Posts Tagged With: cleydael

John Wilkes Booth Escape Route Tour Through Virginia

While there have been many wonderful books written about the Lincoln assassination, whenever someone asks for my opinion about the best book on the subject I always direct them to American Brutus: John Wilkes Booth and the Lincoln Conspiracies. In terms of depth of research and wealth of knowledge I believe American Brutus to be unparalleled in Lincoln assassination scholarship. In turn, I also view its author, Michael Kauffman, to be the foremost expert on the Lincoln assassination. The man has spent over 50 years delving into every single side story relating to Booth and the assassination. Not only that but Mr. Kauffman has also “walked the walked” in personally recreating many of the events relating to the history. His stories of jumping from a ladder onto the stage at Ford’s Theatre and his own attempt to row across the Potomac were big motivations to me and inspired me to create my “John Wilkes Booth in the Woods” reenactment.  Mr. Kauffman is a walking encyclopedia and also happens to be one of the nicest people you could meet. Needless to say that whenever I get a chance to talk and learn from Mr. Kauffman, I am definitely in awe of his knowledge and experience.

Mike Kauffman and Us 4-14-15

The reason I am saying all of this is because there is a rare opportunity for those of you in the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia area to learn from this true expert on the Lincoln assassination. While Mr. Kauffman was once a fixture of the John Wilkes Booth escape route bus tours put on by the Surratt Society, he retired from doing that a few years ago and rarely does bus tours anymore. However, he will be conducting a very special John Wilkes Booth escape route bus tour on Saturday, April 30, 2016. This unique bus tour is being put on by Historic Port Royal, the historical society in Port Royal, Virginia, where John Wilkes Booth was cornered and killed. This tour is focused entirely on Booth’s escape through Virginia and will commence just over the Potomac River in King George County, Virginia. Here’s a scanned page about the event from the newest HPR newsletter:

HPR Page April 30 BERT Kauffman

Click to enlarge

As some of you may know, I am a board member for Historic Port Royal. We are a growing historical society and currently operate three different museums: The Port Royal Museum of American History, The Port Royal Museum of Medicine, and the Old Port Royal School. Each year HPR also organizes an Independence Day celebration. This is in addition to our quarterly newsletter and public events and speakers throughout the year. If you are not already a member of Historic Port Royal, please join us. We are a 100% volunteer organization and so your small annual dues help us preserve our growing collection of artifacts and keep the lights on at our museums so that more people may come and learn about this historic town.

Historic Port Royal is using this bus tour as a fundraiser and we would love to sell out every seat on the bus. As stated on the above flyer, the tour is from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm on Saturday, April 30, 2016. The cost is $65 which includes a box lunch.

For those who have taken other Booth escape route tours before, this tour will include familiar spots such as Mrs. Quesenberry’s house, Dr. Stuart’s Cleydael, and the Peyton House in Port Royal. However it will also include stops at Belle Grove Plantation (the birthplace of President James Madison where members of the 16th NY Cavalry stopped while on the hunt for Booth), The Port Royal Museum Museum of American History (which contains several artifacts relating to the Garrett farm and the death of Booth), and a fuller tour of Port Royal itself complete with a skit on the porch of the Peyton House re-enacting Booth’s arrival in town (by Kate and yours truly).

The whole event promises to be one that participants will not soon forget especially with a guide as knowledgeable as Michael Kauffman.

To get more information or to reserve your spot please call HPR Treasurer Bill Henderson at (804) 450-3994 or email him at WehLsu82@aol.com. There are very few seats left for this special tour of John Wilkes Booth’s escape through Virginia led by Lincoln assassination expert Michael Kauffman. I hope to see some of you there.

Kauffman BERT tix HPR

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What’s Missing? Episode 2

Once again it’s time to test your Boothie knowledge, resourcefulness, and observational skills with a game called, What’s Missing?

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Below you will find 20 images all related in some way to the Lincoln assassination story. Most of them have previously appeared on this website, either in the Picture Galleries or in one of the many posts. Your job is to look at the images carefully to see if you can determine “What’s Missing?” from the image. You can click on each image to enlarge it a bit and get a better look. When you’re stumped, or ready to check your answer, click on the “Answer” button below each image. Good luck!

What’s Missing A:

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What’s Missing B:

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What’s Missing C:

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What’s Missing D:

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What’s Missing E:

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What’s Missing F:

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What’s Missing G:

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What’s Missing H:

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What’s Missing I:

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What’s Missing J:

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What’s Missing K:

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What’s Missing L:

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What’s Missing M:

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What’s Missing N:

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What’s Missing O:

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What’s Missing P:

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What’s Missing Q:

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What’s Missing R:

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What’s Missing S:

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What’s Missing T:

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So how did you do? Let us know in the comments section below.

