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John Wilkes Booth

  • John Wilkes Booth's Birth

    John Wilkes Booth's Birth
    John Wilkes Booth was born on May 10, 1838 in Maryland. His father, Junius Brutus Booth, was a famous actor. His mother was Mary Ann Holmes. He had an older sister, Asia Booth, and an older brother, Edwin Booth.
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    John Wilkes Booth

  • John Wilkes Booth's Education

    John Wilkes Booth's Education
    John Wilkes Booth attended school at Milton Boarding School. Here he gave one of his first dramatic performances. He attended this school for three years, but when he was fourteen years old, Booth attended St. Timothy's Hall. There he learned discipline and was an artillery cadet. (no exact date)
  • John Wilkes Booth's Acting Career

    John Wilkes Booth's Acting Career
    John Wilkes Booth's father and older brother were both extremely successful, famous actors. He made his stage debut in Baltimore in August of 1855. He became well known for his loud and exciting style. By the time Booth was 25 he had played the lead in nine different Shakespearean plays. He took a break from his career in 1859 but returned to it in 1860. John Wilkes Booth gained fame in the South equivalent to his brother’s in the North. (no exact date)
  • John Wilkes Booth Joins the Richmond Grays

    John Wilkes Booth Joins the Richmond Grays
    John Wilkes Booth joined a Confederate militia group called the Richmond Grays. He joined this group shortly after John Brown's attack on Harpers Ferry. While he was part of this organization, he witnessed John Brown's hanging. (no exact date)
  • John Wilkes Booth Joins the Knights of the Golden Circle

    John Wilkes Booth Joins the Knights of the Golden Circle
    John Wilkes Booth also joined the Knights of the Golden Circle in 1859. This was a secret society whose main purpose was to promote the expansion of slavery and secession. The group was very much against the North and after the war was over, they even planned to eventually try to restart the Civil War. (no exact date)
  • John Wilkes Booth's Work with the Confederate Secret Service

    John Wilkes Booth's Work with the Confederate Secret Service
    John Wilkes Booth got involved in the Confederate Secret Service. He met up with other agents in Canada, Massachusetts, and Maryland. He helped to gather information for the Confederates in this way.
  • John Wilkes Booth Speaks Out Against the Union

    John Wilkes Booth Speaks Out Against the Union
    John Wilkes Booth spoke out against the Union from the very start of the war. However, as requested by his mother, Booth did not fight in the war. He regularly appeared in Northern cities, speaking out about Union policies and President Lincoln. These audiences were, more often than not, hostile. He was even arrested once for speaking out against the government. (no exact date)
  • John Wilkes Booth's Attempt at Abducting President Lincoln

    John Wilkes Booth's Attempt at Abducting President Lincoln
    John Wilkes Booth wanted to do something dramatic to help the rebel cause during the war. He organized a group of conspirators, planning on abducting the president. Booth believed this action would help the confederates to negotiate the return of its prisoners of war. At best, he hoped it would end the war. He made several attempts, but was unsuccessful each time due to bad timing or luck. Soon most of his conspirators left him and he gave up on this plan. (no exact date)
  • The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln

    The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln
    On April 14, 1865, Abraham Lincoln and his wife attended a play at Ford's Theatre. That same evening, at ten o'clock, Booth entered the theatre, and went directly to the box where Lincoln was sitting. He pulled out a derringer, held it behind the president’s left ear, and pulled the trigger. He then jumped down to the stage yelling “Sic semper tyrannis” (“ever thus to tyrants”). Booth then ran off and the president died early the next morning.
  • The Time Between the Assassination of Lincoln and Booth's Death

    The Time Between the Assassination of Lincoln and Booth's Death
    John Wilkes Booth ran from Ford's Theatre. He met up with one of his coconspirators, David Herold. The two stopped to get Booth's broken leg set by a doctor called Samuel Mudd. Booth and Herold then fled through Maryland to Virginia. They got shelter from Samuel Cox for six days before moving to the farm of Richard H. Garrett. They were sheltered there for another six days before Union soldiers discovered them.
  • John Wilkes Booth's Death

    John Wilkes Booth's Death
    John Wilkes Booth had been hiding for twelve days with his coconspirator David Herold. They were at Richard H. Garrett’s farm when the Union cavalry found them. Herold surrendered, but Booth refused to be taken alive. The soldiers tried to smoke him out by setting the barn on fire. When Booth tried to make a desperate escape, he was shot. He died the next day, April 27, 1865, a little after dawn.