Posts Tagged With: Atzerodt

Update: Finding George Atzerodt

UPDATE: We have verifying records as to the burial of a Taubert child in Feb. of 1869.  George is not in St. Paul’s.  Glenwood, here we come…

As is to be expected in the history field, no matter how confident you feel you “know” something, there’s always new information to be found.  In today’s case, I received some thorough and reliable comments on my previous post about George Atzerodt’s burial in St. Paul’s cemetery in Baltimore’s Druid Hill Park.  The following comment comes from Sandy Harper, church historian for Martini Lutheran Church.  Martini Lutheran is the caretaker of St. Paul’s:

“The child buried on Feb. 1869 was named Freidrich Gottleib Herman Taubert, he was 29 days old and his birth and death are in Martini Lutheran Church’s records.”

This February of 1869 burial was thought to be the secret burial of George Atzerodt.  Though this idea was partially at odds with the plot records as written in the book, Records of St. Paul’s Cemetery, in my previous post I did my best reconciling the idea that a 29 day-old child of Gottlieb Taubert was actually the 29 [30] year-old brother-in-law of Gottlieb Taubert: George Atzerodt.  Ms. Harper’s new information that it was, in fact, a coincidence that the Taubert’s were burying a child close to the same time that George was in need of re-interment, certainly requires us to continue to look elsewhere.  While I’d like to believe the research of the Boothies before me, the evidence against it is stacking up, with both the cemetery record book and the detailed information from Ms. Harper pointing towards a child not a conspirator being buried in St. Paul’s.

So, I attempted to retrace the body of George Atzerodt.  On my way home from work I called Glenwood Cemetery in DC.  The gentleman I spoke to was very knowledgeable reiterating the story that George was kept in a holding vault in Glenwood after being brought there by his brother John.  He told me that beyond that, they have no further records of what happened.  The reason for this, I was told, is that in the late 1800’s, a disgruntled board member of the cemetery stole the interment book for the first 7,000 burials in Glenwood.  He walked off with them in the middle of a meeting, never to return.  The interment information for George, if he was buried in Glenwood, would have been in this first book.  The gentleman also informed me that he was told upon his initial employment at Glenwood in 1995, that it was the belief of the cemetery that George was in Glenwood in an unmarked grave.  Glenwood believes George is buried in their cemetery, they just don’t know where.  When I asked if there would ever be a way to know for sure, I was told the only remaining chance would be for someone to sit down and look thorough their 14 books of plat maps.  Technically, George’s burial would have to be noted on a plat map to make sure no one attempted to bury a body where one already was.  The man I spoke to stated that in the seventeen years he’s worked there, he has yet to come across George in a plat map.  However, he also said he has never gone through looking for him specifically, merely that in the course of his other work, George’s name has yet to show up.

So the opinion of those working at Glenwood seems to be that George never left their cemetery.  I have to say that newspaper accounts of 1869 do seem to agree with them.  Several articles mention the undertaker that was used for Atzerodt’s remains and how his body was placed in Glenwood’s receiving vault:

Despite the substitution of John’s name for his brother George, this article had the same information:

And lastly, this article mentions Atzerodt’s funeral in Glenwood:

The press of the day seemed to believe that George was buried in Glenwood.  As we know, though, they cannot always be reliable.

Just like we had for the St. Paul’s hypothesis, we are left with only circumstantial evidence regarding George’s final resting place being at Glenwood.  The last place to look for George seems to be Glenwood’s many plat maps.  However, even if a thorough search does not produce his name on a map, it is still possible that he is one of the unmarked, but occupied graves.  Sadly, it is unlikely that we will ever know for sure. Hopefully one day, I’ll make my way to Glenwood Cemetery to spend a day (or two) looking through their maps.

Thank you to Sandy Harper for posting information about the Tauberts in St. Paul’s Cemetery.

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“Thus perished four…”

The day after the four conspirators were hanged, one soldier penned the following letter to his family back home in New York:

“Camp Stoneman  D.C.

