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Where was John Surratt on April 14, 1865 ?
01-17-2018, 12:33 PM (This post was last modified: 01-17-2018 12:43 PM by JMadonna.)
Post: #211
RE: Where was John Surratt on April 14, 1865 ?
(01-17-2018 11:23 AM)John Fazio Wrote:  Jerry:

If the purpose of the Booth conspiracy was never really kidnapping, and that fact was known to its leaders, i.e. Booth, Surratt and Powell, then it was almost certainly known to its enablers, i.e. Mrs. Surratt
John

John,
No need to rub my nose into your book. I do not question the evidence you have found. I'm pointing out that there is no evidence that Mrs. Suratt knew of the murder. You can't just restate your evidence and then say " it was almost certainly known to its enablers, i.e. Mrs. Surratt".

"Almost certain" means "not certain" councilor, and I agree with that.
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01-18-2018, 05:29 AM (This post was last modified: 01-18-2018 05:52 AM by John Fazio.)
Post: #212
RE: Where was John Surratt on April 14, 1865 ?
(01-17-2018 10:11 AM)Susan Higginbotham Wrote:  
(01-17-2018 03:11 AM)John Fazio Wrote:  
(10-16-2017 09:00 AM)JMadonna Wrote:  Remember, Smoot said she told him the boat would be used that night. Was it a lie or evidence that she didn't know the plot had changed? Impossible to know for certain.


Jerry:

Those who continue to talk about the plot changing are "missing the boat". It is not necessary for Lincoln to be in the boat for it to be used that night. Recall that three assassins were to make their way across the river and that two actually did. If you stop thinking about a changed plot, you will get closer to the truth. Remember that the Holcombe, Clay and Thompson meetings with Dr. Luke Pryor Blackburn and Godfrey Hyams in Canada prove that the post Wistar and Dahlgren-Kilpatrick Confederate leadership was trying to murder Lincoln as early as the summer of 1864. Recall, too, Surratt's admission to Ste. Marie in Italy, namely "We killed Lincoln, the n____r's friend". (My emphasis.) Recall, also, that Surratt was Benjamin's official courier, meeting with him almost weekly in Richmond, per Ste. Marie. Recall, also, that Booth met Harbin before and after the assassination, after which Harbin left the country for 5 years, and that upon his return, he admitted, in his writings, that he reported directly to Davis. How much evidence do you need?

See pp. 60-68 of my book for the evidence that sent Mrs. Surratt to the gallows.

As for Surratt's whereabouts on April 14, it is still a mystery, but see pp. 45-48 of the book for evidence that he was in Washington.

John

(01-16-2018 10:29 AM)Susan Higginbotham Wrote:  Yes, the accusations against her seem ill-founded. She seems to have seen John Surratt only briefly, on the evening of his return from Richmond.


Susan:

My information is that Susan Jackson stated that while she feigned sleep on the floor of the boardinghouse, she overheard three men, who had come to the house late on the night of the assassination, tell Mrs. Surratt that her son had been in the theater that night with Booth. What evidence do you have that she actually saw John Surratt in Washington? See p. 544 of The Lincoln Assassination (Edwards and Steers, Jr.). See also p. 46 of Decapitating the Union.

John

See her testimony at John Surratt's trial (volume 1, 163-64) about her seeing John, and Nora Fitzpatrick's (volume 1, 720-21) describing John's actions on the night he returned from Richmond and noting Susan's presence.


Susan:

Thank you; I will.


John

(01-17-2018 12:33 PM)JMadonna Wrote:  
(01-17-2018 11:23 AM)John Fazio Wrote:  Jerry:

If the purpose of the Booth conspiracy was never really kidnapping, and that fact was known to its leaders, i.e. Booth, Surratt and Powell, then it was almost certainly known to its enablers, i.e. Mrs. Surratt
John

John,
No need to rub my nose into your book. I do not question the evidence you have found. I'm pointing out that there is no evidence that Mrs. Suratt knew of the murder. You can't just restate your evidence and then say " it was almost certainly known to its enablers, i.e. Mrs. Surratt".

"Almost certain" means "not certain" councilor, and I agree with that.


