John Wilkes Booth Legend
Folklore of Enid, Oklahoma
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The legend says that John Wilkes Booth, the assassin of President Abraham Lincoln, died in Enid around 1903. A man named David E. George, committed suicide in Enid, Oklahoma Territory, in 1903 and is believed to have been Booth himself.
John Wilkes Booth was a noted actor and Confederate sympathizer and had originally planned on kidnapping Lincoln in exchange for Confedrate prisoners. Due to a change in plans Booth decided to assassinate President Lincoln on April 14, 1865, at the Ford's Theater in Washington. After shooting the President, Booth jumped to the stage, caught and broke his leg on a flag and fled the theater.
History states that Booth escaped, but was found by federal soldiers several weeks later. He had hidden in a barn near Port Royal, Virginia, and would not surrender. The barn was eventually set on fire. Booth was supposedly shot and killed by Sgt. Boston Corbett of the Sixteenth New York Cavalry.
Conflicting stories still exist about the identification of Booth's body, and there were errors made in the identification process along with errors in supplying information to the public about the identification. Legend tells that Boston Corbett, the man who shot Booth against orders, was involved in identifying the body as Booth's. This has fueled the speculation that Booth may not have been killed that night, but some other individual.
PHOTO: Enid, Oklahoma - Grand Avenue Hotel in 1903, upstairs behind boarded windows are rooms, one of which was where John Wilkes Booth possibly committed suicide.
Many years later on January 13, 1903, in the Grand Avenue Hotel in Enid, (upstairs in the current Garfield Furniture building) Oklahoma, a man calling himself David E George was found dead. A doctor diagnosed his death as self-administered arsenic poisoning. George had been a house painter who did not know how to paint and always had access to money but died penniless. Legend has him quoted as saying",,I killed the best man that ever lived."
After George was embalmed, he was placed in a chair in the window of the furniture store/funeral home so that the public could view him, and a photograph was taken due to his "remarkable likeness" to Booth. George's leg had also been broken above the right ankle-the same break that Booth had suffered in jumping from the Ford's Theater balcony. However, the doctor who had set Booth's leg had reported it to be the opposite leg.
About that time, a man named Finis L. Bates came to Enid to inspect the body. Bates identified George as an old friend and client of his named John St. Helen. Bates claimed to have known St. Helen (George) as a client and friend in the early 1870s. Bates stated that St. Helen had become seriously ill at one point and confessed that he was John Wilkes Booth. He supposedly gave information about the assassination and escape that only Booth would know.
Many facts that Bates published about St. Helen were proven to be inconsistent with documented facts. However, the body, which had been embalmed, was given to Bates, who began to lease the body to interested parties.
The body was even displayed at the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904 and also at many sideshow carnivals. The body then went on a few more adventures and eventually disappeared.
This is a replica of the newspaper clipping, http://www.enidbuzz.com/johnwilkesbooth.html, Babcock showed to the Investigators, supporting his wild theories that John Wilkes Booth was not killed as the history books teach, but lived under false names for many years after the Civil War. There really was a guy who died in Enid Oklahoma in 1901 who claimed to have been John Wilkes Booth.
Knights of the Golden Circle
by Bret Burquest who is a former award-winning columnist and author of four novels. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a dog named Buddy Lee and a multitude of wilderness paths.
Posted Wednesday, March 18, 2009, at 3:10 PM
reprinted in: The News, Salem Arkansas
Bob Brewer was born and raised in western Arkansas. As a youngster, his great-uncle introduced him to a mystery that included wilderness paths, hidden symbols, carvings on trees and rocks, and the topography of certain areas. The old man was the keeper of some sort of secret knowledge that he kept to himself.
Brewer went off to a career in the Navy and retired in 1977. He returned to Arkansas and began to explore the mystery of his childhood. Over the next 25 years, he interviewed old-timers, researched documents, studied old maps, made alliances and went on expeditions. He became convinced he was on the trail of lost treasure.
Warren Getler, a former Wall Street Journal investigative reporter, has teamed with Brewer to create the book titled SHADOW OF THE SENTINEL which reveals the mystery of the Knights of the Golden Circle and their involvement in a vast Civil War era conspiracy.
The Knights of the Golden Circle (KGC) was a secret society formed in 1854 by sympathizers of Southern causes, dedicated to supporting pro-slavery policies and promoting the conquest of Mexico. It was created directly out of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry and linked to the highest circles of American Freemasons.
During the Civil War, KGC operatives amassed huge quantities of gold and silver through clandestine raids. The caches were hidden in various secret locations, particularly in Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas, marked by a trail of complicated KGC ciphers. The accumulation of riches continued after the end of the Civil War in anticipation of a second war. Operations ceased in 1922 and the caches were sealed for good.
Getler and Brewer claim that the infamous outlaw Jesse James, a member of the KGC who turned over much of his ill-gotten gain to the cause, wasn't actually killed in 1882 by Bob Ford as reported. A fellow named Charlie Bigelow who resembled Jesse James had been robbing banks using Jesse's name. Supposedly, Jesse killed him and hired a prostitute to pose as Mrs. Jesse James to officially identify the body. Others who identified the body were all relatives or members of Quantrill's Raiders, Jesse's former comrades.
The real Jesse James then changed his name to J. Frank Dalton (his mother's maiden name was Dalton) and continued his nefarious life as Chief of the Inner Sanctum of the Knights of the Golden Circle.
According to the book titled JESSE JAMES WAS ONE OF HIS NAMES by Jesse James III (the grandson) and Del Schroeder, Jesse James was indeed a prominent member of the KGC and hid large quantities of stolen riches in various locations on behalf of the secret society. In addition, John Wilkes Booth, the man who assassinated President Lincoln, was also a member of the Knights of the Golden Circle and didn't die as history tells us either.
Booth was smuggled by the Confederate underground to Texas where he became a bartender by the name of John St. Helen. In the 1870s, he began telling folks about his past. When members of the KGC found out, they decided to silence him. Booth fled to Enid, Oklahoma, under the name of David George but was eventually tracked down by Jesse James and William Lincoln (a distant cousin of Abraham Lincoln who had spent 14 years searching for the real Booth). James and Lincoln then tricked Booth to drink a glass of arsenic-laced lemonade. James subsequently arranged to have Booth's mummified body exhibited on a national carnival tour.
In her book titled THIS ONE MAD ACT, John Wilkes Booth's granddaughter, Iola Forrester Booth, reveals that her grandfather had belonged to the Knights of the Golden Circle and had not been killed in Baltimore as reported in history, but rather had escaped capture through the aid of fraternal brothers.
The Supreme Headquarters for the Knights of the Golden Circle was 814 Fatherland Drive in Nashville, Tennessee. This was the home of Dr. Sylvester Frank James, older brother of Jesse James and high-ranking member of the KGC. Years later it became the Dixie Tabernacle, the original home of the Grand Olde Opry.
As conspiracies go, it's a whopper. But then again, it's so bizarre it's probably true.
I originally wrote this piece as a newspaper column in February of 2004. Not long after publication, a man from Tennessee and a woman from Mississippi, neither of whom knew each other, each sent me detailed messages confirming the authenticity of this story, claiming it had been passed down within their respective families.
Setting the Record Straight: Abraham Lincoln, John Wilkes Booth, Boston Corbett and the Enid Connection. Booth's Descendents Believe Booth Died in Enid, Oklahoma..Friday, August 15, 2008
by Wade Burleson
Help solve the Case of the Missing Mummy
July 3, 2009
By Ron Franscell, Author of 'The Darkest Night'
Ready to play Gumshoe? While researching an upcoming book, I came across the intriguing story of the long-lost mummy of John Wilkes Booth ... or at least a fellow who claimed to be him. If you are curious see this article.
See more Enid Legends http://www.enidbuzz.com