Added 04/30/12 Today, a witness to the Robert F. Kennedy assassination spoke out, claiming there were TWO shooters. It is said a new court case will be opened.
Arriving at the Truth about how we have lost several U.S. Presidents (and RFK, and MLK) by assassination will finally begin the healing.
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Below are raw notes on information collected by me recently as part of my research for a planned book about the 19th-Century theater. This represents just a small portion of my overall research thus far but just these bits, sewn together, make a compelling case that John Wilkes Booth was supported by Union leaders, as well as Confederate leaders and was not killed on April 26, 1865 but eventually settled in Bombay, India until he died in 1883 after living a “comfortable life” largely funded by banks in England and Canada—and at times by his own family.
Interestingly, it would also appear that one of JWB’s stated accomplices, Michael O’Laughlin, did not in fact die in prison in 1867 of Yellow Fever but was secretly released and went on to live out his life in the United States under the pseudonym of John Henry Stevenson. He apparently left an autobiography to be published after his death (in 1890), which was done by a Miss Lottie Eaton.
If a solid case can be made that elements in President Lincoln’s administration had a hand in his assassination, namely his Vice President Andrew Johnson, then this would invalidate Johnson’s presidency in history. Interestingly, a later Vice President Johnson would also be implicated by “conspiracy” facts in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. As far as Sec. of War Stanton, while he may have been a “target” and was wounded, so was Texas Gov. John Connally, when he was riding in the car with JFK. Much evidence (that’s another story) supports Connally’s part in that conspiracy, so it could be said that when one wants fiercely to target their prey without being implicated, sustaining a planned “courtesy” wound would be a small price.
It is never too late to get to the truth of our American history in order to set the records straight and ensure that such shenanigans never again deprive We The People of our right to control our collective will to be a free and enlightened nation.
As a work in progress, this page will be modified and updated as needed. If you are reading this page and might have additional information to complement mine, I would love to hear from you.
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A. How Our Best Known Assassin Became a Hoosier, by Charles B. Huppert – [Indiana State University]
Robert B. Stewart of Brazil, Indiana writes a letter (dated January 7, 1930) to the
daughter of a John B. Wilkes, who had lived in Terre Haute, Indiana. Her name was Harriet Emily Wilkes, the first wife of William Wood Parsons. It concerns a Will made by a John Byron Wilkes, who died in 1883 in Assam (Bombay), India.
More on William Wood Parsons:
• Past president of Indiana Normal School, which is now Indiana State University.
• Took great interest in “how his father-in-law figured into the history of John Wilkes Booth”, and discussed this with John C. Schaffer, the editor of the Terre Haute Star and the Indianapolis Star, among others.
The daughter (Mrs. Wilson) of one of the benefactors named in the Will (Elizabeth Marshall Wilkes) is making what appears to be an erroneous claim against the estate of the Terre Haute John B. Wilkes, believing him to be one and the same as the John Byron Wilkes in India.
The case develops into a suspicion that the identity of the Terre Haute John B. Wilkes was “stolen” by the signer of the Will, John Byron Wilkes from India, as the information for both men claims a birth date of 12/15/1822 in Sheffield, England, born to Samuel Wilkes and Olivia Barber Wilkes.
The Will made by this John Byron Wilkes in India interestingly bequeathed money to several people who were intimately involved with John Wilkes Booth, the man who assassinated President Abraham Lincoln. Listed as beneficiaries in this Will are (in order of appearance):
1. Ogarita Rosalie Wilkes (“heir to my body” per Will.) – [Ogarita’s mother was Izola d’Arcy Mills Booth]
2. Harry Jerome Stevenson (alleged to be a son of John Wilkes Booth by Ogarita, although not stated in Will as “heir to my body”).
3. Mary Louise Turner (“heir to my body” per Will.)
4. Sarah Katherine Scott (“heir to my body” per Will.)
5. Izola Martha Stevenson (mother of Ogarita, above)
6. Ella Turner (mother of Mary Louise Turner, above)
7. Kate M. Scott (mother of Sarah Katherine Scott, above)
8. Henry Johnson (same name as JWB’s theatre valet in the States) “…in grateful appreciation for great and faithful service and to whom I owe my very life,“
9. Sarah Johnson (mother of Henry Johnson, above).
10. Elizabeth Marshall [Burnley] Wilkes (“my beloved wife and mistress…”)
11 and 12. Roger McCracken, his appointed executor of the Will.