Jerry:

If there were no evidence that Mrs. Surratt knew of the murder, she would not have been convicted. Defendants are not convicted when there is no evidence against them. Nine Commissioners disagreed with you. Certainty is not required to convict. The standard of proof, as you know, is "beyond a reasonable doubt". If certainty were required, we wouldn't need juries and almost no one would be convicted. Her involvement began no later than 1862 when her husband used their tavern as a safe house for Confederate sympathizers, spies, agents, scouts, blockade runners, couriers, etc. Do you suppose she didn't know that? It continued when her son took over in August of that year. Do you suppose she didn't know that? Her boardinghouse served the same purpose. Do you suppose she didn't know what was being plotted there by her son, Booth and Powell, with all their hush-hush meetings, per Weichmann. It is naivete to suppose than anything less than murder was being planned; the evidence against that supposition is clear and convincing. Read the 16 items of inculpatory evidence on pp. 60-63 of Decapitating. Then read them again. Note the last three: Herold's and Atzerodt's incrimination of her and Tibbett's testimony that he had heard her offer anyone $14,000 (in today's money) who would kill Lincoln. To nail two boards together, one does not need a sledgehammer.

John
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01-18-2018, 09:31 AM (This post was last modified: 01-18-2018 09:32 AM by L Verge.)
Post: #213
RE: Where was John Surratt on April 14, 1865 ?
Did running a safehouse for Confederate agents during the war constitute guilt of assassination? If so, thank heaven the government did not round up everyone in Southern Maryland and the Northern Neck of Virginia who appeared guilty of doing so. Our population would have been sadly depleted down here!

As most of you know, I am not a defender of Mary Surratt (even though I run the Surratt House Museum), and I understand the government's position (sort of); however, it seems that a cursory glance at the evidence against her speaks more of "circumstantial," at least by our modern standards. Or, have I been watching too much Law and Order?

P.S. He was never questioned, but if he had been, my great-grandfather would likely have told the authorities that he had heard Mrs. Surratt offer money to anyone who would kill Lincoln. This happened in our village of T.B. near the end of the war. Would that be classified as hearsay today?
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01-18-2018, 09:44 AM
Post: #214
RE: Where was John Surratt on April 14, 1865 ?
(01-18-2018 05:29 AM)John Fazio Wrote:  My information is that Susan Jackson stated that while she feigned sleep on the floor of the boardinghouse, she overheard three men, who had come to the house late on the night of the assassination, tell Mrs. Surratt that her son had been in the theater that night with Booth.

John

John, as I understand it, authors such as Bettie Trindal and Kate Larson feel what Susan Jackson said was in error, and that Susan Jackson was confused. Do you feel her statement should be taken more seriously?
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01-18-2018, 09:51 AM
Post: #215
RE: Where was John Surratt on April 14, 1865 ?
(01-18-2018 05:29 AM)John Fazio Wrote:  Jerry:

If there were no evidence that Mrs. Surratt knew of the murder, she would not have been convicted. Defendants are not convicted when there is no evidence against them.
John

John,
You are of course aware that the majority of the commission DID NOT convict Mrs. Surratt on their first ballot. At that time a deal was made by Stanton that if they voted for conviction, Andrew Johnson would pardon her. (Talk about jury tampering!)

Johnson did not keep up his end of the deal and she went to the gallows the next day.

Juries as you know, do not always convict on evidence. In this case politics played a large part.

So please stop trying to convince me based on the evidence presented at the trial and the opinions of military commissioners who worked under the Secretary of War. There was no direct evidence and doubt was not only reasonable but overwhelming.
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01-18-2018, 09:54 AM
Post: #216
RE: Where was John Surratt on April 14, 1865 ?
(01-18-2018 09:44 AM)RJNorton Wrote:  
(01-18-2018 05:29 AM)John Fazio Wrote:  My information is that Susan Jackson stated that while she feigned sleep on the floor of the boardinghouse, she overheard three men, who had come to the house late on the night of the assassination, tell Mrs. Surratt that her son had been in the theater that night with Booth.

