Episode 108

The End of John Wilkes Booth at the Garrett Farm

🎙️

In this episode of Talk With History, hosts Scott and Jen dive into the compelling story of John Wilkes Booth's final days, highlighting the Garrett family's significant but often overlooked role.

The narrative begins with a recount of the day Booth was seen at Ford's Theatre and tracks his movements up to his arrival at the Garrett farm, where he ultimately meets his fate. The podcast sheds light on the sequence of events leading to Booth's capture and death, emphasizing the Garrett family's unintentional involvement and the subsequent impact on their lives.

The hosts also discuss historical inaccuracies in portrayals of these events, notably in the miniseries Manhunt, and explore broader themes of historical memory and public perception. The episode is enriched by a detailed account of the hosts' visit to Richard B. Garrett's grave, providing a personal and reflective angle on Booth's manhunt and the aftermath for those inadvertently caught in the historical narrative.

Full video from Garrett Grave

Manhunt book

Podcasts on Lincoln:

#8: Lincoln Assassination Facts You Never Knew

#68: Visiting Grant Hall: Location of the Lincoln Conspirator trial

#81: Lincoln Presidential Museum: An Immersive Experience

#82: Top Tips for Visiting Lincoln's Home and Tomb in Springfield, Illinois

0:00 Manhunt

00:52 A Day in the Life of John Wilkes Booth

04:19 Moving to Tennessee: New Beginnings

05:06 Exploring the Lincoln and Kennedy Assassinations

09:14 Visiting the Garrett Family: A Connection to History

21:46 The Capture at the Garrett Farm

23:16 The Final Moments of John Wilkes Booth

26:47 The Garrett Family's Innocence and Aftermath

28:32 Exploring Cedar Grove Cemetery

30:48 Discrepancies in the Manhunt mini-series

35:41 Reflecting on the Garrett Legacy and Historical Research

38:55 Conclusion: The Importance of Historical Accuracy

40:40 Setting Up the Studio: A Behind-the-Scenes Look

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Transcript
Jenn:

I do know a lot of those similarities.

Jenn:

I know, Kennedy was assassinated and Johnson became president.

Jenn:

Lincoln was assassinated.

Jenn:

Johnson became president.

Jenn:

Kennedy had a secretary named Lincoln.

Jenn:

Lincoln had a secretary named Kennedy.

Jenn:

There was a lot of these similarities.

Jenn:

They were both with their wives at the time.

Scott:

Welcome to Talk With History.

Scott:

I'm your host, Scott, here with my wife and historian, Jen.

Scott:

On this podcast, we give you insights to our history inspired WorldTravels

Scott:

YouTube channel journey and examine history through deeper conversations

Scott:

with the curious, the explorers, and the history lovers out there.

Scott:

Booth's day began in the dining room of the National, where he was seen

Scott:

eating breakfast with Miss Carrie Bean.

Scott:

Nothing unusual about that.

Scott:

Booth, a voluptuous connoisseur of young women, never had

Scott:

trouble finding female company.

Scott:

Around noon, he walked over to Ford's Theatre on 10th Street.

Scott:

Between E and F, a block above Pennsylvania Avenue to pick up his mail.

Scott:

Accepting correspondence on behalf of itinerant actors was a customary privilege

Scott:

Ford's offered to friends of the house.

Scott:

Earlier that morning, Henry Clay Ford, one of the three brothers who ran

Scott:

the theater, ate breakfast and then walked to the big marble post office

Scott:

at 7th and F and picked up the mail.

Scott:

There was a letter for Booth.

Scott:

That morning, another letter arrived at the theater.

Scott:

There had been no time to mail it, so its sender, Mary Lincoln, used

Scott:

the president's messenger to bypass the post office and hand deliver it.

Scott:

The Fords did not even have to read the note to know the good news it contained.

Scott:

The mere arrival of the White House messenger told them that

Scott:

the president was coming tonight.

Scott:

It was a coup against their chief rival, Grover's Theater, which was

Scott:

offering a more exciting entertainment, Aladdin or His Wonderful Lamp.

Scott:

Master Tad Lincoln and his chaperone would represent the family there.

Scott:

The letter, once opened, announced even greater news.

Scott:

Yes, the president and Mrs.

Scott:

Lincoln would attend this evening's performance of Tom Taylor's popular,

Scott:

if tired, comedy, Our American Cousin.

Scott:

But the big news was that General Ulysses S.

Scott:

Grant was coming with them.

Scott:

The Lincolns timing delighted the Fords.

Scott:

Good Friday was traditionally a slow night, and news that not only

Scott:

the president, after four years, a familiar sight to Washingtonians, but

Scott:

also General Grant, a rare visitor to town, Appomattox, would attend.

Scott:

was sure to spur ticket sales.

Scott:

This would please Laura Keene, who was making her 1, 000th

Scott:

performance in the play.

Scott:

Tonight's show was a customary benefit, awarding her a rich share of the proceeds.

Scott:

The Lincolns had given the Fords the courtesy of notification early enough

Scott:

in the day for the brothers to promote their appearance and to decorate and join

Scott:

together the two boxes, seven and eight.

Scott:

That, by removal of a simple partition, formed the President's box.

Scott:

By the time Booth arrived at Ford's, the President's messenger had come and gone.

Scott:

Sometime between noon and 1230 p.

Scott:

m., as he sat outside on the top step in front of the main entrance

Scott:

to Ford's reading his letter, Booth heard the galvanizing news.

Scott:

In just eight hours, the subject of all his brooding, hating, and

Scott:

plotting would stand on the very stone steps where he now sat.

Scott:

This was the catalyst Booth needed to prompt him to action, here.

Scott:

Of all places, Lincoln was coming here.

Scott:

Booth knew the layout of Ford's intimately, the exact spot on 10th Street

Scott:

where Lincoln would step out of his carriage, the place the president sat

Scott:

every time he came to the theater, the route through the theater that Lincoln

Scott:

would walk, and the staircase he would ascend to the box, the dark subterranean

Scott:

passageway beneath the stage, the narrow hallway behind the stage that

Scott:

led to the back door that opened to Baptist Alley, and how the president's

Scott:

box hung directly above the stage.

