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You Don't Want to Know

You Don't Want to Know

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Published by gtroy

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Categories:Types, Research, History
Published by: gtroy on Mar 11, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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March 10, 2010 9:06 PM
John Wilkes Booth
(May 10, 1838–April 26, 1865) was anAmerican stage actorwhoassassinated President Abraham LincolnatFord's Theatre, in Washington, D.C., on April 14, 1865. Booth was a member of the prominent19th centuryBooth theatrical familyfromMarylandand, by the 1860s, was a well known actor.
He was also aConfederatesympathizer vehement in his denunciation of the Lincoln Administration and outraged by the South's defeatin theAmerican Civil War. He strongly opposed the abolition ofslavery in the United Statesand Lincoln's proposal toextend voting rightstorecently emancipated slaves.Booth and a group of co-conspirators planned to kill Lincoln,Vice President Andrew Johnson, andSecretary of State William Sewardin a bid to help the Confederacy's cause. AlthoughRobert E. Lee'sArmy of Northern Virginiahad surrendered four days earlier, Booth believedthe war was not yet over becauseConfederate GeneralJoseph E. Johnston's army was still fighting theUnion Army. Of the conspirators, only Booth was completely successful in carrying out his part of the plot. Seward was wounded but recovered; Lincoln diedthenext morning from a single gunshot wound to the back of the head
 – alteringthe course of American history in the aftermath of the Civil War.Following the shooting, Booth fled on horseback to southernMaryland. Heeventually made his way to a farm in rural northernVirginia; he was tracked down and killed by Union soldiers12 days later. Eightothers were tried andconvicted, and four werehangedshortly thereafter. Over the years, variousauthors have suggested that Booth might have escaped hispursuers and subsequently died many years later under a pseudonym.
Background and early life
Booth's parents, the noted British ShakespeareanactorJunius Brutus Booth  and his mistress Mary Ann Holmes, came to the United States fromEngland  in June 1821.
They purchased a 150-acre (61
ha) farm nearBel AirinHarford County, Maryland, where John Wilkes Booth was born in a four-room log house on May 10, 1838, the ninth of ten children.
Hewasnamed after the English
radicalpoliticianJohn Wilkes, a distant relative.
Junius Brutus Booth's wife,Adelaide Delannoy Booth, was granted a divorce in 1851 on grounds ofadultery, and Holmes legally wed John Wilkes Booth's father on May 10, 1851,the youth's 13th
 Booth's father built Tudor Hall that year on theHarford County property as the family's summer home, while also maintaininga winter residence on Exeter Street in Baltimore in the 1840s–1850s.
[7][8][9]"Tudor Hall" in 1865
As a boy, John Wilkes Booth was athletic and popular, becoming skilled athorsemanship and fencing.
A sometimes indifferent student, he attendedthe Bel Air Academy, where the headmaster described him as "[n]ot deficientin intelligence, but disinclined to take advantage of the educationalopportunities offered him". Each day he rode back and forth from farm toschool, taking more interest in what happened along the way than in reachinghis classes on time".
In 1850–1851, he attended theQuaker-run MiltonBoarding School for Boys located inSparks, Maryland, and later St. Timothy'sHall, anEpiscopalmilitary academy inCatonsville, Maryland, beginning when he was 13
years old.
At the Milton school, students recited such classicalworks as those byHerodotus,Cicero, andTacitus.
Students at St.Timothy's wore military uniforms and were subject to a regimen of dailyformation drills and strict discipline.
Booth left school at 14, after hisfather's death.
While attending the Milton Boarding School, Booth met aGypsy fortune-teller  who read his palm and pronounced a grim destiny, telling Booth that he wouldhave a grand but short life, doomed to die young and "meeting a bad end".
 His sister recalled that Booth wrote down the palm-reader's prediction and
showed it to his family and others, often discussing its portents in moments ofmelancholy in later years.
As recounted by Booth's sister,Asia Booth Clarke, in her memoirs written in1874, no one church was preeminent in the Booth household. Booth's motherwas Episcopalian and his father was described as a free spirit, preferring aSunday walk along the Baltimore waterfront with his children to attendingchurch. On January 23, 1853, the 14-year-old Booth was finallybaptizedat St.Timothy's Protestant Episcopal Church.
By the age of 16, Booth was interested in the theatre and in politics, becominga delegate from Bel Air to a rally by theKnow Nothing PartyforHenry Winter Davis, theanti-immigrantparty's candidate for Congress in the 1854 elections.
Aspiring to follow in the footsteps of his father and his actor brothers,EdwinandJunius Brutus, Jr., Booth began practicing elocution daily in the woods around Tudor Hall and studying Shakespeare.
Theatrical career
The Richmond Theatre,Richmond, Virginia, in 1858, when Booth made his first stageappearance there
At age 17, Booth made his stage debut on August 14, 1855, in thesupportingroleof the Earl of Richmond in
Richard III 
at Baltimore's Charles StreetTheatre.
The audience hissed at the inexperienced actor when hemissed some of his lines.
He also began acting at Baltimore's HollidayStreet Theater, owned byJohn T. Ford, where the Booths had performed

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