Collaboration in the research community is a truly wonderful thing. I would wager that the best books on any subject share one common trait: a lengthy acknowledgements section. When your subject is as vast and as multifaceted as the Lincoln assassination, it’s impossible to truly go it alone. Thanks to the internet, connections are made between people and facts all the time, expanding our collective knowledge in ways we never thought possible. Some of my proudest moments have been when this blog has able to facilitate a discussion that has changed our understanding of event (like when we determined that conspirator George Atzerodt is NOT buried under the name “Gottlieb Taubert” in St. Paul’s Cemetery as was previously thought). Therefore it is always a highlight to receive an email out of the blue from someone who has found a valuable piece of information and wants to share it.
Amelia Portia Adelaide Booth was the first child of Junius Brutus Booth and his first wife, Marie Christine Adelaide Delannoy. While this should conceivably mean she was the first child born to Junius Brutus Booth (the man who would later sire the assassin, John Wilkes Booth) this is probably not the case. Prior to his introduction to Adelaide the young and amorous Junius was not once, but twice sued for paternity in London courts. Junius’ propensity for passion even prevents Amelia from being accurately described as his first legitimate child. He married Adelaide Delannoy on May 8th, 1815 but Amelia was born not even five months later on October 5th. As an aside this means that out of the 12 children sired by Junius Brutus Booth (plus two more if the above mentioned paternity suits are accurate), only one could truly be considered legitimate. All of his children with Mary Ann Holmes were born out of wedlock since he was still married to Adelaide at the time. This leaves his second son with Adelaide, Richard, his sole legitimate heir.
I have mentioned Amelia Portia Booth a couple times here and there especially in reference to her father’s early life. In one post I lamented that so little was known about her since she died in infancy. Even the date of her death was unknown to me. However, thanks to a generous email from a fellow researcher we now have an exact date of death for Junius’ little girl.
According to the England & Wales Non-Conformist and Non-Parochial Registers accessed via Ancestry.com, an “Amelia Booth” died on July 7th, 1816 at the age of 9 months. Her parish is recorded as St. George’s, Bloomsbury which is the same parish she was baptized in.
The benefactor of this information is New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Chiaverini who has written several novels including Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker and Mrs. Lincoln’s Rival. She stumbled across my page and this piece of information while conducting research for a future novel she is working on which will include the Booth family. My deepest thanks go to Ms. Chiaverini for sharing this discovery with us.
England & Wales Non-Conformist and Non-Parochial Registers accessed via Ancestry.com