Thursday, February 26, 2009
Booth "killed" four people not one
As John Wilkes Booth entered the presidential box on April 14, 1865 he drew his weapon and fired it into the back of Lincolns skull. But history sometimes forgets the that there were three other people sitting in the presidential box. Mary Lincoln suffered from severe depression and it is very likely that her actual death in 1883 was preceded by her actual death on April 15, 1865. When Mr. Lincoln died Mrs Lincoln may have died too. But if we include Mrs. Lincoln in the numbers we have to recall that two more people occupied the presidential box on that April evening.
After shooting Lincoln, Major Henry Rathbone stood up and attempted to subdue the presidential assassin. Booth drew a knife and stabbed Rathbone int he arm and his wife watched helplessly as Rathbone's bled. Booth escaped Rathbones grasp and eventually escaped to Virginia where he was killed on April 26. Rathbone eventually married the woman who accompied him with the Lincolns on July 11, 1867. The couple eventually produced two children and in 1882 Rathbone was appointed U.S. consul to Germany and the family moved the Hamburg, Germany. But Rathbone could not escape the memories of April 14, 1865. A friend later said "I don't think that he ever recovered from the shock of his night in President Lincoln's box, the scene always haunted his mind." On December 23, 1883 Rathbone murdered his wife Clara and their two children were saved when Clara's sister managed to take them away safely. The former major was committed to a mental institution in Germany. There he remained until his death in 1911.