Posts Tagged With: Port Tobacco

The Lincoln Assassination On This Day (May 9 – May 15)

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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John M. Lloyd²

Sometimes you go into a research rabbit hole, thinking you’ve found something completely new, only to have it turn out to be nothing. That happen to me over the last few days when, while researching my post on Alexius Thomas, I accidentally stumbled across a newspaper advertisement in the Port Tobacco Times that looked promising.

The name at the top of this advertisement for fertilizer should be familiar to those who study the Lincoln assassination. One of the key witnesses against Mary Surratt at the trial of the conspirators was the renter of her tavern, John Minchin Lloyd. At the trial Lloyd stated, on the day of Lincoln’s assassination, Mrs. Surratt came down to her tavern, gave him a wrapped pair of field glasses, and told him to “have the shooting irons ready” and that a party would call for them that night. Mary Surratt was executed largely due to Lloyd’s testimony.

Lloyd is no stranger to this blog. Back in 2015, I found the homestead Lloyd grew up on in Charles County. John M. Lloyd spent his formative years in the Southern Maryland area and knew the people well. Though he was consistently listed as a brick layer in the census records and city directories of D.C., it seemed perfectly reasonable that he also took up a side job as a fertilizer agent in the post Civil War years. I started the process of tracking his different enterprises, the earliest of which was as a produce agent. Everything seemed to fall into place. Some of the longer advertisements mentioned that Lloyd was a native of Southern Maryland but no longer lived there. He made yearly trips down into Charles and St. Mary’s counties to visit his friends and clients and discusses their fertilizer needs. His advertisements in the Port Tobacco Times ceased in 1890 which seemed to make perfect sense seeing as Lloyd died in 1892 while back at his “day job” as a brick layer and contractor. And finally, one advertisement gave his full name as John Minchin Lloyd, which assuaged my fear that this was a different John M. Lloyd.

I was preparing a whole blog post about John M. Lloyd’s other career in which he was likely Southern Maryland’s leading supplier of guano. For the “John M. Lloyd was guilty and lied about Mary Surratt to save his own hide” crowd, I was ready to cleverly point out that he proved himself to be very good at getting people to “buy his crap”. Everything was ready to go, and then I did one last piece of research in a book that should have been my first source.

The Lloyds of Southern Maryland is a wonderful genealogical record of the Lloyd family. It has about 6 pages in it devoted to John M. Lloyd and was very helpful to me when I was doing research about his early life. When I consulted the book again (fortunately it’s accessible on the Internet Archive for free), I was saddened when I turned to the index to find the right page:

The John M.¹ listed above is “our” John M. Lloyd. The John M.² is his cousin…a successful businessman who specialized in fertilizer (cue sad trombone sound). Yes, it appears that all of the advertisements I had found were for the other John Minchin Lloyd, ten years younger than the drunken tavern keeper who doomed Mrs. Surratt.

Admittedly, I felt silly for not consulting this book first. But confusing the two cousins Lloyd, is an easy enough thing to do since they had the same exact name and grew up in the same area. Even the author of the genealogy book mistakenly associates one of businessman Lloyd’s enterprises to hard-drinking, bricklayer Lloyd.

After the assassination of Lincoln and the trial of the conspirators, John M. Lloyd¹ left the tavern at Surrattsville and returned to Washington. He lived in the District consistently for the rest of his life. While he had been a founding member of the Metropolitan Police Force in the years prior to the Civil War, he did not return to that career. From October of 1865 onward, John M. Lloyd worked as a brick layer and contractor, and that’s it. He was not a produce agent. He didn’t sell fertilizer. He wasn’t the Southern Maryland bat poop king. He was just a brick layer.

That’s not to say that Lloyd was completely off of the radar while living in D.C. with his wife. When John Surratt was brought back to the United States after his escape to Europe, John M. Lloyd testified at his trial as well. After that, Lloyd disappeared for a bit. Then, on one night in 1883, John M. Lloyd discovered that his house was being robbed and he took action:

You’ll notice that the article states that the thief was spattered with blood when he appeared before the judge demonstrating that the ex-cop Lloyd really let him have it. A succeeding article stated that Lloyd’s burglar was sentenced to three years in prison in Concord, New Hampshire, which seems like a pretty severe punishment for the theft of a clock.

