Levity

“J. Wilkes Booth. He Will Be Jarred”

On this date, August 17th, in 1903, The Enid Daily Wave newspaper published what I believe is the greatest piece of journalism related to the “Booth mummy” story. Seven months earlier, on January 13, 1903, a house painter and drifter named David E. George died by ingesting poison while staying in a room of the Grand Avenue Hotel in Enid, Oklahoma. Soon thereafter rumors began to circulate that George was actually John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of President Lincoln, having somehow escaped his death at the Garrett farm back in 1865. There is no credible evidence that David E. George was John Wilkes Booth but this piece of western folklore is just one of those fake stories that refuses to die.

Anyway, while waiting on someone to come and take possession of the deceased, David E. George was embalmed by Enid undertaker W. H. Ryan and set up in the shop of his employer, William Penniman. In this way it served as a tourist attraction and a free advertising of the undertaker’s embalming skills. It actually worked, with Ryan being poached by a rival undertaker a year later.

All the time while the George mummy was just hanging out at Penniman’s shop, the question of what the final disposition of the body would be was on the mind of local residents. There were repeated false rumors that government officials, members of the Booth family, or George’s actual relatives were going to show up “any day now” to take possession of the body, but these rumors never panned out.

And so it was that on August 17, 1903, The Enid Daily Wave made the bold announcement that a decision had finally been made on what to do with the body of “John Wilkes Booth”. According to the Wave, since the St. Louis World’s Fair (technically known as the Louisiana Purchase Exposition) was planned for the next year, it had been decided to make the body of “John Wilkes Booth” part of the displays in the Oklahoma pavilion at the fair. But how, might you ask would “Booth” be made to transport to the Fair? Well, like any other preserves, “Booth” was to be jarred:

J. WILKES BOOTH.

Final Disposition Of The Body Decided Upon. It Goes To The World’s Fair,

HE WILL BE JARRED

And Exhibited, The Same As Other Oklahoma Fruit. He Will Wink At The Audiance.

The final disposition of the well preserved remains of J. Wilkes Booth still lying in state, in an Enid morgue has been decided upon. Dr, Eugene Watrous who is one of the designate World’s Fair chemists, has been audthorized to order a preserving jar large enough to hold a man sitting up right. Just as soon as the large clear plate glass jar arrives Booth will be placed in it, in full dress suit, sitting on a chair. The jar will be filled with the same embalming fluid, used in the preservation of fruit, surrounding the body.

A pair of fresh and beautiful jet black eyes will be provided for Booth from which an automatic wire will extend through the cork of the jar down the back way, under the floor, in the Oklahoma World’s fair building, to a point where a button will be placed.

About every fifteen minutes during the fair, or when a large crowd gathers to look at Booth; President Joe Meibergen of the World’s Fair commission will step out, with his right foot over the button. making the following remarks, which he has already committed to memory: – “Ladies and Gentlemen: – you are now gazing on the remains of J. Wilkes Booth, the lawless outlaw who unlawfuly assasinated Abraham Lincoln. A man who has died twice, once in Virgina’ in 1865 and once in Enid, Oklahoma the best town on earth, in January 1903. My fellow countrymen the death of Booth is still in doubt, while he sits upright before you in a large glass jar, apparently dead, yet he seems to be alive. Watch me – by a simple motion of my right arm Mr. Booth will wink and throw his eye to the right or left as I may throw my arm.

Joe touches the button to suit the direction he wishes to make the eyes turn and the astonished crowds leave the Oklahoma building still in doubt as to the death of J. Wilkes Booth.

It is a great scheme. The Wave had no business to give it away, but the people have a right to know what is going on.

Sadly, like so many of the other predictions made by The Enid Daily Wave, the body of David E. George was not jarred nor was he displayed at the St. Louis World’s Fair. In fairness, this whole article was likely intended by the Wave as a joke. Still, I find it amusing to imagine what some of the press reports would have been had the world actually witnessed a shifty eyed “John Wilkes Booth” eyeballing them menacingly from inside a giant Mason jar. Perhaps it would have looked something like this.

Nothing creepy about that at all.

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

John Wilkes Booth’s Crimson Claw!

Our friend and fellow Lincoln assassination researcher, Scott Schroeder, was a recent guest on a podcast that discusses comic books of the horror genre. The subject of Scott’s appearance on Midnight The Podcasting Hour stems from his own interest in depictions of Abraham Lincoln and his assassination in comic books. On the podcast, Scott shared one of the many unique stories he had found that centers around Lincoln and his assassination. Specifically, Scott highlighted a story from a 1972 issue of the analogy Ghosts entitled The Crimson Claw!

the-crimson-claw-page-1 the-crimson-claw-page-2 the-crimson-claw-page-3 the-crimson-claw-page-4

In the podcast, Scott leads a fascinating discussion with the host regarding the almost unbelievable facts behind this work of artistic fiction. The entire podcast is 51 minutes long but Scott doesn’t really start in until the 5:30 mark and his segment ends at 39:30. You can listen to the podcast by clicking here to stream it, or by clicking here to download it.

Scott Schroeder will be speaking more on the topic of the Lincoln assassination in comic books at this year’s annual Surratt Society Conference on April 1, 2017. The conference is put on by the Surratt House Museum and takes place at the Colony South Hotel and Conference Center in Clinton, Maryland. Scott’s speech topic perfectly fits my description of the event as Boothie Comic-Con. The conference is a wonderful way to learn more about the Lincoln assassination and meet others who share an interest in the history. Please visit the Surratt House Museum website for information on how to register. I will be joining Scott as a presenter at this year’s conference, so I hope you’ll be able join us.

