The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

January 17, 2013

Letter: Responding to article on John Wilkes Booth

Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — I feel I must respond to the article on John Wilkes Booth. My grandfather, George Williamson, made the run and was in town when Mr. Booth committed suicide.

According to Granddads’ story, Mr. Booth was an alcoholic and the more he drank the more he quoted Shakespeare.

He did not die at Garfield Furniture, but across the street where a series of flophouses were located.

In the middle of the block was a red brick two- or three-story house of ill repute. Granddad walked me there, as nice ladies did not go down South Grand at the time and he pointed out the place where Booth died.

Granddad said it took Booth three or four days to die and when he did he was taken across the street to the funeral parlor, where he was embalmed with arsenic, which then mummified the body.

Booth was then put on display in the front window. The undertakers cut a flap in his back, where people could open it and view the mummified inside.

Granddad really believed it was Booth.

As to the whereabouts of the body, I became acquainted with a collateral descendant of the Booth family.

She told me two Booth cousins were sent to Chicago to liberate the body, where it was taken to Mississippi and is buried in an unmarked plot around Corinth. Sic semper tyrannis.

Martha Potts