3 Things You Didn't Know About John Wilkes Booth

I'm currently in the process of developing a Lincoln Assassination walking tour of DC to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the event this coming April. I'm in research mode at the moment and my brain is absorbing all manner of interesting stuff. Here's a few factoids you may not have known about Lincoln's assassin, John Wilkes Booth and his prior connection with Abraham Lincoln...

1. Booth once slept in the very same bed which Lincoln died in. In March of 1865, a fellow actor and colleague of Booth's named Charles Warwick rented a room in the Petersen House - the home across the street from Ford's Theater where Lincoln would ultimately be taken on the night of his death. While visiting Warwick in March, Booth took a nap on the bed where Lincoln would expire a month later on the morning of April 15th, 1865.

Abraham Lincoln died in a bed where Booth had once slept. 

Playbill for The Marble Heart.

2. Booth once performed in front of Abraham Lincoln at Ford's Theater. In 1863, President Lincoln and his wife enjoyed a performance of the play The Marble Heart at Ford's Theater, in which Booth played the villain. A Mrs. Clay attended the theater alongside the Lincolns and noticed that Booth directed several threatening lines directly at the President. She remembered, "Twice, Booth in uttering disagreeable threats in the play came very near and put his finger close to Mr. Lincoln's face. When he came a third time I was impressed by it, and said, 'Mr. Lincoln, he looks as if he meant that for you.' 'Well,' he said, 'he does look pretty sharp at me doesn't he?" The President was reportedly very impressed by Booth's performance. 

3. Booth's brother Edwin once saved the life of Lincoln's son, Robert. Edwin Booth (a Lincoln admirer) was John's older brother, and was among the most preeminent and recognizable stage actors of the age. Sometime between 1863-1864, Edwin rescued Robert Todd Lincoln (eldest son of Abraham) after he fell into the path of an oncoming train. Here is Robert's remembrance of the event,

The incident occurred while a group of passengers were late at night purchasing their sleeping car places from the conductor who stood on the station platform at the entrance of the car. The platform was about the height of the car floor, and there was of course a narrow space between the platform and the car body. There was some crowding, and I happened to be pressed by it against the car body while waiting my turn. In this situation the train began to move, and by the motion I was twisted off my feet, and had dropped somewhat, with feet downward, into the open space, and was personally helpless, when my coat collar was vigorously seized and I was quickly pulled up and out to a secure footing on the platform. Upon turning to thank my rescuer I saw it was Edwin Booth, whose face was of course well known to me, and I expressed my gratitude to him, and in doing so, called him by name.
— Robert Todd Lincoln

Robert Todd Lincoln