John M. Lloyd also popped up again on a slow news day in 1892 when he threw a leap year party for his friends and relatives:

This dance was one of John M. Lloyd’s last, however. Later that year, while working on a construction site, Lloyd suffered a fatal accident. Lloyd, a life long brick layer, found his life ended by a layer of bricks. Years later, his great-niece, Beatrice Petty, recalled her uncle and his unfortunate death.

“I was a small child but remember him quite well. He was a very kindly man, and were were devoted to him; he was a large man and sort of a Santa Claus to all of us. We called him Uncle Lloyd.

He was in the construction business and died of an accident that occurred on one of his building projects. He wasn’t satisfied with some work that had been done and went up on a scaffold to inspect it. Near the other end of the scaffold flooring a load of brick had just been deposited. As he reached the scaffold and stood on it, the boards gave way and he fell to the ground. The bricks tumbling down upon him crushed his head, kidneys, and other parts of his body.”

John M. Lloyd survived a little over a week after his accident but knew his injuries were fatal. He died on December 18, 1892, his 68th birthday. His death certificate lists his cause of death as “cerebro-spinal concussion”.

The Washington papers carried a brief obituary about Lloyd with no mention of his connection the events of 1865.

Papers in other cities, however, spoke of his death only as a means of rehashing his connection to Mrs. Surratt.

After his death, Lloyd was buried in a plot he had owned in Mount Olivet Cemetery since 1865. On his grave was placed a small, marble stone bearing only the words “John M. Lloyd”. Over the years, Lloyd’s grave fell over and was even buried for a time until assassination author Richard Smyth dug it back up one day.

Mount Olivet, a popular cemetery for D.C.’s Catholics, contains the graves of several other people connected to the Lincoln assassination. Thomas Harbin, Detective James McDevitt, Honora Fitzpatrick,and Father Jacob Walter are just a few of the others buried there. The most notable interment in the cemetery, however, is Mary Surratt. She also has a small stone bearing only her name.

I suppose it’s only fitting that John M. Lloyd¹, a man who never sold fertilizer, is now fertilizing the ground about 100 yards away from the woman he helped to condemn.

The Lloyds of Southern Maryland by Daniel B. Lloyd
Newspaper clippings from

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Come See Me: Spring 2017

Spring is the busy season for Lincoln assassination events. 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 I (or some of my 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.

Cost: Dave speech is one 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: for full details and registration information.

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:

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

Description: Dave 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 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 will 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 Dave will be at Rich Hill all day, he’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: 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:
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:
Cost: $25.00 per person. Tickets can be purchased from:

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:
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.

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

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“An Evening with John Wilkes Booth”

On March 3, 2017, I presented at an event for the Friends of Rich Hill and the Society for the Restoration of Port Tobacco. The event venue was the restored Port Tobacco courthouse in Port Tobacco, Maryland. Though Port Tobacco is the former stomping grounds of conspirator George Atzerodt, the subject of this event was the lead assassin, John Wilkes Booth. While I have given speeches about Booth in the past, including my 2016 speech for the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum volunteers, I had never previously attempted to portray John Wilkes Booth in the first person. The event in Port Tobacco, billed as “An Evening with John Wilkes Booth”, was my first attempt at being John Wilkes Booth, rather than just discussing John Wilkes Booth.

The following play is meant to provide an insight into the mind of John Wilkes Booth by utilizing much of his own words and writings. Some of the words said by Booth are uncomfortable to hear, but they are vital if we are to truly understand the world view of Lincoln’s assassin. The video of the performance is embedded below or you can watch it directly on YouTube by clicking here.

EDIT: I just realized that today is the five year anniversary of my very first posting here on BoothieBarn. When I started this site, it was an outlet for me to share some of the interesting things I had learned while researching the Lincoln assassination. I didn’t really know if it would be of interest to anyone other than myself. However, through this site I have made many wonderful friends and have been fortunate enough to speak about John Wilkes Booth and Lincoln’s assassination in several venues. And so after 5 years, 400+ posts and almost 600 followers later, I want to thank you all for your much appreciated support. As long as I keep finding interesting things about the Lincoln assassination to share, I expect posts will continue here on BoothieBarn for many more years to come.

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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.