July 8th 1865

Darlings at home

Before you receive this you will probably have read all about the execution of the conspirator’s at the Washington Penitentiary yesterday.  My regiment was on duty immediately in the yard and around the gallows.  Consequently I had a fine view of the preparation and the final execution of the criminals.  The yard was an enclosure by high brick walls and buildings of probably a half acre of ground.  The gallows was erected at one corner about 30 feet from a door which lead into it from the prison.  The platform was about ten feet high and the beam from which the ropes was suspended was about 10 feet above the platform.  That portion of the platform for 4 feet which was a sort of trap door hung upon hinges and supported by a single prop which was to be knocked out from under them by a sort of battering ram.  The prisoners were accompanied to the gallows by the officers in charge of the execution and their spiritual advisers.  Who in behalf of each thanked the officers and soldiers who had charge of them for this uniform kindness to them.  And after praying with them (and I never heard more eloquent and stirring appeals made to a throne of diving grace) they were caused to stand up on the fatal trap, where their arms were tightly tied behind them and their legs tied at the ankle and knees – the cap drawn over their face the rope adjusted and drawn tight around the neck the signal given and four unhappy victims were suspended in the air by the neck.  I stood very near on horse-back where I had a good opportunity to see every motion.  I did not discover the least motion of a single muscle on Mrs. Surratt – and but very slight on Atzerodt.  Payne and Harrold did not pass off so quickly.  Harrold showing signs of life for nearly five minutes and Payne for full seven minutes.  After hanging for the space of 20 or 30 minutes they were taken down, laid in rough boxes, and buried near the foot of the gallows.  Thus perished four of the greatest criminals our land has ever produced.  And my only regret is that the balance of the band had not shared the same fate.  It seemed hard indeed to see a person bearing the almost divine shape of woman lead out by men alone executed and laid away with none but the hands of rough soldiers to care for her.  I never before saw such picture of absolute despair and fear upon the face of a human being.  Mrs. Surratt was nearly unable to stand.  In fact Payne was the only one of the party that showed any signs of courage or manliness.  I see by the papers today that the clergymen who attended them express much hope that they passed from this to a better world.  If so, how much better than they to their intended victims whom they endeavored to send into the presence of their God with one moment’s preparation.  I hope it will be my fortune to witness the execution of Jeff. Davis, & then shall I, indeed, feel that the rebellion is crushed.  And when you hear any one say that Jeff. will never be hung, “that Andrew Johnson is President and that he is supported by officers who are good and true,” in such hands we are safe.  The day has come when we have in authority those who care more for their country than they do for themselves or party.  And I trust that it may be long before any others shall obtain the reins of Government and seek again to draw us down to ruin.

Then I have written you a good long letter, at least, a long one.  And shall have but very little room for anything else – though as tomorrow is Sunday I presume I shall write again.  I wrote you a good long love letter but a day or two ago, as I shall not mail this till evening perhaps I will write a little more before I send it.

Give my love to all the friends.  Kiss the dear children for me.  Good day to you and God bless you all.

Most affectionately,

S.D. Stiles”

The author of this account is Sampson D. Stiles who was a member of the New York Cavalry.  The photographic record does not show any soldiers on horseback as Stiles states he was, but it is know that General Hartranft requested cavalry members to report to him:

“Mil. Prison Wash. Arsenal

July 6th, 1865


I will require a Company of Cavalry in addition to the twenty sent me today.  Will you be kind enough to order them to report to me at 8 o’clock tomorrow morning.  I will need them only during the day.

Very Respectfully – Your Obt. Servt. –

Bvt. Maj. Genl. Gov. Com’dr. M.P.

Colonel Taylor

A.A.G. –Dept.Wash.-”

So while we see no mounted soldiers in the execution photos, the request for Cavalry soldiers and the details in Stiles’ letter home gives the strong impression that he was there.

Sampson Stiles’ 1905 obituary in a Vermont paper

Stiles’ account comes from the James O. Hall research papers
The Lincoln Assassination Conspirators – Their Confinement and Execution, as Recorded in the Letterbook of John Frederick Hartranft edited by Edward Steers and Harold Holzer

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Louis Schade, Esquire

While researching for my last post about George Atzerodt’s burial, I came across an interesting character by the name of Louis Schade.  Mr. Schade happened to make his way into the Lincoln assassination realm in a couple of ways.

