Posts Tagged With: Rich Hill

Come See Us: Spring 2017

Spring is the busy season for Lincoln assassination events. Kate and I will be attending and participating in several of the offerings that will occur in the Maryland/D.C./Virginia area. As much fun as it is to research and write here on BoothieBarn, there’s something special about being out in public and sharing aspects of the Lincoln assassination with others, face to face. For those of you who live in the region, here are some of the upcoming Lincoln assassination talks that Kate and I (or some of our learned friends) will be giving that you might be interested in attending.


Date: Saturday, April 1, 2017
Location: Colony South Hotel and Conference Center (7401 Surratts Rd, Clinton, MD 20735)
Time: Full conference runs from 8:50 am – 8:30 pm

Speech: Assassination “Extras”: Their Hidden Histories
Speaker: Dave Taylor
Description: The Lincoln assassination story is filled with characters who play the part of background extras. They are men and women who very briefly enter the scene, play their small part, and then are forgotten. All of them are connected by their minor involvement with the events of April, 1865, yet many have fascinating personal stories all their own. In his speech, Dave will highlight some of these extra characters and talk about their hidden histories.

Speech: “Beware the People Whistling”
Speaker: Kate Ramirez
Description: As the evening’s entertainment for the Surratt Society’s annual Lincoln assassination conference, Kate will perform her one woman show depicting Mary Surratt as she reflects on her life and choices in the hours leading up to her execution.

Cost: Dave and Kate’s speeches are two of the seven that will be presented at the annual Surratt Society Lincoln Assassination Conference on the weekend of March 31st – April 2nd. The day of speakers is on Saturday, April 1st. The cost of the full conference is $200. The event is always worth the cost and filled with fascinating discussions about so many aspects of the Lincoln assassination story. Other speakers this year include, Dr. Blaine Houmes, Karen Needles, Burrus Carnahan, Scott Schroeder, and William “Wild Bill” Richter. Please visit: http://www.surrattmuseum.org/annual-conference for full details and registration information.


Date: Friday, April 7, 2017
Location: Port Tobacco Courthouse (8430 Commerce St., Port Tobacco, MD 20735)
Time: 6:00 pm
Speech: A Conversation with George Atzerodt and Mary Surratt
Speaker: Kate Ramirez Description: Join Kate Ramirez and Mike Callahan as they portray conspirators Mary Surratt and George Atzerodt and discuss their involvement in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.
Cost: Free. Donations to the Society for the Restoration of Port Tobacco appreciated.


Date: Saturday, April 8, 2017
Location: Surratt House Museum (9118 Brandywine Road, Clinton, MD 20735)
Time: 7:00 am – 7:00 pm
Speech: John Wilkes Booth Escape Route Bus Tour
Speaker: Dave Taylor Description: Dave is one of the narrators for the Surratt Society’s John Wilkes Booth Escape Route Tour. The 12 hour bus tour documents the escape of the assassin through Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. While Dave will only be narrating the April 8th tour, there are other tours set for April 15th and 22nd. Please call the Surratt House Museum to see if there is any availability left on these tours. If they are booked up, Dave and the other guides will also be conducting tours in the fall.
Cost: $85. Information can be found at: http://www.surrattmuseum.org/booth-escape-tour


Date: Saturday, April 22, 2017
Location: Port Royal, Virginia
Times: 11:00 am – 12:00 pm, 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Speech: John Wilkes Booth in Port Royal Walking Tour
Speaker: Dave Taylor and Kate Ramirez Description: Dave and Kate will conduct walking tours of Port Royal, giving the history of some of the landmarks connected with the escape of the assassin. Interested participants should park and meet at the Port Royal Museum of Medicine (419 Kings St., Port Royal, VA 22535). The entire tour is about one mile of walking. At the end, participants will be instructed to drive across 301 to the Port Royal Museum of American History (506 Main St., Port Royal, VA 22535) where they can view artifacts relating to John Wilkes Booth and enjoy some light refreshments.
Cost: The suggested donation for the tour is $10 per person and all proceeds benefit Historic Port Royal’s museums.


Date: Sunday, April 23, 2017
Location: Rich Hill Farm (Rich Hill Farm Rd, Bel Alton, MD 20611)
Time: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Speech: An Open House at Samuel Cox’s Rich Hill
Speaker: Dave Taylor and Kate Ramirez Description: Come out and see the progress that has been done on the restoration of Rich Hill, one of the stops on John Wilkes Booth’s escape. Dave and Kate will both be there in costume to give talks and answer questions about the house and its history.
Cost: Free, but donations encouraged in order to facilitate the restoration of the home.

Also on Sunday, April 23, 2017

Location: Tudor Hall (17 Tudor Ln, Bel Air, MD 21015)
Time: 2:00 pm
Speech: John Wilkes Booth and Tudor Hall
Speaker: Jim Garrett Description: Lincoln assassination author and speaker, Jim Garrett, will be presenting about John Wilkes Booth at the Booth family home of Tudor Hall. Since Kate and Dave will be at Rich Hill all day, they’d really appreciate if someone could go and heckle Jim on their behalf.
Cost: $5.00 cash for the talk and a tour of Tudor Hall


Date: Saturday, May 6, 2017
Location: Grant Hall (Fort Lesley J. McNair, 1601 2nd St. SW, Washington, DC 20024)
Time: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Speech: Grant Hall Open House
Speaker: Kate Ramirez and Betty Ownsbey Description: Once a quarter, Fort Lesley J. McNair opens up the third floor of Grant Hall, the site of the trial of the Lincoln conspirators, to the public. Visitors can see the restored courtroom, the site of the conspirators execution, and different artifacts relating to the assassination and the 2010 movie, The Conspirator. Historian Betty Ownsbey is usually present to tell the history of the assassination and trial while Kate will be there in the persona of Mary Surratt to share her story with visitors.
Cost: Free, but registration is required for entry into the military base. When registration opens a link will be supplied.


Date: Sunday, May 7, 2017
Location: Tudor Hall (17 Tudor Ln, Bel Air, MD 21015)
Time: 2:00 pm
Speech: Junius Brutus Booth, Jr.: The Eldest Brother of John Wilkes Booth
Speaker: Dave Taylor Description: While born almost a generation apart, June Booth was very close to his younger brother, John Wilkes. June paved the path that most of the Booth brothers would walk when he became an actor in defiance of his father’s wishes. In his speech, Dave will discuss the life of Junius Brutus Booth, Jr., pointing out the ways in which he replicated his father and how he reacted to the news that his brother had killed Abraham Lincoln. More information can be found at: http://spiritsoftudorhall.blogspot.com/2016/11/make-plans-to-visit-tudor-hall-in-2017_7.html
Cost: $5.00 cash for the talk and a tour of Tudor Hall


