Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Lewis Paine's strange journey

It seems like forever since I posted last and I want to say that I am very sorry for not putting up posts recently. I have been very busy and I have been working over 60hours a week so I get very tired. I recently read another Edward Steer's Jr. book called The Escape and Capture of John Wilkes Booth. I just cannot seem to beat the Lincoln Assassination kick that I am on.

After Lewis Paine was hanged for taking part in the Lincoln Assassination and attempting to murder William H. Seward, his remains had some unique movements. In 1993 Betty Ownsebey wrote a biography of Paine and after reading that book I saw that there was more to Paine then meets the eye. Originally, Powell's body was buried in Georgetown but was later moved to another cemetery in Washington D.C. In 1871 his family made the long journey from Paine's home state of Florida to reclaim his body. They were buried on the family farm until 1879. Eventually, Powell's body was dug up and buried next to his mothers corpse in Geneva, Florida. It was at this point that someone opened his casket and noticed that the body was headless. Apparently the undertake had removed his head and it became part of the Army Medical Museum which was ironically housed in Ford's Theatre. Later research revealed that the skull was given to the Smithsonian Anthropology in 1898 and there it remained until it was rediscovered in 1992. When Smithsonian workers uncovered the skull they noticed a small piece of paper which was with the skull that read "cranium of Payne hung (sic) in Washington, D.C. in 1865 for the attempted assassination of Secretary of State William H. Seward."

After nearly 100 years the skull was given to Paine's descendants in Florida. Lewis Paine's body was dug up once again and the skull was buried with the body. Author Michael Kaufman, who later wrote American Brutus, helped lower the coffin into the grave.

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