The Lincoln Assassination on this Day (September 26 – October 2)

Taking inspiration from one of my favorite books, John Wilkes Booth: Day by Day by Art Loux, I’m documenting a different Lincoln assassination or Booth family event each day on my Twitter account. In addition to my daily #OTD (On This Day) tweets, each Sunday I’ll be posting them here for the past week. If you click on any of the pictures in the tweet, it will take you to its individual tweet page on Twitter where you can click to make the images larger and easier to see. Since Twitter limits the number of characters you can type in a tweet, I often include text boxes as pictures to provide more information. I hope you enjoy reading about the different events that happened over the last week.

NOTE: After weeks of creating posts with multiple embedded tweets, this site’s homepage now tends to crash from trying to load all the different posts with all the different tweets at once. So, to help fix this, I’ve made it so that those viewing this post on the main page have to click the “Continue Reading” button below to load the full post with tweets. Even after you open the post in a separate page, it may still take awhile for the tweets to load completely. Using the Chrome browser seems to be the best way to view the tweets, but may still take a second to switch from just text to the whole tweet with pictures.

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Categories: History, OTD | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Lincoln Assassination on this Day (September 12 – September 25)

Taking inspiration from one of my favorite books, John Wilkes Booth: Day by Day by Art Loux, I’m documenting a different Lincoln assassination or Booth family event each day on my Twitter account. In addition to my daily #OTD (On This Day) tweets, each Sunday I’ll be posting them here for the past week. If you click on any of the pictures in the tweet, it will take you to its individual tweet page on Twitter where you can click to make the images larger and easier to see. Since Twitter limits the number of characters you can type in a tweet, I often include text boxes as pictures to provide more information. I hope you enjoy reading about the different events that happened over the last week.

NOTE: After weeks of creating posts with multiple embedded tweets, this site’s homepage now tends to crash from trying to load all the different posts with all the different tweets at once. So, to help fix this, I’ve made it so that those viewing this post on the main page have to click the “Continue Reading” button below to load the full post with tweets. Even after you open the post in a separate page, it may still take awhile for the tweets to load completely. Using the Chrome browser seems to be the best way to view the tweets, but may still take a second to switch from just text to the whole tweet with pictures.

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The Lincoln Assassination on this Day (September 5 – September 11)

Taking inspiration from one of my favorite books, John Wilkes Booth: Day by Day by Art Loux, I’m documenting a different Lincoln assassination or Booth family event each day on my Twitter account. In addition to my daily #OTD (On This Day) tweets, each Sunday I’ll be posting them here for the past week. If you click on any of the pictures in the tweet, it will take you to its individual tweet page on Twitter where you can click to make the images larger and easier to see. Since Twitter limits the number of characters you can type in a tweet, I often include text boxes as pictures to provide more information. I hope you enjoy reading about the different events that happened over the last week.

NOTE: After weeks of creating posts with multiple embedded tweets, this site’s homepage now tends to crash from trying to load all the different posts with all the different tweets at once. So, to help fix this, I’ve made it so that those viewing this post on the main page have to click the “Continue Reading” button below to load the full post with tweets. Even after you open the post in a separate page, it may still take awhile for the tweets to load completely. Using the Chrome browser seems to be the best way to view the tweets, but may still take a second to switch from just text to the whole tweet with pictures.

Continue reading

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The Lincoln Assassination on this Day (August 22 – September 4)

Taking inspiration from one of my favorite books, John Wilkes Booth: Day by Day by Art Loux, I’m documenting a different Lincoln assassination or Booth family event each day on my Twitter account. In addition to my daily #OTD (On This Day) tweets, each Sunday I’ll be posting them here for the past week. If you click on any of the pictures in the tweet, it will take you to its individual tweet page on Twitter where you can click to make the images larger and easier to see. Since Twitter limits the number of characters you can type in a tweet, I often include text boxes as pictures to provide more information. I hope you enjoy reading about the different events that happened over the last week.