Date: Saturday, May 13, 2017
Location: The Historical Society of Harford County (143 N. Main Street, Bel Air, MD 21014)
Time: 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm (doors open at noon)
Speech: Lincoln’s Final Hours and the Hunt for John Wilkes Booth
Speakers: Kathy Canavan & John Howard Description: The Junius B. Booth Society (JBBS) and the Historical Society of Harford County (HSHC) are holding an intriguing, one-of-a kind fundraising event titled Lincoln’s Final Hours and the Hunt for John Wilkes Booth featuring author/historian Kathryn Canavan and Lincoln assassination historian John Howard. Kathy will speak about her book, Lincoln’s Final Hours.  John, as one of the narrators for the John Wilkes Booth escape route tours, will give an overview of Booth’s escape. All proceeds from this fundraiser will be split between JBBS and HSHC. All proceeds to JBBS will be used for the Tudor Hall museum (childhood home of the Booth family including Edwin Booth and John Wilkes Booth). Seating is limited to 100 people, so reserve your seats now. Drinks and snacks will be provided. Following the closing remarks, the first floor of Tudor Hall, the childhood home of John Wilkes Booth will be open to attendees till 5:30 PM. For more information, including biographies of the speakers, visit: http://spiritsoftudorhall.blogspot.com/2017/02/lincolns-final-hours-hunt-for-john.html
Cost: $25.00 per person. Tickets can be purchased from: http://www.harfordhistory.org/events.php


Date: Sunday, June 4, 2017
Location: Tudor Hall (17 Tudor Ln, Bel Air, MD 21015)
Time: 2:00 pm
Speech: “A Long Look Backward”: From the Pen of Asia Booth
Speaker: Kate Ramirez Description: Asia Booth was the chronicler of the Booth family’s greatest triumphs and their most heart breaking failures. In her speech, Kate will look more into Asia Booth and her myriad of writings. More information can be found at: http://spiritsoftudorhall.blogspot.com/2016/11/make-plans-to-visit-tudor-hall-in-2017_7.html
Cost: $5.00 cash for the talk and a tour of Tudor Hall


Date: Sunday, June 25, 2017
Location: Tudor Hall (17 Tudor Ln, Bel Air, MD 21015)
Time: 2:00 pm
Speech: Junius Brutus Booth and Tudor Hall
Speaker: Jim Garrett Description: Jim Garrett returns to Tudor Hall with his presentation about the patriach of the Booth family, Junius Brutus Booth. More information can be found at: http://spiritsoftudorhall.blogspot.com/2016/11/make-plans-to-visit-tudor-hall-in-2017_7.html
Cost: $5.00 cash for the talk and a tour of Tudor Hall


Date: Tuesday, June 27, 2017
Location: The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (112 N 6th St, Springfield, IL 62701)
Time: 5:30 pm
Speech: “You know best, Captain”: The Executed Conspirators in Lincoln’s Assassination
Speaker: Dave Taylor
Description: On April 26, 1865, the manhunt for the murderer of President Abraham Lincoln came to fiery end when John Wilkes Booth, trapped in a burning tobacco barn in Virginia, was shot and killed after refusing to surrender. With the assassin dead, attention turned to his group of co-conspirators. Nine individuals would eventually be put on trial for their involvement in Lincoln’s assassination, with four paying the ultimate price. In this speech, Dave will delve into the lives and actions of the four conspirators who helped plot the death of Abraham Lincoln and then followed him to the grave.
Cost: This speech is a private event for the museum’s volunteers but, if you are interested in attending, please email Dave.


You also might see us out and about in costume. Kate is a docent for the Dr. Samuel Mudd House Museum and can be found giving tours there on a regular basis. In addition to the scheduled bus tours, I can sometimes be seen giving escape route tours for private groups. If you have a private group or organization that is interested in booking your own escape route tour, you can contact the Surratt House Museum to make arrangements and can request me as your tour guide.

A condensed version of our upcoming speaking engagements can always be found on the sidebar menu for desktop users and near the bottom of the page for mobile users. Kate and I hope to see you out in the real world and we thank you all for your support.

Categories: History, News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A “Thomas Jones” Carol

With the holidays almost here, it’s time for another installment of Boothie Christmas caroling where we revise a classic Christmas Carol into a Lincoln assassination themed Boothie Carol. Today’s song is a revised version of, “Silver Bells”. I hope you all enjoy it in the humorous manner in which it is intended.

Thomas Jones Christmas Carol

“Thomas Jones”

As sung to, “Silver Bells”

Easter morning, without warning,
Sam Cox comes down my street.
In the air there’s a feeling of danger.
I start going, without knowing
Why his dad wants to meet,
But I get to Rich Hill and I hear:

Thomas Jones, (Thomas Jones)
Thomas Jones, (Thomas Jones)
I’ve hidden Booth in the thicket
Lend a hand (Lend a hand).
Help this man (Help this man).
Make sure he gets river bound.

When I find him, Herold’s with him,
So I say to them both,
“We must wait for the troopers to leave here.”
He wants papers. I say, “Later.”
Then I give him my oath
No amount could cause me to betray

John Wilkes Booth, (John Wilkes Booth)
John Wilkes Booth, (John Wilkes Booth)
It’s not quite time to go boating.
Hunker down (Hunker down).
Don’t be found (Don’t be found).
Soon it will be rowing day!

Previous years’ Boothie Carols can be read here:
“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Play” / It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year
“We Bruti” / We, Three Kings of Orient Are
“Wilkes Booth the Head Conspirator” / Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
“Lewis Powell is Coming For You” / Santa Claus is Coming to Town
“Little Doctor Mudd” / Little Drummer Boy
“Boothie Wonderland” / Winter Wonderland

Categories: History, Levity | Tags: , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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?

What's Missing Icon

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:

What's Missing A

What's Missing Answer Icon

What’s Missing B:

What's Missing Answer Icon

What’s Missing C:

What's Missing C

What's Missing Answer Icon

What’s Missing D:

What's Missing D

What's Missing Answer Icon

What’s Missing E:

What's Missing E

What's Missing Answer Icon

What’s Missing F:

What's Missing F

What's Missing Answer Icon

What’s Missing G:

What's Missing G

What's Missing Answer Icon

What’s Missing H:

What's Missing H

What's Missing Answer Icon

What’s Missing I:

What's Missing I

What's Missing Answer Icon

What’s Missing J:

What's Missing J

What's Missing Answer Icon

What’s Missing K:

What's Missing K

What's Missing Answer Icon

What’s Missing L:

What's Missing L

What's Missing Answer Icon

What’s Missing M:

What's Missing M

What's Missing Answer Icon

What’s Missing N:

What's Missing N

What's Missing Answer Icon

 

What’s Missing O:

What's Missing O

What's Missing Answer Icon

What’s Missing P:

What's Missing P

What's Missing Answer Icon

What’s Missing Q:

What's Missing Q

What's Missing Answer Icon

What’s Missing R:

What's Missing R

What's Missing Answer Icon

What’s Missing S:

What's Missing S

What's Missing Answer Icon

What’s Missing T:

What's Missing T

What's Missing Answer Icon

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

Categories: Levity | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

The Lincoln Assassination on Aerial America

Aerial America Logo

Aerial America is a stunningly beautiful television show on the Smithsonian Channel. The premise of the show is simple: use awe inspiring aerial photography to tell compelling stories of a state’s varied history. The series, which premiered in 2010, has featured each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and has also expanded into other destinations. The hour long episodes feature exquisite fly overs of historic sites and vistas, along with a compelling retelling of their significance.

