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John Wilkes Booth's Death
- John Wilkes Booth
- May 10, 1838
- April 26, 1865
The life and death of John Wilkes Booth:
He was one of the leading stage actors of his time, a member of a famous family of American actors. But his best-known role was that of the first Presidential assassin in American History.
John Wilkes Booth was born in a four room house in Harford County, Maryland, son of the noted Shakespearian actor, Junius Brutus Booth…
…who arrived in the United States from England in 1821.The future assassin's mother was Mary Ann Holmes.
John made his own stage debut as a 17 year old in 1855 and some theatre critics called him the "handsomest man in America."
But he also had an ugly side, in that he strongly opposed the abolition of slavery as a Confederate sympathizer and he held a deep hatred for President Abraham Lincoln.
His original plan was to kidnap the President. But a few days before his April, 1865 attack, Booth changed his mind and rounded up accomplices to not only kill Lincoln but also
Vice president Andrew Johnson…
…and Secretary of State William Seward…
…who famously bought Alaska for the U.S. from Russia.
Even though Robert E. Lee had already surrendered, Booth figured the Civil War hadn't ended because there was still fighting going on.
He's the only one of his team of conspirators to make good on his plan, using this derringer…Booth's weapon.
…to put a bullet in the back of Lincoln's head, while the President sat in a box at Washington D.C's Ford's Theatre.
Seward was stabbed but survived. Johnson was completely spared.
Booth, who broke his leg during his escape from the crime scene…
…made it all the way to Virginia…
…before he was tracked down…
…by Union Army soldiers and was shot when he refused to surrender.
Booth died of his wound.
He was only 26 years old and is buried in an unmarked grave at the Booth family plot at Green Mount Cemetery in Baltimore.