NOTE: After weeks of creating posts with multiple embedded tweets, this site’s homepage now tends to crash from trying to load all the different posts with all the different tweets at once. So, to help fix this, I’ve made it so that those viewing this post on the main page have to click the “Continue Reading” button below to load the full post with tweets. Even after you open the post in a separate page, it may still take awhile for the tweets to load completely. Using the Chrome browser seems to be the best way to view the tweets, but may still take a second to switch from just text to the whole tweet with pictures.

Continue reading

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“Farewell to Ford’s – and welcome Ford’s again”

On this date, August 27, 1863, John T. Ford reopened his namesake theater in Washington, D.C. About 8 months earlier, Ford’s Theatre had suffered a terrible fire that had completely gutted the original building. Despite the difficulties of raising funds in the midst of the Civil War, Ford was determined not to give up on his D.C. location and decided to rebuild. But rather than just rebuilding the theater to what it was previously, Ford wanted the new iteration of his theater to be even better than before. This was relatively easy to do since the first version of Ford’s Theatre was a remodeled Baptist church building. Functional enough for the role of a theater, but it had not been designed for the part. Ford spared no expense on his new custom theater, selling stock certificates like the one below to help raise the over $75,000 he needed to rebuild his dream.

The architect of the new theater was James J. Gifford, the same man who had constructed the Booth family home of Tudor Hall back in the early 1850s. There were many delays with construction due to issues with the foundation and a shortage of bricks in wartime Washington. When the building did open on this day, the exterior was still a bit incomplete. The interior, however, was finished and well designed for the viewing public. The acoustics had been improved so that each seat allowed for the best hearing of the actors on stage. The new theater had updated ventilation to help bring in fresh air and the interior ceiling was beautifully painted, resembling a dome. The expanded theater bore three different levels of seats. The main floor and second floor balcony both had moveable wooden chairs with cane seats, while the third level, dubbed the family circle, contained long wooden benches. In all the theater could hold approximately 2,500 patrons. For reference, Ford’s Theatre only has 665 seats today so those 2,500 patrons would have really been squished in there by modern standards (and fire codes).

Photograph taken of the interior of Ford’s Theatre after the assassination showing the President’s box and the three audience tiers.

When the doors opened on this day for the debut performance inside Ford’s New Theatre, the public was enraptured. John T. Ford had gone all out for his grand re-opening. The piece performed was a play called The Naiad Queen, which was more a grand spectacle than a traditional play. The sets were large and beautifully decorated. There were gorgeously painted backdrops. The costumes were lavish and glittery and the performance contained lively music throughout. Think the Disney movie, Fantasia, and you’ll have a sense of what Ford decided to start off with. It really was the perfect show to draw people and in and make them admire this brand new temple to the arts.

Yet, before all that “dazzling splendor of effect” took place, Ford arranged for the evening to begin with the reading of a dramatic poem to christen this new theater. The poem was written by Thomas Seaton Donoho, a local D.C. journalist and poet.

While it was originally expected that the poem would be read by one of the ladies of the cast, it was eventually decided the honor of reciting the first words on the brand new stage would go to actor James A. Herne, one of the promising newcomers to Ford’s company. While parts of the poem, especially its opening lines, can be found in newspaper articles covering the grand opening and elsewhere, as far as I can tell, the full poem has never been transcribed before. An original, handwritten copy of the entire Donoho poem is held in the John T. Ford Papers at the Library of Congress – which I photographed a few years ago. For the anniversary of Ford’s reopening, I thought I’d provide the full poem below. As you read it, take note of the part where Donoho references some of the great actors who graced the D.C. stages in the past, and the great performances that are still to come in this new theater. You’ll see a familiar name.

“Address
For the Opening of Ford’s Theatre, Washinton
August ___, 1863
Spoken by Miss ____ ______.

I.
As from the ashes Cinderella rose,
Rise we, all radiant from our night of woes,
That starry night, which, suddenly, became
Black with vast clouds and terrible with flame;
And you, dear Friends, and we who tread the boards,
Gave one long sigh, and said: “Farewell to Ford’s!”

II.
“Farewell to Ford’s” – and welcome Ford’s again:
A nobler Palace for the Muses’ reign!
May Beauty’s smile, and Man’s approval, grace,
And happier fortune crown, our brave new place!