Scott:

All right, Jen, we, just for folks who don't know, we just

Scott:

moved and we are recording in our new, we're calling it our studio.

Scott:

So we just moved from Virginia to Tennessee.

Scott:

We are living in the greater Memphis area now, and we're pretty

Scott:

excited to record this particular episode in our brand new studio.

Jenn:

Yeah, it's kind of, fitting to be here and recording this episode,

Jenn:

especially since we made this.

Jenn:

Video like the week the Packers came.

Jenn:

It was so important for us to make this video because to realize how important

Jenn:

this person was and so close to where we lived in Virginia to visit their grave

Jenn:

before we moved all the way to Tennessee.

Jenn:

It was important to get this video dense.

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

Now that intro that I gave earlier was an excerpt from the 2007 book,

Scott:

Manhunt, the 12 day chase for Lincoln's killer by author James L.

Scott:

Swanson.

Scott:

But before we dive into the video and the topic, I want to say thank you to Bill

Scott:

Sisser, who wrote in, he shot us an email, and he wrote I've recently come across

Scott:

your podcast channel, and after listening to the first few episodes, I came across

Scott:

the one on the Lincoln assassination.

Scott:

It reminded me of a book that I read in high school around 80 or 81 that compared

Scott:

the Lincoln and Kennedy assassinations.

Scott:

I looked through the list of your podcasts, I'd Don't think I saw one

Scott:

with that subject reading that book Started my interest in history and

Scott:

reading also I hope that you could look at all the similarities between

Scott:

the two stories and do an in depth podcast on them I enjoy your in depth

Scott:

podcasts and will continue to listen.

Scott:

Thank you Now I just thought that was an interesting Thing and I didn't

Scott:

know if you had ever heard of books of kind of comparing assassinations like

Jenn:

So it's interesting you say that.

Jenn:

As we were driving out to Tennessee, we stopped at your dad's.

Jenn:

He's about halfway

Jenn:

in outside Nashville

Jenn:

and we went thrifting.

Jenn:

And as we were thrifting, I found a picture that someone had made.

Jenn:

It was their own, but they had compared the Lincoln assassination with the Kennedy

Jenn:

assassination and they had put the two comparisons side by side and then they

Jenn:

put like a dollar bill or I think they put like a Kennedy dollar and a Lincoln penny.

Jenn:

And, and I, I, I do know a lot of those similarities.

Jenn:

I know, Kennedy was assassinated and Johnson became president.

Jenn:

Lincoln was assassinated.

Jenn:

Johnson became president.

Jenn:

Kennedy had a secretary named Lincoln.

Jenn:

Lincoln had a secretary named Kennedy.

Jenn:

There was a lot of these similarities.

Jenn:

They were both with their wives at the time.

Jenn:

They're both shot in the head.

Jenn:

There was a lot of these similarities.

Jenn:

I have heard that the reason why we haven't done this bill is because most

Jenn:

of our podcasts coincide with a video.

Jenn:

And because of that, we haven't covered the Kennedy assassination.

Jenn:

We haven't been to Dallas yet.

Jenn:

However, now that we're closer to Dallas, That is a plan to get out there.

Jenn:

I do want to cover the Kennedy assassination.

Jenn:

It'll probably be more than one video.

Jenn:

That time and place in history is still so controversial.

Jenn:

We know the papers still haven't all been released yet.

Jenn:

More information is coming out

Jenn:

daily.

Scott:

saying they're going to declassify stuff and they don't.

Jenn:

I really feel like there's more to that story that people don't want out yet.

Scott:

I had covered something in our newsletter, historynewsletter.

Scott:

com, if you're listening that some recently within the past year or two,

Scott:

some secret service agent had kind of come out with some, I don't know if it's

Scott:

new information or a different take or a different story or something like that.

Scott:

So I just thought it was an interesting email from Bill.

Scott:

And seeing as how he wrote it and we were about to record this podcast, I

Scott:

thought it was kind of perfect timing.

Jenn:

Well, it's interesting what gets people interested in history.

Jenn:

And that is one of those things people are very, they like to see those

Jenn:

coincidences or those things that coincide between, I mean, there's only been four

Jenn:

presidents who've been assassinated.

Jenn:

And so two of our best.

Jenn:

biggest ones, Kennedy and Lincoln, and how much they coincide with each other.

Jenn:

It gets you interested in history.

Jenn:

And we're going to talk more about that because the series Manhunt has come out

Jenn:

and gets people interested in history.

Jenn:

However, there comes an issue sometimes when you're not

Jenn:

portraying the correct history.

Jenn:

So people think that's the accurate history.

Jenn:

I always stress.

Jenn:

Read the real book, look up the real research, because even

Jenn:

Hollywood likes to change things for dramaticization and for time

Jenn:

constraints and things along that nature.

Jenn:

But yes, whatever gets you interested in history and one of those

Jenn:

that Lincoln Kennedy Association is one of those big things.

Jenn:

And I remember learning about it too as a young kid.

Jenn:

And it's just funny that I saw that picture as we were thrifting

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

So again thank you bill to writing in.

Scott:

If anybody else wants to reach out to us you, there is a link

Scott:

to our email in the show notes.

Scott:

You can just click on it on your phone and you can shoot us an email.

Scott:

, so Jen, we made a video.

Scott:

from Portsmouth, which is just outside, just across the

Scott:

bridge from the Norfolk area.

Scott:

And we went to, was it Oak Grove Cemetery?

Scott:

Cedar Grove Cemetery to visit someone who was kind of a part of

Scott:

this whole 12 day manhunt for John Wilkes Booth, but the very end.

Scott:

So we visited a Garrett.

Scott:

So which Garrett did we visit?

Jenn:

We visited Richard

Jenn:

bynum Garrett.