In 1886, General Lew Wallace assigned one Mr. Andrew Potter the task of handling “….the Indiana side of the estate of John Byron Wilkes of India.” Wallace wants this investigation “…to determine whether the India Wilkes had in fact died and whether he was in fact the assassin of President Lincoln.” Wallace wanted to find what connection there was to this India Wilkes and funds that were on deposit in U.S. and Canadian banks under the name of John B. Wilkes. Curiously , Ulysses S. Grant asked Wallace to begin this investigation after his own investment firm of Grant and Ward failed in NYC [in 1884].
[NOTE: From the book My Thoughts Be Bloody by Nora Titone (Free Press 2010): Circa 1858-59: “Booth was billed as ‘J.B. Wilkes.’ It had been agreed among his family that John would not use ‘Booth’ professionally until he had more acting experience.” [page 261]
More on Andrew Potter:
• Lived in Ladoga, Montgomery Co., Indiana.
• Former member of National Detective Police, later to become a railroad detective.
• Former business colleague of General Lew Wallace of Crawfordsville, Indiana.
• Andrew Potter is named in the Will of John Byron Wilkes as the Trustee for the inheritance of Sarah Katherine Scott (JWB’s daughter by Kate Scott).
• Was asked by Gen. Wallace (at the request of Ulysses S. Grant) to “investigate an oddly high number of deaths among people associated with the War Department at the conclusion of the Civil War.” (This report never materialized despite “significant evidence of murderous activity.” )
• Potter enlisted the aid of one John Watson Foster, lawyer, general, diplomat,
and then Sec. of State under Benjamin Harrison. Foster’s two grandsons would be John Foster Dulles (Sec. of State under Eisenhower) and Allen Dulles (chief of the CIA).
• When Potter undertook the investigation, neither he nor Wallace knew about the Terre Haute John B. Wilkes.
• Andrew Potter ultimately wrote that indeed JWB had escaped to Assam, India (circa 1931) Excerpt: “But after the death of Baker someone decided to take a hand in discovering the truth. Much of the truth had leaked out and the questions were being asked which could lead to answers which the government and the bankers did not want known. Lew Wallace was at that time representing some New York bankers who were aware of the John B. Wilkes who was trying to get funds released and was threatening to make loud noises if he did not get his money. The money, along with the interest, amounted to a pretty sum and could cause a great wrinkle in certain banks. It then became essential that the exact truth be determined, not for release to the public but for the information of those in charge. We were sent out to investigate.”
Enter one Lola Alexander (born Harriet Stover), who was born in VA. Her first husband was Thomas Snedaker. As it turns out, she was close to both the family of the Terre Haute John B. Wilkes and to JWB. She was a linchpin here; “pictures of her were found in Booth’s room at the Washington Hotel shortly after the assassination. Therefore, she could provide the ‘necessary information’ to allow him to commit an early version of identity theft.”
More on Lola Alexander (aka Harriet Stover Snedaker):
• Good friend of Schuyler Colfax, U.S. Congressman from Indiana.
The author questions the conflict between Booth’s body not being positively identified until mid-afternoon on 04/27/1865, yet at 9:20 a.m. that morning, Secretary of War Edward Stanton sent a telegram already identifying the body as that of JWB.
The two diaries of John Wilkes Booth:
• A red diary found two days before JWB’s alleged death was recovered, as revealed in the diary of one George W. Julian by his daughter Grace Clarke. According to the entry, Sec. Stanton held meeting in his office regarding this diary. It was announced at this meeting that, “…if the diary got out they would be ruined.” They removed six photos from the diary and locked the diary away well as.
• A black diary was found on what was allegedly the body of JWB two days later. This diary was never publicly produced; only the red diary (with many pages removed) was presented in court.
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B. Kate M. Scott’s Sworn Statement Concerning Her Activities During the Civil War and Her Relationship With John Wilkes Booth, dated October 27, 1910 [Kate was named as beneficiary in the John Byron Wilkes 1883 Will from India - see above]:
Kate was born on October 5, 1837 in Ebensburg, Cambria, PA, daughter of John Armat Scott and Hannah (Gray) Scott. She was raised in Brookville, Jefferson, PA.