III.
“New Place!” The term came surely not by chance:
It bears an omen of significance;
For Shakespeare thus his home at Stratford named:
And our New Place, for his sake, shall be famed!

IV.
Shakespeare! That magic name we ever speak
With love on lip, joy on the kindling cheek,
Pride in the eye, and wonder on the brow:
What may the Past, what may the boastful Now,
Inscribe above it? To our fathers’ Isle,
From this wild shore, there was a chain erewhile,
And Shakespeare was our brother. That Debate
Which broke the chain, and formed our Starry State,
Even among its awful questions, gave
Grandeur to this: “Our liberty we save –
Our home – but lose our Shakespeare!” Was he lost?
No! in our hearts, however tempest-tost,
We bore him, till the storm awoke no more,
Then said: “We were a few, who loved before –
Lo! a New World, to love thee, gentle brother,
With a full reverence, loyal as the other

V.
So the chain binds us yet, in war’s despite,
A stronger chain, electric, golden, bright:
And we, the living forms of Shakespeare’s dream,
Touched by his wand, become things we seem.
We seek his very depths, else seldom sought,
And are the active Ariels of his thought,
Proud, while the wanderings of his worth we trace,
To lure, delight, instruct the human race!

VI.
All joys that cheer, all griefs that storm, the heart,
Find on the Stage their careful counterpart.
All nations walk on this enchanted ground,
All ages move in this mysterious round.
Time’s breathing panorama is unrolled
To music, and its wondrous history told,
With such impressiveness, that printed book,
Painting on wall, or statue in its nook,
Fades into air: for we, at once, maintain
Dominion o’er the eyes, ears, heart and brain!

VII.
Is there, to-night, amid our goodly show,
One who remembers, many years ago,
The Stage, in Washington? There is, no doubt:
Guide me, O Fortune! Till I find him out!
Surely I see him there – and there – and there:
I know him by the thoughts his eyes declare –
Those restless eyes, that glance from roof to floor,
Box to Parquette, and o’er, and o’er, and o’er!
What visions rise and flit along his mind!
The Present dazzling so, he scarce can find
The pictures of the Past –  and yet the Past
To him was dear, and shall be, to the last!

VIII.
What though the old-time Theatre was small,
And long-wick’d candles dozed on stage and wall –
Those sombre meteors, duly snuffed, between
The falling curtain and the opening scene:
What though the rival pit and gallery strove,
As once the gods with “cloud-compelling love:”
Yet, on that dim stage, Falstaff Warren strode,
Called for his “sack”, and, bullying, “took the road:”
Here, Jefferson, the genial, good old man,
Raised mirth so high that all to tears it ran:
Here, Booth, swift darting from his haunted tent,
His soul’s mad terror to our own souls sent:
Then Forrest, in his early glow of fame,
Armed cap-à-pé, at once a conqueror came,
And still to conquer: Charlotte Cushman, then,
Appeared – not walked – within the witch’s glen;
So startling, every motion, look and tone,
We saw, we heard Meg Merrilies alone!

IX.
Such are your thoughts, dear friend of other days:
The Past deserved, and shall receive, our praise,
Even as your own; but glory lingers yet,
Though the long triumph of the sun be set.
Forrest and Cushman still resplendent shine:
For them may happy years their chaplets twine!
Your grand King Richard, true, has ceased to reign:
His sons survive – he lives in them again!
While Hacket, valorous Falstaff, fat and witty,
Like Warren walks, and shakes your ponderous City!
These come, and many – far beyond my rhymes –
To make the present, soon, “the good old times!”

X.
But I forget: – We have a play, to-night.
All who are here, low bending, we invite
To see it through: To all whom you may bring
Hereafter, will we say – some equal thing,
And do, whatever of the best we may,
To win your favor for ourselves and play!

XI.
Now – and herewith our small oration ends –
Long Live the Drama, and the Drama’s Friends!

Thomas S. Donoho
Washington City,
D.C.”