I want to thank Scott for his kind references to BoothieBarn and Roger Norton’s Lincoln Discussion Symposium during the podcast.

To tide you all over until Scott’s speech in April, here is a far inferior post I put up a few years ago about some of the other depictions of The Lincoln Assassination in Comic Books.

Categories: History, Levity | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

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

The Boston Corbett Supper Club

I stumbled across this oddity on eBay tonight. It is a menu from a restaurant called the Boston Corbett Supper Club.

Boston Corbett Supper Club Menu 1

Boston Corbett Supper Club Menu 2

The menu features a drawing of the avenger of Lincoln on the front and, on the inside, a few of the menu items are named after the famous sergeant from the 16th NY Cavalry. Corbett’s honorary dishes include a salad called the Boston Corbett Special containing a variety of cut vegetables, perhaps alluding to Corbett’s expertise with sharp blades. The Boston Corbett Quiche is “baked in a delicate crust” not unlike Corbett’s delicate mind. And under the heading of “Boston Corbett Favorites” is what must be the sergeant’s signature dish, Chicken Corbett, which is “broiled to a golden brown” not unlike John Wilkes Booth in the Garrett barn.

The rear of the menu contains a short biography of Boston Corbett’s life.

Boston Corbett Supper Club Menu 3Noticeably missing from this brief biography is any mention of Corbett’s paranoia induced nervous breakdown in 1887 in which he made threats and waved a gun at representatives in the Kansas state house. For this mania he was committed to an asylum before managing to escape into oblivion.

After a little searching, I found that the Boston Corbett Supper Club had been located in Concordia, Kansas. Starting in 1878, Boston Corbett resided just north of Concordia in a dugout structure built into a hill. I drove out to Corbett’s dugout home, visiting other sites along the way, last summer. You can see my images and videos from that trip here.

The Boston Corbett Supper Club was used as a venue for wedding rehearsal dinners and receptions in the Concordia area and even supported Concordia’s annual 4th of July fireworks display. Unfortunately, a supper club based around the brave avenger of Lincoln who was also a partially crazed eunuch couldn’t make ends meet and so “Providence directed” it to close in the early 1990’s.

Though we missed out on our chance to dine at the Boston Corbett Supper Club, its menu has me thinking about opening my own Lincoln assassination restaurant in the future. For possible dishes I’ve thought of: Our American Couscous, Sic Semper Tilapia, Seward Skewers, George’s Beer-Battered Yellow Croaker, Physician’s Pie a la Mudd, and John Wilkes Bologna Sandwich.

Let me know your ideas for menu items in the comments below.

Categories: History, Levity | Tags: , , | 10 Comments

Mudd and a Broken Leg

In the “Weird Coincidence” file of Lincoln assassination trivia, we find this little gem.

In 1868, a horse fell on, and broke, the leg of James Mudd, the brother of Dr. Samuel Mudd:

James Mudd suffers a broken leg 1868

Since his brother was serving a life sentence at Fort Jefferson at the time for the assistance he gave to another man with a broken leg, James Mudd had to seek medical help from a different local doctor, Dr. William Boarman (misspelled as “Bowman” in the article).

Setting James’ broken leg was the second piece of assistance that Dr. Boarman provided to the Mudd family. In 1865, he had testified on Dr. Mudd’s behalf at the trial of the conspirators. Dr. Boarman testified about meeting John Wilkes Booth at St. Mary’s Church in November of 1864 and that the actor told him he was in the area looking for land to purchase. We know now that Booth’s true purpose was to scout the escape route for his abduction plan and to recruit conspirators in Southern Maryland. Perhaps if Dr. Mudd had turned John Wilkes Booth down, the actor might have confided his plans to Dr. Boarman instead. All of this is to say that Dr. Boarman probably had no qualms about treating James Mudd while the latter’s brother was in prison. Considering the trouble Boarman might have been in had Dr. Mudd not welcomed John Wilkes Booth into his home, setting Mudd’s leg was a far favorable alternative. Or, to say it another way:

Mudd and Boarman

Categories: History, Levity | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Boothie Wonderland

With the holidays upon us, it’s time once again for our annual tradition of revising a classic Christmas Carol into a Lincoln assassination themed Boothie Carol. This year’s song is a remixed version of the classic, “Winter Wonderland”. I hope you all enjoy it in the humorous manner in which it is intended.

Boothiewonderland

Boothie Wonderland

As sung to, “Winter Wonderland”

A gun shot rings, are you listenin’?
In the lane, an assassin’s blitzin’
A terrible sight,
He slips through the night.
Fleeing in a Boothie Wonderland.

Far away, is his young guide,
“Old King Lincoln, has now died.”
They reflect on his deeds,
While exhausting their steeds.
Fleeing in a Boothie Wonderland.

At Surratt House they can get some whiskey,
From a man who’s had too much, himself.

Then they’ll find a doc who’ll fix him for free,
And later say he was dressed like an elf.

Later on, they’ll get tired,
As they wait, without a fire.
They’ll be dirty and bleak,
Waiting almost a week,
To go Boating in a Boothie Wonderland.

In Port Conway, they will meet three draftees,
Of the cause that Booth hoped to revive.
They lead them to the Garretts’ who were quite pleased,
To aid Booth, a wounded soldier in disguise.

But they’re found, ain’t it thrillin’?
With smoke and fire, the barn is fillin’.
The guide will bail out,
His master will pout.
Shot in a Boothie Wonderland

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

Categories: Levity | Tags: , | 6 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

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What’s Missing B:

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What’s Missing C:

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:

What's Missing H

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What’s Missing I:

What's Missing I

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What’s Missing J:

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:

What's Missing T

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

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

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