Jenn:

So the one of the boys of Richard Henry

Scott:

He's like 11.

Jenn:

11 years old at the time.

Jenn:

And if you read Manhunt.

Jenn:

He's he's in the book because he interacts with John Wilkes

Scott:

And there's like kind of a Rick, there's kind of a, almost a transcript of

Scott:

his recounting his, his memories of those

Jenn:

So we will talk more about that later in life.

Jenn:

He tries to clear his family name and really give an accurate account

Jenn:

of what he remembers as 11 year old.

Jenn:

what transpired in those last two days.

Jenn:

So it's the last two days, April 24th through the 26th.

Jenn:

So remember, it is a 12 day manhunt for John Wilkes Booth.

Jenn:

John Wilkes Booth is trying to make it to Richmond, Virginia.

Jenn:

He believes if he can get to Richmond, Virginia, he will be put into an

Jenn:

underground network and saved.

Jenn:

And Honestly, that's probably true.

Jenn:

Because when you think about how John Surratt got away through Canada, how

Jenn:

he got into an underground network and got away, I bet if John Wilkes Wolfe

Jenn:

would have made it to Richmond, he would have gotten into some underground

Jenn:

network and gotten to Texas, to, to Mexico and, but They just can't seem to.

Jenn:

John Wilkes Booth is held up because of his injury.

Jenn:

They're not the best navigators.

Jenn:

They don't really have, this wasn't planned out with the logistics of care.

Jenn:

It's mostly like just trying to find sympathizers who

Jenn:

helped them along the way.

Scott:

Well, and I think even we put in the video, I pulled

Scott:

a timeline off of a website.

Scott:

I think it was like halfway through this 12 days, they ended

Scott:

up like crossing a river going in the, in the wrong direction.

Jenn:

yeah, they go back.

Jenn:

So they try to cross from Maryland to Virginia and they go back to Maryland and

Jenn:

then they realize their mistake and then then they make it across to Virginia.

Jenn:

So Yeah, it's a lot of that like that that is kind of shows you it in my opinion

Jenn:

that this really wasn't planned out

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

Not to the extent that some people may

Jenn:

Yes that it really was a kidnapping plot at first That would that is what

Jenn:

was planned out and then when it Moved to this assassination plot, which was

Jenn:

pretty fast There was nothing on the back end to really to besides though

Jenn:

the field glasses and rifles that go to the Sarat Tavern There really isn't

Jenn:

anything planned out along the way.

Jenn:

So even dr.

Jenn:

Mudd is not Expecting them.

Jenn:

He knows them.

Jenn:

He's not expecting them.

Jenn:

Now.

Jenn:

He he's he willingly You

Jenn:

It helps them, but it wasn't like it was planned that we're going to go to Dr.

Jenn:

Mudd's house.

Jenn:

It just happens that Booth broke his leg and knew a doctor.

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

So Dr.

Scott:

Mudd was kind of interacting with him.

Scott:

They saw him early, like within the first day or two of the manhunt.

Scott:

And then the Garrett's, he, they're kind of getting lost,

Scott:

trying to get down to Richmond.

Scott:

That's their big goal.

Scott:

And they end up at the Garrett

Jenn:

So they meet a confederate soldier, Willie Jett, and Willie Jett is from the

Jenn:

area and he's and they confess to him that they are the Lincoln assassinate.

Jenn:

He's the Lincoln assassin and he's his his.

Scott:

Kind of, yeah.

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

He's helping him escape.

Jenn:

And so, Jet and some other Confederate soldiers, although

Jenn:

they're wanting to just, end the war and just form back into the Union

Jenn:

and just find their peace, they do feel some kind of obligation.

Jenn:

because this person has done something so egregious in the name of the

Jenn:

South, and they've been fighting for the South, so they feel like they

Jenn:

owe him protection in some degree.

Jenn:

So Jett knows the Garrett family, knows the farm, and so he brings them there.

Jenn:

And John Wilkes Booth and Harold have a disguise that they were also Confederate

Jenn:

soldiers, and they, they, he uses the last name Boyd instead of Booth.

Jenn:

J.

Jenn:

W.

Jenn:

Boyd,

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

You say, cause he has, it has that tattoo on his hand.

Scott:

Yeah.

Jenn:

now.

Jenn:

In the miniseries Manhunt, which is not accurate at this point, they're

Jenn:

wearing confederate soldier uniforms.

Jenn:

That's not true.

Jenn:

Booth, Booth and Harold never get confederate soldier uniforms.

Jenn:

They claim to be confederate soldiers, but not in uniform.

Jenn:

Jet is in uniform.

Jenn:

And when Jet introduces him to the Garrett family, he's, he lives close by.

Jenn:

He says, don't you remember me, Mr.

Jenn:

Garrett?

Jenn:

I'm from this family.

Jenn:

And And I'm heading back home and these are friends of mine

Jenn:

who need some respite and they're going to be heading further south.

Scott:

that was how Booth and Harold, David Harold, who's with

Scott:

Booth, that's how they were able to kind of stay at the Garrett farm

Scott:

without the Garretts knowing them at

Jenn:

at all.

Jenn:

And the Garrett's welcomed them, right?

Jenn:

Because Mr.

Jenn:

Garrett, Richard Garrett has two sons who just fought for the confederacy.

Scott:

also too, if you think about it, it made, that makes a lot more sense to

Scott:

me that they welcome in these strangers, one, because his son's just got back from

Scott:

fighting on the Confederate side, but two, if you've got a neighbor saying,

Scott:

these are my friends, they need help.

Scott:

You can't, when you have someone vouching for someone else that goes a long way.

Jenn:

And that was very much how business was transacted in that time, because it

Jenn:

was very much, you couldn't trust people, but you could trust people who knew you.

Jenn:

And if they were willing to vouch, it made you more at peace

Jenn:

with, with helping other people.

Jenn:

So that's exactly why the Garrett's allow Booth and Harold to stay in their house.

