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Did He Go To Hell Or Texas?
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Posted 9/3/09
Did He Go To Hell Or Texas?
By Martha Deeringer



According to most historical accounts, John Wilkes Booth, Abraham Lincoln’s assassin, perished shortly after being shot inside a burning barn in Virginia nearly 150 years ago. But tales of a man resembling Booth pop up in Glen Rose, Texas, and later in Granbury, starting five years after the April 14, 1865, assassination of the president.

Stories of Booth’s alleged miraculous escape are exhumed every few years to play again in the media. Booth, a Shakespearean actor, probably would have loved the attention.

Most historians don’t have a problem with the government’s identification of Booth’s body in 1865. A soldier reportedly shot him silhouetted inside a burning barn at Garrett’s tobacco farm in Virginia on April 26, and he died several hours laters.

But here’s where the details of the accounts begin to diverge. Two lieutenants at the scene said the body was Booth’s, but a sergeant and a trooper stated that the man who died had freckles and red hair and was not Booth.

Booth had a clear complexion and jet-black hair and, as is described in some historical accounts, broke his left leg when his spur caught in a decorative flag as he leapt from the president’s box to the stage at Ford’s Theatre the night he shot Lincoln. In some versions of the story, the man shot to death at Garrett’s farm had a broken right leg. A high degree of secrecy surrounded the hurried autopsy and initial burial in 1865, contributing to the mystery. Ultimately, over the next four years, what most historians say was Booth’s body was twice exhumed and twice reburied.

Meanwhile, in 1870, a handsome, black-haired stranger took a job as a storekeeper in Glen Rose. He also performed in amateur theatrical productions and astounded the residents with his acting skill and knowledge of Shakespeare. The man introduced himself as John St. Helen and had a gimpy left leg. When he discovered a year later that a large wedding was scheduled to take place in Glen Rose attended by many army officers and U.S. marshals, St. Helen quietly departed.

Not long afterward, the man resurfaced in Granbury, where he fell in with a lawyer named Finis L. Bates. In Granbury, St. Helen worked as a bartender in a saloon, but his friend Bates noticed that the man never touched a drop of “demon rum,” or liquor, except on April 14—the anniversary of Lincoln’s assassination—at which time he drank himself into a stupor. The significance of these yearly binges didn’t register with Bates until he was called to St. Helen’s bedside one night where he found his friend desperately ill. A doctor had informed St. Helen that he might not last the night. In weakened whispers the dying man spoke to his friend.

“My name is John Wilkes Booth, and I am the assassin of Abraham Lincoln,” he said. St. Helen’s deathbed proclamation was premature. He recovered.

As soon as he could travel, John St. Helen packed up and left Granbury. Searching St. Helen’s room after his disappearance, Bates reportedly found a Colt single-shot pocket pistol wrapped in the front page of a Washington, D.C., newspaper dated April 15, 1865, which bore the story of Lincoln’s assassination.

In 1903, a house painter named David George committed suicide in Enid, Oklahoma. As one story goes, before his death, he confessed to his landlady, Mrs. E.C. Harper, that he was, in fact, John Wilkes Booth. George was 63, the same age Booth would have been. To make matters more interesting, he had once suffered a broken left leg, improperly set.

When Bates heard of this occurrence, he rushed to Oklahoma and identified the corpse as the man he had known as John St. Helen. Bates took possession of the body and offered it to federal authorities. They weren’t interested.

Did John Wilkes Booth escape arrest and live out the remainder of his life in Texas and Oklahoma? Nate Orlowek, a historian and John Wilkes Booth researcher from Silver Spring, Maryland, believes so.

“There is tremendous physical evidence that proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that John Wilkes Booth, in reality, was not killed by the federal government officers as they claimed,” Orlowek said.

It’s unfortunate that during his wanderings Booth didn’t make it to Hico and hook up with Brushy Bill Roberts, who claimed to be Billy the Kid. Now that would have made a really good story.

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21 / M / who cares?
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Posted 9/3/09
the killer of lincoln? aaah i have nothing to say
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36 / M / Small Wooded town...
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Posted 9/4/09
I already new about this... Really I do not know what you want us to debate about with this thread.
What is it you wish to debate about?
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Posted 9/4/09 , edited 9/4/09
You know what’s funny about this is that there’re all these minor details which don’t match up here, but most historians still accept it and so does the general public. Yet, if a biblical passage forgets or neglects to mention a single bystander in a crowd of people its proof Jesus never existed…. Well, historians don’t buy into that, but the public certainly does. Just goes to show we’re leaving in a world of people desperate for skepticism.

Whatever the case variations in the testimony from one person to the next is actually something historians look for. See, if all the details match up from one person’s account to the next then chances are they made the story up. My dad used to be a police officer, and whenever he arrived at a crime scene his first chore was to investigate what had gone down before he got there.

To do this he would ask the witnesses a series of questions and they would answer. Part of what made this difficult, however, is that there was NEVER a single point in which people agreed about every individual detail. Sometimes, with larger crowds, by the time he got to the last person the story had changed completely.

