Monday, April 28, 2008

John Wilkes Booth Descendants Think He Escaped


History tells us that John Wilkes Booth, the young actor who assassinated Abraham Lincoln, was cornered in a barn near Port Royal, Virginia, and was shot to death on April 26, 1865. Legends have persisted ever since that date that Booth escaped and lived to an old age.

According to an article originally published in the Philadelphia Inquirer and found on azcentral.com, two Booth descendants believe the legends about their infamous ancestor. Now, aided by Booth researchers and historians, the two sisters are close to obtaining DNA tests which just might prove (or not) the legends of Booth's survival to be factual.

Genetic samples purported to be those of Booth are preserved in both Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. and could be compared against those known for sure to be of his brother, the famous actor Edwin Booth. Genetic material from Edwin is preserved in New York, New York.

It should be noted that the overwhelming majority of Lincoln experts don't buy into the theory of Booth's escape, as there is at this point absolutely no proof of any kind to support such a claim. Indeed, Edward Steers Jr., the author of "Blood On The Moon," the definitive study of Lincoln's assassination, doesn't even include this theory of Booth's survival in his latest book, "Lincoln Legends, Myths, Hoaxes, and Confabulations Associated With Our Greatest President."

It will be interesting to find out the results if and when the DNA testing is conducted. Hopefully, it will prove once and for all that John Wilkes Booth was given the ultimate justice for his heinous crime.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

COULD ANYONE TELL ME JW BOOTH'S LINEAGE??? FARTHER BACK THAN HIS MOM AND DAD
DID HE HAVE RELATIVES IN NEW ENGLAND???
MY LINEAGE GOES BACK TO WAITMAN BOOTH AND FURTHER, AM CURIOUS

GMELVIN51@YAHOO.COM

Brandi said...

I was wondering if the results of this test has ever been published? I'm one of those people who's family supposedly has roots to JWB. My great grandmother said that they had a family photo of him in bed as an old man.

Brandi said...

Were the results of this DNA test ever published? I'm one of those people whose families supposedly has roots to JWB. My great grandmother said that he was her..."5th cousin (something removed?)" and that they had a family photo of him in bed as an old man.

Geoffrey M. Elliott said...

Hi Brandi,

Thanks for dropping by. I've not seen the results of such testing, so I have no idea if any have been published or not.

I will say that most serious historians discredit the story that Booth actually escaped and lived to be an old man. All the evidence supports that he was really killed on April 26, 1865 at the barn in Maryland.

I'll be sure to update this article if I ever hear of any results.

Thanks.

 
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