Jenn:

And so Richard Garrett, Richard B.

Jenn:

Garrett.

Jenn:

So I'm going to say Richard H.

Jenn:

Garrett, who's the father, and Richard B.

Jenn:

Garrett is the grave we visited.

Scott:

That's the son.

Jenn:

son.

Jenn:

He's 11 years old at the time.

Jenn:

So he has two older brothers, John and William, who have

Jenn:

fought for the Confederacy.

Jenn:

They just got back from Appomattox.

Jenn:

They, when Booth comes to the house with Jett and Harold,

Jenn:

it's about three o'clock on it.

Jenn:

April 24th and introduced to Richard H.

Jenn:

Garrett.

Jenn:

He says, yes, they can come stay with me.

Jenn:

We can have come have dinner.

Jenn:

They come and relax.

Jenn:

And then the two boys, John and William returned that evening from

Jenn:

visiting a friend nearby, right?

Jenn:

So they just got back from the

Jenn:

war.

Scott:

going to, they're going to,

Jenn:

going to see people.

Jenn:

Yeah, they haven't seen it.

Jenn:

And they're wearing very confederate uniforms because they just got back

Jenn:

from the surrender of Appomattox.

Jenn:

And so they all sit around the dinner table that night.

Jenn:

And this is a big family.

Jenn:

Now, again, this is not shown in Manhunt at all, but there's four sisters, there's

Jenn:

a governess, there's little children, Richard's 11 which would be Garrett,

Jenn:

but he also has Three little sisters,

Scott:

So there's, it's a, it's a whole like probably 10 to 12 people.

Jenn:

to 12 people.

Jenn:

And so it's a, it's a boisterous conversation.

Jenn:

They're talking about the war.

Jenn:

They're talking about their experiences.

Jenn:

They're asking Booth about his experiences with the war, thinking

Jenn:

he's Boyd who has fought in the war.

Jenn:

So Booth is making up stories, but he is an actor.

Jenn:

So he's very good at taking the stage

Scott:

10 telling a

Jenn:

Telling a story.

Jenn:

And so it was a really great evening.

Jenn:

That's how Richard remembers it, that everyone just had a really great night.

Jenn:

And Booth stays in the house, they help him into bed, right?

Jenn:

He gets a good night's sleep.

Jenn:

And Richard B.

Jenn:

Garrett, she has a room with him.

Jenn:

So he just remembers feeling safe with this guy.

Jenn:

He's been welcomed into the family.

Jenn:

He remembers seeing the gun belt on the bed.

Scott:

is junior.

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

Yeah.

Jenn:

And he, the next morning, so April 25th, he helps him

Jenn:

dress in the morning and they go outside and they have breakfast.

Jenn:

It's as Booth is playing outside with the other children.

Jenn:

Remember, there's little children, little girls.

Jenn:

I mean, he really loved playing with these kids out in the yard.

Scott:

And you even, I think you had mentioned it.

Scott:

In the video like he had a compass he had a magnetic compass.

Scott:

So he was like showing the kids how kind of how it worked and kind of showing them

Scott:

Oh, hey, you know if you bring something metal close by it'll move and that was

Scott:

kind of a something that was called out

Jenn:

And what's so significant is that compass is in the museum at Ford's

Jenn:

Theater, because that's the compass Booth uses to go the wrong way on

Jenn:

the river and, and basically escape.

Jenn:

This is the scene, right?

Jenn:

So you can understand how later in life when Richard is trying to talk about

Jenn:

their his experience with this family, how the Garrett's feel bamboozled, right?

Jenn:

So it's later.

Jenn:

I think that evening, they have some conversation around, The

Jenn:

assassination of the president, because at that time, it's been 10 days,

Scott:

And so the words getting

Jenn:

the words getting out.

Jenn:

And so John and William are talking about it at around the dinner table.

Jenn:

And they're like, they're offering 100, 000.

Jenn:

Oh, my gosh, I would turn them in myself if I knew and Booth

Jenn:

kind of has fun with that.

Jenn:

Oh, you would you would turn them in, huh?

Jenn:

And so it's kind of a running joke, right?

Jenn:

So no one still doesn't suspect anything.

Jenn:

That next day, while they're playing out in the yard with

Jenn:

Booth, John and William are there.

Jenn:

And this is the end of the war.

Jenn:

So there are people kind of walking by the front of the house in the front gate.

Jenn:

There are people riding on horses.

Jenn:

There's just people going back to their lives.

Jenn:

And somebody comes through the front gate and starts walking down

Jenn:

the path to the main house and they notice Booth get nervous.

Jenn:

And he asks Richard B.

Jenn:

Garrett, the junior, the 11 year old, to run up and grab

Jenn:

his gun belt off the bed stand.

Jenn:

And he does.

Jenn:

And he brings that gun belt down and gives it to Booth.

Jenn:

Booth swings it around his hips and buckles it up.

Jenn:

And that is when they go,

Jenn:

What is going on?

Jenn:

Why does he want his gun belt?

Jenn:

What is he afraid of?

Jenn:

What does he think is going to happen?

Jenn:

Like, when you really think about this, if he really has been through war,

Jenn:

Like John and William have claimed to, have also been through war.

Jenn:

They're not feeling afraid right now for their lives because the war is over.

Jenn:

We are all trying to get back to our lives right now.

Jenn:

And we've all kind of put up the truce flag.

Jenn:

So for him to be grabbing his gun belt leads them to believe he's

Jenn:

wanted or afraid for another reason.

Jenn:

And that is when John Garrett, the older son starts to insist to his father, they

Jenn:

shouldn't sleep in the house tonight.

Jenn:

Something's up with these two.

Jenn:

So it's the older son who brings that to his dad's attention.

Scott:

that's how booth ends up staying in the house the first night and then

Scott:

Like you or like we find out, you know here in just a bit he ends up

Scott:

sleeping in the barn the next night

Jenn:

So the big claim is Booth wants to get up early with Harold.

