Davy on Spangler

After his capture, David Herold gave a lengthy statement to authorities while imprisoned aboard the monitor Montauk.  He impressively mixed fact with fiction in his attempt to dig himself out of his own grave.  Reading his statement provides a valuable look into the reaction Booth had towards the reports of his actions.  For example, Herold twice recalled that Booth was, “sorry from the bottom of his heart about the sons” of Secretary Seward, which he had heard were killed in the attack upon their father.  Though this proved not to be true both Frederick and Augustus Seward survived their encounter with Powell, Booth seemed to feel remorse over the spilling of innocent blood.

During the interrogation, Davy was shown several photographs and asked to identify the individuals pictured.  After one such photo Davy responded with the following:

“I don’t know him. (After a pause) Yes, I have seen him at Ford’s Theatre.  He was the stage carpenter there, I think.  Mr. Booth had a horse up at the back of Ford’s Theatre, and he loaned it to me.  This carpenter & a boy up there attended to the horse.”

David Herold and Edman Spangler

Later, the questioning returns to this carpenter:

Q. Did you see the carpenter the Friday before you left town?

A. I have not seen that carpenter for I believe six weeks.  I will tell you what Booth did say.  He said there was a man at the theatre that held his horse that he was quite sorry for.

Q.  Did he say what man it was?

A.  He did not say his name, and if I were to hear it, I would know it.  Booth said it might get him into difficulty.

After that, there is no more mention of the Ford’s Theatre carpenter, Edman Spangler.  If Davy is to be believed and Booth actually did express these sentiments about the “difficultly” Spangler might get into for the holding his horse, it certainly places Spangler in a softer light.  Could this statement be another instance of Booth lamenting the plight of the innocent? Or is it one conspirator trying to protect another?  Where do you come down on Edman Spangler’s guilt or innocence?

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Davy on Spangler

  1. Rich Smyth

    What evidence is there that Spangler was involved? Would the person that voted “involved” please tell us why?

  2. Hi Rich. Do you have a copy of Jerry Madonna’s “A Threat to the Republic?” If so, please see p. 135. It is Jerry’s theory that Spangler was assigned to turn off the gas lamps right after the shot was fired. But he failed to do so because his path to the meter box was blocked by Jeannie Gourlay and William Withers who were standing in front it. Thus, he failed in his assignment, and the lights stayed on
    exposing Booth when he was on the stage. A person who accepts Jerry’s theory could easily have voted that Spangler was involved.

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