Did you catch the references I mentioned? In stanza 8, Donoho writes, “Here, Booth, swift darting from his haunted tent, His soul’s mad terror to our own souls sent”. This line is about the acting of Junius Brutus Booth, Sr., in the role of Richard III. The elder Booth was known for his authentically terrifying portrayals of Richard and the way in which he embodied the mad king. Donoho recalls that some of the legends still remain but Junius Brutus Booth is not one of them, he having died in 1852. However, the loss of Junius does not mean the end of his dynastic power. As Donoho writes in stanza 9, “Your grand King Richard, true, has ceased to reign: His sons survive – he lives in them again!” The sons of “King Richard” are Junius’ three sons who followed him into acting and carry on his spark. While Junius, Jr. was a decent actor, he never really took to the part of Richard III. Edwin, too, was far better suited for the brooding Hamlet and only received modest praise for his attempts at the Duke of Gloucester. In truth, the only Booth son whose Richard III emulated his father’s was John Wilkes Booth. Wilkes played Richard III more often than any other character during his career for a total of 114 times during his four years as a star performer. While the different talents of Junius, Sr. were spread amongst all of his children, Wilkes was the only true successor to his father’s Richard.

I find it a strange twist of fate that John Wilkes Booth is obliquely referenced in the first words spoken on the stage of the restored Ford’s Theatre. In Dec. of 1862, Ford’s had suffered a disaster that nearly destroyed everything. And here, when the building finally reopened, the first speech uttered on stage references the man who will cause them (and the entire country) another disaster.

The first time a fire struck, it took eight months for John T. Ford to pick up the burned pieces of his theater and rebuild. After the inferno that is John Wilkes Booth burns itself out, however, it will take decades for the country to rebuild and Ford’s Theatre won’t see another play performed on its stage for almost 103 years.

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

Last 12 Hours of the Silent Auction!

Thank you to everyone who has taken an interest in my silent auction of Lincoln and assassination items. I wasn’t sure how many people would bid in this different style of auction but it seems to be working really well. I’m excited these items are going to find new homes with fellow history buffs who will appreciate them.

If there is something in the auction that catches your eye, we are down to the last 12 hours for you to bid on it! All lots will close at 9:00 pm central time tonight (Friday, August 26, 2022). Each time you submit a bid for a lot it provides a timestamp on the corresponding lot’s high bid sheet and any bids that come in after the end of the auction will not counted. For you current high bidders, be sure to come back and check on your lots before 9:00 in case someone tries to snipe them away from you in the last minutes.

Remember to check the current bid for each item before you submit your bid and to complete a Bidder Information Sheet one time so that I know how to contact you when the auction is over.

For convenience, here are the lots being offered again, with the current bid prices at the time of this posting at 9:00 am CDT. They may have increased since then.


Images and Documents

Relics and Artifacts

Lot 11: Rich Hill RelicsCurrent Bid: $25

Lot 12: Cleydael RelicsCurrent Bid: $25

Lot 21: Replica DerringerCurrent Bid: $125

Period Newspapers

The auction will close at 9:00 pm central time so get your bids in before it’s too late!

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The Lincoln Assassination on this Day (August 15 – August 21)

Taking inspiration from one of my favorite books, John Wilkes Booth: Day by Day by Art Loux, I’m documenting a different Lincoln assassination or Booth family event each day on my Twitter account. In addition to my daily #OTD (On This Day) tweets, each Sunday I’ll be posting them here for the past week. If you click on any of the pictures in the tweet, it will take you to its individual tweet page on Twitter where you can click to make the images larger and easier to see. Since Twitter limits the number of characters you can type in a tweet, I often include text boxes as pictures to provide more information. I hope you enjoy reading about the different events that happened over the last week.

NOTE: After weeks of creating posts with multiple embedded tweets, this site’s homepage now tends to crash from trying to load all the different posts with all the different tweets at once. So, to help fix this, I’ve made it so that those viewing this post on the main page have to click the “Continue Reading” button below to load the full post with tweets. Even after you open the post in a separate page, it may still take awhile for the tweets to load completely. Using the Chrome browser seems to be the best way to view the tweets, but may still take a second to switch from just text to the whole tweet with pictures.

Continue reading

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

LincolnConspirators.com Silent Auction!

