It was great fun to create but a lot of work.
    I would like to mail you a free copy. Can you give me an address to send it to?
    Kieran

    • Kieran,

      I know your name quite well and I do indeed have one of your wonderfully done escape route maps. I, of course, would never pass up a complementary copy of your new edition, which I expect will be as equally well done as the first. I’ll email you shortly.

      Dave

  7. Fred Atzrodt

    Dave,
    We met earlier this year at Hornes restaurant when you picked up the Surratt tour guides from our Surratt tour. I was looking at your info on O.H. Oldryod and have read a lot about him. I wanted to let you know that I have signed copy of his book “ Assassination of Abraham Lincoln”. The published date is 1917 copyright date 1901. A coworker of mine happened to find it at a flea market in PA about 30 years ago.

    I got a lot of positive feedback from everyone who went on the tour.

    When you get to the Surratt House say hi for me to Laurie and the staff for me.

    Fred Atzrodt (George A. Atzerodt great great nephew)

    • Thanks for commenting, Fred! You have a nice souvenir with that Oldroyd book. It was wonderful meeting and chatting with you at Horne’s and I hope we get another chance to talk sometime. I’m currently at a banquet for the Surratt Society so I’ll be sure to give Laurie your best.

  8. Thank you, Dave. I LOVE your blog!! Do you live in Southern Maryland…or in Illinois? You have really spent some great quality time there…for yourself….BUT especially for us who can’t be there to walk the trails! I was pretty young when my grandmother’s funeral service was at St. Ignatius, and so the first time I got to see how exquisite Chapel Point is was this passed weekend. I was also wondering how the Jesuits acquired the Huckleberry property? When we saw it this weekend, we noticed quite a few Hayden names on the mailboxes around there. My grandmother was a Hayden.

  9. Katie Rapp

    Hi Dave, Thanks for your great blog. I would like to get permission to use the map of Atzerodt’s escape route in an employee newsletter article I am writing. Please let me know if it’s okay to use.

    • Katie,

      Technically, I don’t own the images of the George Atzerodt’s escape maps. They were created by a researcher named James O. Hall and he put them in a booklet for a one time bus tour of George Atzerodt’s escape route. The booklet was published by the Surratt Society, I believe, and I don’t think they would have any problem with you using the images as long as they were credited as the authors. I’ll ask Laurie Verge, director of the Surratt House Museum to chime in to make sure.

      Whatever you use it for, I’d love to see your final product,

      Dave Taylor
      boothiebarn@gmail.com

  10. Laurie Verge

    You may certainly publish the Atzerodt map as long as Surratt House Museum/MNCPPC is credited. With all the development in that area now, I’m afraid that it may be difficult to image George’s route to his cousin’s home.

    I would also love to see your article – Surratt House Museum, 9118 Brandywine Road, Clinton, MD 20735 or laurie.verge@pgparks.com. Thanks.

  11. Katie Rapp

    Thank you!

  12. Harry

    Twilight Zone episode – Back in time to the Lincoln Assassination:

    http://www.cbs.com/shows/the_twilight_zone/video/622076456/back-there

    • One of my favorite episodes of the series. In high school I performed a dramatic reading of the script for speech club. Rest in Peace, “Peter Corrigan” aka Russell Johnson.

  13. Stumbled upon your site here and I love it! I am a lover of history and I too find Lincolns assassination intriguing!

  14. Good work Dave ! Many good books on the assasination, but Blood on the Moon has good details on Mudd’s relationship with Booth. Have taken the Escape Tour, and it was great ! Can’t wait to go back now that they’ve remodeled Ford’s Theater.

  15. How far is old St. Peter’s Cemetery from the new one, as my parents are buried there ?

  16. Tom K

    Hi, I am also a budding assassination researcher and wonder if you will be on the behind the scenes tour of Fords in July.

    • Tom,

      I will not be at the backstage tour in July. I took it back in May, and Brian does a great job. You’ll enjoy it.

  17. James Petersen Thomas (Jim)

    I just visited your web site and found it fascinating. I am the Great, Great Grandson of William and Anna Petersen, owners of the house, now the historic site, where Lincoln died. Regretfully, I have not been involved in this site and its development. My parents, Ferdinand Petersen and Julia Rust Thomas did contribute by donation, the pillow cases that Lincoln bled and died on. I was too young at the time to appreciate the significance of these pillow cases and the documentation that was with them. Just as a humorous aside, I once carried these priceless items in my school lunch box for discussion in an elementary school show-and-tell session. They now are properly shown at the house and I am told they have given credit to my family for the donation. I am afraid I cannot contribute to the history in your blog, as I doubt that the stories that were handed down about the Petersens (without authentication,) hold much creditability other than family folklore.
    Good luck and much success with your site.