After quite an ordeal, Kate arrives in Washington on November 26, 1861 and reports as an Army nurse to Camp Jamerson (105th Regt. Of Pennsylvania Volunteers) on November 28, 1861 under the command of Col. McKnight.
Kate leaves Camp Jamerson in March 1862 and moves to a boarding house in Washington.
Kate mentions Rebecca Vallieleo as a girl she met at the boarding house.
(NOTE: Rebecca Vallieleo was a budding actress. Her stage name was Helen Western. Rebecca/Helen had a “dubious connection” with John Wilkes Booth before her marriage to James A. Herne (U.S. playwright and actor).
Shortly thereafter, Kate Scott moves in with Mr. and Mrs. Judson Weaver. Mr. Weaver is employed by the Census Bureau.
The Weavers take her to military balls, which is how she first meets John Wilkes Booth, who begins to call on her at the home of the Weavers.
Kate returns to Brookville, PA in June 1862.
In the fall of 1862, two of her male cousins come to the Brookville farm for hunting and leisure. They are identified as “Capt. John Evan Scott of Manchester”, England and “John Celestina”, both ship captains of Canadian registry. They bring John Wilkes Booth with them.
[NOTE: Interestingly, there is a photo of a "John Celestina" sitting with William Bernard, a Civil War spy for the Union. This photo accompanies quite an interesting memoir by Bernard published after his death. It would be quite odd for a Union spy to be sitting with a Confederate smuggler, but is it possible this John Celestina was Kate Scott's cousin? Bernard mentions in his memoir that Kate "was the love of my life", so through knowing Kate, he probably knew her cousin. ]
Kate reflects in this affidavit that cousin John Celestina was arrested after the assassination and later left the sea life. As of October 1906, he was living a “quiet life” in New Orleans. She wonders what happened to John Evan Scott, as she could find no information.
[NOTE: I may have found what happened to her cousin John Evan Scott. The website Monument Australia lists a monument of the ship “Sierra Nevada”, which crashed in 1900 outside Port Phillip Heads. The Captain of that ship was “John Scott from Manchester”.]
Kate states that on February 06, 1865, John Wilkes Booth came to the Brookville farm. The next day, she goes with him to “Meadeville” (Meadville) PA, then they go on to Washington City. Their daughter Sarah Katherine is born in Indianapolis, Indiana on December 08, 1865.
[NOTE: The essay by Charles Huppert (above) gives a different reason for her trip to Washington City. He states that, “Kate’s father was the publisher of the Brookville Republican and he had sent Kate to Washington City to cover Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural in early March, 1865. There she met…” with John Wilkes Booth.]
After the April 1865 assassination of President Lincoln, Kate receives a handwritten letter in July 1865 that she states was “unmistakably” the handwriting of JWB. He signs it “John Byron Wilkes.” He wants her to pick up an envelope from Winston Weaver (a partner of his in the PA oil business in Oil City) and then meet him at the Brookville farm on Sept 15 (1865).
JWB tells her that he had sent his valet Henry Johnson (Henry was named as beneficiary in the John Byron Wilkes 1883 Will from India, above) to NY [apparently to get detectives off his trail] then he would go on to Niagara Falls and cross into Canada.
[NOTE: Dayton History Books website: Credible Story About Booth Uncovered
In this narrative, a Mr. Kelley [who had shared a dressing room with JWB in the 1860s]
unexpectedly meets up with Henry Johnson, JWB’s former theatre valet, several years after the Civil War.
Henry tells Kelley that he has “been with Marse Edwin [JWB’s famous brother] ever since Marse John got away.” He goes on to say that a British sailing ship picked up JWB and took him to Liverpool. From there, he secured passage to Bombay, India and was living under the name of John Wilkes.
JWB tells her that “he had ample funds in the Bank of England and that his financial future was assured.”
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C. Diary of John Henry Stevenson alias of Michael O’Laughlin as dictated to Lottie Eaton and released February 09, 1891 [Michael was named as an accomplice with JWB in the assassination of President Lincoln]:
In 1858, Michael wins a Bill of Sale for a 31-acre farm in Virginia, after a very tense card game.
