Archive for the ‘John Wilkes Booth’ Category
The land for Saint Paul’s Lutheran Cemetery was purchased for $3000.00 by the 2nd Evangelical Lutheran Congregation of Baltimore on October 25, 1854. The obscure location is west of the Jones Falls across from the neighborhood of Hampden. In 1860 the countryside surrounding the 4.5 acre cemetery was purchased by City Council under the guidance of Mayor Thomas Swann and turned into Druid Hill Park, the third oldest landscaped public park in America.
In 1868 the 2nd Evangelical Lutheran Church divided into three separate congregations: Saint Paul Evangelical Lutheran, Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran and Martini Lutheran Church. An agreement was reached to jointly maintain the burial ground thereafter. One stipulation of the agreement was that no lot owners could bury blatant blasphemers. During this transitional period the City of Baltimore bought 2.25 acres reducing the cemetery’s size by half.
The burial site was severely vandalized in 1986 leaving many of the markers tipped over and broken. A pile of stones remains at the base of an old growth tree. Today Saint Paul’s Lutheran Cemetery is solely owned and operated by Martini Lutheran Church with the Friends of Druid Hill Park adding assistance. The two groups have made vast improvements to the yard. A stone-worker is repairing neglected memorials and someone is keeping the grass trimmed.
The peculiar family plot of Gottlieb Taubert lies unmarked in Saint Paul’s Lutheran Cemetery. Lincoln conspirator George Atzerodt is supposedly buried with the Tauberts, secretly interred here by his mother and father sometime after 1869. Victoria and John Atzerodt went to Washington to retrieve their son’s remains when President Andrew Johnson pardoned those involved with the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. They brought their son to Baltimore.
Upon reviewing the cemetery’s burial records at the Maryland Historical Society Library I noticed that a Viktoria Asserat (Victoria Atzerodt) was placed to rest in the Taubert lot in 1886. It’s my belief, and others, that George Atzerodt is buried anomalously along with his mother in the Gottlieb Taubert family plot, Lot 90 near the center of Saint Paul’s Lutheran Cemetery in Druid Hill Park.
“Burn the theatre,” was the first thing Edman Spangler heard following John Wilkes Booth’s infamous fatal shot on April 14, 1865. Edman Spangler, sometimes known as Ned or Edmund, was a carpenter at Ford’s Theatre and was an acquaintance of Booth’s, occasionally caring for the actor’s horse which was stabled behind the Washington D.C. playhouse. He claimed to have no knowledge of Booth’s escape route, but his story is contradicted by another stagehand working that night. Jake Rittersback claims Spangler told him to keep quiet when the two spoke after the assassination.
This and other damning testimony about his Confederate leanings and distaste for the president lead to his eventual arrest and sentencing of six years in jail. He traveled on the USS Florida to Fort Jefferson with Samuel Mudd, Samuel Arnold and Michael O’Laughlen, three other Booth co-conspirators.
On December 25, 1868 President Andrew Johnson pardoned the four convicts. Edman Spangler returned to Baltimore with Samuel Arnold and went to work as a carpenter at the Holliday Street Theatre for John T. Ford, his former boss and the previous owner of Ford’s Theatre. In 1873 the Holliday burned down and Spangler moved to Dr. Samuel Mudd’s farm in what is now Waldorf, MD where he lived out his final years. He is buried two miles from the Mudd residence in the St. Peter’s Church burial ground.
Green Mount Cemetery is home to over 68,000 graves. Established in 1838, the 68 rolling country acres located in northern Baltimore City is both intriguing and inviting. The historic park of the dead, built on the former site of merchant Robert Oliver’s estate, is filled with fine sculpture and monumental memorials. Among the towering obelisks and ancient markers are the graves of a few important Americans. There’s the Lincoln Assassin John Wilkes Booth and two of his co-conspirators, Michael O’Laughlen and Samuel Arnold. There’s the sideshow performer Johnny Eck and the poet Sidney Lanier. You can also visit Philanthropist Johns Hopkins or the founder of the American Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Thomas Wildey. It’s a fascinating journey through the past. The links below provide focused GPS information for these and other historic graves at Green Mount.
John Wilkes Booth was born in Harford County, MD and made his stage debut at Baltimore’s Charles Street Theatre. The Booth family gravesite is located in Baltimore’s Green Mount Cemetery where John Wilkes rests under an unmarked stone. Small and unassuming, the marker sits at the corner of the family plot, dwarfed by the memorial obelisk at it’s center.
Buried here in February of 1869, four years after his death, John’s body went through a series of circumstances before ending up in Green Mount. Originally inhumed at the Old Penitentiary on the Washington Arsenal grounds, the body was placed in an Army blanket and lowered into a hole that was subsequently covered with a stone slab. Two years later it was exhumed and placed in a wooden box in a locked storeroom at the prison. The government was finally persuaded to release the remains to the Booth family in 1869 where it was viewed in Washington and then Baltimore, before finally being placed in Dogwood Plot #9.
The Holliday Street Theatre used to be located directly across from Baltimore’s City Hall, at the present site of War Memorial Plaza. Junius Brutus Booth, the father of John Wilkes Booth, made his first American appearance in the historic playhouse, as did Francis Key’s Star-Spangled Banner. Aside from Philadelphia’s Walnut Street Theatre, the Holliday was the oldest playhouse in the country.
Constructed 1794 by Thomas Wignell and Alexander Reinagle, the wood-framed building was given the nickname “Old Drury” by locals. Robert Cary Long rebuilt the theater between 1811 and 1813 after a devastating fire. Long’s building lasted until 1873 when another fire wiped out the historic structure. Rebuilt again in 1874, the Holliday Street Theatre was eventually razed in the 1920s to make way for War Memorial Plaza. This tablet, located at the base of War Memorial Plaza’s southern flagstaff, marks the original spot of the building.