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:

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New Gallery – Port Tobacco

“Tuesday morning, after my visit to the pine thicket, I rode up to Port Tobacco.

Tuesday was then, as it is now, the day for the transaction of public business in our county. I was therefore likely to meet a good many people in the county-town that day, and bear whatever was going on.

I found the men gathered about in little groups on the square, as men in villages will al ways be found when anything of more than usual interest is engaging public attention. Upon this occasion, of course, they were discussing the assassination, and the probable whereabouts of the assassin. The general impression seemed to be that Booth had not crossed the river.

I mingled with the people and listened till I was satisfied that nothing was positively known. Every expression was merely surmise.

It was while in Port Tobacco that day I made the acquaintance of Captain Williams. He was standing in the bar-room of the old Brawner Hotel (now St. Charles Hotel) in the act of drinking with several gentlemen who were gathered around him, when I entered. Some one introduced me to him and he politely invited me to drink with him. Just as we were about to take the drink, standing with our glasses in our hands, he turned to me and said, ‘I will give one hundred thousand dollars to any one who will give me the information that will lead to Booth’s capture.’

I replied, ‘That is a large sum of money and ought to get him if money can do it.’

In Mr. George Alfred Townsend’s article, ‘How Wilkes Booth Crossed the Potomac’ published in the Century magazine of April, 1884, the author comments upon this offer made in my presence and partly to me, in the following terms: ‘When we consider that the end of the war had come and all the Confederate hopes were blasted and every man’s slave set free, we may reflect upon the fidelity of this poor man whose land was not his own and with inevitable poverty before him perhaps for the rest of bit days,’ etc. It appears from this that Mr. Townsend thinks I deserve some need of praise for not being bribed to betray what I considered a sacred trust. But it seems to me that, had I, for money, betrayed the man whose hand I had taken, whose confidence I had won, and to whom I had promised succor, I would have been, of all traitors, the most abject and despicable. Money won by such vile means would have been accursed and the pale face of the man whose life I had sold, would have haunted me to my grave. True, the hopes of the Confederacy were like autumn leaves when the blast has swept by. True, the little I had accumulated through twenty years of unremitting toil was irrevocably lost. But, thank God, there was something I still possessed — something I still could call my own, and its name was Honor.

In 1889, soon after I was dismissed from the humble position I had held under the Federal Government in the Navy Yard at Washington, I met, for the first time since those memorable and eventful days of which I have been writing. Captain Williams. He was then a detective in Washington City. In the interview I then had with him (a not very accurate account of which was published in the newspapers at the time) Captain Williams told me that that day in Port Tobacco he very strongly suspected I knew more than I was willing to tell. But there was certainly nothing in his manner from which I could have inferred that he was any more suspicious of me than he was of any one else in southern Maryland.” – Thomas Jones from J. Wilkes Booth

Visit the newest Picture Gallery here on BoothieBarn:

Port Tobacco

Port Tobacco weaves in and out of the assassination story.  In the days of the kidnapping plot, John Surratt and Thomas Harbin convinced Port Tobacco-ite Richard Smoot to sell them a boat with which to ferry the abducted President across the Potomac river.  Conspirator George Atzerodt lived, worked, and “married” in Port Tobacco before joining Booth in his plot.  As seen above, Thomas Jones, while hiding Booth and Herold in the pine thicket after the assassination, could have made a fortune in Port Tobacco had he betrayed the pair.  Conspiracy was ripe in Port Tobacco.

You can read more about Port Tobacco’s history as the former county seat of Charles County and it’s involvement in the Lincoln assassination story by visiting these sites:

The Port Tobacco Trail
Port Tobacco Archaeological Project
Society for the Restoration of Port Tobacco

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Chimney House and Atzerodt’s Carriage Shop

Last weekend, in a bit of serendipitous luck, I visited the village of Port Tobacco and saw that the home of Chimney House was having an open house. Oddly enough, I had met the realtors for Chimney House last August while antiquing with Herb Collins in Tappahannock, VA.  Jay and his wife Mary Lilly are not only the realtors for Chimney House, but Mr. Lilly is also the president of the Society for the Restoration of Port Tobacco.  I was invited in by the Lillys and we proceeded to tour the house.  At the end of the day, I was in awe of Chimney House’s size, beauty, and impeccable furnishings.   Here are some of the pictures I took of the of the house:

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Now, Chimney House is more than just a period building in historic Port Tobacco, Maryland.  It also connects to George Atzerodt who made his home and business in Port Tobacco.  In 1857, George Atzerodt and his brother John moved to Port Tobacco and began operating a carriage shop in town.