On April 26, 2015, the episode devoted to Washington, D.C. aired for the first time.  It was ironic date for the show to debut because not only is April 26 the same day John Wilkes Booth was cornered and killed, but the episode itself featured a five minute segment about Lincoln’s assassination and Booth’s escape. The episode provided beautiful shots of Ford’s Theatre, Baptist Alley behind Ford’s, the Surratt Tavern, Dr. Mudd’s House, Rich Hill, and Grant Hall where the trial of the conspirators occurred. Here are some screen grabs of the episode:

Ford's Theatre 1 Aerial America

Ford's Theatre 2 Aerial America

Baptist Alley Aerial America

Surratt House 1 Aerial America

Surratt House 2 Aerial America

Mudd House 1 Aerial America

Mudd House 2 Aerial America

To see the episode images of Col. Samuel Cox’s home of Rich Hill, please visit the Friends of Rich Hill blog post entitled, Rich Hill on Aerial America. and please consider following the Friends of Rich Hill blog to stay up to date with our rehabilitation of the home.

Grant Hall Aerial America

The episode also contained some generic shots of woods, swamps, and farms to represent other areas of the escape route but were clearly not the real places they were describing. Still, the five minute segment gave a wonderful look at part of the escape of John Wilkes Booth, from the unique aerial perspective.

You can visit the Aerial America page of the Smithsonian Channel’s website to check for future airings of the Washington, D.C. episode (next one appears to be November 28th at 5:00 pm EST).  You can also purchase the episode through video streaming websites like Amazon Video.

Categories: News | Tags: , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Rich Hill in Charles County’s Preservation Matters Newsletter

The 2015 edition of Charles County, Maryland’s Preservation Matters newsletter has been published. The newsletter contains several articles about the historic preservation activities that are occurring around the county.  One of the stories explains the wonderful work being done at Rich Hill, the home of Samuel Cox and a stop on John Wilkes Booth’s escape route.

Rich Hill This Place Matters

The piece highlights the work that is being done to preserve and plan for future site development.  It even quotes a bit from my previously posted article about the history of Rich Hill.  Though my name (and giant face) are present, this article is entirely the work of Cathy Thompson, the Community Planning Program Manager for Charles County. Ms. Thompson and the members of the Friends of Rich Hill committee have been working tirelessly to lay the ground work for a restored Rich Hill. If you are interested in donating to the further refurbishment of Rich Hill, please send your donations to either:

Friends of Rich Hill
P.O. Box 2806
La Plata, MD 20646

or to the

Surratt Society
Surratt House Museum
9118 Brandywine Road
Clinton, MD 20735
Please indicate on the bottom of your check that the money is for “Rich Hill”

In the mean time,

CLICK HERE to read the 2015 edition of Preservation Matters and its article about RICH HILL

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

A History of Rich Hill

A few days ago, a wonderful piece was published in the Southern Maryland newspapers about the renovations going on at Rich Hill, the former home of Samuel Cox and a stop on John Wilkes Booth’s escape. Up until last year, Rich Hill was a private and neglected residence which was at great risk of falling down. To illustrate this point, here are a couple pictures and a video I shot in of the interior of Rich Hill back in June of 2013:

Rich Hill June 2013 1

Rich Hill June 2013 2

This important piece of history was on the verge of being lost. However, in October of 2013, the Historical Society of Charles County entered into talks with the owner of Rich Hill hoping to gain custodianship over the building in the hopes of preserving it. This was good news to all those interested in the home’s history.  Despite the best of efforts, however, the talks involving the manner in which the home would be donated to the Historical Society of Charles County broke down. By Christmas of 2013, the outlook for Rich Hill looked dismal once more.

To help raise awareness of the tragic condition of this historic home I wrote the article below.  It was published in the January 2014 edition of the Surratt Courier. Soon thereafter (though likely not connected to my article), a deal was struck between the owner of Rich Hill and the Charles County Government. Rich Hill was donated to Charles County, and since then the county has been doing a wonderful job of working to restore the home and make it accessible to the public.  In April of this year, I spent two days as part of Charles County’s Lincoln 150 event standing on the porch of Rich Hill telling visitors the history of the home.  It was a wonderful two day event that attracted a large audience.

The article published this week in the newspapers highlights the work that has been done of late, including the recent removal of the 1970’s drywall to expose the period “guts” of the house.

Interior of Rich Hill Aug 2015

Work is continuing, funded in part by a $750,000 state bond.  Given the state of the house, however, it is known that additional funds will need to be secured to help renovate Rich Hill completely.

While Rich Hill is most associated with the escape of John Wilkes Booth, the property and house touts a far older and far reaching history than that. Here is my article that was published in January 2014 that gives a looked into this historic home. I have edited it down a bit as my original article described the collapse of talks between the Historical Society of Charles County and the previous owner and ended with a call for action.


A History of Rich Hill

by Dave Taylor

During the wee morning hours of April 16th, 1865, two men and their guide approached the door of a darkened, Charles County, Maryland home named Rich Hill.  “Not having a bell,” one of its sleeping occupants later recalled, the door was, “surmounted with a brass ‘knocker’.”  One of the three horseback men, under the cover of darkness, reached out a hand and grasped the brass tool.  He raised it upwards and, as the hinge reached the apex of its journey, the knocker was silently suspended for the briefest moment in time.  In a fraction of a second, the handle would fall, striking the metal plate beneath it and “in the stillness of night the sound from this” would resound, “with great distinctiveness”[1].  The silence of the night would be shattered and the lives of the family sleeping within the house’s walls would be changed forever.  History was knocking at the door of Rich Hill and its harbingers were John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of President Lincoln, and David Herold, his accomplice.