Shortly thereafter, he runs into John Wilkes Booth (a childhood neighbor), who reminds him that he owes him money. Michael offers the Bill of Sale to the farm, which Booth accepts. Booth’s wife Izola, and later their daughter Ogarita [born October 23 1859) live at this farm.
He doesn’t see JWB until “about six months after his marriage”, (or about June 1859). JWB tells him that his wife (Izola d’Arcy Mills Booth) is pregnant [with Ogarita], which he is unhappy about. He opines that he never should have married her.
Michael next meets JWB (sometime in August/September 1859) at JWB’s request. JWB introduces him to a “Major Harris”, who offers Michael a job as courier, delivering a package from Montreal to NY, where Harris is located. Michael does this and is paid “handsomely.”
Michael only occasionally sees JWB between the start of the Civil War until the spring of 1863. JWB has this Col. Harris with him for this meeting. Harris gives him another assignment, which takes him to Owenboro, Kentucky. He meets a Mr. Watson, who is “anxious to hear about Booth and ‘his plan.”
Michael, unaware of what this plan is, later asks JWB about it. He learns from JWB that the plan is to kidnap the President, Vice President and the Secretary of State and take them someplace where they could not be found.
Michael makes an interesting observation here:
“There were a number of Confederate secret service men assigned to the plan. The main backing was in the North however, and was from here that most of the money was to come. I have in later years thought much of this and I cannot think that all of the persons involved had the same motives. It appears that many persons with completely opposite desires were assisting the plan, each thinking that in the end he would control the activity.”
The money to be made here involved more than a quarter of a million dollars in a mix of Treasury notes and greenbacks, as well as gold coin of foreign mintage.
JWB had “a fortune” but could not spend most of it because the large amounts the Treasury notes represented and the fact that they were stolen from the Treasury. These Treasury notes also have duplicate numbers-part of a “treasury scandal” at the time. Trying to utilize the foreign gold coinage would have caused much suspicion. JWB buried most of these at the farm in Virginia.The money was also “building up in the Canadian banks and the English banks.”
About this time, JWB becomes involved in smuggling operations with a Canadian shipping firm.
[NOTE: Perhaps the Black Ball Line that operated out of Canada and for who Capt. John Scott worked about that time?]
On one of his courier missions. Michael meets a Dr. Magill to make arrangements for smuggling quinine to the South. This Dr. Magill “had made contracts with Gen.__________ and Col.________ of the union army and they supplied ways of getting the stuff to the Confederates.”
[NOTE: The blank lines after “Gen.” and “Col.” are in this original, unedited narrative. I do not know if Mr. O’Laughlin did not want to state their names at the time he narrated his story or if Lottie Eaton, who made this original transcription, intentionally left out their names. More research needed here.]
In Spring 1864, Michael and JWB meet in Washington City. JWB tells him that he “had been approached by a ‘high government official’ and asked to carry out an assignment for the Government.” He goes on to say that a “man high in the government” offered to pay JWB to kidnap President Lincoln. JWB tells Michael that, “…we would all be heros (sic) in both the north and the south.”
Michael states that the scenario was never to kill the President, just to kidnap him. He goes into some detail of how men were trained and dressed in stolen Union uniforms to carry this out.
He goes on to state that the whole thing fell apart on April 14, 1865 at Ford’s Theatre when many of the fake “Union solders” did not show up, nor did the “genuine major [who was] close to Lincoln” (Maj-Gen Grant? ). Another “officer” at Ford’s that night lost his nerve “after so much went awry and refused to go through with it.” When JWB told this “officer” that they would proceed, he attacked JWB with a knife. “That much I know”, comments Michael.
At this point, everyone involved started leaving Washington because of the mishaps.
Michael can’t explain at all why JWB went in and shot President Lincoln. According to him, it was never part of the plan.
Michael can only deduce on reflection that JWB was utterly frustrated by the failed kidnap attempts (apparently five in all) that he went suddenly went berserk.
(NOTE:From The Barnes Review: More Solid Evidence Unearthed Corroborating TBR Story that Claimed Assassin John Wilkes Booth Survived – Citing the book Abraham Lincoln’s Execution by John Chandler Griffin (2006): “Dr. Griffin shows convincingly that no plot to murder Lincoln
existed before Booth visited with (Vice President Andrew) Johnson sometime after five o’clock in the afternoon of Friday, April 14, the day of the assassination.” Griffin speculates that it was VP Johnson who “pushed Booth over the edge to murder Lincoln…”
And, his book, “…also corroborates our implication of security officer Lafayette Baker being in cahoots with Edwin Stanton, Lincoln’s Secretary of War, as another major architect of the plot.”]