Jenn:

They want to get on their way and John insists they sleep into the

Jenn:

tobacco barn because if they're going to get up early, they don't want

Jenn:

him rousing the people in the house.

Jenn:

And then John also has he's nervous because there's children and women in the

Jenn:

house and Booth seems a little unhinged.

Jenn:

And so he thinks it's better for them to get in the barn as well.

Jenn:

But he also thinks they might steal my horses.

Jenn:

And so he locks them in the tobacco barn unbeknownst to them.

Scott:

okay.

Jenn:

So in the miniseries, I try to, and I'll tell you what all is

Jenn:

wrong with the miniseries at that point, but they are knowingly locked

Jenn:

in the barn in the miniseries.

Jenn:

That's not true.

Jenn:

And they didn't know.

Jenn:

So it's late that night into that.

Jenn:

It's late that night on the 25th that the Calvary will catch up to the Garrett farm.

Jenn:

They go straight to the main house.

Jenn:

They take Richard H.

Jenn:

Garrett, the father, out.

Jenn:

They put a rope around

Scott:

Did, did they I mean, did they find like the neighbor?

Scott:

So they found jet.

Scott:

They questioned him.

Scott:

He said, Oh, he's at the Garrett farm.

Scott:

And that, so that's how they, they got over there.

Jenn:

Yeah, they found

Scott:

So they had just been like canvassing the countryside and

Scott:

they were basically honing in, they found jet and then that's how

Scott:

they had, they zeroed in on the

Jenn:

Jet was the key to

Scott:

Okay.

Scott:

Oh,

Jenn:

I left him at the Garrett farm.

Jenn:

And so the Calvary I think is probably feeling they're not there

Jenn:

It's been two days, but they feel like this will be our next step.

Jenn:

So when they get to the Garrett house, they pull mr Garrett out and mr.

Jenn:

Garrett answers the door in his nightgown, they pull him out and they put a rope

Jenn:

around his neck and they throw the rope up a tree, threatening to kill him

Jenn:

if he doesn't tell him what happened.

Jenn:

And that's when John Garrett stops everything and says, no,

Jenn:

I put them in the tobacco barn.

Jenn:

And they said, well, he said, I put him in the barn and they look around.

Jenn:

There's four barns.

Jenn:

You better tell us what barn.

Jenn:

And he goes, it's the tobacco barn.

Jenn:

And that's when they go over to the tobacco barn.

Jenn:

So it really is like it happens fast and they're still not sure who this guy is.

Jenn:

Like they're not saying we're looking for the Lincoln assassin

Jenn:

. Scott: Yeah.

Jenn:

We're looking for John Wilkes Booth.

Jenn:

Yeah.

Jenn:

and so that's when, in the scene around the barn is, he kicks

Jenn:

Harold out because Harold gets scared.

Jenn:

Harold doesn't have a weapon.

Jenn:

Harold doesn't want to fight.

Jenn:

He kicks him out.

Jenn:

John Wilkes Booth tries to negotiate for a fight against their best man, right?

Jenn:

And then they just kind of smoke him out.

Jenn:

Well, I don't know.

Jenn:

Boston Corbett claims he is looking through a crack

Jenn:

in the wood, in the boards.

Jenn:

He claims he saw John Wilkes Booth raise his pistol to fire it and he fires.

Jenn:

Now Harold will say he shot, he shot, John Wilkes Booth

Jenn:

who will never move again.

Jenn:

He shot through the neck.

Jenn:

He's not shot in the back of the head like they try to depict in the miniseries.

Jenn:

Same as Lincoln.

Jenn:

He shot through the neck.

Jenn:

It's a completely different gunshot wound than Lincoln.

Jenn:

Lincoln shot.

Jenn:

in the head through the brain.

Jenn:

Lincoln's not paralyzed.

Jenn:

Lincoln is just unconscious, never regains consciousness.

Jenn:

Booth is shot through the neck.

Jenn:

He's conscious the whole time.

Jenn:

He, he lives for hours.

Jenn:

About six hours later, he'll die.

Jenn:

Harold is taken out, tied to a tree.

Jenn:

He keeps whimpering.

Jenn:

He keeps making up stories.

Jenn:

He's I wasn't a part of this.

Jenn:

I didn't.

Jenn:

He really is like a simple minded man.

Jenn:

And he really is trying to make up.

Jenn:

I was bamboozled into this.

Jenn:

And I don't know who this

Scott:

He's trying to get out of

Jenn:

trying to get out of it, making any story he can, and they're just

Jenn:

kind of letting him over there.

Jenn:

run his mouth.

Jenn:

And they bring Booth onto the porch.

Jenn:

Booth is attended by think of those young women in the house.

Jenn:

There's four Garrett sisters who are in their 20s and late teens.

Jenn:

There's one governess.

Scott:

Well, and, and the book too, in the excerpts that I was looking at

Scott:

there are a couple paragraphs before, what I, what I read in the book talks

Scott:

about how pretty well known John Wilkes Booth was and how handsome he was.

Scott:

And, and he was a bit of a ladies

Jenn:

He was.

Jenn:

And so that's why when these women kind of gather around him, they wipe his brow.

Jenn:

And they like put a handkerchief of water in his mouth so he can have some moisture.

Jenn:

And it's Lucinda Holloway, who's the governess of those small children.

Jenn:

in the house who it's very romanticized how she like holds his

Jenn:

hands and holds him near to her.

Jenn:

She cuts a lock of hair

Scott:

This is after he's been shot.

Jenn:

after he's been shot.

Jenn:

He's laying on the porch.

Jenn:

They

Scott:

This got shot through the neck, He

Jenn:

He can't do anything.

Jenn:

Can't move.

Jenn:

And they bring a doctor and the doctor is yeah, he's going to die.

Jenn:

And so they just make it like it's a very moving scene.

Jenn:

moment for these women, right?

Jenn:

Still not knowing who he is,

Scott:

Oh,

Jenn:

just that he's this handsome

Scott:

person that the Calvary tracked down.