Louis F. Schade was a born in1829 in Berlin, Germany.  He studied law at the University of Berlin.  As a student, he took an active part in the failed unification of the German states known as the Revolution of 1848.  He fled to America shortly thereafter.  In 1855, Schade found himself in Chicago under the employ of Senator Stephen A. Douglas.  Schade not only visited German districts in Illinois making speeches in support of Douglas, but also became the editor of two of Douglas’ papers, “The National German Democrat” and “The National Union”.  He was admitted to the bar, becoming a certified lawyer in 1858.  After Douglas won the Illinois state Senate seat against his opponent, Abraham Lincoln, Schade returned to Washington, D.C. and practiced law.  A large client of his was the United States Brewer’s Association and Schade became an outspoken advocate against the temperance movement.  He gained nation-wide fame, however, in 1865, when he agreed to represent Captain Henry Wirz, commander of the Andersonville prison.  Schade would come to truly believe in his client’s innocence and even after Wirz’ execution, he would write publicly about the tragedy.  A few years later he would not only lament the injustice of Wirz’s execution, but the treatment of his body:

Come February of 1869, when President Andrew Johnson is evoking his presidential privilege of writing pardons without fear of political reprisals, Schade applies for the body of Henry Wirz.  It is granted and Schade arranges for his late client to be buried in Mount Olivet cemetery in D.C.  In a twist of fate, Mary Surratt would be buried here too, reuniting the pair yet again.

But the body of Henry Wirz was not the only one Louis Schade helped removed from the Arsenal grounds.  On behalf of another client, Victoria Atzerodt, Schade wrote to Andrew Johnson asking for George’s body.  He wrote in part that, “the present enlightened age…will not permit the mediaeval and barbaric custom of seeking revenge on a handful of dust and ashes.”  In addition to Schade’s appeal, John Atzerodt wrote his own letter to President Johnson asking for George’s body:

A few days later, Louis Schade and John Atzerodt would visit Andrew Johnson in person to receive the signed order for George’s remains:

So, Schade helped to rebury two executed criminals from the grounds of the Old Arsenal prison.  Louis Schade’s connection to Lincoln’s assassination does not end there, however.

On October 18, 1871, a recent widow in Washington, D.C., passed away.  Her husband had died only a few months earlier of a laudanum overdose.  The pair had left their children without a will.  To raise money, the heirs of the family sold some of the furniture in the house.  A bureau, gas jet, rocking chair, an engraving, and a bed were all sold at auction.  The family was able to retain possession of the house where they had lived, though.  It was a three story brick row house in downtown D.C.  But it was also much more than that.  It was the house where Abraham Lincoln had died, also called the Petersen House after the family that built and owned it.

The Petersen House circa 1883

By 1878, the Petersen heirs decided it was time to sell the house.  Return Louis Schade.  By this time, Schade had reignited his skills as a newspaper editor and had started his own paper, The Washington Sentinel.  It was a Democratic paper that Schade used as an outlet for his own views.  He devoted a whole back page to beer advertisements to support his client, the Brewer’s Association.  As a German immigrant he wrote largely in support of more lenient immigration policies.  The Sentinel also contained a great deal of international coverage for a paper its size.  Schade was a successful editor and lawyer in 1878, and the Petersens probably had no problem selling their shrine of a house to him.  On November 25, 1878 Schade and his wife bought the Petersen house for $4,500, a little over $100,000 in today’s currency.

The Schade family would enjoy living at the Petersen house, at first.  Louis moved the office of his newspaper to the front of the basement.  The room where Lincoln died became a playroom for the children:

Eventually though, the Schades would tire of the many visitors that wished to gain entry into their historic home.  By 1893, the family had moved out of the house and leased it to the Memorial Association of D.C.  The association invited a tenant named Osborn Oldroyd to live in and showcase his extensive Lincoln collection inside the Petersen house.  Finally, on June 29th, 1896, the federal government purchased the Petersen House from Louis Schade for $30,000.  That is equivalent to over $775,000 in today’s money.  Louis Schade definitely made a tidy profit on his historic investment.