Michael gives a very descriptive narrative of his time in prison and states that in 1867, a W.G. Pollock visited him there and wanted to know where Booth had hidden the gold and if Michael would help him, he would make sure Michael got out of prison.
Michael was given a sedative a week later and awoke in New Orleans on October 5, 1867. He saw in a mirror that he “was a yellow as an oriental.” Apparently, a dye had been put on him and he had been reported as a victim of the Yellow Fever, which was rampant on the island at the time.
While Pollack is following his every move, Michael gives a detailed account of how he slips out of Pollack’s view and contacts Izola at the Virginia farm. It is at this time that she tells him JWB was still alive—she had heard from him in September 1867 and they were to meet in San Francisco in the spring of 1868.
Michael and Izola travel west to San Francisco together, leaving VA on December 23, 1867. He gives a harrowing account of how they covertly managed to take as much gold and Treasury notes from the ranch as they could while remaining under cover as they traveled west.
Michael and Izola reach San Francisco on April 8, 1868 and place an ad in the newspaper: “John, come home, your mother is ill.” JWB contacts them. Soon, Michael heads to Sacramento and Izola leaves with JWB out of the City.
Michael buys a smelter in Sacramento and is soon a millionaire. In just under a year, he meets a Frank Bailey, who apparently wants to “corner the gold market.”
Michael states: “Through contacts in New York, Bailey found out that there was going to be an attempt to buy up gold in New York and that the government of President Grant had promised to remain aloof to the manipulations.”
Michael receives a letter from Izola in late 1869, who is in San Francisco and needs help.
Izola tells him an “incredible story”:
When the Booths and Michael go their separate ways in April 1868, JWB and Izola sail immediately. [The ship was The Indian Queen out of Nova Scotia and the master of this ship was a Captain Scott.]
Izola relates that after several months sailing “west and south”, a mutiny over the gold occurred. She states that Capt Scott and JWB were both killed and that she was left in a whale boat. She was later picked up by a British ship and brought back to San Francisco.
[NOTE: Quite likely, this is the same Captain Scott that Kate M. Scott names as her cousin. See above. Izola may either have been wrong about JWB's "death" or was misleading Michael on orders of JWB. As shown above, Captain Scott appears not to have died in this incident but much later in 1900]
Izola tells Michael that she is pregnant (by JWB). They both return to Baltimore and Izola gives birth to a son on February 22, 1870. He is given the pseudonym name that Michael uses: John Harry Stevenson . (Later to go by the name of Harry Jerome. He is named in the Will of John Byron Wilkes, above].
Michael later receives a letter from Frank Bailey telling him that he had lost his investments in California. Frank had “embezzled money”, “pyramided it into a fortune”, and suffered heavy losses in bad investments.
Just before Christmas in 1878, Michael leaves Doylestown, Pennsylvania to Ohio, where he resides when this narrative is taken down by Lottie Eaton.
[Further on this: 2007 article in Muscatine County Journal - Onetime Muscatine County resident's story disputes history books' account of President Lincoln's killer]
Michael talks with Harry before leaving and tells him that his real father was JWB. He also relates that “later in the mid 70’s” (?), Harry told him he had met a Mr. Purdy, who told him someone in the theatre had received a letter that was certainly in the handwriting of JWB.
[NOTE: This probably was a typo and meant to read“mid-80's”. Jerome would only have been five years of age in the mid-70's]
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To be continued…
Companion Post: Booths and Rothschilds: Family Ties?
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The first doctor to reach President Abraham Lincoln after he was shot in a Washington theater rushed to the presidential box and found him paralyzed, comatose and leaning against his wife. Dr. Charles Leale ordered brandy and water to be brought immediately.”
“The doctor, who sat 40 feet from Lincoln at Ford’s Theater that night in April 1865, saw John Wilkes Booth jump to the stage, brandishing a dagger, and heard the cry that the ‘President has been murdered’ before pushing his way through the crowd. Thinking Lincoln had been stabbed, Leale ordered men to cut off the president’s coat.”