While Rich Hill would become known in American History due to the visitors that April night, the house and property had a notable history starting about 200 years before.  In April of 1666, a recent immigrant from Wales named Hugh Thomas was assigned and patented “600 acres of land, called Rich Hills, on the west side of the Wicomico river, in Charles county, Md.”[2]  Two years later, Hugh Thomas would sell half of his acreage at “Rich Hills” to an English immigrant turned St. Mary’s County merchant named Thomas Lomax.  Lomax paid Thomas using the standard currency of the day: tobacco.  For 3,500 lbs. of tobacco, Lomax acquired the northernmost 300 acres of the Rich Hill parcel, upon which the notable house would later be built.[3]   In 1676, Thomas Lomax gave his brother Cleborne (also spelled Claiborne/Cleiborne) Lomax 100 acres of the Rich Hill property.  When Thomas died in the early 1680’s, he was apparently unmarried and without any heirs and so the remainder of his Rich Hill property went to his brother as well.  In 1710, the Rich Hill land was sold out of the Lomax family to an intriguing widow by the name of Mary Contee.[4]

A trifecta of circumstances had made Mary Contee nee Townley a very wealthy woman:

  1. Mary Contee’s late husband, John Contee, had previously married a wealthy widow by the name of Charity Courts in 1703. When Charity died the same year of their marriage, John Contee inherited her sizable estate.  He and Mary were then married by June of 1704.
  2. In the same year of her marriage, Mary Contee’s cousin, Col. John Seymour was appointed the 10th Royal Governor of Maryland. Mary is recounted as a “favored cousin” of the Governor and due to this her husband John was appointed to several lucrative governmental positions becoming a representative of Charles County in Maryland’s Lower House and a justice in Charles County to name a couple.[5]
  3. Thus far, it has only been shown that John Contee had become a wealthy man. While Mary assumedly enjoyed the fruit of his abovementioned “labors”, how did she herself become wealthy?  That is where the real drama comes in.  John Contee died on August 3rd, 1708.  At the time of his death he possessed 3,697 acres of land and his personal property was assessed at 2,252 pounds sterling and 13 slaves.  According to his will which was passed by an Act of Assembly in 1708, Mary became the sole executrix of her husband’s vast estate.  However, it was later discovered that this will was not as it seemed.  In 1725, seventeen years after Mary Contee had inherited her husband’s holdings, John Contee’s blood nephew, a man by the name of Alexander Contee, had depositions taken with regards to the will that had made Mary such a wealthy woman.  Through these depositions Alexander Contee learned that John Contee’s will was a perjured fraud that was never agreed to by the deceased.  Alexander discovered that his uncle’s supposed will had actually been written by a man named Philip Lynes.  According the Alexander, Mr. Lynes was a man “very officious to oblige the said Mary” while John Contee was dying in the next room.  Philip Lynes was married to Anne Seymour, the Governor’s sister and therefore was also a cousin to Mary Contee.  The will was apparently brought before John Contee who was still of sound mind, and he refused to sign it as it was written.  Though Contee lived for about a week more, the will was never rewritten in terms he agreed to.  Due to these depositions, the Maryland Assembly passed another act in 1725 repealing the 1708 act that had granted Mary Contee as sole executrix.  The new act mentioned not only the maleficence of those who gained by this false will, but also the fraudulent way a knowingly unsigned will passed the Houses in the first place.  According to the new act, the fake will passed due to, “particular persons in power by whose Interest and Influence the said Act past both Houses of Assembly… contrary to the Standing rules of The Lower House.”  Perhaps Gov. Seymour, who was still in office in 1708, used his influence, once again, to intervene on behalf of his “favored cousin”.[6]

Therefore, it appears that Mary Contee purchased the Rich Hill property with fraudulently acquired capital.  She did not own it for very long, however.  By 1714, she had remarried a man by the name of Philemon Hemsley who facilitated the selling of the Rich Hill land for 21,000 lbs. of tobacco.  The new buyer was Gustavus Brown.[7]  Brown was a native of Dalkeith, Scotland and a surgeon by profession.  His immigration to Maryland was an accidental one:

“When a youth of 19 he became a Surgeon’s mate, or Surgeon, on one of the royal or King’s ships that came to the Colony in the Chesapeake Bay, 1708.  While his ship lay at anchor he went on shore, but before he could return a severe storm arose, which made it necessary for the ship to weigh anchor and put out to sea.  The young man was left with nothing but the clothes on his back.  He quickly made himself known, and informed the planters of his willingness to serve them if he could be provided with instruments and medicines, leaving them to judge if he was worthy of their confidence.”[8]

Brown started his medical practice in the Nanjemoy area of Charles County and quickly made a favorable reputation for himself.  In 1710, he married a woman by the name of Francis Fowke and the newlyweds lived temporarily with her father in Nanjemoy.

Dr. Gustauvs Brown Sr.

Dr. Gustavus Brown, Sr. Source: Smithsonian Institutions

Dr. and Mrs. Brown’s 1714 purchase of the Rich Hill property ushered in a new age for the estate.   Instead of solely using the land for the planting and harvesting of tobacco, Dr. Brown sought to create a home on the land.  It is this home that we see today and know as Rich Hill.

The exact date of construction on Rich Hill has not been determined.  According to its listing in the National Register of Historic Places, the house was “built probably in the in the early to mid 18th century”[9].  Looking at the genealogical records for Dr. Brown’s children, this author has determined that the house was built by 1720, as his daughter born that year was cited to have been born at “Rich Hills”.[10]

As it is today, Rich Hill was built as a 1 ½ story structure that appears as a full 2 story building from the exterior.  The original house had a hip roof and was built on top of cut stone piers.  While the front door was on the southwest side of the house as it is now, it was formerly on the center of this wall.  As you walked into Dr. Brown’s Rich Hill, the first floor consisted of four similarly sized rooms with a small stair hall in back flanked by a rear door.   The original building had two exterior chimneys which stood on the southeast and northwest sides of the house.[11]

The majority, if not all, of the Brown children were born at Rich Hill.  Dr. Brown and Frances had a total of twelve children as his practice prospered.  He had made a name for himself on both sides of the Potomac, treating residents of Maryland and Virginia.  One humorous story regarding Dr. Brown’s experiences as a physician is recounted below:

“On one occasion Dr. Brown was sent for in haste to pay a professional visit in the family of a Mr. H., a wealthy citizen of King George Co., Va., who was usually very slow in paying his physician for his valuable services, and who was also very ostentatious in displaying his wealth.  In leaving the chamber of his patient it was necessary for Dr. B. to pass through the dining room, where Mr. H. was entertaining some guests at dinner.  As Dr. B. entered the room a servant bearing a silver salver, on which stood two silver goblets filled with gold pieces, stepped up to him and said, ‘Dr. B., master wishes you to take out your fee.’ It was winter, and Dr. B. wore his overcoat.  Taking one of the goblets he quietly emptied it into one pocket, and the second goblet into another, and saying to the servant, ‘Tell your master I highly appreciate his liberality,’ he mounted his horse and returned home.”[12]

While his business grew, Gustavus Brown did suffer some of his own tragedies at home.  Out of his twelve children with Frances, three died in infancy.  In an odd twist, all of the children who died were boys who were named after their father.  Dr. Brown himself was actually the second Gustavus Brown as his father in Scotland bore the same name.  Dr. Brown named his first two boys, “Gustavus”, only to watch them both die before they were a year old.  When his third son was born, Dr. Brown gave him the name Richard, and this son would survive.  Perhaps thinking their curse of losing their male children was at an end, the couple named their fourth son “Gustavus Richard Brown” only to witness him perish 10 days after his birth.   While not documented, it is extremely likely that the three infant Gustavus Browns were buried somewhere on the Rich Hill property.

