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Those Booth Horses Again -
04-06-2014, 12:26 PM
Post: #1
Those Booth Horses Again -
In reading Tom Bogar's Backstage at the Lincoln Assassination,
found some more interesting info regarding Booth's bay mare and her tack. These are in the LAS files (National Archives) -

Booth's mare was described by Peanuts John as:

"A light bay mare....small with a pretty, long wavy tail, hanging down to her hocks; down to her feet; mane long, but not plaited; a pretty, heavy forelock. Did not notice a star on her forehead. She had a small head; flat forehead with small nostrils. Had a very small, thin neck; rather arched. The mane was full on the left side. She had small ears and a sloping rump. Think she had one white foot behind; but not certain. Legs black; very spirited; very uneasy, but not stamping...."

I also found it interesting that Peanuts also stated Booth claimed on the night of the 14th that "as the soldiers were in the habit of looking at saddle blankets, he would put his shawl under the saddle to cover the blanket. He did so."

Apparently the saddle blanket on Booth's mare resembled a Federal military saddle blanket. Hence, Booth wanting to hide it.

One Margaret Roysea, a cleaning lady at Ford's, saw Booth come in that night and gave testimony to that effect. She stated that "the horse had a blue saddle cloth with yellow fringe on."

These statements are NA LAS MA599

"The Past is a foreign country...they do things differently there" - L. P. Hartley
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04-06-2014, 07:56 PM
Post: #2
RE: Those Booth Horses Again -
I think what I found most surprising about Peanut John is that while most people described him as slow-witted, whenever the occasion required, he could be surprisingly articulate about horses, using proper equine terminology. What a curious figure. I doubt we'll ever know his identity for certain.
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04-07-2014, 04:32 AM
Post: #3
RE: Those Booth Horses Again -
(04-06-2014 07:56 PM)Tom Bogar Wrote:  I think what I found most surprising about Peanut John is that while most people described him as slow-witted, whenever the occasion required, he could be surprisingly articulate about horses, using proper equine terminology. What a curious figure. I doubt we'll ever know his identity for certain.

Tom, even his skin color has been disputed. I own several books which describe him as black. However, I believe the actual evidence that is available points to him being a white boy.

Joan Chaconas once wrote a fascinating article on the "mystery" of Peanut John (June 1989 Surratt Courier). I love her concluding paragraph:

"At this point in our narration we seem to come to the bottom of the well of information. We can conclude, but not positively, that Peanuts was white; but he might have been black. There is no evidence as to his age but he probably was about 15 or 16 years old. He was not too literate as he couldn't write his name, and he vanishes soon after the 1865 trial of the conspirators."
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04-07-2014, 08:00 AM
Post: #4
RE: Those Booth Horses Again -
After 30 years working with horses and mules, a few observations. It is not unusual for those suffering from some mental deficiency to be very well adept in handling horses. I think that they appear less threatening to the animal.

I am ducking now to avoid the rocks thrown at me, but women often give off the same vibes. I took my wife shoeing whenever I had a recalcitrant animal to handle because she could calm him down better than a man. A female generally is less threatening than a male--although I have known a lot of woman horse owners who were hell on wheels with their animal.

A man with a hat is sure to panic a flighty horse. I always took mine off when approaching a flighty horse or mule. If you are real careful, put the horse's nose in your armpit, or blow very gently up his nostrils. Careful, a quick shot of air will be perceived as a challenge.

If you put your hand on a horse, he will read you like a book in seconds and know if you mean what you say or can be manipulated. Some will do this even before you touch them. As a horse shoer, you have about 10 seconds to get the horse comfortable with your presence, especially if you are new to him. Otherwise, it is rodeo time!
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04-07-2014, 08:26 AM
Post: #5
RE: Those Booth Horses Again -
Booth's little mare was flighty - wonder how she took to him wearing a hat?
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04-07-2014, 08:50 AM
Post: #6
RE: Those Booth Horses Again -
She did not take to anybody, I gather, but Booth was an expert horseman, so. . . .
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04-07-2014, 10:19 AM
Post: #7
RE: Those Booth Horses Again -
(04-07-2014 08:26 AM)L Verge Wrote:  Booth's little mare was flighty - wonder how she took to him wearing a hat?

Laurie,

The hat would most likely be of secondary interest to the mare in this instance {Booth had lost his jumping from the box} with the door to Baptist Alley being flung open and Booth tearing out to snatch the reins from Burroughs. That mare's response, or any other's, would be white eyed and spooked.

Rick
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04-07-2014, 11:37 AM
Post: #8
RE: Those Booth Horses Again -
I knew that was the case at the moment in Baptist Alley, but I was thinking more in terms of before and after the deed was done. Booth would have had a hat at some point - and what about her reaction at the various places where they stopped where she was greeted by men in hats.
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04-07-2014, 12:49 PM (This post was last modified: 04-07-2014 01:36 PM by Jenny.)
Post: #9
RE: Those Booth Horses Again -
To be honest - and this is from another "horse person" - since everyone wore hats back then (as it was a social faux pas not to do so) and made gestures with them, I don't think the mare would have been afraid of hats if she was ridden quite a lot, which she probably was as a rental saddle horse. There is a difference between a 'spooky' horse and a 'nervous' or 'hot' one. That's just the first thought that popped into my head. (I hope I am making sense. My brain isn't working well today.) On the other hand, for all I know she might have been afraid of hats and the motions made with them. Wink

Quote:It is not unusual for those suffering from some mental deficiency to be very well adept in handling horses. I think that they appear less threatening to the animal.

This is absolutely true, Bill...