The noted editor and lawyer, Louis Frederick Schade died on February 25th, 1903.  He is buried in D.C.’s Prospect Hill Cemetery.  Prospect Hill, a largely German cemetery, is located right next to Glenwood Cemetery, the proposed yet abandoned burial location for George Atzerodt.

Louis Schade gained notoriety for his defense of Henry Wirz and his long career as a newspaper editor.  Yet he also managed to entwine himself in the epilogue of Lincoln’s assassination.  He helped to bury a conspirator and bought the house where Lincoln died.  He remains a minor, yet interesting side figure in history.

Newspaper article abstracts were retrieved from
William A. Petersen House – House Where Lincoln Died Historic Structure Report by the National Park Service
They Have Killed Papa Dead by Anthony Pitch
The Papers of Andrew Johnson: September 1868 – April 1869
Andrew Johnson: A Biographical Companion by Glenna Schroeder-Lein
Washington Sentinel by the Library of Congress
There are wonderful pictures of Louis Schade on his FindAGrave page.

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Finding George Atzerodt

IMPORTANT NOTE: Further information as posted in the comments section below has thrown into question whether or not George Atzerodt is actually buried in St. Paul’s.  Please click here to read the update to this post.  What is without question is that George’s mother Victoria, sister Mary, and brother-in-law Gottlieb Taubert, are all buried in this cemetery.

After Mary Surratt, Lewis Powell, David Herold and George Atzerodt were executed for their involvement in Lincoln’s assassination, their bodies were buried on the Old Arsenal prison grounds.  The graves and pine boxes that would hold the quartet are seen in the execution photographs of the conspirators, merely a stone’s throw from where the scaffold stood.   John Wilkes Booth’s body had previously been deposited at the Old Arsenal grounds, having been secretly buried underneath the floor of a supply room.

This impromptu cemetery would also hold the body of Confederate officer Henry Wirz after he was tried and executed for the atrocities at his Andersonville Prison.  His pine box would lay right along side those of the Lincoln conspirators:

Piece of Henry Wirz’ coffin in the collection of the Smithsonian’s American History Museum.

The bodies of all of these individuals would stay under the Arsenal grounds until the waning hours of Andrew Johnson’s presidency.  Less than a month before leaving office, Johnson allowed the family members of the conspirators to take possession of their loved ones bodies.  Booth’s body was interred in the family plot at Green Mount Cemetery in Baltimore.  Mary Surratt was interred at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Washington, D.C. David Herold was interred in the family plot in D.C.’s Congressional Cemetery.  The final disposition of all of Lewis Powell’s remains is still being researched by his biographer, Betty Ownsbey, but his skull somehow made its way into the collection of the Smithsonian before being discovered and subsequently buried next to his mother in Geneva Cemetery, Florida.  While finding Powell’s remains is a more modern mystery, for over a hundred years there was very little known about where George Atzerodt’s final resting place was.  Through the research of original Boothies, James O. Hall and Percy Martin, the mystery of George’s burial was solved.

After receiving permission to take possession of his brother’s body, John C. Atzerodt, a former detective on staff of the Maryland Provost Marshal, transferred George’s remains to the northern D.C. cemetery, Glenwood.  Records show that on February 17th of 1869, George’s body was placed in a holding vault.  John had apparently decided to purchase a lot in Glenwood in which to bury his brother.  Some newspapers reported on the arrival of Mrs. Atzerodt from Baltimore to attend the reinterment of her son in D.C.:

It looked like George would spend the rest of eternity in Glenwood Cemtery…

In 1854, the Second Evangelical Lutheran Congregation of Baltimore purchased four acres in Baltimore’s Druid Hill for use as a cemetery.  Between 1854 and 1868, the Second Evangelical church divided into three congregations; St. Paul’s, Immanuel, and Martini Evangelical.  Each new church held equal control over the Druid Hill cemetery.  Together, they sold half of the land to the city of Baltimore decreasing the cemetery to 2.25 acres.

St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran church, one of the three newly formed churches, was located in Baltimore on the corner of Saratoga and Freemount  streets.  One block south of that intersection was Lexington St.  Living on Lexington street and probable members of St. Paul’s congregation was Gottlieb Taubert and his wife Mary.  Gottlieb and his wife were both German immigrants.  Specifically, Mary Taubert’s maiden name was Mary Atzerodt.  She was the daughter of Henry and Victoria Atzerodt, and sister to George.  Mary and Gottlieb had married in 1860 when they were 18 and 24 respectively.  By 1865, the Tauberts had already purchased a lot in the Druid Hill cemetery, needing it to bury an infant child on April 12th.  They would also bury a five year old daughter there in 1866.

On February 19th, 1869, an odd “coincidence” occurs.  Just when John Atzerodt needs a place to bury his brother, the Tauberts suddenly have a burial in their St. Paul’s  lot.  The records back at Glenwood are confusing and missing, but it seems that John Atzerodt never actually paid for the lot he was going to bury his brother in.  In fact other people, completely unrelated to the family, are currently buried in John Atzerodt’s supposed lot.   George was never buried in Glenwood.  Instead of coming to D.C. to attend her son’s reburial, Victoria Atzerodt came to bring her son’s body back up to Baltimore to rest secretly in his sister’s cemetery lot.

And a secret affair his burial was.  So secret in fact, that his name does not even appear in the burial records.  The record’s for St. Paul’s cemetery in Druid Hill were not always exact in their documentation.  The records were hand written in old German Script and would often be missing several important pieces of information.  Whether George’s name was left off of the records purposefully by a sympathetic  church clerk, or accidentally by a lazy one, we may never know.  What can be gained from the record is that a burial did take place on February 19th in the Taubert lot.  In his 1984 article for the Surratt Courier, Percy Martin cited the record as describing the deceased as, “Gottlieb Taubert, aged 29 years”.  In the book, Records of St. Paul’s Cemetery by Elaine and Kenneth Zimmerman, they show it as being a “child of Gottlieb Taubert” and being 29 days old.  The discrepancies between the two is understandable.  Reading handwritten German Script is tedious and difficult.  While I have not seen the original record, it is likely that both accounts stated above are different interpretations of the same record.  The Zimmermans, familiar with how records for children often lacked any name except for the parent, took “Gottlieb Taubert” to be the name of the deceased’s father.  When presented with an age of 29 “years” they fixed what they assumed was a mistake and recorded a more reasonable age for an unnamed child, 29 “days”.  Mr. Martin, knowing that the age of 29 years would be consist with George Atzerodt (though George actually turned 30 while in prison), took the name of Gottlieb Taubert to be the name that George was buried as.  Either way, Gottlieb Taubert was not a fictitious name as is sometimes stated.  It was the name of George’s brother-in-law.   The most likely scenario is that George was buried namelessly, and not under a pseudonym.  Gottlieb’s name was attached to the record, just like it was for his two young children, because the burial occurred in his lot.

Victoria Atzerodt died on January 3rd, 1886, three months shy of her 80th birthday.  She was buried right alongside her poor son George, in the Taubert plot.  Gottlieb Taubert, himself, died in April of 1925.  The final burial in the Taubert lot was Mary Atzerodt Taubert on September 15th, 1928.

St. Paul’s Cemetery is located in the middle of Baltimore’s Druid Hill park.  It is currently maintained by Martini Lutheran Church, the last of the three divided churches still in operation.  Though vandals severely damaged many of the stones in the cemetery in 1986, the church has slowly been righting and restoring the stones.  The Taubert lot is a vacant one, however.  There is no sign that the lot ever bore a stone for any of the Atzerodts or Tauberts.

The name of the cemetery (St. Paul’s) has caused a lot of confusion for those looking to find George Atzerodt’s final resting place.  Despite what is on his FindAGrave page, George is not buried in the St. Paul’s cemetery located off of Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd in downtown Baltimore.  Rather he is in the St. Paul’s cemetery located in the middle of Druid Hill Park.

