Suspicious Deaths and Circumstances

LAFAYETTE BAKER:  In  his  book,  *History  of  the United States
Secret   Service*   (1867),   Baker   "recalled   many   of   the
post-assassination blunders  which  [Edwin]  Stanton  would  most
certainly  have preferred to remain forgotten.  More embarrassing
to Stanton, it  aroused  new  interest  in  [John Wilkes] Booth's
suppressed diary which, Baker claimed, had been  mutilated  since
it  had  left his possession."  (*Anatomy of an Assassination* by
John Cottrell.  New York:   Funk  & Wagnalls, 1966) The existence
of Booth's diary had been kept secret.  Baker's book revealed its
existence.  The disclosure created a storm in Congress:  Why  had
it  been  hidden?   Booth's  diary  was  recovered  from  the War
Department, but 18  pages  were  missing.   (See  CN 3.90) In the
previous issue of Conspiracy Nation (CN 11.20) is shown how Baker
seems to have persisted in trying to  expose  a  wide  conspiracy
involving  Stanton  and other very powerful persons as behind the
death of Abraham Lincoln.  Baker feared for his life.  In 1867 he
was "shot at and  attacked  by  someone  with  a knife on several
occasions."  (Cottrell) In December of 1867, Baker  was  shot  at
and  injured  by splinters caused by the bullet striking the door
of his carriage.  By early January of 1868, Baker was complaining
of being  under  constant  surveillance.   This  surveillance was
confirmed by his physician; according to Dr. William Rickards, "I
saw a man who was skulking up an  alley  and  carefully  watching
General  Baker...  As I walked along the street I saw another man
step  from  an  alley  further  down  the  street...   They  were
definitely following the General."  (qtd. in Cottrell) Baker died
in 1868.   He  may  have  been  poisoned.   Here  is  part of Dr.
Rickard's testimony (qtd. in Cottrell):

  Q: Did his symptoms fit the  symptoms  observed  with  any
     known poison?
  A: Yes.
  Q: Which poison?
  A: Arsenic.
  Q: In  other  words,  the symptoms shown by General Baker
     show more similarity to  arsenic  poisoning than they do
     to typhoid fever?
  A: Yes.
  Q: Is it then possible that General Baker died of  arsenic
  A: From a medical standpoint, yes.  But I know that he was
     not poisoned.
  Q: How do you know this?
  A: No one had the opportunity.

Mrs.  Lincoln to Ford's Theater on the fatal evening of April 14,
1865.  (The occupants of the box at Ford's Theater did not number
four, but  five.   The  fifth  occupant  of  the  box was Charles
Forbes, Lincoln's footman and personal attendant.  See  books  by
Otto Eisenschiml.)  Rathbone later married Ms. Harris, then later
murdered  her.  Major Rathbone was committed to a lunatic asylum,
where he remained for the rest of his life.

scapegoated  as  one  of the prime conspirators, was sentenced to
death by hanging.   Her  daughter,  Anna  Surratt, tried to reach
President Andrew Johnson at  the  White  House  to  petition  for
clemency.   On  July  7,  1865  -- execution day -- Anna Surratt,
weeping for mercy, threw herself  on the White House stairs.  She
was turned away by King and Lane.  It is likely  that,  had  Anna
Surratt  been able to see Johnson, clemency for Mrs. Mary Surratt
would have  been  granted.   Conditional  to  the  death sentence
pronounced against Mrs. Surratt was a provision that  a  petition
for mercy would be attached and sent to President Andrew Johnson.
But  Johnson  later said he had never received any such petition.
Writes  Cottrell,  "Some   person   or  persons  were  apparently
determined that Mary Surratt should not live."  As  to  King  and
Lane,  who  had  roadblocked the weeping Anna Surratt from seeing
President Johnson:  Four months after  July 7, 1865, Preston King
tied weights to himself, jumped off a ferry  boat,  and  drowned.
Eight months after July 7, 1865, Senator Lane shot himself.

JOHN  WILKES BOOTH:  There's no question that Booth shot Lincoln.
There is much doubt, however, whether it was indeed Booth who was
subsequently shot dead  by  Sergeant  Boston Corbett at Garrett's
Farm on April 26, 1865.  (Corbett, later employed as a doorman by
the Kansas State Legislature, brought two revolvers to  work  and
opened  fire  on  the legislators.  He was committed to an insane
asylum, escaped, then disappeared.)   The  real John Wilkes Booth
most likely committed suicide at Enid, Oklahoma, in June of 1903.
(See past issues of  Conspiracy  Nation,  e.g.,  CN  3.89,  3.90,
3.91.)   Descendants of Booth obviously had doubts whether it was
really Booth buried  in  "Booth's  grave":   in  June  of 1995, a
Baltimore judge refused permission to exhume the supposed body of
Booth.  "Twenty-two descendants of the Booth family asked for the
exhumations  after  being  contacted   by   attorneys   for   two
researchers  who  have spent years challenging history books that
say Booth  died  of  gunshot  wounds  outside  a  burning barn in
Caroline County, Va., on  April  26,  1865."   (Washington  Times
National Weekly Edition, June 5-11, 1995)

LOUIS PAINE:  On April 17,  1865,  Louis Paine, a common laborer,
innocently knocked on the  front  door  of  Mrs.  Mary  Surratt's
boarding-house.   Perhaps  some  work  needed to be done, thought
Paine.  But poor Mr. Paine knocked at the wrong door at the wrong
time.    Government   detectives    investigating   the   Lincoln
assassination were on the premises.  Paine was arrested and later
charged with conspiring to  assassinate  Lincoln,  Vice-President
Andrew  Johnson,  General  Grant,  and Secretary of State Seward.
Writes Vaughan Shelton  in  *Mask  for Treason* (Stackpole Books,
Harrisburg, PA, 1965), "Even today, a century later  [1965],  his
[Paine's]   image  is  unchanged  from  that  given  him  by  the
prosecution at the  Conspiracy  Trial:   A homicidal, half-witted
brute without a flicker of remorse...  But the persistence of the
prejudice against this young man  for  a  full  century...  is  a
phenomenon  of  mass thought-conditioning that has no parallel...
Of the eight defendants at  the  Conspiracy Trial HE WAS THE MOST

MRS.  MARY TODD LINCOLN:  President Lincoln's widow believed that
there had been a larger conspiracy,  a plot within a plot, behind
her husband's death.  "Ever since her husband's murder, Mary  had
been  convinced  that  John  Wilkes  Booth  was  part of a larger
conspiracy."  ("Mary Lincoln's  Insanity  File," broadcast on The
Discovery Channel (TDC), 12/29/96) She was far from alone in this
belief:  "It was widely believed in 1865  and  during  the  years
that followed that President Lincoln was the victim of a gigantic
conspiracy.   Many  held  that  he  had  been betrayed by his own
government.  Far fewer accepted the official explanation that his
death was merely the  work  of  a  mentally disturbed actor and a
tiny band of fanatical conspirators."  (Cottrell,  inside  jacket
cover)  On  June 30, 1865, when the military tribunal reached its
verdict and sentenced David E. Herold, Louis Paine, Mrs. Surratt,
and George A. Atzerodt to  be  hung,  a crowd of citizens outside
responded to the verdict with angry shouts of "Judicial  murder!"
Mrs.  Lincoln,  a  potential voice to challenge the cover-up, was
savagely attacked by the  newspapers.   Said the Chicago Journal,
"She is insane."  Mrs. Lincoln is quoted as  follows  (TDC):   "A
piece in the Morning Tribune says there is no doubt I'm deranged,
have  been  for years past, and will end up in a lunatic asylum."
But an expert on the  TDC  program says now that Mary's so-called
"insanity" was in a 19th-century context:  "We're talking about a
society that's  getting  less  and  less  willing  to  deal  with
eccentrics...    For   some   reason,  this  sense  of  tolerance
disappears in the United  States."   By around 1875, Mrs. Lincoln
was "hearing strange voices" and had "fears of murder."  She  had
reportedly  said  to  her  son,  Robert Lincoln, "You're going to
murder me."  Through  treachery  and  trickery involving her son,
Robert, and others, Mary Lincoln was involuntarily  committed  to
an  insane  asylum.   But within 10 months, thanks largely to the
efforts  of  a  pioneering  female  attorney  in  Illinois,  Myra
Bradwell, Mary Lincoln was released.   Said Bradwell:  "She is no
more insane than you or I."  Mary Lincoln  died,  a  recluse,  in
Springfield, Illinois, on July 16, 1882.

(This has been a preliminary report.  Other names may be added in
the future.)

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