Atzerodt Carriage Shop Advertisement 1857

When the war came, the brothers closed down the business as John found a job working for the Maryland Provost Marshal as a detective.  Living in Port Tobacco, George found himself in the company of a twice widowed woman by the name of Elizabeth Adams Boswell.  She is better known to assassination historians as Rose Wheeler, an amalgamation of her former husbands’ last names (Charles Wheeler and Henry Rose).  George had one child by Mrs. Wheeler, a girl named Edith.  George and Rose lived together as common law man and wife until George was pulled into Booth’s conspiracy.  Mrs. Wheeler even visited George at the Arsenal Penitentiary before he was executed for his involvement in the tragedy at Washington.

So where does Chimney House play a role?  Well, at one point columnist and author George Alfred Townsend, better known by his nom de plume: GATH, visited and sketched Chimney House in Port Tobacco.  In his sketch of the house, GATH included a small outbuilding near the Chimney House which he attributed to be the Atzerodts’ carriage shop.  With very few others of his day taking an interest in George’s life prior to his non attempt on Andrew  Johnson, GATH’s drawing has been taken as correct.  With Chimney House lasting the tests of time, people could point to the area behind the house as the location of George’s former shop.

GATH's sketch of Chimney House with Atzerodt's carriage shop in the rear

GATH’s sketch of Chimney House with Atzerodt’s carriage shop in the rear

However, between 2007 and 2010 Port Tobacco underwent a major archaeological project funded in part by a $60,000 Preserve America grant from the NPS.  Though no longer updated, the website for the Port Tobacco Archaeological Project has some tremendous information regarding the wonderful work that was done there.  One area that the project leaders wanted to work on was to attempt to find the Atzerodts’ carriage shop.  On a cold December day in 2007, the team made a few shovel test pits (STPs) behind Chimney House looking for evidence of the former carriage shop structure.

That was near the end of the season, and the workers restarted their work in March of 2008.  Here is a report of their efforts:

“Yesterday we set out to finish what we had started. It was warm and sunny so the conditions seemed right. But it did not take us long to realize that the rear yard of the Chimney House is just too marshy for shovel testing to work. Determined, we excavated a few STPs but soon hit wet clays and sands with little soil development above them. The digging was difficult, the screening was difficult, and there just was not enough artifact content to draw any conclusions. We stopped digging and spent a bit of time wondering why anyone would build in this marshy area.”

The archaeological team was starting to have doubts about the long-held “behind Chimney House” theory.  Here’s another look into their thought processes from September of 2008 after still coming up empty behind Chimney House:

“Look at the sketch again. Notice anything else odd about it? In all the photos we have of Chimney House, not one of them has a covered front porch on it or even what appear to be remnants of one. If this sketch was done in 1885 and our earliest photographs of the house are in the early 1900’s (roughly 1910), then it was torn down before. Could this be a journalist’s imagination just trying to make the house look in better condition than it was? Remember that most of Port Tobacco was in shambles after the Civil War as people migrated out of town. Is the repair/paint shop located behind Chimney House?”

With no archaeological evidence to support it, the team did not believe the Atzerodts’ shop was behind Chimney House.  In September of 2010, as the team leader was completing his report for the Preserve America grant, he reported his belief of the true location of the Atzerodts’ carriage shop:

“Today, while working on our final report for the Preserve America grant, which funded our exploration of Civil War era Port Tobacco, I put together several bits of information that resulted in the formulation of a hypothesis: the Atzerodt carriage shop and the house in which George Atzerodt lived with Mrs. Elizabeth Wheeler might have been leased from wheelwright Griffin Carter, and that property lies on the east side of Chapel Point Road, where we have not undertaken any archaeological investigations, directly across from the road that runs west to the courthouse.”

You can read more about his hypothesis here, here, and on page 38 of this.  Here’s an aerial shot showing the area.

