Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Did John Wilkes Booth Escape?

Today is the 149th anniversary of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Izola Forrester, a famous American author and film screenwriter, grew up thinking John Wilkes Booth, the assassin, was her grandfather. She never believed Booth was shot by a Union soldier in a barn in rural Virginia when he refused to give himself up.  She documented what she thought happened to him in her book This One Mad Act, which was published in 1937. Contrary to the official assassination story, Forrester attempted to prove:
  • John Wilkes Booth was secretly married to her grandmother
  • Booth and Forrester's grandmother had a daughter, Ogarita Rosalie, in 1859; her middle name was for Booth's favorite sister.
  • Lincoln's assassination was instigated by men high in the order of the Knights of the Golden Circle (KGC), said to have been a branch of Freemasonry
  • James William Boyd, a confederate solider was killed in the Garrett barn, not Booth
  • Booth escaped from the barn and lived in exile in California, England and India until his death in 1879
  • Booth and Forrester's grandmother had a son in 1870, who grew up as Harry Stevenson, nearly five years after the assassination
There is a fascinating article on the Barnes Review website entitled Wanted: The Hidden History of Lincoln's Assassin John Wilkes Booth, His Great Escape and the Truth about the Plot. I hope you'll read it and let me know what you think of this alternative history of the assassination of one of our most famous presidents.

Capture of John Wilkes Booth. Courtesy of The Smithsonian Instituate, The Harry T Peters Collectionn

Izola (Hills/Henderson/Forrester) Merrifield/Page (1878-1944) was the wife of my sister-in-law's 8th cousin once removed.

Are their any conspiracy theories in your family history?

 I've written about Izola Forrester before: Izola Forrester: American Author, and her grandmother, Martha Lizola (Mills) Bellows Stevenson: She Seemed Rather Fantastic and Extravagant and  Secret Wife of John Wilkes Booth?


  1. Something to look into. I expect there are conspiracy theories out there but not in my family. We are pretty boring so it's fun reading about others.

  2. No conspiracy theories in my family. That's why I thrive on other's! I have enjoyed reading several of your posts. Found you through the A to Z Challenge. Happy blogging! www.dianeweidenbenner.com

  3. The grand-daughter, several times removed, of John Wilkes Booth lives in Barberton, OH.

    She is selling-off.a treasure trove of never-before-seen memorabilia from America's most important murder.
    The profits of which will be donated to assorted charities.

    This will be a private, on-line auction. Your credentials as a collector will be required.