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THE ESCAPE AND DEATH OF JOHN WILKES BOOTH
THE ESCAPE AND DEATH OF JOHN WILKES BOOTH

I BELIEVE HE KILLED LINCOLN - BUT I ALSO THINK HE LIVED FOR MANY YEARS AFTER HE LEFT WWASHINGTON DC AND AFTER HAVING WORKED IN TEXAS HE KILLED HIMSELF IN OKLAHOMA

JOHN WILKES BOOTH

THE STORY
John Wilkes Booth was born May 10, 1838 to one of the United States' most distinguished acting families of the nineteenth century. He was the ninth child of actor Junius Brutus Booth's ten children. At an early age, John showed excellent theatrical potential, but he was always jealous of his brother Edwin's rise as the most acclaimed and foremost actor of the time period. In 1856, John had an unsuccessful acting debut in Baltimore. After his first failure, he decided to play minor roles in Philadelphia until he joined a Shakespearean Acting Company in Richmond, Virginia. Booth was in demand as an actor throughout the Civil War. (Britannica Online)
During the Civil War, Booth was a strong supporter of the South. He was for slavery and was very outspoken about his hatred of President Lincoln. Booth was even a volunteer in the Richmond militia that hanged Abolitionist John Brown in 1859. Starting in the autumn of 1864, Booth began making plans to abduct President Lincoln. After many failed attempts, he became determined to destroy the President at any cost. On April 14, 1865, Booth learned that Lincoln was going to attend the evening performance of Our American Cousin at Ford's Theatre in the Capital. During the third act of the play, Booth entered the box and shot Lincoln through the back of the head. Booth then jumped to the stage, breaking his left leg, and escaped to the alleyway. Lincoln died shortly after seven the next morning. (Britannica Online)
Eleven days after the assassination of Lincoln, Federal troops tracked a man presumed to be Booth to a farm just south of the Rappahannock River in Virginia. Booth was hiding in a tobacco barn with David Herold, another conspirator. Herold gave himself up before the barn could be set on fire by the troops, but Booth would not surrender. After being shot, Booth was carried to the farmhouse porch where he died. The body was identified as that of Booth by a doctor who had previously operated on Booth, and it was then secretly buried, though four years later it was reinterred. (Britannica Online)
Because of the amount of mystery surrounding the autopsy and burial of Booth, some people believed that he did not actually die that night on the farm in Virginia. These people believed that some other man was shot and killed and that the real Booth escaped. There was even further belief that government officials discovered they had killed the wrong man and had elaborately covered up their mistake (Brown).
On January 13, 1903, a man in Enid, Oklahoma, by the name of David E. George died. The last words he spoke were directed to his landlord, Mrs. Harper. To her he confessed that he was John Wilkes Booth. This man had a striking likeness to Booth and also had a similar demeanor of Booth when producing parts of Shakespeare's plays in the saloons. George had also broken his leg just above the ankle years ago just as Booth had when he jumped to the stage after shooting Lincoln. The real Booth was twenty-six years old when he was supposedly killed, but if he had lived he would have been sixty-three in 1902. That was the same age of George as found in some of his papers. George's body was mummified, and a Memphis lawyer, Finis L. Bates, bought the mummy and presented it on the side show circus circuit (Brown). Another story says that a man named John St. Helen from Enid, Oklahoma confessed to his lawyer that he was Booth right before he committed suicide (Dickerson 1993). It is also thought that St. Helen and George are the same man (Did John Wilkes Booth Flee to Granbury page). Whatever the story, one fact remains the same: there was a mummy which possibly could be the body of Booth. There is a slight problem though. The mummy has somehow disappeared, and its whereabouts are not known. The question is: "Was John Wilkes Booth killed eleven days after the assassination of President Lincoln, or did he go on to live another thirty-eight years?"

THE SLEUTHING

If the mummy can be recovered, forensic anthropologists could use modern technology to make comparisons of the mummy with known photographs of Booth. Other anthropologists want to exhume the body thought to have belonged to Booth in order to study it and determine if it is really his (Dickerson 1993). If they are ever able to study this case, the results could be very surprising.
Created by Amber McIlwain

NEW !! FBI FILES ON THE ESCAPE AND DEATH OF JOHN WILKES BOOTH RELEASED UNDER THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT

BOOTH FAMILY PLOT IN BALTIMORE, MARYLAND

Some more links about the escape of John Wilkes Booth and about the Government plot to kill Lincoln.

Post 1865 FOIA files of John W. Booth

History Buff page on the Post-mort Dealings of J.W. Booth -neat site !

The " offical " FBI report on Booth

Interesting Booth Items from the U of Iowa

Nice site about Enid, Ok where Booth killed himself and the story of how he ended up there

route Booth took from Ford's Theather to Garrett Tobacco Farm -pic of his diary

Connections between the Lincoln muder and the murder of John F. Kennedy and how the government - very interesting , but I have seen other connections as well .

Offical Govt report from Garrett's Farm -1865

James William Boyd the man killed at Garrett Farm who the Feds claimed was booth ( note that both men had the initals JWB tatooed on them )and looked alot alike . This was the body buried at the old navy yard in Maryland

Booth in Gradbury Texas - the Mummy connection

More on Booth in Gradbury, Texas

The "offical " version of Booth's last hours and how his body was " identified "

the marriage of John WIlkes Booth in Tennessee

Monument to Corbett the man who is claimed to have killed booth

Pictures from Lincoln's casket and other famus funeral pics - interesting but bloody , Warning : You might find this Disturbing ,proceed at your own account .

Edwin Stanton and the Lincoln Murder

some masonic connections to Lincolns death

SOME NICE SOURCE MATERIAL

Posthumous Reunion: Lincoln Assassination Grave sites