Did Booth really die in that fire or not?

Today, in History class, we started watching a film called The Conspirator, which came out in 2010. It’s a Robert Redford film about the people conspiring to kill Lincoln, Secretary of State, and the Vice President. Seven men and one woman, Mary Surratt, was arrested after the assassination of Lincoln. John Wilkes Booth has been shot and burned in the barn owned by Garrett on 26 April 1865. Dr. Mudd, whom helped mend Booth’s broken leg, was arrested as being a conspirator for aiding John Wilkes Booth.

I’ve watched about half the movie so far and I’m currently reading the book by Bill O’Reilly called Killing Lincoln. There’s also a movie called Lincoln coming out next Friday that I’m going to go see. With my current choice of studies I’ve immersed myself in reading and watching anything to do with the US Civil War and Lincoln. But the part that has really got my attention is that not too long ago it was made public that John Wilkes Booth did not die in that barn, that it was someone else. There was a bigger conspiracy then what the History books have been teaching us.

It was on the History Channel not too long ago and was even put on the front page of several newspapers, that some government officials that worked with Lincoln were in on the assassination. Though Booth had set out to kidnap Lincoln, but his plans didn’t turn out the way he was hoping and that’s where he decided to go ahead and shoot Lincoln. But there was someone that somewhat resembled Booth placed in the barn and Booth was set free. He had fled south, changing not only his name, but also his looks. He lived a long life, marrying and raising a family. He confessed his crime on his death bed, but everyone knew Booth was dead…supposedly.

I had asked my History teacher if all of this was true and she told me no, that he had actually died in the barn. I thought what was put on the History Channel was actual fact. Not to mention it was even in the papers. One of Booth’s descendants came forward to say that her ancestor actually lived a long life and did not die in the fire that it was a cover up.

Really, who do I believe here?

2 thoughts on “Did Booth really die in that fire or not?

  1. Jae

    I think without original sources it’s hard to say who to believe. But these days with even news networks lying about ‘the news’ it’s not hard to imagine the History Channel fibbed a bit for ratings. I’m not saying I think one is necessarily more accurate than the other, but it seems that there really was a person ‘claiming’ to be Booth. Whether or not he was is another question. Thought-provoking topic though, thanks!

    1. jennnadams Post author

      You’re very welcome. It still has me scratching my head. With all the Lincoln books and movies coming out this year, it just has me looking at all the information I can just to see what I could really find about it. It is curious though, that History Channel may have lied, but who knows if they did or not. You would think they would tell the truth and nothing else since it’s suppose to be all about History. Guess we may never really know the real answer and it will just remain as the way the History books say it happened.


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