Killing Lincoln - And Getting Away
Fake News. You’ve heard the term. It’s everywhere these days. Who can you trust? Who isn’t biased? Who is telling the truth? It goes without saying that you can always trust Drunk Mysteries.
But this problem of accepted history versus the notion to question it isnt’ entirely new. In fact, its a problem that dates back at least to the civil war era, if not even further.
Tonight we will join the throngs of conspiracy theorists around the globe. We will not accept what the lame stream media pushes on us as fact, in regards to one of America’s most sensitive investigations. We will decide once and for all if our investigative institutions can be trusted or should be dismantled. Tonight we will not be discouraged nor defeated in our search for answers. Tonight we will find out who really assassinated Abraham Lincoln or if we’ve been lied to for almost 200 years.
Section 1: Finis L. Bates, Attorney at Law
Our story hinges upon a man named Finis L. Bates. He was a lawyer and author in Tennessee from from the late 1870’s until he died in 1923. During his time in Tennessee, Bates married and had children, then that wife died. A few years later, he married again and had some more kids. One of those sons, would grow up marry a woman of his own and they would give birth to actress Kathy Bates. Small world.
Finis L. Bates published several works during that time in Tennessee, though one sticks out quite vividly among the rest. The Book is called The Escape and Suicide of John Wilkes Booth.
Who was John St. Helen?
According to Bates’ book, in 1873 he met a man named John St. Helen in Granbury, Texas. This guy was a proprietor of a local liquor and tobacco depot that Bates frequented.
St. Helen had a particularly theatrical personality and had a inclination to recite Shakespeare perfectly from memory, complete with dramatic flourishes. The two become good friends over the next five years.
While they were still in Granbury, St. Helen fell quite ill. Bates went to see his friend one afternoon and when the house nurses left the room, St. John turned to his friend and said:
“I am dying. My name is John Wilkes Booth, and I am the assassin of President Lincoln. Get the picture of myself from under the pillow. I leave it with you for my future identification. Notify my brother Edwin Booth, of New York City.”
So you’re probably thinking that this guy croaked and then thats that. You’d be wrong. St. Helen recovered and Bates pretty obviously had some questions about what his friend told him.
St. Helen Clarified that the leader of the conspiracy to assassinate Lincoln was VP Andrew Johnson, noted dick.
The Night of the Assassination
This next part is incredibly key. The accepted story is on the night of the assassination, after he successfully took out the President, that Booth and an accomplice named David herold fled from Ford’s Theatre in Washington DC and by horseback, headed for Southern Maryland. They planned the route to take advantage of sparse population, lack of telegraphs or railroads, and its predominantly Confederate sympathies in the area. They would flee for the next 11 days, hiding out in woods and laying low at various Confederate safehouses. We know that Booth crossed the Rappahannock river; remember that river it will be important later.
Booth would be brought to the Garrett Family Farm, a large planation outside of Bowling Green Kentucky on April 23rd, 8 days after the assassination. He would stay here for three days, and the youngest Garrett son, took a particular interest in this stranger. During this time, the Garrett family literally found out that Lincoln had been assassinated and the fugitive was at large. Booth/St. Helen told the family he intended to go to Mexico.
At dawn on April 26th, Union soldiers arrived at the Garrett farm to apprehend booth and his accomplice. The story goes that herold surrendered, though Booth refused and the barn he was locked in was burnt to the ground. During the fire, an officer would spot Booth through a window and shoot him.
Take a break/Beer Review
The Escape and Suicide of John Wilkes Booth
Now that we know what history wants you to believe, lets take a closer look at what Finis Bates wrote in his best selling book. After he recovered from illness John St. Helen further clarified to his friend Bates what his story was.
Booth had enough wealth to have people who worked for him and his family. During his escape, he had sent one of his plantation overseer’s named Ruddy to retrieve important documents that had fallen out of his pocket while crossing the Rappahannock river. Ruddy was able to retrieve the papers and while still in possession of them, was mortally wounded in the Garrett Barn.
What the soldiers found was a disfigured body with John Wilkes Booth’s documents on his person. It wouldn’t take much for his captors to assume he was John Wilkes Booth.
Remember also, that the Garrett’s said his plan was to make it to Mexico and this whole exchange takes place in Texas. Is it possible that Booth just didn’t quite make it all the way to Mexico?
Shortly thereafter, St. Helen moved on to Leadville, Colorado, to pursue mining, and Bates moved to Memphis, losing track of St. Helen.
David E. George: Another Shapeshift
David E. George - a house painter with an appetite for booze and knack for quoting shakespeare commited suicide by ingesting poison on in January 2903 in Enid Oklahoma. He died alone in a hotel room.
Rev. Enoch Covert Harper came to view the body, and relayed a story to the embalmer. Coincidentally, Harper’s wife knew this man on the table, and he had confessed to her three years prior that he was John Wilkes Booth. When she dismissed it, he looked at her with terrible longing and sadness in his eyes, only to say “I killed the best man that ever lived.”
You may be wondering why we’re talking about all this. A few weeks prior, David E. George drew up a will. Few people were l isted but one in particular person to be summoned: Finis L. Bates.
On January 23, 1903, Bates identified the body as that of his old acquaintance john St. Helen. With no one else to claim the body, it became Bates’ problem.
Mummies in America
SO after he died though, and this is kind of unrelated to the whole assassination plot but basically John Wilkes Booth slash John St. Helen slash David E. Georges body would go on to essentially be mummified and then put on display at various circuses as an attraction for the next 30’ish years.
Henry Ford almost bought the body because he had alleged that “history is more or less bunk” a few years prior, to great backlash. He mused that if this body was John Wilkes Booth, it would strengthen his claim that the history we accept is not always accurate.