Mind-blowing facts about Abraham Lincoln’s killing

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Mind-blowing facts about Abraham Lincoln’s killing

Owen Arbaugh, Staff Writer

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During the fourth quarter in eighth-grade American history, students read Chasing Lincoln’s Killer by James L. Swanson and discovered the complex and interesting story behind the killing of the 16th president.

The assassination of Abraham Lincoln is one of the most prolific events in American history. The bloody, long, and stressful Civil War had just been won by the Northern Union. Meaning, Lincoln and his comrades had time to relax and celebrate.

April 14, 1865: On this particular night, Abraham Lincoln, his wife Mary Todd Lincoln, the Union’s Major Henry Rathbone, and his wife Clara Harris decided to watch the play Our American Cousin at Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C. That night, around 10:30, actor and Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth went into Abraham Lincoln’s box and shot him.

Lincoln died the very next morning. As simple as the killing of “Honest Abe” sounds, there are many deeper, underlying factors and disturbing secrets behind his death.

Abraham Lincoln wasn’t the only American political figure who was supposed to die on the night of April 14. John Wilkes Booth had arranged for fellow Confederates Lewis Powell and George Atzerodt to kill Vice President Andrew Johnson and Secretary of State William Seward. It was part of  a plan to shut down the entire American government in an attempt to spark the Confederacy to fight again. Lewis Powell did not succeed in killing Seward but stabbed him multiple times, and George Atzerodt got scared and decided to not kill Johnson.

As weird as it seems in modern society, Henry Rathbone and Clara Harris were step-siblings before they married. Also, after being stabbed by Booth and witnessing Lincoln being killed, Rathbone, nearly twenty years later, went insane and killed Clara Harris. He also attempted to kill the children but was stopped by the nanny. Later, he was entered into an insane asylum.

Edmund Spangler, the man John Wilkes Booth had hold his horses before he entered Ford’s Theater, got a prison sentence for life. Oddly enough, he only held Booth’s horse for about a minute. Spangler had other things to do and gave the horse to his co-worker John Peanut.

Booth was killed in a bam by cavalry.  His conspirators were hung three months later. The hanging was public. The hanging was controversial because one of the conspirators, Mary Surratt (the first female to be executed by the government), was only linked circumstantially to the assassination.

Coincidentally, at the exact time and date of John Wilkes Booth’s brother, Edwin Booth’s, funeral service, the Ford’s Theater collapsed. Twenty-two workers died from the tragedy. 

Within one of the deepest, darkest, events to ever take place in the United States, there are many underlying factors. The killing still has lasting effects today. Since that cool April night, many things have been discovered, such as the cold-heartedness and calculations of John Wilkes Booth. In all, the killing of Abraham Lincoln will be remembered forever.