Jenn:

And you have to remember John Wilkes Booth has shaved

Jenn:

his mustache at this point.

Jenn:

He shaves his mustache at Dr.

Jenn:

Mudd's house.

Jenn:

So even when people look at pictures, they, the picture they're looking at the

Jenn:

showing of Booth, that famous picture, people will look at it and go, yeah,

Jenn:

that's him, but without the mustache.

Jenn:

So they have to kind of like, squint a little to go.

Jenn:

Yeah, that's him.

Jenn:

But he's shaped his mustache.

Jenn:

It's such a distinctive,

Jenn:

Feature.

Jenn:

on his face that he's taken off that he does still look like

Jenn:

him, but it's not quite the same.

Jenn:

It'd be like, Tom Selleck shaving his mustache.

Jenn:

It'd be like, okay, that's him, but it's not, not quite how I know him.

Jenn:

You would know, yeah, that's Tom Selleck, but it's not quite how I picture him.

Scott:

Tom Selleck put that mustache

Jenn:

Exactly.

Jenn:

So that's how Booth was.

Jenn:

He's very known for the mustache.

Jenn:

So he passed away there on the Garrett farm, and it's not until after his

Jenn:

death that they fully understand the Garrett family, who this man is,

Jenn:

because it's then that they start to get questioned by the people in charge there.

Jenn:

And they start to go, we had no idea.

Jenn:

We suspected something, but we weren't.

Jenn:

Sure, this is, oh my gosh, we've been giving refuge to Lincoln's

Jenn:

assassin . We had, they had no idea.

Jenn:

So they don't even know till after he's dead.

Jenn:

And so then Booth's body is taken back to D.

Jenn:

C.

Jenn:

and we, we have more videos on what happens after that.

Jenn:

So Richard Garrett, 11 years old, remembers all of this.

Jenn:

And he in the 1880s will write a paper trying to, I wouldn't say clear his family

Jenn:

name, but it's more explain his family name because he feels like for the rest

Jenn:

of his life, his family will never know.

Jenn:

recover from this.

Jenn:

So he writes a paper really explaining how much they didn't know and how they

Jenn:

were just trying to be good Christian people helping out somebody and then they

Jenn:

were completely blindsided by all this and they never would have given refuge

Jenn:

to the president's killer and and so he really explains his memory of it all

Jenn:

because it's very much from an 11 year old child so it's very much from a innocent

Scott:

Yeah, this is how I felt.

Scott:

This was, you think about it and I'll try it.

Scott:

Think about an 11 year old trying to describe something to you, right?

Scott:

They're going to tell you kind of how it felt and how much fun it was.

Scott:

They're not going to remember details or cues that adults

Scott:

would pick up on necessarily.

Jenn:

Exactly.

Jenn:

So that's the grave we visit.

Jenn:

So when I found out that Richard B.

Jenn:

Garrett was buried at Cedar Grove Cemetery in Portsmouth,

Jenn:

Virginia, I'm like, we have to go

Scott:

And that's only like 15 minutes from where we lived.

Jenn:

And it's, it's an amazing little cemetery.

Jenn:

So it was established in 1832, very old.

Jenn:

And it's, it's historic.

Jenn:

We didn't know this, but this is where Pickett, from

Jenn:

Pickett's Charge, was founded.

Jenn:

First buried

Scott:

right.

Scott:

Before they moved

Jenn:

before they moved him to Hollywood Cemetery

Jenn:

in Richmond.

Jenn:

And then there's also like the, the creator, I don't know if that's the

Jenn:

right word of the designer of the CSS Virginia, the first ironclad

Jenn:

of the South is also buried there.

Jenn:

And they have a whole little CSS Virginia dedication area where

Jenn:

they have a bunch of Confederates who served on the CSS Virginia

Scott:

and then we actually came across and chatted for a while with

Scott:

some gentlemen who would help restore the cemetery because I guess in the

Scott:

late 90s and you mentioned this in the video it had been in shambles and then

Scott:

the the Sons of the Confederacy came in and basically you know overhauled

Scott:

and just prettied everything up

Jenn:

Yeah.

Jenn:

I mean, you can imagine cemeteries get into a lot of disrepair and neglect, but

Jenn:

in the 1960s it was like more than that.

Jenn:

It was vandalized.

Jenn:

And so they came in and just cleaned everything up.

Jenn:

And there was some, he was even saying there was some mausoleums

Jenn:

that were kind of broken into and you could see inside of them and stuff.

Jenn:

And they cleaned all that up and they fixed

Scott:

and it's very it's it's a lovely cemetery

Jenn:

It is.

Jenn:

And there's a lot of history there.

Jenn:

And Garrett was one of them.

Jenn:

And so to find Richard Garrett, that 11 year old boy, and to kind of talk

Jenn:

about his memories of those last two days, the 24th, of April, 1865.

Jenn:

And the hunt for John Wilkes Booth.

Jenn:

It was just amazing to be able to do that.

Jenn:

And I really was excited because I had read the book Manhunt.

Jenn:

The series was coming out.

Jenn:

I thought this is such a great piece of history to have found and to talk about.

Jenn:

And then when I watched Manhunt, I'm like, Oh, I'm so excited to see Richard Garrett.

Jenn:

And he's not even shown.

Scott:

you said they were the miniseries didn't portray the whole Garrett

Scott:

farm Garrett family accurately at

Jenn:

didn't do any.

Jenn:

So it's so off.

Jenn:

And if you're a historian, you're going to be pretty upset.

Jenn:

There's a lot of things in the, the Manhunt miniseries that is, is way off.

Jenn:

There's lots of things that are great.

Jenn:

I think the man who plays John Wilkes Booth looks fantastic.

Jenn:

But there's so many things that are way off.

Jenn:

Let's start from the basics.

Jenn:

Stanton, the Secretary of War, never leaves DC, yet he seems

Jenn:

to be at the Garrett farm in the

Jenn:

miniseries.

