Illinois’ Most Famous Resident was Assassinated 151 Years Ago Today
Today (April 14th, 2016) marks the 151st anniversary of the Lincoln assassination at Ford's Theater in Washington D.C. in 1865.
Most people know the basics of the story. President Lincoln and First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln were attending the play "Our American Cousin" at Ford's when Lincoln was shot in the back of the head by actor John Wilkes Booth (as a side note, It was once pointed out to me that John Wilkes Booth is arguably the most famous actor of all time. Not because of his body of work, rather his act of infamy).
There have been thousands of books and articles written about the events of April 14-15, 1865, including the most recent Lincoln assassination best-seller "Killing Lincoln" by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard. As someone with a high degree of interest in "Illinois' Favorite Son," I've read many of them, but from time to time you learn a couple of things you didn't know:
Joseph Hazelton was an errand boy at Ford's Theater, and was there the night of Lincoln's assassination. In 1933, in his 80s, Hazelton sat down in front of an early recording device and related the events of April 14, 1865. To be fair, he gets some of the details wrong, and kind of veers off into conspiracy theories (like Booth surviving the aftermath), but it's still pretty fascinating to hear the voice of someone who was there at the time:
The biggest irony of the event might be the fact the Lincoln had signed legislation creating the Secret Service...on the morning of the day he was assassinated.