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Friday, March 14, 2014

Did You Know? Part 3- Odd Booth-Lincoln Story

     This is a story about just how different siblings can be from one another, and just how small of a world we live in. We all know the name John Wilkes Booth, the famous, or should I say infamous assassin who shot President Abraham Lincoln at Fords Theater in Washington D.C. in April 1865. But did you know that John Wilkes Booth had a brother who was also an actor of high standing? Indeed the Booth brothers were two of the most famous actors of the 1860's in America with the older brother Edwin Booth being renown for his parts in the tragedies of Shakespeare.

    A few months before Lincoln was assassinated by his younger brother John, Edwin Booth actually happened to save the life of Abraham Lincoln's son Robert Todd Lincoln.  The two men were at a train station. The rail car floor was even with the train station platform but there was a gap between the two. When the crowd began to push forward, Robert Todd Lincoln was pushed off balance and fell in between the rail car and the station platform, but an article of clothing snagged so he did not fall all the way. Had no one seen him fall he would have been smashed to death by the train as it passed by the platform. Edwin Booth however saw this happen and rushed over and lifted Robert Todd up and to safety in the nick of time. He had no idea the man he saved was the son of the president of the United States until months later when Robert Todd Lincoln, who was serving on the staff of General and future president Ulysses S. Grant, told the story to a friend of Edwin Booth. That friend wrote Booth a letter congratulating him on saving Robert Todd. It seems that Robert Todd knew who had saved him right away, recognizing the famous actor, and told the story to help assuage the anger many felt at the Booth family following the assassination of his father. Booth, who was haunted and deeply shaken by what his brother John had done, found comfort that he had done something to help balance the scales by saving the slain president's son.

   Small world huh?


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