"Right or wrong, God judge me, not man."
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04-07-2014, 03:32 PM
Post: #10
RE: Those Booth Horses Again -
Unless you count the mare coming down in the road {and she did, regardless of where Booth's leg was broken, since she was muddy on her near side and had a cut on her near side shoulder by the time she arrived at Mudd's}, I do not think Booth {or Herold after they switched mounts} had any trouble with her. Once on her back and in the saddle, she would not be able to see if the rider had a hat on. The way Jones describes seeing the mare for the first time, she appears to be rather calm & docile.
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04-08-2014, 03:55 PM (This post was last modified: 04-08-2014 04:02 PM by wsanto.)
Post: #11
RE: Those Booth Horses Again -
(04-07-2014 03:32 PM)Rick Smith Wrote:  Unless you count the mare coming down in the road {and she did, regardless of where Booth's leg was broken, since she was muddy on her near side and had a cut on her near side shoulder by the time she arrived at Mudd's}, I do not think Booth {or Herold after they switched mounts} had any trouble with her. Once on her back and in the saddle, she would not be able to see if the rider had a hat on. The way Jones describes seeing the mare for the first time, she appears to be rather calm & docile.

Rick--

Can you give me your insight into Booth's horse being muddy on her near side and the cut on her near shoulder?

The only evidence I've seen on the condition of the horse is from Mudd's farmand, Thomas Davis.

This is his description of the horses in his statement in "The Evidence" He makes no other comment on the condition of the horses otherwise in this particular statement. (emphasis mine)

"One of the horses was a small bay mare in excellent trim, with a piece of skin off on the inside of the left foreleg about as big as a silver quarter. I do not know whether there was a soar {sic] on her head or not. The other was a roan horse, the pretty racker with a large scar just back of the saddle."

Are there other statements from Davis or anyone else about the condition of the horses on the escape?

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04-08-2014, 06:06 PM
Post: #12
RE: Those Booth Horses Again -
Bill,

Thanks for the question.

In Blue & Gray Magazine; Volume VII, Issue 5, June 1990, Mike Kauffman writes about some of this in his article regarding Booth's broken leg. He says that Dr. Mudd stated that Booth's trousers were muddy and that Thomas Davis states to detectives that the mare had a swollen left {near side} shoulder and a fresh cut on her left leg. I misspoke regarding the cut on her shoulder. Mike also says that David Herold mentioned that he came upon Booth in the road and that his horse had fallen. I cannot remember where I saw the reference to the mare & Booth being muddy. Mike also mentions in his article that Booth told Lloyd that his horse had fallen on the road. I guess I may have conjectured on the muddy horse due to the weather conditions and the conditions of the roads since it had been a very cool, wet Spring.

If Bill Richter would chime in I think he would be able to elaborate on this. He keeps voluminous files with all sorts of great things in them.

I hope this helps.

Rick
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04-09-2014, 08:59 AM
Post: #13
RE: Those Booth Horses Again -
(04-08-2014 06:06 PM)Rick Smith Wrote:  Bill,

Thanks for the question.

In Blue & Gray Magazine; Volume VII, Issue 5, June 1990, Mike Kauffman writes about some of this in his article regarding Booth's broken leg. He says that Dr. Mudd stated that Booth's trousers were muddy and that Thomas Davis states to detectives that the mare had a swollen left {near side} shoulder and a fresh cut on her left leg. I misspoke regarding the cut on her shoulder. Mike also says that David Herold mentioned that he came upon Booth in the road and that his horse had fallen. I cannot remember where I saw the reference to the mare & Booth being muddy. Mike also mentions in his article that Booth told Lloyd that his horse had fallen on the road. I guess I may have conjectured on the muddy horse due to the weather conditions and the conditions of the roads since it had been a very cool, wet Spring.

If Bill Richter would chime in I think he would be able to elaborate on this. He keeps voluminous files with all sorts of great things in them.

I hope this helps.

Rick

Thanks Rick,

I wonder what Mr. Kauffman's primary source is for this information. I would love to see it. I'm sure there must be something to back his claim.

John E. also directly quoted Thomas Davis stating the horse was very lame when he took them out for water the next day. I'm not sure where he obtained this quote either or how it can be justified with the official statment of Mr. Davis in "The Evidence".

Bill C

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04-09-2014, 09:51 AM
Post: #14
RE: Those Booth Horses Again -
Bill,

I spoke with Bill Richter yesterday and asked him if he could clarify all of this with some sources.

We should be hearing some good things from him.

Rick
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04-09-2014, 10:49 AM
Post: #15
RE: Those Booth Horses Again -
For Mike Kauffman's relation of the broken leg see his website http://www.thedeathoflincoln.com/Booth-s...-Leg.html. The original story appears in his 1990 relation of the Assassination and the Pursuit, Blue & Gray, vol. 7, June 1990, p. 17, sidebar. Vol 6 is the Assassination issue, BTW. I think JOH Library at Clinton has them both.

I happen to agree with Kauffman 100% on this and have ever since I started researching Booth in 1999. I don't care how much adrenalin Booth had going through him, he could not have mounted that mare the way she was moving around using his allegedly broken left leg in the stirrup. And since the mare was not a cow pony, she would not cotton to being mounted from the right side. Besides all of Booth's weight would have been on the left leg as he sought the stirrup with his right.

But if you all want him to do it otherwise, go out and try to mount a bouncy horse with your two sound legs, and see what it is like. Don't get run over!

True, Booth said he broke his leg "when he jumped," but he does not really say where and when he jumped. Likewise, Dr. Samuel A. Mudd said that Booth and Herold told him that Booth broke his leg in a fall with his mare, in Mudd's statement to Col. Henry H. Wells. See Ed Steers, His Name Is Still Mudd, 107 (Booth had a black streak on his face, possibly mud?), 111 (fell with horse), 130 (same with LT Alex. Lovett of the arresting party).

Believe what you want. You pays your money, you takes your choice.
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