Jenn:

He's, he's questioning that we're like, no, this is Garrett.

Jenn:

Stanton stays in DC.

Jenn:

He runs Things by telegraph and they show that some in the series,

Jenn:

but he's also a heavyset man.

Jenn:

He also has a huge beard, nothing like the actor who portrayed him.

Jenn:

So that was kind of weird.

Jenn:

At the Garrett farm, all they meet is Julia Garrett.

Jenn:

She's supposed to play one of the daughters of the Garretts.

Jenn:

Now, the hard part for me to kind of understand is you have

Jenn:

many daughters to choose from.

Jenn:

You got Catherine, you got Ann, you got Cecilia , you got They're

Jenn:

all in their 20s and Cecilia's 15.

Jenn:

You got Lucinda Holloway.

Jenn:

That's the governess.

Jenn:

She's 34.

Jenn:

You got the three little girls, Lillian, Harrietta, and Cora.

Jenn:

There's no Julia.

Jenn:

There was a Julia Garrett.

Jenn:

She was born in 1848.

Jenn:

She dies in 1851.

Scott:

That's so interesting that when, Writers who were writing these shows,

Scott:

I mean, some of them do phenomenal jobs and they're very accurate,

Scott:

very close to real world facts.

Scott:

And then this one, it's such a famous event.

Scott:

I mean, it's, it's such a big part of American history.

Scott:

I think you and I were talking about it the other night.

Scott:

There's, there's really no need for them to alter the facts.

Scott:

You can, you can leave certain things out, right?

Scott:

But, The, the facts themselves are so out of this world I can't

Scott:

believe that actually happened.

Scott:

We've said it before, kind of reality is stranger than fiction here.

Jenn:

I know, I don't understand.

Jenn:

And

Jenn:

I know James Swanson was there at some point, and I know

Jenn:

he was given some advice.

Jenn:

If it was me in my book, I'd be like, No, pick another name.

Jenn:

Make it Lucinda the holloway.

Jenn:

She has a, she has a very she cuts the hair from both sides.

Jenn:

booth, make it her.

Jenn:

If you're going to make some girl there who's I, it could destroy my honor if

Jenn:

you stay in my room, make it her, right?

Jenn:

Why would you make it a Julia Garrett who died at two years old in 1851?

Jenn:

Like, why would you, that's not even an accurate person.

Jenn:

So what they did is they took out all the men.

Jenn:

There's no Richard H.

Jenn:

Garrett.

Jenn:

There's no John or William Garrett.

Jenn:

There's no Richard B.

Jenn:

Garrett.

Jenn:

There's no men interacting.

Jenn:

It's like she, is the only one at the house.

Jenn:

They're all gone.

Jenn:

She interacts with Booth and Harold.

Jenn:

Then she insists they sleep in the tobacco farm because of her honor if her father

Jenn:

is going to find him in her bedroom.

Scott:

the crazy part is, is right, a, a, a series a story is always about

Scott:

tension and, and this that and the other.

Scott:

And in the real world facts are in my mind, would create so much

Scott:

more tension in a, in a scene, especially for a series like this.

Scott:

Think about, it's all about ups and downs in a story.

Scott:

And think about this.

Scott:

Unexpected up in the hunt for John Wilkes Booth, right here the first 24 hours He's

Scott:

like having a grand old time and they're telling stories and it's this big family

Scott:

as this event and And you as a watcher as a reader would just feel conflicted

Scott:

because you're like, oh, here's this It's a nice thing that's happening, right?

Scott:

The viewer knows the reality of who this person is.

Scott:

So there's that tension there, but they didn't, they didn't

Scott:

use that in the miniseries.

Scott:

It's crazy to

Jenn:

It's crazy.

Jenn:

That dinner scene would have been amazing.

Jenn:

to show 12 people and after the war and what it was like to kind of be

Jenn:

on the losing side, but trying to rebuild family and everyone kind of.

Jenn:

But then starting those little pieces that are picking away at his story, right?

Jenn:

So much so that the next day they go, you should sleep in the barn.

Jenn:

So the first night we, we welcome you with open arms, you're given a bed, you're,

Jenn:

you're sitting around dinner, we're having a great time, and so much so that your

Jenn:

story gets picked away the next day.

Jenn:

day that you're in the barn.

Jenn:

That's perfect movie, drama, cinema.

Jenn:

I don't know why they did it that way.

Jenn:

It really, it bothered me so much because I, we had just found Richard B.

Jenn:

Garrett.

Jenn:

We had just told his story.

Jenn:

He's so much a part of this end of a manhunt.

Jenn:

And then he's not even shown in the miniseries.

Jenn:

I was like, Oh my gosh, they really missed the mark

Jenn:

And that really is what happens after the booth is caught and taken back to DC.

Jenn:

I mean, Richard H.

Jenn:

Garrett, the father will testify at the Lincoln conspiracy trial about

Jenn:

everything that he remembers and how he was, he felt completely bamboozled.

Jenn:

Now he's not Charged with anything.

Jenn:

He's not sentenced to anything.

Jenn:

So I think his story is very credible, credible and believable.

Jenn:

What happens is the The court of public opinion where he lives in Locust Hill It's

Jenn:

never welcomed back into the community.

Scott:

name and his family's name is kind of ruined.

Jenn:

It's ruined.

Jenn:

Their family is ruined They can't really do business anymore.

Jenn:

The house and the property will go into a disrepair

Scott:

And you said that Richard B.

Scott:

Garrett Jr, the son, he actually becomes a pastor, like a

Jenn:

Yeah, he becomes a reverend.

Jenn:

He actually has a parish and they will, they put something on

Jenn:

his tombstone from 1899 to 1920.

Jenn:

He becomes a reverend.

Jenn:

So, in the Richmond area.

Jenn:

He actually dies in Richmond, Virginia.

Jenn:

So it's funny.

Jenn:

He dies in Richmond, spread to Norfolk.

Jenn:

Pickett dies in Norfolk, spread to Richmond.