I’ll give you an example of this from my personal life. The first time I got really beat up was in sixth grade. There was a boy, a lot bigger than me, and I was angry at him. I walked up behind him and jumped so I could reach his head. I punched him in the ear. This was in a class of about thirty.

He turned around and started punching and elbowing my in the face. The teacher who’d stepped out didn’t show up for five minutes. So, for five minutes this guy beat me to the ground and I couldn’t do anything about it. I never got off more than one blow, and nobody ever helped me.

We’re sent to the principal’s office and made to wait. When we’re called in he begins to read to us the witness accounts of the people from before. They agree on the basic idea but there are varying details to a startling degree. Two accounts said I bumped into him and he just started punching me. Two accounts said I was just walking and he turned around and started hitting me. Three accounts said that throughout the fight we were both punching each other. One account claimed that the students pulled him off of me. The account of the girl sitting next to us, only about a foot away, was one of the accounts that said I never hit him. She was right there and still didn’t get the events exactly correct.

Details vary wildly in real historical documents. You have to put the pieces together and figure out what the truth is. Historians are professionals at doing this very thing. So, if most of them agree that it was John Wilkes Booth who was gunned downed after assassinating Lincoln at the Forge Theatre then it probably was.

Concerning the stories of him still being alive…how many Elvis sightings did we have today?

As far as the man calling himself John Wilkes….he committed suicide when he said that. A more logical conclusion would be that he was mentally ill. Might’ve even broken his own leg.
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26 / M / New York City, NY
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Posted 9/4/09
That's like saying Texas and hell are different places.
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25 / M / USA
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Posted 9/4/09
guys don't be talking shit about texas if you've never been to dallas-fort worth or houston.

none of this is really proof... more like speculation. it's possible the government could have just shot some random guy and did a huge cover-up, but i doubt it. it makes no sense for them to have done that.
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Posted 9/5/09

azn099 wrote:

guys don't be talking shit about texas if you've never been to dallas-fort worth or houston.

none of this is really proof... more like speculation. it's possible the government could have just shot some random guy and did a huge cover-up, but i doubt it. it makes no sense for them to have done that.


Houston's like the seventh circle.
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Posted 9/5/09

leviathan343 wrote:


azn099 wrote:

guys don't be talking shit about texas if you've never been to dallas-fort worth or houston.

none of this is really proof... more like speculation. it's possible the government could have just shot some random guy and did a huge cover-up, but i doubt it. it makes no sense for them to have done that.


Houston's like the seventh circle.


you must have visited houston way too long ago.

2009 list of the 25 most dangerous cities in america: http://www.mediatakeout.com/2009/32038-the_most_dangerous_cities_in_america_list_came_out_today__do_you_live_in_one_of_them.html

notice how no city in texas is on the list.
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26 / M / New York City, NY
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Posted 9/5/09

azn099 wrote:


leviathan343 wrote:


azn099 wrote:

guys don't be talking shit about texas if you've never been to dallas-fort worth or houston.

none of this is really proof... more like speculation. it's possible the government could have just shot some random guy and did a huge cover-up, but i doubt it. it makes no sense for them to have done that.


Houston's like the seventh circle.


you must have visited houston way too long ago.

2009 list of the 25 most dangerous cities in america: http://www.mediatakeout.com/2009/32038-the_most_dangerous_cities_in_america_list_came_out_today__do_you_live_in_one_of_them.html

notice how no city in texas is on the list.


Notice how your responses are so serious for the posts.
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Posted 9/5/09

leviathan343 wrote:


azn099 wrote:


leviathan343 wrote:


azn099 wrote:

guys don't be talking shit about texas if you've never been to dallas-fort worth or houston.

none of this is really proof... more like speculation. it's possible the government could have just shot some random guy and did a huge cover-up, but i doubt it. it makes no sense for them to have done that.


Houston's like the seventh circle.


you must have visited houston way too long ago.

2009 list of the 25 most dangerous cities in america: http://www.mediatakeout.com/2009/32038-the_most_dangerous_cities_in_america_list_came_out_today__do_you_live_in_one_of_them.html

notice how no city in texas is on the list.


Notice how your responses are so serious for the posts.


1. this is the extended discussion section.
2. this is the internet. sarcasm doesn't translate over well with text. sorry.
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Posted 9/5/09

azn099 wrote:


leviathan343 wrote:


azn099 wrote:


leviathan343 wrote:


azn099 wrote:

guys don't be talking shit about texas if you've never been to dallas-fort worth or houston.

none of this is really proof... more like speculation. it's possible the government could have just shot some random guy and did a huge cover-up, but i doubt it. it makes no sense for them to have done that.


Houston's like the seventh circle.


you must have visited houston way too long ago.

2009 list of the 25 most dangerous cities in america: http://www.mediatakeout.com/2009/32038-the_most_dangerous_cities_in_america_list_came_out_today__do_you_live_in_one_of_them.html

notice how no city in texas is on the list.


Notice how your responses are so serious for the posts.