Specifically, the Atzerodts and Tauberts are buried in lot #90:

Had it not been for the research of people like James O. Hall and Percy Martin (and our own Richard Sloan, I should add), George’s resting place may never have been known.  Discovering his burial site was a product of collaboration.  As we continue on in our studies of those involved in the great crime of April 14th, 1865, may we always remember the strength that comes from such cooperation.

The Search for George Atzerodt by Percy Martin in, “In Pursuit Of…Continuing Research in the Field of the Lincoln Assassination” published by the Surratt Society
Records of St. Paul’s Cemetery by Elaine Obbink Zimmerman and Kenneth Edwin Zimmerman
Martini Lutheran Church
Cemetery drawing from the James O. Hall Research Papers

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I watched them lead him out the door,
As he exited his cell.
I followed them, as he had asked,
To give his last farewell.

“A boy” I thought of him at first,
When I was called to pray,
But with death’s knocking out in the yard,
I saw a man today.

While saddened by his coming death,
He confessed to me his crime:
“I helped a man who killed a man.
Where will I spend all time?”

I said I could not answer him,
To God he must appeal.
We sat there in redemptive prayer,
And begged his soul to heal.

So while his frame may falter,
During these, his last grains of life,
On the gallows he’ll stand, with his clenched hands,
A man, adverse to strife.

Fictional poem from the perspective of Rev. Dr. Mark Olds, David Herold’s spiritual advisor on the scaffold.

Justified or not, four individuals paid the ultimate price for their involvement with John Wilkes Booth.  Those saved from execution faced their own mortality when they heard the drops fall and would carry the stigma of their association for the rest of their lives.  Lincoln’s assassination killed not only the President and the innocence of our nation, but also the lives of the misguided supporters who knew not what they were doing.

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A jaunt through Congressional Cemetery

Congressional Cemetery is a beautiful cemetery located in Washington D.C. along the coast of the Anacostia River.  This 35 acre cemetery is a National Historic Landmark and contains over 22,000 interments.  On a walk through the cemetery today, here are some of graves of people related to the Lincoln assassination:

Emerick Hansell:

Hansell was a State Department messenger whose main duties were ferrying messages between the State department and the Secretary of State, William Seward.  After the Secretary’s carriage accident, Hansell was helping to keep an eye on the wounded Seward.  On the night of April 14th, Hansell was lodging at the Seward house.  The noise from Powell’s assassination attempt awoke him, and, as he was heading down the stairs to raise the alarm, Powell overtook him and stabbed him in the back.  Hansell was one of the five wounded victims from that night.  He is buried here at Congressional with his first wife, Elizabeth.

Peter (Pedro) Taltavull:

A Spanish immigrant, Taltavull co-owned The Star Saloon.  The Star Saloon was the tavern adjoining Ford’s Theatre and was one of the places where Booth had a drink before shooting Lincoln.  While he did not serve during the Civil War, Taltavull was also in the US Marine Corp Band for over 20 years.

Charles Forbes:

Forbes was a footman for Lincoln’s carriage.  As the stone states, Forbes was the only one sitting outside of the President’s box during his time at Ford’s Theatre.  Forbes was not a bodyguard and had no instructions against letting people into the President’s box.  In fact, he let a messenger in to see the President prior to Booth’s arrival.  Booth presented Forbes with a card, and Forbes easily allowed the famous and innocently looking actor into the President’s box.

