Friday, January 26, 2007

What's the Truth About Booth?

Did John Wilkes Booth escape his pursuers, flee to Colorado, and end up buried in the old Evergreen Cemetery in Leadville? Probably not, but someone was buried there under the name "John Wilkes Booth."

The Leadville JWB, according to accounts, claimed that he was a nephew of the real one. Turns out that the real JWB didn't have any nephews; his sister didn't dare name her children after him (nor did anybody else in the country) and it does seem bizarre that anyone at the time would have even wanted to claim kin with Lincoln's assassin.

What makes it even spookier is that, according to a Leadville historian I spoke with, not one of the "facts" in the Leadville JWB's newspaper obituary turned out to be true. His date of birth, his biography - these were all made up, but by whom? To this day, the story goes that the real Booth descendants won't let their Leadville "relative" be exhumed and examined for DNA evidence, which might answer some questions. [Link]
It's actually not hard to find parents willing to name their kids after an assassin. These people did it. According to this page, Lincoln himself named a child after one.

Note also that JWB did have nephews, including one who came to a tragic end. In fact, this same nephew in 1903 identified a man in Oklahoma—"David E. George"—as his uncle, the escaped assassin.

« Newer Post       Older Post »
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...