Atzerodt's Carriage Shop Theory

The red arrow marks the land behind Chimney House where the team found no evidence of any shops whatsoever.  The green arrow points out the general area where the team leader now suspects George Atzerodt’s shop actually was.

However, even if George’s shop was not behind Chimney House, it is my belief that Rose Wheeler, her daughters including Edith, and maybe even George himself, slept in Chimney House.  Mrs. Wheeler’s maiden name was Boswell.  Her brother, William Boswell, purchased Chimney House in 1859 and it didn’t leave the family until 1904 when it was sold by his daughter.  In the 1870 and 1880 census, one of Mrs. Wheeler’s daughters from her first marriage is living with William Boswell in Chimney House.  To me, it seems reasonable that William Boswell would invite his twice widowed sister and her children to live with him in Chimney House, at least for a while.  Whether he would allow George Atzerodt into his home would be a different matter.

Chimney House is a truly beautiful piece of history in Port Tobacco, and yet another interesting sidebar in the Lincoln assassination story.

Port Tobacco's Chimney House  surrounded by tobacco plants circa 1930

Port Tobacco’s Chimney House surrounded by tobacco plants circa 1930

Port Tobacco Archaeological Project
Society for the Restoration of Port Tobacco
Times of Port Tobacco by John and Roberta Wearmouth
Thomas A. Jones, Chief Agent of the Confederate Secret Service in Maryland by John and Roberta Wearmouth

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Charles County Wanderings

While this post doesn’t contain much in the way of new material or research, I hope the following pictures of assassination related places and things are, nevertheless, enjoyable and informative.

After leaving Spangler’s grave, I continued my trek around Charles County, MD.  My next stop was Rich Hill, the home of Colonel Samuel Cox:

As you can see, Rich Hill is in delapidated condition. Neglect is taking a toll on this historic house.

From Rich Hill, I traveled down the road to the “Pine Thicket”:

Booth and Herold moved around in this pine thicket while Thomas Jones kept them hidden from federal troops. The first place Jones met the pair in the thicket was near an old hollowed out stump that was used as a point for the Confederate mail line. The Collis house was later built on this spot. I drove down the dead end street near these signs and visited the Collis house. Next door to the home I was previously shown to be the Collis house however, there is a house that also looks very similar to the engraving in Thomas Jones’ book:

So at this point I’m not sure where the real Collis house might be. Either way a small part of the pine thicket still exists, right across from the Bel Alton post office.

From here I decided to travel to Port Tobacco to see if I could sneak in a tour of the reconstructed Port Tobacco Courthouse. I passed this sign while heading there:

While the Courthouse building was open, there were many people setting up for a wedding reception so I quickly made my leave:

From Port Tobacco I took a non-Boothie stop to the Thomas Stone National Historic Site. Thomas Stone was a Maryland signer of the Declaration of Independence and his home, Habre-De-Venture, is a National Park. The property is quite beautiful and it was a wonderful day to go walking around their nature trail.

The Stone family cemetery with Habre-De-Venture in the background

I chatted with the NPS ranger in the Thomas Stone visitor’s center for awhile and learned that she was friends of the Wearmouths, authors of Charles County history books. The pair, John and Roberta, wrote many books including ones about Port Tobacco, Thomas Jones and collected abstracts from the Port Tobacco Times newspaper. They had previously run a small antique store out of their home called, “Stone’s Throw”. She called the Wearmouths and I was invited over to see one antique related to a place I had already visited that day. I traveled to the Wearmouth’s house (literally a stone’s throw from the National Park) and chatted briefly with John and Roberta about their books. I was then showed the antique I had heard about, a piece that had once belonged to Samuel Cox, Jr. and was once housed at Rich Hill:

China cabinet owned by Samuel Cox, Jr.

This large, oak, china cabinet with curved glass is circa 1895 and is from Baltimore or D.C. The piece was shipped to Bel Alton on the Baltimore and Potomac Rail Road. The back of the piece is stenciled “S. Cox Bel Alton” to assure correct delivery off of the train. The Wearmouths bought it from an antique dealer who had acquired it from a lady who lived a few doors down from Rich Hill.

After all this I was pretty tired, so my impromptu trip around Charles County, Maryland came to an end.

P.S. Apparently while I was off driving around, you all were visiting my blog.  Today was a record day with over 310 visitors! Thanks!

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