John

John, as I understand it, authors such as Bettie Trindal and Kate Larson feel what Susan Jackson said was in error, and that Susan Jackson was confused. Do you feel her statement should be taken more seriously?

Susan herself gave a different version at John Surratt's trial of her encounter with the three men; IIRC, she made clear all three were law enforcement and not conspirators. I'm off to work (which means moving across the room), but I'll look it up later.
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01-18-2018, 09:57 AM
Post: #217
RE: Where was John Surratt on April 14, 1865 ?
(01-18-2018 09:51 AM)JMadonna Wrote:  There was no direct evidence and doubt was not only reasonable but overwhelming.

John Lloyd testified Mary "told me to have those shooting-irons ready that night, there would be some parties who would call for them."

Is that not direct evidence? (I am not a lawyer - I am being sincere when I ask)
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01-18-2018, 10:57 AM
Post: #218
RE: Where was John Surratt on April 14, 1865 ?
(01-18-2018 09:31 AM)L Verge Wrote:  Did running a safehouse for Confederate agents during the war constitute guilt of assassination? If so, thank heaven the government did not round up everyone in Southern Maryland and the Northern Neck of Virginia who appeared guilty of doing so. Our population would have been sadly depleted down here!

As most of you know, I am not a defender of Mary Surratt (even though I run the Surratt House Museum), and I understand the government's position (sort of); however, it seems that a cursory glance at the evidence against her speaks more of "circumstantial," at least by our modern standards. Or, have I been watching too much Law and Order?

P.S. He was never questioned, but if he had been, my great-grandfather would likely have told the authorities that he had heard Mrs. Surratt offer money to anyone who would kill Lincoln. This happened in our village of T.B. near the end of the war. Would that be classified as hearsay today?


Laurie:

I knew it was only a question of time before we heard from you.

Of course running the safe house did NOT constitute guilt of assassination, but it does show that Mrs. Surratt was very much a part of the Confederate underground from at least 1862 and probably before. Further, when one is part of an underground, it is merely a step and another step and another from less serious activities to more serious ones. It is just about inevitable that the party will be called upon to participate in more serious activities, especially as the need becomes more acute, if he or she has the aptitude, the willingness and the opportunity. It would appear that she had all three.

Do not minimize the value of circumstantial evidence. Most prosecutors prefer it to eyewitness and material evidence because it it is not so easily impeached. But, as a matter of fact, much of the evidence against her was not circumstantial, such as the two trips to Surrattsville, one on the day of the assassination, her intimacy with Booth and his right hand (her son) and especially the three meetings she had with Booth on the 14th, the delivery of the field glasses and the message to Lloyd to have the shooting irons ready because parties would pick them up that night; her flagrant lies about recognition of Powell and about the letter from her son; her numerous remarks to Weichmann and others which were strongly suggestive of complicity; and the fact that Lloyd's devastating testimony was corroborated by Weichmann and also by Atzerodt's May 1 confession. All of this, and more, left the Commissioners with little choice but to find her guilty. The fact that five of them recommended commutation of her sentence, which was not given, is beside the point.

Why would your grandfather have done that? Why should we doubt Tibbett? Because she could not testify, the statement would probably be considered hearsay. I say "probably", because it may have come under one of the many exceptions to the hearsay rule, such as a statement relating to a declarant's motive, intent or plan. It is hard to say. The hearsay rule is one of the more confusing rules in the laws of evidence. It has some 16 or more exceptions, depending on jurisdiction, and we are dealing here with a military trial that occurred 153 years ago, not a modern one in a civil court. A more definitive answer, therefore, is, frankly, beyond me.

John
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01-18-2018, 03:12 PM
Post: #219
RE: Where was John Surratt on April 14, 1865 ?
(01-18-2018 09:57 AM)RJNorton Wrote:  
(01-18-2018 09:51 AM)JMadonna Wrote:  There was no direct evidence and doubt was not only reasonable but overwhelming.

John Lloyd testified Mary "told me to have those shooting-irons ready that night, there would be some parties who would call for them."