    James (Jim) Petersen Thomas

  18. I just found your more than fascinating site! It’s amazing (lots of kudos) what you present to us. I’m not an American, but a Dutchman, living near the Dutch town Rotterdam. Since my youth (I’m 70 now) I have a longstanding interest in the lifes and legacies of your presidents. I got hooked at age12 when my primary school teacher told the story of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Afterwards I began reading juvenile books about Lincoln and at length progressed to adult versions. Now with the world wide web it’s stunning what info you are able to amass. I want to thank you for all the good work you did and do. Thank you for writing and sharing. Please accept my deep appreciation! Kees van den Berg, the Netherlands.

    • Mr. Van den Berg,

      Thank you so much for your kind and thoughtful words. I’m so pleased that my website has been enjoyable to you. Lincoln has a magnetism about him that transcends countries and oceans, and the story of his death is the great American drama that captivates us all. Thank for you reading and commenting.

      By the way, your hometown of Rotterdam has actually come up in a post I wrote about John Wilkes Booth’s father, Junius Brutus Booth. You can read about it here: https://boothiebarn.com/2013/06/06/when-junius-took-the-stage-part-2/

      Take care,

      Dave Taylor

  19. thelocator77

    I have enjoyed your site. I am currently, and have been for sometime researching the Booth Mummy. While I do not buy into all of the conspiracy theories, I am interested in its history and journeys. I am from Oklahoma and lived for a short time in Enid and had that pleasure of viewing the room where David E. George died. I hope to someday see the mummy firsthand. I currently have copies of the George will and an old article by Penniman. I would be very interested in learning more about the research conducted on the mummy for Life magazine as well as find copies of the original x-rays. Any suggestions or knowledge on where I should start?

  20. Harry

    “is said to be the most written about figure after Jesus Christ.” – Not to split hairs, but my understanding was always this individual was the guy with the little moustache who ran Germany during WWII.

  21. William Morris

    Very interesting! I too am a lifelong Lincoln-phile, including all-things assassination, Booth, Todd, etc. It was very informational to watch your videos on the Booth Escape Route. While the roads have been modernized, the density of the trees along the low-lying hills remain apparent. Thank you for a job well done.

    • Thank you very much, William. I’m glad that you have found my site to be interesting. The assassination of Abraham Lincoln has so many interesting facets that would take a lifetime to explore. I’ve driven over the escape route countless times and each time I find it exhilarating and fun.

      Thanks for commenting.

      Dave

  22. You have created a wonderful resource here, and your research is very impressive. I am among the fortunate few to have have examined and studied first-hand a number of Lincoln assassination-related artifacts, and the story is still as compelling as ever. I look forward to reading more of your blog. thanks for making this available to everyone.

    • Russell,

      I am an Illinois native and I have had the pleasure of visiting the Chicago History Museum before. You and your institution are doing a great job of preserving the history of not only Chicago, but also the world. I return to Illinois about twice a year to visit family and friends. On a future trip, I would love to make an appointment to return to the Chicago History Museum in order to conduct research. As you mention, your institution has a great collection of Lincoln artifacts, particularly from the Charles Gunther collection.

      Thank you for your kind words about my website. It is very rewarding to receive compliments from well respected museum professionals like yourself.

      Sincerely

      Dave Taylor

  23. Brian r. Miller

    Hi Dave,
    I happened on your site by coincidence last night as I was looking for the Booth Bay Theatre auction catalog. I have been looking for one to purchase for years tough to find, except in large auction catalog lots!! Wish I had the opportunity to bid on some of the collection when it came up in 1990!! I was pleasantly surprised to find BOOTHIEBARN though and thrilled, I collect all aspects of the Civil war(I’m assuming your the same Dave Taylor who has a website with constant top notch auction items) , it is nice to know their are others like me that can’t absorb enough of the Lincoln assassination especially an interest in the Booth family!!! It’s a wonderful Blog site, that if you are interested in I may have items that I could take photos of and share with other enthusiasts all items have exemplary provenance as I won’t deal with anyone of suspect relics. have a signed cabinet card photo of Harry clay Ford from the Lattimer collection that I am 100% positive was the person that told Booth of Lincolns attendance that night. I also from the Lattimer collection have a rare cdv of Helen Western in male costume and make up,R from the Horse soldier I have a rare cdv of the Aquidneck house in Newport Rhode Island from the time when John Wilkes and Lucy Hale were staying when he found out Richmond fell and hurriedly left Newport. Also I believe I have a one of a kind item from Johnathan Mann and the Bicenntenial Railcup Splitter auction a Bellick cup and saucer from the original service of china that Edwin ordered for the opening of the players club, in pink and gold with Edwins portrait facing Shakespeare in mint condition never seen another piece from the service. I also just got a lot Hopefully ithe Donald Dow collection that includes portrait vignette and full pose cdvs of John Sleeper Clarke and 1/2 portrait cdvs of Jjunius Brutus Jr and Agnes Booth both with autograph signatures that I am going to have acid free matted and framed. Please let me know if you are interested in me jpeging any items to post on site. I’d be happy to do so. Quick question how rare are Junius and Agnes Cdvs and signatures? I havenot come across them anywhere before. I have also searched for Asia’s and Joseph’s cdvs and signatures and have not come across any before. Appreciate your taking time to red and answer my email and especially to have such a wonderful Blog site!!! Hopefully if your interested I can be of help to you as well by adding photos to the site.
    Sincerely yours,
    Brian