There is something indescribable about being able to put your hands on a piece of history. It is a physical connection with the people and times of the past. Relics have an almost magical way of connecting us to the past in a way that mere words and knowledge cannot. During my trips and adventures in history, I have always sought to find something tangible that I can take home with me in order to help me surround myself in this shared past. I hadn’t realized how much I had taken to collecting until last year, when Jen and my friends helped me pack up my things for my move to Texas. Over my 9 years living in Maryland, I had amassed enough of a collection that we labeled a whole moving box as “Dave’s Bricks and Wood”. Along with these relics, I have also managed to acquire several period newspapers and images connected to the study of Lincoln and his assassination over the years.

Well since that move I’ve gotten married (well actually, Jen and I secretly eloped after two months of dating and then announced the fact via a game at our wedding reception exactly one year later, but that’s another story) and I have settled happily into the life of a family man with my amazing wife and two stepsons. In an effort to raise some money for my family here in Texas, I have decided to auction off a part of my collection.

As many of you know, my career had been that of an elementary school teacher and so you won’t find anything too expensive listed below. I don’t have a piece of Laura Keene’s blood stained dress or a John Wilkes Booth Wanted Poster in my collection. However, I do have a nice selection of photographs, relics, and period newspapers, that I think will appeal to many of you. While I could put this stuff up on eBay and sell things that way, I wanted to offer these relics to an audience who would appreciate and know about them. While others would look at one of my relics and just see a rock, fellow history buffs can appreciate the rarity of a rock from the dugout home in Cloud County, Kansas where Boston Corbett, the slayer of John Wilkes Booth lived. While my goal is, of course, to raise some money to help with bills, I also want to share these unique pieces with others who will appreciate them.

The format of my auction is different than others. I’m not running it through eBay or any auction website. Instead, it is going to take the form of a traditional silent auction as seen at school fundraisers (like I said, my background is that of a teacher). The big difference is that this silent auction will be online and the different bids will be tracked using Google Forms. There are a total of 28 lots for auction and I have created different Google Forms for each one. I invite you to peruse each lot, read its description, and look at the provided pictures. Each lot has a modestly set “Starting Bid” which is listed on the last line of the description.

If you are interested in placing a bid, you can click the hyperlink between the description and the pictures. This will take you to the Google Sheet which contains the current bid for the item. To place your higher bid, simply return to the lot’s Google Form, enter your name and bid at the bottom, and click “Submit”. This will register your bid and the bidding list will be updated so that others can see the new bid. You’ll have to come back to check and see if someone outbids you and, if they do, you can submit a new, higher bid.

If you decide to make a bid, you will also need to fill out a Bidder Information Sheet. This form is for my eyes only and gives me the necessary information I need to contact you at the end of the auction. Without this form, I wouldn’t know how to get in touch with you about your winning bid. You only need to fill out the Bidder Information Sheet once during the auction period. Your personal information will not be shared with anyone.

As of this post’s publication, the auction is open and each lot is now accepting bids! The auction period will close at 9:00 pm central time on Friday, August 26, 2022. Each bid that comes in automatically includes a timestamp and no bids that come in after the posted close of the auction will be accepted. I will then contact the winners to discuss shipping and payment options. Winners will pay their bid plus the USPS shipping cost from Texas to their homes.

If you have any questions, please add them to comments below and I will do my best to answer them ASAP. In the mean time, I invite you to explore each of the items up for bid by clicking the lots below. If you find a lot you are interested in, feel free to put in your bid, and then fill out the Bidder Information Sheet with your information.

Thank you for taking the time to look at the lots. Even if you don’t find anything to bid on, there is still some interesting history contained in each lot’s description. My family and I thank you for your support and consideration.

Happy Bidding!

– Dave (Jen, Atticus, and Noah) Taylor


Remember, while you should come back often to see if you have been outbid on your lot and put in a higher bid, you only have to fill in the Bidder Information Sheet once.

Images and Documents

Relics and Artifacts

Period Newspapers

The auction will close at 9:00 pm central time on Friday, August 26, 2022 so get your bids in before it’s too late.

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

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