1. this is the extended discussion section.
2. this is the internet. sarcasm doesn't translate over well with text. sorry.


This whole topic isn't intellectual. How the hell are we supposed to make an opinion when the article basically decides it for us?
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Posted 9/6/09

leviathan343 wrote:

That's like saying Texas and hell are different places.


Actually, I’d consider Texas one of the best states in America. Their education system isn’t on par with, say, Washington States but it’s still pretty good. Actually, even in Washington we used text-books from Texas. They’ve got plenty of colleges and living is WAY cheaper than it is up north. Crime rates are very low, and while illegal immigrants are a pain in the back side there you can pretty much escape them if you stay out of the rural areas or the “Little Mexico,” areas….


By the way, if you ever get invited to a Mexican birthday party don’t go unless you’ve got like twenty hours of free time and love the living fuck out of fiesta music. I know that sounds racist but: A) I’m speaking from firsthand experience, My Mexican anchor baby friend Alex is the one who invited me to the party because he feels the same way and wanted somebody to escape with…bastard.

Anyway, Texas has a lot that you can't get elsewhere. Course, Washington is still the best state in this country by a long shot, and Pennsylvania’s pretty cool, and California is the edge of the world and all of western civilization... well, it's not in the top ten, but maybe the top twenty? At least in my exp.
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Posted 9/18/09 , edited 9/18/09

azn099 wrote:


leviathan343 wrote:


azn099 wrote:

guys don't be talking shit about texas if you've never been to dallas-fort worth or houston.

none of this is really proof... more like speculation. it's possible the government could have just shot some random guy and did a huge cover-up, but i doubt it. it makes no sense for them to have done that.


Houston's like the seventh circle.


you must have visited houston way too long ago.

2009 list of the 25 most dangerous cities in america: http://www.mediatakeout.com/2009/32038-the_most_dangerous_cities_in_america_list_came_out_today__do_you_live_in_one_of_them.html

notice how no city in texas is on the list.


it does suck to some extent but so does any other place (guess where i ive)
o well its not all bad i live near an arcade lol(guess where my paycheck goes lol)
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Posted 9/20/09 , edited 9/20/09
In 1907, Finis L. Bates wrote Escape and Suicide of John Wilkes Booth, contending that a Booth look-alike was mistakenly killed at the Garrett farm while Booth eluded his pursuers.[157] Booth, said Bates, assumed the pseudonym "John St. Helen" and died in 1903 at Enid, Oklahoma, after making a deathbed confession that he was the fugitive assassin.[8][157] By 1913, more than 70,000 copies of the book had been sold, and Bates exhibited St. Helen's mummified body in carnival sideshows.[8]


The Booth Family gravesite, Green Mount Cemetery, where Booth is buried in an unmarked graveIn response, the Maryland Historical Society published an account in 1913 by then-Baltimore mayor William M. Pegram, who had viewed Booth's remains upon the casket's arrival at the Weaver funeral home in Baltimore on February 18, 1869, for burial at Green Mount Cemetery. Pegram, who had known Booth well as a young man, submitted a sworn statement that the body he had seen in 1869 was Booth's.[158] Others positively identifying this body as Booth at the funeral home included Booth's mother, brother, and sister, along with his dentist and other Baltimore acquaintances.[8] Earlier, The New York Times had published an account by their reporter in 1911 detailing the burial of Booth's body at the cemetery and those who were witnesses.[149] The rumor periodically revived, as in the 1920s, when a corpse advertised as the "Man Who Shot Lincoln" was exhibited on a national tour by a carnival promoter. According to a 1928 article in the Saturday Evening Post, the exhibitor said he obtained St. Helen's corpse from Bates' widow.[159]


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Wilkes_Booth#Theories_of_Booth.27s_escape

Found this on wiki while working on a history project. Your article guy, yeah, his source is a bit sketchy.
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Posted 9/20/09

SeraphAlford wrote:


leviathan343 wrote:

That's like saying Texas and hell are different places.


Actually, I’d consider Texas one of the best states in America. Their education system isn’t on par with, say, Washington States but it’s still pretty good. Actually, even in Washington we used text-books from Texas. They’ve got plenty of colleges and living is WAY cheaper than it is up north. Crime rates are very low, and while illegal immigrants are a pain in the back side there you can pretty much escape them if you stay out of the rural areas or the “Little Mexico,” areas….


By the way, if you ever get invited to a Mexican birthday party don’t go unless you’ve got like twenty hours of free time and love the living fuck out of fiesta music. I know that sounds racist but: A) I’m speaking from firsthand experience, My Mexican anchor baby friend Alex is the one who invited me to the party because he feels the same way and wanted somebody to escape with…bastard.

Anyway, Texas has a lot that you can't get elsewhere. Course, Washington is still the best state in this country by a long shot, and Pennsylvania’s pretty cool, and California is the edge of the world and all of western civilization... well, it's not in the top ten, but maybe the top twenty? At least in my exp.


lol I made a stupid joke and everyone takes it seriously
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