Jenn:

And you talk about this a lot.

Jenn:

Like back in that day, they really like to move

Scott:

Yeah, I think I, I commented on that when you told me about

Scott:

them, them moving Pickett.

Scott:

I was like, man, they would move the dead around all the time back in the day.

Scott:

They'd bury them over here and be like, nah, 10 years later, I'm

Scott:

gonna move them up to this plot.

Jenn:

I know.

Jenn:

It's weird.

Jenn:

I don't know.

Jenn:

Maybe they like to look at dead bodies.

Jenn:

I don't know.

Jenn:

It's very weird.

Jenn:

They, to do that, but that's, he's buried alone.

Jenn:

So there's no other real Garrett's around him.

Jenn:

I there's no, Garrett's around him, all the rest of the Garretts are

Jenn:

all in another part of Virginia.

Jenn:

Now what's interesting, and I point this out in one of the videos, is

Jenn:

he's buried beside a Corbett family.

Jenn:

And remember, it's Boston Corbett who kills John Wilkes Booth.

Jenn:

So the Garrett grave, Richard B.

Jenn:

Garrett, is right beside.

Scott:

This whole Corbett

Jenn:

This whole Corbett plot.

Jenn:

So it's like these two names that are synonymous with the end of John Wilkes

Jenn:

Booth are actually buried together.

Scott:

But you, you said that from what you could tell your, your brief

Scott:

research, that that wasn't those Corbett's weren't related to Boston

Jenn:

Yeah, and I don't believe they are.

Jenn:

And the thing about Boston Corbett is we have never done a video on him.

Jenn:

And it would be interesting.

Jenn:

He's very interesting person, interesting life, so much so that

Jenn:

people don't even know what happened to him at the end of his life.

Jenn:

He kind of got lost to history.

Jenn:

the people don't really know where his grave is today, and we don't even know

Jenn:

if Boston Corbett was really his name.

Scott:

Oh, interesting.

Jenn:

it's one of those things that is, if someone wanted to dive into that

Jenn:

research and really pull that out, like he is one of those people in history that

Jenn:

did something very significant, but never never fully researched to know the truth.

Jenn:

It's his Pistol too.

Jenn:

I think it's, Swanson had said one of those artifacts lost to history.

Jenn:

No one knows what really happened to the Boston Corbett pistol

Jenn:

that killed John Wilkes booth.

Scott:

I would still recommend the miniseries.

Scott:

It's well done Even if not historically accurate but the book itself the manhunt

Scott:

book It was supposed to be very, very good

Jenn:

The book is fantastic.

Jenn:

And if you find it on audio, I listened to it, it was available

Jenn:

through my library for free.

Jenn:

I actually bought the book at the Surratt Tavern, so that is

Jenn:

still there for you to go look.

Jenn:

Remember, John Wilkes Booth never goes inside because he's on his horse with

Jenn:

the Broken Lake, but Harold does to get the rifle and the field glasses.

Jenn:

But it's a great book.

Jenn:

The Sarat Tavern is still there, part of the story.

Jenn:

If you want to follow that path of John Wilkes Booth's escape,

Jenn:

that's all still there for you.

Jenn:

We have some

Scott:

So actually someone commented that they're doing like a John

Scott:

Wilkes Booth like escape tour.

Scott:

on on the video.

Scott:

They actually commented that they were going to be doing that.

Scott:

So it was pretty cool.

Scott:

All right.

Scott:

History buffs.

Scott:

That's it for this episode.

Scott:

We followed the frantic escape of John Wilkes Booth and David Harold, all the way

Scott:

to the Garrett farm, a desperate fugitive hold up in a barn, a nation in mourning

Scott:

and a fiery end to an infamous manhunt.

Scott:

It's a chilling Tableau.

Scott:

For those who want to dig deeper, check out the show

Scott:

notes for some great resources.

Scott:

James Swanson's book, manhunt is a fantastic read.

Scott:

As we mentioned before, as always, if you have any thoughts or questions

Scott:

about the episodes, reach out to us at the email on our show notes, just

Scott:

click the link and shoot us a note.

Scott:

Your feedback really fuels the fire for us.

Scott:

And as always, we rely on you, our community to grow, and we

Scott:

appreciate you all every day.

Scott:

We'll talk to you next

Jenn:

we appreciate you

Jenn:

That's how we'll talk about all those things.

Scott:

are gonna have to put some stuff on the walls in this room.

Jenn:

Oh, yeah.

Jenn:

I think I might bring the, it's a wonderful life picture up.

Scott:

Well, no, I'm talking about for sound.

Scott:

I can hear

Jenn:

Oh, what do you mean like that?

Jenn:

What goes on the

Scott:

It's probably more like corners.

Scott:

You can do, you don't have to buy things for that.

Scott:

You can, you can do there's tons of like homemade solutions that

Scott:

will reduce the echo in a room.

Jenn:

So this will look really hodgepodge.

Scott:

no, no, we can, we can make it look, look good.

Scott:

I mean, you can buy stuff.

Scott:

I don't know.

Scott:

I haven't really dug into

Jenn:

I know.

Scott:

but I can hear the echo in here, especially when you, we start

Scott:

both start projecting that's fine.

Scott:

We'll figure it out.

Scott:

So, okay.

Scott:

Ready?

About the Podcast

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Talk With History
A Historian and Navy Veteran talk about traveling to historic locations

About your hosts

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Scott B

Host of the Talk With History podcast, Producer over at Walk with History on YouTube, Editor of HistoryNewsletter.com
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Jennifer B

Former Naval Aviator turned Historian and a loyal Penn Stater. (WE ARE!) I earned my Masters in American History and graduate certificate in Museum Studies, from the University of Memphis.

The Talk with History podcast gives Scott and me a chance to go deeper into the details of our Walk with History YouTube videos and gives you a behind-the-scenes look at our history-inspired adventures.

Join us as we talk about these real-world historic locations and learn about the events that continue to impact you today!

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