In the preparation of this book I have neither spared time or money, since I became satisfied that John Wilkes Booth was not killed, as has been supposed, at the Garrett home in Virginia, on the 26th day of April, 1865, and present this volume of collated facts, which I submit for the correction of history, respecting the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, and the death or escape of John Wilkes Booth.
Personally, I know nothing of President Lincoln,and knew nothing of John Wilkes Booth until my meeting with John St. Helen, at my home in Texas,in the year 1872.
The picture which John St. Helen left with me for the future identification of himself in his true name and personality, was first identified by Gen. D. D. Dana, of Lubec, Maine, as John Wilkes Booth,January 17, 1898.
The second time by Junius Brutus Booth, the third, of Boston, Mass., (he being the oldest living nephew of John Wilkes Booth), on the 21st day of February, 1903, at Memphis, Tenn.
The third time by the late Joe Jefferson (the world’s famous Rip Van Winkle), at Memphis, Tennessee, on the 14th day of April, 1903, just thir- ty-eight years to a day from the date of the assassination of President Lincoln. I here make mention of this identification because of its importance. Among the personal acquaintances of John Wilkes Booth none would know him better than Mr. Jefferson, who was most closely associated with him for several years, both playing together on the same stage.
I know of no man whose knowledge of Booth is more to be trusted, or whose words of identification will carry more weight to the world at large. While there are many other important personages equally to be relied upon that have identified his pictures there is none other so well known to the general public, having identified the picture taken of John St. Helen, in 1877, as being that of John Wilkes Booth—thus establishing the fact of actual physical proof that John Wilkes Booth was living in 1872, when I met him under the name of John St. Helen, as also when he had his picture taken and left with me in the late winter or early spring of 1878, twelve years after the assassination of President Lincoln.
It is well in this connection to call attention to other physical proofs of the identification of John Wilkes Booth by referring to the deformed right thumb, just where it joined the hand, and the mismatched brows, his right brow being arched and unlike the left.