    • Brian,

      Thank you for your kind comment. I would love to see (and share) some of your fabulous collection. Shoot me an email at BoothieBarn (at) gmail (dot) com.

      Dave Taylor

  24. Brian r. Miller

    Hi again Dave,
    don’t know how many boothie barners subscribe or read American civil war or civil war times, I subscribe to both and just received the June 2015 civil war times issue which the issue is dedicated to J Wilkes with interview with Terry Alford, In the mind of Booth, the Tudor house, James Tanners short hand notes the night of the Assassination and more haven’t started it yet but is pretty much dedicated to J Wilkes and the Assassination and thought any Barner who doesn’t follow it normally might find it interesting reading or worth adding to Booth material collected!!!
    Regards and as always thanks for the great Blog!!!

    Brian

  25. Kat Wilmot

    Hi Dave,

    I love this blog and the photos of the historic sites are so interesting! Thanks for keeping us all updated on this topic. Also, have you seen the Newseum’s exhibit of the seven editions of April 15, 1865 New York Herald newspapers reporting Lincoln’s assassination?

    Sincerely,

    Kat Wilmot

    • Kat,

      I saw the wonderful New York Herald exhibit at the Newseum not long after it opened. I took many many pictures and, when I find the time, I will be doing a post about it here on BoothieBarn. I love the banner displays they have hanging from the ceiling in the exhibit room. I wish I could own a few of them when the exhibit is over.

      The Newseum is a tremendous place and I, of course, love that they point out that it was built on the site of the National Hotel where John Wilkes Booth stayed in D.C. Almost as a prelude to the current exhibit, a few years ago the Newseum had a wonderful exhibit on James Swanson’s book, Manhunt: https://boothiebarn.com/2012/03/07/manhunt-the-exhibit/

      I definitely recommend a visit to the Newseum, especially with the current exhibit of newspapers covering the Lincoln Assassination.

      Thanks for commenting!

      Dave

  26. Kat Wilmot

    Yes, the Swanson exhibit was installed about the time the Newseum opened in its new location on Pennsylvania Avenue. I look forward to your post about the current Lincoln exhibit. Thanks for the kind words about the Newseum! I certainly enjoy working there.

    • Kat,

      I feel silly for not realizing until now that you work at the Newseum. Kudos to you and your staff for the great work you do day in and day out. As I stated before, the New York Herald exhibit is wonderfully done. I even asked in the giftshop if you all were selling an exhibit book about it, but was told you were not.

      I very much enjoyed your appearance on the Newseum Podcast (http://www.newseum.org/exhibits/current/president-lincoln-is-dead/) and was happy to hear that the editions of the New York Herald are some of your favorite items in the museum. I also like your copies of the National Police Gazette which feature illustrations regarding Lincoln’s assassination.

      You’ve definitely motivated me to get to work on my post about the exhibit!

      Dave

  27. Kat Wilmot

    Please do not feel silly! I just wanted to compliment you on your professional blog and after mentioning the Newseum exhibit I thought I should probably say I worked there :-). I’m not always in DC since I work in the off-site archives, but I’d love to meet up with you if you are planning another visit.

    • Kat Wilmot

      PS – I’m originally from Illinois, too. Lived 30 years in NW suburbs of Chicago.