Is that not direct evidence? (I am not a lawyer - I am being sincere when I ask)

No, that would be called hearsay.
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01-18-2018, 05:00 PM
Post: #220
RE: Where was John Surratt on April 14, 1865 ?
(01-18-2018 03:12 PM)JMadonna Wrote:  
(01-18-2018 09:57 AM)RJNorton Wrote:  
(01-18-2018 09:51 AM)JMadonna Wrote:  There was no direct evidence and doubt was not only reasonable but overwhelming.

John Lloyd testified Mary "told me to have those shooting-irons ready that night, there would be some parties who would call for them."

Is that not direct evidence? (I am not a lawyer - I am being sincere when I ask)

No, that would be called hearsay.


Jerry:

Hearsay is a statement made by a declarant that is offered as proof of the subject of the statement. It is inadmissible unless it falls within one of the many exceptions to the rule. Lloyd's statement does not prove that in fact "parties" will call for the shooting irons. It is therefore not hearsay. In any case, it is not plausible that both Lloyd and Weichmann would both sell their souls to the devil and testify falsely against Mrs. Surratt in a capital case. You may be confident that Mrs. Surratt was complicit in the assassination of Lincoln, as was Kate Larson, one of her biographers, who concluded her book by saying that Mrs. Surratt "must forever be remembered as the assassin's accomplice".

John
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01-18-2018, 07:35 PM
Post: #221
RE: Where was John Surratt on April 14, 1865 ?
"Why would your grandfather have done that?" Not sure what you mean by that question.

All I can tell you, John, is that my grandmother, Laura Huntt (b. 1874), told me that the family story was that Mrs. Surratt was known to them and that she visited T.B.'s blacksmith shop after the one in Surrattsville closed down (probably because of her husband's death and debts). Great-grandpa said that Mrs Surratt was not the "proper" lady and would rant and rave about the black-hearted Lincoln and offer money to anyone who would kill him. He was never questioned by troops except to be asked if he had heard riders during the night - and he had - but the troops never told him what had happened. John Chandler Thompon, who ran the T.B. Hotel (tavern) across the field was the one that relayed the news. Thompson did testify at the trial about Herold's March 17 stay at his hotel, however.

Mr. Huntt also said that he offered condolences to Mrs. Surratt's younger brother after the execution and that James Archibald Jenkins pretty much scoffed it off and declared that his sister knew exactly what she was doing and deserved what she got.

I should also mention that Mr. Huntt did not own any slaves. He married a Methodist abolitionist from the Eastern Shore of Maryland in 1860, and they were living briefly in Baltimore City during the April riots there in 1861. However, his father and brothers still owned slaves on the family plantation about three miles from T.B.; and my great-great-grandfather impoverished himself paying bounties to keep his sons out of the war. He would not have his sons fighting for the Union - especially after Lincoln had, at first, promised that Marylanders would not have to take up arms against the South if the state remained in the Union. Then came the drafts...
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01-18-2018, 07:53 PM
Post: #222
RE: Where was John Surratt on April 14, 1865 ?
(01-18-2018 09:54 AM)Susan Higginbotham Wrote:  
(01-18-2018 09:44 AM)RJNorton Wrote:  
(01-18-2018 05:29 AM)John Fazio Wrote:  My information is that Susan Jackson stated that while she feigned sleep on the floor of the boardinghouse, she overheard three men, who had come to the house late on the night of the assassination, tell Mrs. Surratt that her son had been in the theater that night with Booth.

John

John, as I understand it, authors such as Bettie Trindal and Kate Larson feel what Susan Jackson said was in error, and that Susan Jackson was confused. Do you feel her statement should be taken more seriously?

Susan herself gave a different version at John Surratt's trial of her encounter with the three men; IIRC, she made clear all three were law enforcement and not conspirators. I'm off to work (which means moving across the room), but I'll look it up later.

Susan:

I checked the references you gave me (Trial of John H. Surratt, etc., Vol. 1, pp. 164-165 and pp. 720-721. It is my impression that Susan Jackson confused the events of April 3 and April 14, stating that what had occurred (her seeing John Surratt) on the 14th had in fact occurred on the 3rd. That, presumably, was the interpretation of the Commissioners. Is that your understanding?

John
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