Frances Fowke Brown

Frances Fowke Brown Source: Smithsonian Institutions

Frances Fowke Brown died 1744 and was buried at the estate of her daughter and son-in-law in Stafford County, VA.  Dr. Brown remarried a widow named Margaret Boyd in 1746.  With Margaret, Dr. Brown had two more children at Rich Hill, a boy and a girl.  Though tempting fate, Dr. Brown named his youngest son after himself.  This “Gustavus Richard Brown” born on October 17th, 1747, would survive infancy, follow in his father’s footsteps into the medical profession, and enter the history books as one of George Washington’s friends and caregiver at the Father of Our Country’s final hour.  Dr. Brown’s other child with Margaret was named after her mother and would later marry Thomas Stone, a signer of the Declaration of Independence from Maryland.  Their shared home, Habre de Venture, in Port Tobacco, MD is a National Historic Site run by the National Park Service.[13]

In April of 1762, the senior Dr. Brown died at Rich Hill.  His death was from “apoplexy” which was a general term that meant death happened suddenly after a loss of consciousness (i.e. severe heart attack or stroke).[14]  Dr. Brown was buried at Rich Hill, though the exact spot of his grave is lost today.[15]  Rich Hill and its 300 acres passed to his wife Margaret and then to his eldest son Rev. Richard Brown (who was also a medical doctor) and his wife Helen.

Rev. Richard Brown Source: Smithsonian Institutions

Rev. Richard Brown Source: Smithsonian Institutions

During his tenure in the house, Rev. Brown, through marriage and purchase, managed to acquire a large portion of the 600 acre Rich Hill parcel that was split back in 1668.  A tax assessment for Rich Hill in 1783 shows Rev. Richard Brown owning 566 acres of Rich Hill.  He also made some unknown “improvements” to the property, which probably entailed some work on the house.[16]  When Rev. Brown died in 1789, Rich Hill and its acreage swapped hands a few times between his descendants, with a loss of some of the land the Reverend had managed regain.

The Brown family owned Rich Hill continually for 93 years.  At least four generations of Browns had made that house their home.  It raised the men and women who befriended and married America’s founding fathers.  When it was sold out of Brown family in 1807 to a man named Samuel Cox, a new chapter for Rich Hill began.  The new owner and his descendants would own Rich Hill for the next 164 years and would witness the night history came knocking on their door.

Samuel Cox, the new owner of Rich Hill, is not the same man to whom John Wilkes Booth appeared to in 1865.  Rather, this Samuel Cox was the latter’s maternal grandfather.  From Samuel Cox, Rich Hill descended to his daughter Margaret who had married a man by the name of Hugh Cox.  What relation, if any, existed between Margaret Cox and Hugh Cox has yet to be determined.  Hugh and Margaret had five children born at Rich Hill, including their son Samuel, named for his grandfather.  Samuel Cox was born on November 22, 1819.  When Samuel’s mother, Margaret, died, his father Hugh found himself a new wife, Mary Ann T. T. Cox.  Hugh had three more children by Mary Ann.[17]

When Samuel Cox was 15 years of age, he was sent to the Charlotte Hall Military Academy.  He returned home three years later and followed in his father’s footsteps as a member of the wealthy planter class.  On December 6th, 1842, Samuel Cox married his Washington, D.C. cousin, Walter Ann Cox.  Walter Ann was named for her father who died a couple months before she was born.  By the late 1840’s Hugh Cox and his wife Mary Ann, were residing away from Rich Hill on another property they owned near La Plata called “Salem”[18].  In 1849, Hugh and Mary Ann officially gave Rich Hill to Samuel Cox as a gift.  Hugh Cox would die in December of that same year at the age of 70.[19]  Rich Hill was now in the hands of the man who would give aid to the assassin of the President.

Samuel Cox, Sr.

Samuel Cox, Sr.

Sometime in the first half of the 1800’s a significant amount of remodeling was done to Rich Hill.  Whether the work was commissioned by Hugh or Samuel Cox is unknown.  Regardless, both the exterior and interior of the house were drastically changed from Dr. Brown’s initial layout.   The hip roof was replaced with a gable roof.  The two chimneys on either end of the house were replaced with a large, double chimney on the northwest side of the house.  On the southeast side, where one of the chimneys had been, the Coxes built a one story frame addition.  This new addition contained a dining room and a bedroom in which Samuel Cox and his wife slept.  The front door was moved from the center of the southwest wall to its current location right near the intersection between the southwest and southeast walls.  The interior layout of the house was changed, too.  Originally containing four similarly sized rooms with a rear stair hall, the layout was an end hall plan with a large front room and two small rooms to the rear.  Much of the layout of Rich Hill today still follows the renovations done by the Cox family in the early 1800’s.[20]

Rich Hill Floorplan 2013

Samuel Cox was a successful farmer and participated in many political and social groups in the county.  Through the exertions of Samuel and his father before him, the Rich Hill farm prospered to 845 acres, even larger than its initial 600 acres in 1666.[21]  Despite his success in farming, Samuel Cox, like another previously discussed owner of Rich Hill, had difficulty producing a namesake.  None of his children with Walter Ann survived infancy.  Instead, Samuel Cox ended up adopting his late sister’s son, Samuel Robertson.  Though this younger Samuel had spent much of his life on his uncle’s farm and property, he was officially adopted and had his named changed to Samuel Cox, Jr. three days after his 17th birthday in 1864.[22]

Samuel Cox, Jr. was present at Rich Hill when John Wilkes Booth and David E. Herold arrived in the morning hours of April 16th.  Years later, he would write about the night he was awakened so early by the sound of that brass knocker on the door:

“There was at the time in the house, Col Saml Cox, his wife, his wife’s mother Mrs Lucy B. Walker, Ella M. Magruder, now my wife, two servant girls, Mary and Martha and myself.  Pa’s bedroom was on the first floor – and to the extreme eastern end of the house, and to approach the front door, which opens into the hall, Pa had to pass through the dining-room, where Mary and Martha slept.  The stairway to the 2nd floor is approached through a door midway the hall and at the head of this stairway Mrs. Walker slept.  My room is on the second floor and directly over the hall and two windows in this room are immediately over the front door looking out upon the yard and lawn in full view of the road which approached the house.  When I was aroused by the knock I jumped out of bed and went down in the hall and as I approached the front door where I found Pa standing with the door partially open with Mary standing just behind him in the doorway of the dining room only some six feet away…”[23]

Samuel Cox, his adopted son, and their servant Mary Swann would claim to investigators that Booth and Herold were never allowed entry into the house and were, instead turned away almost immediately.  Cox, Jr. would hold onto this story to his dying day, telling assassination author Osborne Oldroyd in 1901 that his father found the fugitives attempting to sleep in a gully close to the house the next morning.  It was only then, according to Cox, Jr., that his father instructed his farm overseer, Franklin Robey, to guide them into a nearby pine thicket while he sent Cox, Jr. to retrieve Thomas Jones, who would care for the men during their stay in the pine thicket.[24]  Other sources, however, including Oswell Swann, the ignorant guide of the assassin and his accomplice, would state that Booth and Herold spent a few hours inside of Rich Hill before they departed.  Some later second hand accounts also speak of Booth and Herold entering Rich Hill during that early morning for food and drink.  Regardless of whether or not the men entered the house, the knocking on the door of Rich Hill by David Herold secured the home’s role in the history of the 12 day escape of the assassin of President Lincoln.