  28. Julie

    Hello, young Dave Taylor. Iam fifty seven years old and have studied and meditated on Lincoln’s killing more than I care to remember. Started researching this in 1972, age fourteen. Before computers. The book, Stanley kimmel’s Mad Booths of Maryland. In 2009 I helped work in a play called Lincoln’s Last Hours. I was given permission to direct our Booth, a fellow I chose myself, who’s name was Don Davidson. What can I say? It was a blast! I finally was able to utilise my much study, and Don was good. Someone in the group, a real Lincoln nut, allowed me to view his personel Lincoln collection, which included strands of Abe’s and Mary Todd’s hair. I must admit, Iam rather exhausted from my study now. But this is a fine website. When I was fourteen, after reading Mad Booths, I fell in love with Ned. Yeah, Edwin Booth. My favorite of them all. I will return here from time to time. Thanks for a good site. Cheers.

  29. Alexandra Potter

    To Dave Taylor,
    I’ve written an older kids book for NANOWRIMO a couple of years ago. I am trying to be as historically accurate as possible. I have a chapter, one chapter, devoted to Booth crossing the Potomac into King George and his time on the property at Claydael.
    I live on the Machodoc Creek, about a mile by water to the Quesenberry house. It is local interest, especially to me.
    May I use some of your information in my editing? I will give you proper crediting, of course. The book will be bound for my grandchildren. In a far stretch, an e-book submission.

    • Alexandra,

      Please forgive the lengthy delay of my response. This comment got hidden from me. You may, of course, use any information you find on this site for use in your novel. I’m happy to be a resource for anyone doing writing on John Wilkes Booth and his crime.

      Dave

  30. Dennis Urban

    Dave, is there any way to read your comments about Rich Hill from your talk of April 18-19th? In my tour of the Booth sites in that area in late July, I was allowed access to the house as a renovation company was tearing out the 1970 vintage drywall throughout the house. I have excellent pictures of the old interior hand-hewn beams, brickwork, etc. as uncovered by the drywall removal.

  31. Don

    Recently discovered your blog – great stuff, thank you. I have been reading about Lincoln for over 50 years – ouch!! I have one question please: there are many contradictions in the Lincoln assassination story (e.g. was Weichmann a liar or patriiot; did Laura Keene actually make it into the box to soothe a dying Lincoln; just how did Booth break his leg; etc.) —– I know many of these will never be resolved but is there 1 or 2 books on the assassination that you personally would recommend? Thanks.

    • Laurie Verge

      I don’t know about Dave’s preferences, but at Surratt House Museum, we recommend three – preferably to be read in this order: Manhunt by James Swanson (basic reader), Blood on the Moon by Edward Steers, Jr. (more detailed), and American Brutus by Michael Kauffman (encyclopedic).

    • Don,

      I know others have weighed in, but in my opinion, the best book the the subject of the Lincoln assassination is Michael Kauffman’s American Brutus. Kauffman spent close to 40 years researching and studying the story and I have yet to find a better book on the entire assassination story than his. If you are interested in learning more just on John Wilkes Booth, then I would recommend, Art Loux’s John Wilkes Booth: Day by Day and Terry Alford’s Fortune’s Fool.

      Best,

      Dave

  32. Dennis Urban

    Do you know of any information that could verify if Lewis Powell attended Ford’s Theatre on Monday, March 27, 1865? An orchestra ticket bearing that date stamp was supposedly found on Powell’s person after his arrest. The two sources I have do not specifically reference this ticket. The ticket is in the collection of a university museum and it was auctioned out of a noted collection in 1904 and later donated to the university.

    • Laurie Verge

      Lewis Powell’s biographer would be the one to help with this answer. I’m alerting Betty Ownsbey to your question.

      • Dennis Urban

        Thank you for forwarding to Betty. Her bio, “Alias Paine” sheds no light on the March 27 date nor did several other sources I checked.

    • Dennis,

      I have seen the ticket you are describing at the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum in Harrogate, TN. When I visited there I was also interested in the provenance behind it. Like you, however, I found that the history of the item is hard to trace back. From my recollection it was in the Phillip Birman collection before arriving at the University. I would contact the museum if I were you and see if they can find any additional references to it in their early newsletters.

      If you figure it out, I’d love to know.

      Thanks,

      Dave

  33. Hello I was looking through Google and came across a photo of dry tortugas I wanted to use in my next past-present photo. It is the photo of the slaves in the 2 windows of the Fort Jefferson Fort. If you have any information on when and or who was in this old capture of our past, I would love to know.

    Thank you, great work!

  34. Thomas Bowman

    Hi Dave:

    I enjoy your website – keep up the good work.

    Perhaps you can shed some light on an item about the Lincoln Assassination that has puzzled me.

    I have read numerous accounts of the assassination and most all of the accounts say John Wilkes Booth was wearing a black slouch hat (his ‘trademark’ headgear?) when he entered Ford’s Theater.

    Did he have a hat on when he entered the Starr Tavern?

    Did he have a hat on when he re-entered Ford’s Theater?