There is a wonderful story from Thomas Pendel’s book, Thirty-Six Years in the White House, demonstrating Lincoln’s sense of humor and relationship with Forbes:

“On one occasion, President Lincoln, when riding near the Soldiers’ Home, said to his footman, named Charles Forbes, who had but recently come from Ireland, “What kind of fruit do you have in Ireland, Charles?” To which Charles replied, “Mr. President, we have a good many kinds of fruit: gooseberries, pears, apples, and the like.” The President then asked, “Have you tasted any of our American fruits?” Charles said he had not, and the President told Burke, the coachman, to drive under a persimmon tree by the roadside. Standing up in the open carriage, he pulled off some of the green fruit, giving some of it to Burke and some to Charles, with the advice that the latter try some of it. Charles, taking some of the green fruit in his hand, commenced to eat, when to his astonishment he found that he could hardly open his mouth. Trying his best to spit it out, he yelled, “Mr. President I am poisoned!” Mr. Lincoln fairly fell back in his carriage and rolled with laughter.

This story was afterward told by the coachman, justifying himself upon the grounds that it was too good to keep.”

Hester A. Butler:

Ms. Butler’s connection to the Lincoln assassination is a relatively distant one.  Butler is her maiden name which she and her children reverted back to after the death of her husband.  At the time of Lincoln’s assassination, Hester’s husband, John, was a detective on the staff of Maryland provost marshal James L. McPhail.  Before that he was in the carriage business in the city of Port Tobacco.  John owned his carriage business with his brother, George Atzerodt.  This made Hester Atzerodt nee Butler, the sister-in-law of the would be assassin of Andrew Johnson.  After the death of her husband John, Hester and her children freed themselves from the stigma of the Atzerodt name by changing back to Butler.  Hester, along with two of her children are buried at Congressional.

David Herold:

The only conspirator buried at Congressional is Davy Herold.  After being executed on July 7th, 1865, Davy, the other conspirators, John Wilkes Booth, and Andersonville Prison commander Henry Wirtz, were all buried on the Arsenal grounds.  Eventually, the Herold family received permission to retrieve Davy’s body from the Arsenal.  He was reburied in the Herold family plot in Congressional in February of 1869.  His specific grave is unmarked, but his unmarried sister, Elizabeth Jane, was buried right on top of him in 1903.  The rightmost headstone in this picture is Elizabeth Jane’s, and is therefore the only marker for Davy.  At least for now…

Congressional Cemetery Website
Thirty-six years in the White House by Thomas F. Pendel

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George in Georgetown

On the morning of April 15th, George Atzerodt awoke in a daze.  He found himself at the Pennsylvania House hotel having spent the previous night wandering around trying to come to terms with his failed role in the assassination and the consequences that would soon follow.  He registered at the Pennsylvania and shared the room with a stranger he met on the street, Samuel Thomas.  Atzerodt awoke early and left the hotel, without paying his share.  He began his trek to Georgetown.

At around 8:00 am, George walked into the storefront of Matthews & Knowles, a dealer of, “fine teas and choice groceries for the family”.  He approached the clerk, John L. Caldwell, a man he was acquainted with from his time in Montgomery County.  In the need of funds, George asked Caldwell if he would purchase his watch from him.  Caldwell, having a watch already, declined George’s offer.  “’Well,’ said he, ‘I want to borrow $10.  I have not any money.  I am going to my uncle’s.  You let me have the $10 and I will leave my revolver with you, and I will send you the money or bring it to you next week.’”   Caldwell gave George the $10 and kept his gun (No. 499, Cooper Firearm Mfg. Co., Frankford, Phila.).

The location of the Matthew and Knowles store was located at 49 High Street in Georgetown.  Today the building still stands at 1202 Wisconsin Avenue with the W. T. Weaver and Sons Hardware store occupying the same spot:

Building that once housed the Matthew and Knowles shop where Atzerodt pawned his gun.

Current occupant of the Matthew and Knowles store.

After pawning his revolver, Atzerodt then walked a few blocks up High street (now Wisconsin avenue), and visited in the home of Lucinda Metz.  Lucinda Metz was a 44 year old widow with four children who had known George from his time in Montgomery County.  Known as Andrew Atwood to her, he visited with the widow and had breakfast with her before heading for the stage coach to take him to his cousin Hartman Richter’s.  Mrs. Metz’ house still stands today near the corner of Wisconsin and P streets:

Lucinda Metz' house.

The Escape and Capture of George A. Atzerodt
Jim Garrett, my generous tour guide to these and many other Georgetown sites

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