John Wilkes Booth’s Brother Saved the Life of Abraham Lincoln’s son.
In one of the stranger coincidences from American history, the brother of John Wilkes Booth, the man who assassinated Abraham Lincoln, saved the life of Lincoln’s son, pulling him to safety before he could be run over by a train.
As I’m sure you already know John Wilkes Booth assassinated President Abraham Lincoln.
What you probably haven’t heard is the story of Edwin Booth, John Wilkes Booth’s older (much more famous at the time), brother, saving the life of Robert Todd Lincoln.
Who was Edwin booth?
Edwin Booth, born in 1833, was the second oldest of Junius Brutus Booth’s three sons.
While John Wilkes was a competent actor who played to good reviews, Edwin was regarded as one of the 19th century’s great Shakespearean actors.
Edwin Booth was one of the most famous actors in the world at the time.
His most famous part was Hamlet, which he portrayed more often than any other actor before or since, including a run of 100 consecutive nights.
In 1862 Edwin became manager of the Winter Garden Theatre in New York City, where he presented highly acclaimed Shakespearean productions.
In a letter about his brother John Wilkes Booth, Edwin stated
“He was insane on the point of secession and no one who knew him well can doubt it.
When I told him that I had voted for Lincoln’s reelection he expressed deep regret, and declared his belief that Lincoln would be made king of America; and this, I believe, drove him beyond the limits of reason.”Edwin Booth writing of his brother
Who was Robert Todd Lincoln?
Robert Todd Lincoln was an American lawyer, businessman, and politician. He was the eldest son of President Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd Lincoln, and the only one of their four sons to live to adulthood.
Robert Lincoln became a business lawyer and company president, and served as U.S. Secretary of War and U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom.
The Day Edwin Booth Saved The Life of Robert Todd Lincoln
The following description of being rescued by one of the most famous men in the world was given by Robert Todd Lincoln
The incident occurred while a group of passengers were late at night purchasing their sleeping car places from the conductor who stood on the station platform at the entrance of the car.
The platform was about the height of the car floor, and there was of course a narrow space between the platform and the car body.
There was some crowding, and I happened to be pressed by it against the car body while waiting my turn.
n Ithis situation the train began to move, and by the motion I was twisted off my feet, and had dropped somewhat, with feet downward, into the open space, and was personally helpless, when my coat collar was vigorously seized and I was quickly pulled up and out to a secure footing on the platform.
Upon turning to thank my rescuer I saw it was Edwin Booth, whose face was of course well known to me, and I expressed my gratitude to him, and in doing so, called him by name.Robert Todd Lincoln
After Saving the Life of Abraham Lincoln’s son, Robert Todd Lincoln
Months after saving Abraham Lincoln’s son in 1865, Edwin Booth received a letter from a friend, Colonel Adam Badeau, then serving as an officer on Grant’s staff.
Robert Lincoln told the story of the rescue to Badeau while they were stationed at City Point, Va., and Badeau offered Booth his compliments for having performed such a deed.
Edwin Booth suffered a stroke in April 1893 and died June 7, 1893.
It is not known
if Abraham Lincoln heard the news of Edwin Booth rescuing his only surviving son before he was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth.