Aug 17

Mary Surratt’s Boarding House is located at 604 H Street NW in Washington, D.C. Mary Surratt’s husband, John Surratt, died in August, 1862. Mary Surratt then moved with her three children from their home in Surrattsville, Maryland to this townhouse. This image of courtesy of the National Archives. This view was taken facing southwest circa 1865.

Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide Michael Kanazawich continues his series on John Wilkes Booth’s Last Day in Washington, D.C. Mike was born and raised in Oneonta, New York. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Geology from Oneonta State University. He received his Master of Science degree in Environmental Geology from the University of Connecticut. Mike worked as a Geologist for eleven years before becoming a Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide in 1995. Michael Kanazawich is the author of the book Remarkable Stories of the Lincoln Assassination.

To contact Mike Kanazawich, click here to reveal his email address.

In our first post, Michael Kanazawich introduced the series of John Wilkes Booth’s Last Day in Washington, D.C., and showed us the site of the National Hotel where John Wilkes Booth stayed while in Washington.

In our second post, Mike Kanazawich told how John Wilkes Booth found out that President Lincoln was attending Ford’s Theatre that evening, his desire to rent a fast horse, and a possible sighting of Booth at The Willard Hotel.

In today’s post, Gettysburg LBG Mike Kanazawich describes John Wilkes Booth’s visit to Mary Surratt’s Boarding House, and Booth’s visit to Grover’s National Theatre.

This map shows us the locations taken of videos for the John Wilkes Booth’s Last Day in Washington series. Videos #1 and #5 were at the site of Ford’s Theater. Videos #2 and #4 were taken on Pennsylvania Avenue on the south side of the site of the National Hotel (now the Newseum). Videos #3 and #6 were taken on the north side of the site of the National Hotel. Video #7 was taken in the vicinity of the Willard Hotel. Videos #8 and #9 were taken at Mary Surratt’s Boarding House. Videos #10 and #11 were taken at the site of Grover’s National Theatre. This map was created facing north at approximately 8:30 PM on Wednesday, July 22, 2009.

Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide Michael Kanazawich is the author of the book Remarkable Stories of the Lincoln Assassination. He is standing on the sidewalk across the street from the white building which was formerly Mary Surratt’s Boarding House. This view was taken facing south at approximately 10:30 AM on Saturday, July 18, 2009.

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In Video #8 (Videos #1-#7 were shown in our previous Booth posts) Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide Mike Kanazawich tells us that John Wilkes Booth stopped by Mary Surratt’s Boarding House on April 14, 1865. Booth gave a package to Mary Surratt to deliver to her tenant, John Lloyd, in Surrattsville, Maryland. Booth asked Mary and tell John Lloyd that Booth would pick the package up later that night at Mary Surratt’s Tavern. This view was taken facing south at approximately 10:30 AM on Saturday, July 18, 2009.

Mary Surratt inherited the boardinghouse from her husband. She probably chose to open a boardinghouse because with the war, the federal bureaucracy was expanding. With the home’s location convenient to government buildings, she was probably able to earn a modest living for herself and her family. This photograph taken circa 1890 is courtesy of the Library of Congress.

The site of Mary Surratt’s boardinghouse, located in Washington’s Chinatown, is now the home of the Wok N Roll Restaurant. This view was taken facing south at approximately 10:30 AM on Saturday, July 18, 2009.

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In Video #9 Licensed Battlefield Guide Mike Kanazawich relates how Booth also has another message for Mary Surratt on April 14th. He wants her to tell John Lloyd in Surrattsville to have “the shooting irons” or two carbines ready for him to pick up that evening. This view was taken facing south at approximately 10:30 AM on Saturday, July 18, 2009.

The exterior of the Surratt Boardinghouse has changed little from the 1865 sketch shown as the first image in this post. This view was taken facing southwest at approximately 10:30 AM on Saturday, July 18, 2009.

This historical marker is on the wall of the house near the entrance. This view was taken facing south at approximately 10:30 AM on Saturday, July 18, 2009.

Mike Kanazawich is standing by a wayside exhibit outside the Wok N Roll Restaurant (formerly Surratt Boardinghouse. This view was taken facing north at approximately 10:30 AM on Saturday, July 18, 2009.

This is the top section of the wayside… This view was taken facing north at approximately 10:30 AM on Saturday, July 18, 2009.

… and this is the bottom of the wayside. This view was taken facing north at approximately 10:30 AM on Saturday, July 18, 2009.

Mike Kanazawich has now moved to the site of Grover’s National Theatre at 1321 Pennsylvania Avenue NW. This view was taken facing north at approximately 10:30 AM on Saturday, July 18, 2009.

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In Video #10 Mike Kanazawich tells us that John Wilkes Booth wrote a letter to the newspaper the National Intelligencer in which he explained why he killed Abraham Lincoln. Outside Grover’s National Theatre Booth gave the letter to fellow actor John Matthews telling him to deliver the letter to the Intelligencer “unless you hear from me first.” This view was taken facing north at approximately 10:30 AM on Saturday, July 18, 2009.

The theater known in the 1860s as Grover’s National Theatre was founded on December 7, 1835, by William Corcoran and other prominent citizens who wanted the national capital to have a first-rate venue. The theater has been in almost continuous operation since, at the same Pennsylvania Avenue location a few blocks from the White House. Despite its name, it is not a government funded national theatre, but is operated by a private, non-profit organization. This view was sketched facing north at approximately circa the 1850s.

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In Video #11 Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide Mike Kanazawich relates that on April 15, 1865 John Matthews found out that President Lincoln had been assassinated, and that John Wilkes Booth was said to be the assassin. Matthews opens the letter that Booth gave him to deliver to the National Intelligencer. He read the letter and then destroyed it so that he (Matthews) would not be implicated in the crime. This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 10:30 AM on Saturday, July 18, 2009.

Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide Mike Kanazawich is the author of the book Remarkable Stories of the Lincoln Assassination. It is available from Colecraft Industries. This image was scanned facing south at approximately 5:15 PM on Tuesday, July 21, 2009.

To see other posts by Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guides, click here.


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