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New Picture Gallery: Cleydael

Cleydael, the summer and wartime home of Dr.Richard Stuart in King George, Virginia, was a stop John Wilkes Booth and David Herold made during their escape South.  After crossing into VA, the pair made their way to the home of Elizabeth Quesenberry.  She contacted Confederate agent Thomas Harbin who, in turn, sent the fugitives with a nearby farmer, William Bryant, to Dr. Richard Stuart’s home, Cleydael.  Booth and Herold expected hospitality and probably some medical attention from Dr. Stuart.  Instead, Stuart already had a full house was very suspicious of the pair.  He refused them lodging and medical attention.  In the end he did give them a meal.  After they ate, Stuart sent the men off a short ways to the home of a family of free blacks, the Lucases.  Booth and Herold forced William Lucas and his family out of their own house and slept there.  The next morning the pair paid William’s son, Charley Lucas, to take them to Port Conway by wagon. Cleydael still exists today as a private residence.  In recent years the property had fallen into some disrepair.  In 2012, the house was purchased at auction by Renee and Charlie Parker.  The Parkers are in the process of restoring Cleydael to its former glory.  In addition, they are gracious enough to open up their house to the Surratt Society’s Booth Escape Route Tours that run in the spring and fall.  I just drove by Cleydael today, and I can tell you the Parkers are doing a wonderful job. Visit the Parker’s website to keep up to date with their successes: http://www.cleydaelestate.com/

In addition to this brand new picture gallery, I’ve also added a few new pictures to the other galleries.  There are also new videos to be seen in the Rich Hill and Pine Thicket galleries.  These videos were shot by Charles County native and fellow Boothie, Joe Gleason, and he has allowed me to put them up here.  Click around and see what’s new in the Picture Galleries.

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Welcome to scenic Neck Quarter, Virginia!

Not familiar with the name? I don’t blame you. Neck Quarter was the former name of a parcel of land located in King George County, Virginia owned by Nathaniel Hooe. In December of 1845, Hooe sold this tract of land to Dr. Richard H. Stuart. His wife subsequently renamed Neck Quarter to its modern name, Cleydael.

Dr. Stuart was one of most prominent doctors and wealthiest men in the county. Before buying Cleydael’s land, Dr. Stuart owned land and a house eight miles away near the coast of the Potomac called, “Cedar Grove”. While Dr. Stuart and his family enjoyed Cedar Grove, the hot, muggy, summers near the Potomac proved unpleasant with cases of malaria being common. Upon purchasing Neck Quarter from Nathaniel Hooe, Dr. Stuart began construction on a summer home. This summer home utilized an unusual design that created cross breezes to naturally cool the house during the hot summers. When the Civil War began, Dr. Stuart and his family left Cedar Grove and began residing at Cleydael year round. Their home on the Potomac was deemed too dangerous as the threat of Union shelling was a very real one. During the war, Cleydael would house General Robert E. Lee’s daughters (cousins to Mrs. Stuart) when they were forced to leave their home at Arlington. Dr. Stuart continued his practice from the safety of this home. An office with a waiting room, and easy passage between it and Dr. Stuart’s bedroom, allowed the good doctor to continue to service patients even late at night.

On the night of April 23, 1865, John Wilkes Booth and David Herold were led to Dr. Stuart’s by Confederate agent, William Bryant. The doctor, having heard about Lincoln’s assassination was suspicious of the men and refused to let them stay. He relented to giving the men a meal before sending them on to the cabin of William Lucas, a free black who lived nearby. Booth would later write a poison pen thank you letter to Dr. Stuart for his “generosity”. While Dr. Stuart would spend a month in prison, it was this letter that proved his innocence and refusal to help Booth.

So where does the name Cleydael come from anyway? Mrs. Stuart’s maiden name was Julia Calvert. She was the granddaughter of Henri Stier, a wealthy Belgian baron. Her grandfather’s home was Château de Cleydael near Antwerp, Belguim:

When the French army invaded Antwerp in 1794, the baron and his family fled to America, leaving Cleydael behind. Mrs. Stuart renamed their summer residence Cleydael in honor of her ancestral home.

Recently, there was much worry over the future of Cleydael. The previous owner passed away without a will and with debts to be paid. Despite a historical easement on the house, there was a real chance the house and property would be sold and demolished. Luckily, such a crisis was averted when the house was recently bought by a couple committed to restoring and retelling the history of Cleydael.

Resources:
Cleydael’s 1937 Virginia Historical Inventory Project record
Cleydael’s 1986 National Register of Historic Places Nomination form (.pdf)

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