    Wouldn’t the decorum of the times dictate that he remove the hat when he entered the theater? If so, one of his hands would have been encumbered by holding his hat.

    Was he wearing the hat when he entered the president’s box?

    Did he ‘lose’ the hat during his struggle with Major Rathbone?

    The artists’ drawings of the times do not show him wearing a hat when he jumped to the stage and made his way out of the theater.

    I recall reading that a black slouch hat, along with the derringer pistol, was found in the box after the president was removed to the Petersen House. According to the account I read, these items were presented in evidence at the trial of the conspirators.

    Most re-enactments of the assassination and escape I have seen: movies, etc., including your own, have JWB wearing a hat.

    Was he wearing a hat before, during and after the assassination and during the escape? If so, what happened to the hat? What do you think?

    Thanks,

    Thomas Bowman

  35. Matt

    I love this site. So much to pick through. I’ve been reading it for a while. I live in Southern MD (educator as well Dave!) and have recently moved a spot along the trail of the escape. Been captivated forever and now it is even more interesting. If you need any photos from down here let me know.

    • Matt,

      It was wonderful meeting and talking with you on Saturday. It’s always a pleasure to spend time with a fellow enthusiast. By the way, Kate and I would love a copy of the photo you took with us. Could you email it to me? Thanks.

      Dave

      • Matt

        Dave,
        It was great speaking to both of you. I apologize for being all over the place when we spoke. It really was exciting to speak to people who have so much knowledge in an area I have so much curiosity. If I knew I would have had so much time to pick at your brains I would have prepared much better. I hope to find my way to a couple more events you are running or are a part of. Ill send you the picture soon. Thanks again!

  36. Laurie Verge

    Dave – Just curious as to how your presentation went with the Charles County school system? Good turnout? Enthusiasm?

    • Laurie,

      Our presentation for Charles County Schools was very well received. We had about 20 people over the course of the 4 hours which I think was pretty good given that it was a high school history day/science fair and that we were in a classroom away from everyone else.

  37. Mr. Taylor:

    Did Mr. Bersch live at the Peterson House or in the building next door where there is now a French restaurant, that was a laundry for a very long time?

    Dr. Ric Morgan
    drricmorgan@gmail.com

  38. Hi Dave. The Chicago History Museum currently has an exhibit on Lincoln that includes the bed in which he died. I wrote about it and wanted to share with you: http://www.viewfromthejeep.com/2016/04/the-lincoln-bed.html

    Dop

  39. Brian Anderson

    Dave and Kate spent several hours yesterday showing our boy scout troop several historic sites in Charles County, including the Mudd House and Port Tobacco. The scouts were thoroughly engaged, full of questions, and now have a direct experience that will make their in-school study of the Civil War more palpable. If you are leading a scout campout or other activity in the area for pre-teens/teenagers, get in touch with Dave and he will put together a fun and educational activity for you.

  40. Bob Allen

    Dave, your article on the Black Diamond disaster was spectacular, as were the photos. What a great and useful blogsite you’ve developed!
    Thanks, and hats off to you!!
    Bob Allen
    (Surratt Society)

  41. Andy star

    I have a comment , I have been on countless tours, read all the books and I still try to get in the mind of Booth on this issue . Knowing Fords theater as well as he did , He had to know it was a 12 foot drop from Lincolns box to the stage , Why would he shoot the president and go forward to jump to the Stage? Why not got back down the stairway ? He could have been out the front door on his horse and easily gone . Was it his plan to make his exit after shouting his famous words to the audience ? According to eye witnesses there was a minute or so of no reaction , comments ?

  42. Dennis D. Urban

    Andy, Booth had to pass along the back wall of the dress circle and its many seated people to reach the box. Many people saw him and he saw how crowded it was. To fire an shot, then pass through the narrow hallway and back behind the dress circle seats would probably be impossible without his being apprehended. Being as athletic as he was and choosing a moment when only one actor was on stage, Booth would have a much shorter exit route with far fewer people to encounter. Even so, he came quite close to being apprehended.

  43. Laurie Verge

    Don’t forget that his horse was at the rear of the theater, not the front door (where the President’s carriage was). Also, one has to believe that he truly felt he had done a noble deed and wanted recognition. He didn’t figure on getting instant applause, but he did think that he would be hailed a hero. Being center stage at that moment would gain him instant fame, but it only brought infamy.

    You have to understand his – and many performers’ – psyche. They need to feed their ego. I have known several with the theatrical flair who instantly strike a pose whenever they think someone is going to snap their picture…

    And, did he count on having help in his escape from people backstage? We’ll never know.

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