Samuel Cox, Mary Swann, and Samuel Cox, Jr. were all arrested in the aftermath of Booth’s visit to their house.  They were informed on by Oswell Swann, who brought the troops to Rich Hill at about midnight on April 23rd.  The three residents were transported at first to nearby Bryantown.  After getting Mary Swann’s statement of events, Samuel Cox, Jr. and Mary were released, only to be rearrested a couple of days later.[25]  Samuel Cox, the elder, was transported up to Washington and was imprisoned at the Old Capitol Prison.  Though the authorities strongly suspected that Cox had aided the fugitives, with Mary Swann contradicting the account of Oswell Swann, there was nothing to prove their beliefs.  While imprisoned at the Old Capitol Prison, Samuel Cox wrote a letter to his wife on May 21st.  Addressed to “Mrs. W. A. Cox, Port Tobacco, MD”, Cox recounts, in part, the degree of his imprisonment, “…I know my dear wife it will give you as much pleasure to inform you as it was for me to receive, permission just as your letter was received, to walk in the yard for exercise, which I have been deprived of until to day, having been confined to my room now for nearly four weeks.”[26]  Cox was eventually released from the Old Capitol Prison on June 3rd, and returned home to Rich Hill to his waiting family.

Samuel Cox, Jr.

Samuel Cox, Jr.

The extent of Booth’s visit to Rich Hill remained quiet for a number of years.  During the interim, Samuel Cox died on January 7th, 1880.  In his will he left Rich Hill to his wife until her passing, after which the home and property would go to his only heir, Samuel Cox, Jr.  In 1884, newspaper correspondent George Alfred Townsend (GATH) met with Thomas Jones.  After years of silence, Jones shared with GATH his involvement in helping Booth and Herold during their “missing days” of the escape.  Jones did nothing to shield the Coxes from their involvement, divulging how he was brought to Rich Hill by Cox, Jr. and how his father insisted Jones help get the men across the river when the time was right.  In his article, entitled, How Wilkes Booth Crossed the Potomac, GATH describes Rich Hill:

“The prosperous foster brother [Cox] lived in a large two-story house, with handsome piazzas front and rear, and a tall, windowless roof with double chimneys at both ends; and to the right of the house, which faced west , was a long one story extension, used by Cox for his bedroom.  The house is on a slight elevation, and has both an outer and inner yard, to both of which are gates.  With its trellis-work and vines, fruit and shade trees, green shutters and dark red roofs, Cox’s property, called Rich Hill, made an agreeable contrast to the somber short pines which, at no great distance, seemed to cover the plain almost as thickly as wheat straws in the grain field.”[27]

Though Samuel Cox, Jr. was the man of the house, he officially became the sole owner of Rich Hill upon the death of his adoptive mother in 1894.  By that time, Cox, Jr. had already married and had 3 children by his wife, Ella Magruder.  These young Cox children, Lucy, Edith and Walter, grew up and were raised at Rich Hill.  Ella died in 1890 and Cox subsequently remarried a cousin of his named Ann Robertson.

Like his father before him, Cox, Jr. became a prominent member of Charles County society.  He had a sizable plantation with Rich Hill and he also owned Cox’s Station, a stop of the Baltimore and Philadelphia Railroad line that ran from Pope’s Creek on the Potomac up to Bowie in Prince George’s County where it connected to other lines.  The modern town of Bel Alton (where Rich Hill is located) bore the name Cox’s Station up until Cox sold a sizable parcel of land to the Southern Maryland Development Company in 1891 and they renamed the area to its modern name.  Cox, Jr. was also involved in local politics, running for and winning a seat in the Maryland general assembly in 1877.  Dr. Mudd, another familiar name in the Lincoln assassination story, ran alongside Cox, but was not elected.[28]

Cox and Mudd for Delegates

Samuel Cox, Jr. died on May 5, 1906 at the age of 59.  The ownership of the property passed to Cox’s son, Walter, who sold his share of it to his married sister, Lucy B. Neale.  Lucy and her family did not live at Rich Hill.  The last member of the Cox family to reside at Rich Hill was Samuel Cox, Jr.’s second wife, Ann Robertson Cox.  Her death on March 4th, 1930, marked the end of the Cox family’s habitation of Rich Hill.

Between the years of 1930 and 1969, Samuel Cox, Jr.’s grandchildren operated Rich Hill’s property as a tobacco farm for sharecroppers.  The land shrunk back down to 320 acres by 1971.  That year, Rich Hill and its 320 acres were sold to its current owner, Joseph Vallario, a senior member of the Maryland House of Delegates.[29]  In celebration for the bicentennial of the United States in 1976, Delegate Vallario restored Rich Hill to its appearance during Dr. Brown’s day.  This involved removing the front and back piazzas along with the one story addition that had been added by the Cox family in the 19th century.[30]  Though this did make Rich Hill look less like the house that Booth and Herold saw on April 16th, 1865, the restoration worked to preserve Rich Hill and keep it from falling down.  Rich Hill served as a beautiful rental property for many years after.

Today, however, Rich Hill is suffering heavily from neglect.  There are large, gaping holes in the exterior walls that expose the structure to the elements.  The once beautiful rooms that housed generations of Browns and Coxes, are crumbling and filled with trash.  To be frank, Rich Hill needs help and action if it is going to be saved.

While Rich Hill’s involvement in the story of Lincoln’s assassination is the house’s most discussed historical aspect, it is far more than the “stop on the trail of John Wilkes Booth” sign that stands some distance from it.  As has been shown through this article, Rich Hill has had a notable and lengthy lifespan.  It not only holds an important place in the history of Charles County, but it also affected the history of the nation due to the men and women who were raised under its roof.  If Rich Hill is left in its current neglected state, it will crumble and collapse.  If this happens, future generations will be the victims.  As a restored museum run by Charles County in conjunction with the Historical Society of Charles County, Rich Hill would continue to influence and affect the history of our nation.

[1] Samuel Cox, Jr., Letter to Mrs. B. T. Johnson, July 20, 1891, James O. Hall Research Center.

[2] William F. Boogher, Gleanings of Virginia History: An Historical and Genealogical Collection (Washington, D.C.: W.. F. Boogher, 1903), 283.

[3] 26 Apr. 1668. Charles County Circuit Court Liber D, Page 14.

[4] 3 Mar. 1710. Charles County Land Records, Liber C#2, Page 245.

[5] Edward C. Papenfuse, A Biographical Dictionary of the Maryland Legislature 1635-1789 (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1979), 230.

