Sunday, September 19, 2010
Outlaws - Mary Surratt
On April 18, 1865, three days after Abraham Lincoln died Mary was arrested and charged with conspiracy to kill the President of the United States. The trial against her and seven co-conspirators started on May 9, 1865. The U.S. Attorney-General and President Andrew Johnson declared the actions of the conspirators a wartime act. Therefore, they were tried in a military tribunal, rather than a civil court.
Louis Weichmann was the lead witness against Mary. Though he described her as ‘lady-like in every particular” and ‘exemplary” in character, most of his testimony was very incriminating. He described conversations between himself, Booth and Mary, where the assassination plot was clearly discussed. Weichmann further testified that at the urging of Booth, he and Mary drove out to her former home, Surratt House, three days before the assassination and delivered “a package, done up in paper, about six inches in diameter.” Mary stayed in the house for two hours, during which time Weichmann observed her speaking to Booth. Another conversation between Mary and Booth took place shortly after they arrived back in Washington.
The most damaging testimony, however, came from John M. Lloyd, the man who leased Surratt House. Though Mary testified that she’d traveled to Surrattsville with Weichmann to collect rent, Lloyd said she collected nothing from him. Instead, she gave him a small package containing field glasses. She also instructed him to ready the two Spencer carbines that John, Jr. had left at the tavern several weeks earlier. The guns had been hidden under the joists in a second-floor room.
John Wilkes Booth, after shooting President Lincoln, stopped at Surratt House. Lloyd did as Mary had instructed him to do earlier that day. He handed over a pair of pistols, one of the Spencers and the field glasses.
So here's your chance to win a copy of LADIES FIRST. Just leave a comment and you'll be elegible to win a copy of this wonderful resource book (hey, I've gottne at least 4 blog posts out of it already!). I'll draw for a winner nest Sunday, the 26th, to give people a chance to stop by and visit.
Anna Kathryn Lanier
Where Tumbleweeds Hang Their Hats