[6] Acts of the General Assembly hitherto unpublished 1694-1698, 1711-1729, Volume 38, ed. Bernard Steiner (Baltimore, MD: Lord Baltimore Press, 1918), 384-386.

[7] 12 Jan 1714. Charles Co. Land Records, Liber F#2, page 51

[8] Horace Edwin Hayden, Virginia Genealogies: A Genealogy of the Glassell Family of Scotland and Virginia : Also of the Families of Ball, Brown, Bryan, Conway, Daniel, Ewell, Holladay, Lewis, Littlepage, Moncure, Peyton, Robinson, Scott, Taylor, Wallace, and Others, of Virginia and Maryland (Wilkes-Barre, PA: E. B. Yorby, 1891), 152.

[9] National Registry of Historic Places Nomination Form, Rich Hill Farms (1976).

[10] Hayden, Virginia Genealogies, 162.

[11] Registry, Rich Hill Farms.

[12] Hayden, Virginia Genealogies, 153.

[13] Ibid, 147.

[14] Ibid, 151.

[15] Norma L. Hurley, “Samuel Cox of Charles County,” The Record – Publication of the Historical Society of Charles County, Inc., October 1991, 1-5.

[16] J. Richard Rivoire, Rich Hill Tract History (Charles County Historical Society).

[17] Hurley, “Samuel Cox”.

[18] “Mary Ann Cox Obituary,” Alexandria Gazette (Alexandria, VA), February 9, 1856.

[19] Hurley, “Samuel Cox”.

[20] Registry, Rich Hill Farms.

[21] Michael W. Kauffman, American Brutus: John Wilkes Booth and the Lincoln Conspiracies (New York: Random House, 2004), 250.

[22] David Taylor, “The Name Game,” BoothieBarn.com. August 24, 2013. https://boothiebarn.com/2013/08/24/the-name-game/

[23] Cox, Letter to Mrs. B. T. Johnson.

[24] Osborn H. Oldroyd, The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln (Washington, D.C.: O. H. Oldroyd, 1901), 267.

[25] Cox, Letter to Mrs. B. T. Johnson.

[26] Samuel Cox, Letter to Mrs. W. A. Cox, May 21, 1865, James O. Hall Research Center.

[27] George Alfred Townsend, “How Wilkes Booth Crossed the Potomac,” Century Magazine, April 1884, 827.

[28] Report of the Twelfth Annual Meeting of the Maryland State Bar Association held at Ocean City, Maryland July 3rd – 5th, 1907 (Baltimore, MD: Maryland State Bar Association, 1907), 75.

[29] Rivoire, Tract History.

[30] Registry, Rich Hill Farms


A group called “Friends of Rich Hill” was formed by the Historical Society of Charles County to raise donations for the renovation of Rich Hill. If you are interested, please send your donations to Friends of Rich Hill, P.O. Box 2806, La Plata, MD 20646

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Calendar: April 2015

This month will mark the 150th anniversary of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.  This milestone will be accompanied by MANY events, exhibits, and talks.  I, for one, plan to be very busy during the next few weeks.  Below is just a sampling of some of the more notable Lincoln assassination events that are planned for this historic month.  Take a look at the events below and be sure to visit the Calendar section of this site for a full list of events.

April 2nd:

A Fiendish Assassination” opens at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois

  • In addition to their, “Undying Words” exhibit, the ALPLM in Springfield will debut a new exhibit on the assassination featuring items never before seen by the general public.  The exhibit runs until mid-July. For more information, click here.

April 7th:

Fortunes Fool tiny

Author Terry Alford will give talk on his book, Fortune’s Fool: The Life of John Wilkes Booth, at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.

  • As part of the Archives’ “Noon Book Lectures” series, Dr. Alford will discuss his biography of the assassin.  For more information and to make your free reservation for the event, click here.

April 9th:

The Mystery of Dr. Mudd & John Wilkes Booth” presented by Tom Mudd, a descendant of Dr. Mudd, in East Lansing, Michigan

  • While I don’t always agree with Tom Mudd regarding his descendant’s innocence, it is always a treat to hear him talk about his famous ancestor.  For more information, click here.

April 12th:

Tudor Hall Speech Dave Taylor

“A House Divided: Edwin and John Wilkes Booth” presented by Dave Taylor (Hey, that’s me!) at the Booth family home of Tudor Hall in Bel Air, Maryland

  • I’m honored to be speaking at the home of the Booths about the siblings Edwin and John Wilkes.  If you attend, please come up and say hi after.  For more information, click the image above.

James Swanson, author of the book, Manhunt: The Twelve Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer, will speak at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

  • James Swanson will discuss his own interest and study of Lincoln’s assassination.  For more information, click here.

April 13th:

“Lincoln’s Legacy: An Evening with Doris Kearns Goodwin” at The Henry Ford in Dearborn, Michigan.

  • Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of Team of Rivals, will discuss Lincoln’s enduring legacy.  In addition, the chair Lincoln was sitting in when he was assassinated, will be put on special display for this event and the following day. For more information, click here.

“Lincoln’s Last Days” debuts on the Smithsonian Channel.

  • At 8 pm EST, Smithsonian Channel will debut its newest documentary about the death of Lincoln.  For more information and additional showtimes, click here.

April 14th:

“Horror! Horror! Most Dreadful News!: The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln” presented by Scott Schroeder in Bloomington, Indiana

  • While they are many talks planned in Indiana on April 14th (check out the Calendar page for a full listing), if you are in the Midwest, I highly recommend you attend this one by Scott Schroeder.  This is the first of three lectures Scott will give on the subject of Lincoln’s assassination which shows his deep familiarity and knowledge on the subject. For more information, click here.

Lincoln’s Last Hours at the National Museum of Health and Medicine in Silver Spring, Maryland

  • The NMHM is planning an open house and several commemorative events for April 14th and 15th.  For more information, click here.

fords-150-remembering-lincoln

The Lincoln Tribute at Ford’s Theatre

The entire Ford’s Theatre campus will be bustling with activity for a 36 hour period between April 14th and 15th.  Reenactors in period garb will be out on 10th St. discussing the end of the Civil War and the hopes of reconciliation under President Lincoln. Those hopes will be shattered upon the “news” of Lincoln’s assassination and the night’s deathwatch.  In addition to this free and public reenactment, several ticketed events will occur that night:

“A Vigil for President Lincoln (An Evening of Readings)” at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, IL

  • In addition to the many wonderful exhibits the ALPLM in putting on in recognition of the Lincoln 150th, they will be presenting an evening’s vigil for the President.  For more information, click here.

April 15th:

7:22 am Wreath Laying Ceremony at the Petersen House in Washington, D.C.

  • Each year, the National Park Service honors Lincoln’s memory by laying a wreath at the Petersen House, when Lincoln died.  This year’s ceremony will be accompanied by the church bells of Washington ringing out in memory of our fallen leader.

April 16th:

Author Harold Holzer will give talk on his book, President Lincoln Assassinated!!: The Firsthand Story of the Murder, Manhunt, Trial, and Mourning, at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.

  • As part of the Archives’ “Noon Book Lectures” series, Harold Holzer will discuss his book.  For more information and to make your free reservation for the event, click here.

April 17th:

American Civil War Roundtable (UK) Conference featuring author, Michael Kauffman

  • Residents of the United Kingdom aren’t being left out of all the Lincoln assassination events.  Michael Kauffman, author of American Brutus: John Wilkes Booth and the Lincoln Conspiracies, will be giving two speeches at the ACWRT’s Conference in Ascot, Berkshire, England.  For more information on this three day conference, click here.

April 17th – 19th:

Charles County Lincoln 150

Lincoln 150: On the Trail of the Assassin in Charles County, Maryland

During this weekend long commemoration, Charles County will be having many events relating the story of John Wilkes Booth’s escape through Charles County.  The events include:

  • An Evening of Civil War Music and Words at the College of Southern Maryland in La Plata, MD
  • A Global View of The Escape at James E. Richmond Science Center in Waldorf, MD
  • Lincoln 150 – On the Trail of the Assassin at the Dr. Samuel A. Mudd House in Waldorf, MD
  • Villains, Rebels & Rogues at Rich Hill, the home of Samuel Cox, in Bel Alton, MD (I, Dave Taylor, will be giving tours and talks here)
  • Conspiracy – The Talk of Port Tobacco in Port Tobacco, MD

Here’s a commercial and an interview I did with the Charles County Government about the event and my interest in John Wilkes Booth:

For more information about the Charles County Lincoln 150, click here.

April 20th:

“The President is Shot! The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the Hunt for his Assassin” presented by Geoff Elliot in Loudonville, Ohio

  • Geoff Elliot runs the Abraham Lincoln Blog and has a large following on Twittter as @Mr_Lincoln. For more information on his speech, click here.

April 23rd:

“Horror! Horror! Most Dreadful News!: The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln” presented by Scott Schroeder in Crawfordsville, Indiana

  • Couldn’t attend Scott Schroeder’s speech on the 14th? Here’s your second chance when he speaks at the home of the Lew Wallace, a member of the military commission that tried the Lincoln conspirators.  For more information, click here.

April 24th – 26th:

Caroline County event small

Sesquicentennial Commemoration of the Capture of Lincoln’s Assassin” in Caroline County, Virginia

  • Caroline County, Virginia will commemorate the death of John Wilkes Booth with a weekend long event including a bus tour of Booth’s route through Virginia, a speech by author Terry Alford, and a lunch with Mr. and Mrs Lincoln.  For more information about the three day event, including how to register, click here.

April 25th:

A Walking Tour of Lincoln’s New York Funeral Procession by Richard Sloan in New York City, New York

  • Richard Sloan will present a walking tour of some of the sites Lincoln’s hearse passed in NYC. Reserve your space by contacting the Lincoln Group of New York.

Luther Baker and the Capture of John Wilkes Booth” presented by Steve Miller in Lansing, Michigan

  • Learn about the manhunt and death of Booth by a leading expert on his capture, Steve Miller.  For more information, click here.

April 26th:

“John Wilkes Booth and Tudor Hall” presented by Jim Garrett at the Booth family home of Tudor Hall in Bel Air, Maryland

  • Jim Garrett will provide a wonderful history of Tudor Hall, the home of the illustrious Booth family, and the black sheep of the family, John Wilkes Booth.  For more information, click here.

Garrett Farm Historical Marker Unveiling in Port Royal, Virginia

  • The historic highway marker located at the site of the Garrett farmhouse where John Wilkes Booth died was stolen a few months back.  The Surratt Society raised funds to create a new sign with updated text.  Join us on April 26th at 2:00pm at the Port Royal Museum of American History in Port Royal, Virginia, for the unveiling of the new sign.

Ongoing Events/Exhibits:

Undying Words: Lincoln 1858 – 1865 at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, IL
A Fiendish Assassination at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, IL
Remembering Lincoln at the Illinois State Museum in Springfield, IL
Now He Belongs to the Ages at the Lincoln Heritage Museum in Lincoln, IL
A Nation in Tears: 150 Years after Lincoln’s Death at the University of Illinois’ Rare Book and Manuscript Library in Champaign-Urbana, IL
So Costly a Sacrifice: Lincoln and Loss at the Indiana State Museum in Indianapolis, IN
Autopsy for a Nation: The Death of Abraham Lincoln at the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown, NY
The Attempted Assassination of William Seward at the Seward House in Auburn, NY
Shooting Lincoln at the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, VA
His Wound is Mortal: The Final Hours of President Abraham Lincoln at the National Museum of Health and Medicine in Silver Spring, Maryland
President Lincoln Is Dead: The New York Herald Reports the Assassination at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.
Silent Witnesses: Artifacts of the Lincoln Assassination at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C.
The Full Story: Maryland, The Surratts, and the Crime of the Century at the Surratt House Museum in Clinton, MD
#Todayin1865 tweets from @fordstheatre and @BoothieBarn
Remembering Lincoln a digital archives project by Ford’s Theatre:
https://youtu.be/tl-1M-bTCDI

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New Galleries – Rich Hill and the “Booth” Mummy

Today, I’ve added two new galleries to the Picture Galleries section of the site.

Rich HillThe first is Rich Hill, the home of Samuel Cox in Charles County, MD. Cox was a well-known Confederate sympathizer who held the honorary title of Captain (later Colonel) for commanding a volunteer militia at the start of the Civil War in case Maryland decided to secede from the Union. Booth and Herold made their way to Cox’s plantation after leaving Dr. Mudd’s. Cox gave them food and a chance to rest before having his overseer, Franklin Robey, hide them in a nearby pine thicket. He then sent his adopted son, Samuel Cox, Jr., to retrieve Confederate mail agent Thomas Jones. Jones and Cox were foster brothers and Cox knew he could trust Jones to care for and help the conspirators. Rich Hill still stands today but is in dire need of repair and restoration.

Mummy iconThe second gallery is devoted to the “Booth” mummy.  The mummy is that of Enid, Oklahoma drifter, David E. George who took his own life in 1903.  Before his death, George told residents of Enid that he was actually John Wilkes Booth.  When the news spread, Memphis attorney Finis L. Bates came to identify the body.  Years before in Texas, a man by the name of John St. Helen confided on his assumed deathbed to Bates that he was actually John Wilkes Booth.  St. Helen survived his illness, told his whole tale to Bates, and skipped town shortly thereafter.  Bates came to Enid and identified David E. George as John St. Helen.  The local undertaker embalmed the body and it was a local attraction in Enid for many years.  Bates bought the mummy and had it carted around carnival sideshows to expound his theory (and book) about Booth’s escape.  While not John Wilkes Booth, the George/St. Helen mummy is an interesting piece of pseudo-history all its own.

Click here, or the link at the top of the site, to visit the Picture Galleries see more images of Rich Hill and the “Booth” Mummy.

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