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Gath, Stuart, and E.G.D.G.
12-27-2017, 04:17 PM
Post: #1
Gath, Stuart, and E.G.D.G.
Published in the April 1884 issue of Century Magazine, page 822, is George Alfred Townsend’s article, How Wilkes Booth Crossed the Potomac. In the article, “Gath” refers to Booth’s and Herold’s stop for help at the house of Dr. Richard Stuart (spelled Stewart in Gath’s article and also spelled Stewart by the scribe in Stuart’s original handwritten official statement). Gath wrote about Stuart, “He was entertaining some friends just returned from the Confederate service, and was much annoyed to find that on his place were the assassins of President Lincoln, after the war was all over. The men were not invited into the house, but were sent to an out-building of some kind…”

However, an intriguing assertion is published just four months later in the August 1884 issue of Century Magazine, page 638. It is a letter, Booth’s Escape, over the name, (initials, actually), E.G.D.G., challenging some of what Gath reported. The person presenting this account claims, “Dr. Stuart was absent. Mrs. Stuart received the two men…and, according to the usual custom of the family, they were invited in and given their supper.” The author continues, “Dr. Stuart’s fortunate absence in all probability saved the whole family from prison; and Mr. Townsend has neglected to state that, although the Doctor was away from home, and in fact never saw Booth at that time or subsequent thereto, he was for this simple act of hospitality on the part of his family arrested again and thrown into solitary confinement…”

That Stuart was not home at the time is a direct contradiction to what Gath wrote, but also contradicts what Stuart said in his official statement on May 6, 1865. Stuart stated, “I had been at tea with my family and just concluded when someone was announced at the door. I went to the door and found two men brought up by Mr. Bryant...” Later, Stuart added, “I agreed to give them something to eat and they walked into the House to get it.” Subsequently, Stuart said, “On entering I went into the house and the men had finished their meal, and I remarked ‘the old man is waiting for you; he is anxious to be off; it is cold; he is not well and wants to get home.’ They got up immediately and went out.” (Stuart’s official statement is in the National Archives, Publication Number M599, Record Group 153, Roll 0006, Page 212.)

Is anyone familiar with this letter in the August 1884 Century Magazine and the author using the initials E.G.D.G.? Can we assume the author of this letter did not know that Dr. Stuart had given an official statement almost twenty years prior? Was the author of the letter trying to protect Stuart’s reputation?

Insight and thoughts are appreciated. Thanks.

Bob

P.S. E.G.D.G. could have confused the Booth visit with the later delivery of the note from Booth with the money for his meal, but I think that is very unlikely. Those were two totally different events at different times. According to Dr. Stuart, he was not home at the time of the delivery of the note. It was given to his wife.
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12-28-2017, 11:32 AM
Post: #2
RE: Gath, Stuart, and E.G.D.G.
(12-27-2017 04:17 PM)RobertLC Wrote:  Published in the April 1884 issue of Century Magazine, page 822, is George Alfred Townsend’s article, How Wilkes Booth Crossed the Potomac. In the article, “Gath” refers to Booth’s and Herold’s stop for help at the house of Dr. Richard Stuart (spelled Stewart in Gath’s article and also spelled Stewart by the scribe in Stuart’s original handwritten official statement). Gath wrote about Stuart, “He was entertaining some friends just returned from the Confederate service, and was much annoyed to find that on his place were the assassins of President Lincoln, after the war was all over. The men were not invited into the house, but were sent to an out-building of some kind…”

However, an intriguing assertion is published just four months later in the August 1884 issue of Century Magazine, page 638. It is a letter, Booth’s Escape, over the name, (initials, actually), E.G.D.G., challenging some of what Gath reported. The person presenting this account claims, “Dr. Stuart was absent. Mrs. Stuart received the two men…and, according to the usual custom of the family, they were invited in and given their supper.” The author continues, “Dr. Stuart’s fortunate absence in all probability saved the whole family from prison; and Mr. Townsend has neglected to state that, although the Doctor was away from home, and in fact never saw Booth at that time or subsequent thereto, he was for this simple act of hospitality on the part of his family arrested again and thrown into solitary confinement…”

That Stuart was not home at the time is a direct contradiction to what Gath wrote, but also contradicts what Stuart said in his official statement on May 6, 1865. Stuart stated, “I had been at tea with my family and just concluded when someone was announced at the door. I went to the door and found two men brought up by Mr. Bryant...” Later, Stuart added, “I agreed to give them something to eat and they walked into the House to get it.” Subsequently, Stuart said, “On entering I went into the house and the men had finished their meal, and I remarked ‘the old man is waiting for you; he is anxious to be off; it is cold; he is not well and wants to get home.’ They got up immediately and went out.” (Stuart’s official statement is in the National Archives, Publication Number M599, Record Group 153, Roll 0006, Page 212.)

Is anyone familiar with this letter in the August 1884 Century Magazine and the author using the initials E.G.D.G.? Can we assume the author of this letter did not know that Dr. Stuart had given an official statement almost twenty years prior? Was the author of the letter trying to protect Stuart’s reputation?

Insight and thoughts are appreciated. Thanks.

Bob

P.S. E.G.D.G. could have confused the Booth visit with the later delivery of the note from Booth with the money for his meal, but I think that is very unlikely. Those were two totally different events at different times. According to Dr. Stuart, he was not home at the time of the delivery of the note. It was given to his wife.


Bob:

My comment is brief: the conventional wisdom, i.e. that Stuart met with the fugitives personally, is accepted by Swanson (Manhunt) and Steers (The Escape and Capture of John Wilkes Booth), which, together with Stuart's Official Statement, establishes, in my judgment, a prima-facie case. Anyone wishing to challenge it has the burden of proving the contrary scenario. It is also my judgment that the August, 1884, article does not do that.

John
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12-28-2017, 02:04 PM
Post: #3
RE: Gath, Stuart, and E.G.D.G.
I believe that both Swanson, Steers, and others drew their conclusions from the evidence regarding Stuart's encounter with the fugitives contained in the prior research by James O. Hall, John C. Brennan and others. Mr. Hall was the original narrator for the Surratt Society's popular bus tours over the escape route of JWB, with the first one being held in May of 1977. Hall was telling of the situation at Cleydael long before others were publishing books. He is also the one who "discovered" where the Stuarts came up with the Cleydael name for their 1859 summer home. He was also very explicit in stating that it was Mrs. Dr. Stuart who retrieved the later Booth note from the fireplace after her husband had crumpled it up and thrown it away.
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12-28-2017, 03:31 PM
Post: #4
RE: Gath, Stuart, and E.G.D.G.
(12-28-2017 02:04 PM)L Verge Wrote:  I believe that both Swanson, Steers, and others drew their conclusions from the evidence regarding Stuart's encounter with the fugitives contained in the prior research by James O. Hall, John C. Brennan and others. Mr. Hall was the original narrator for the Surratt Society's popular bus tours over the escape route of JWB, with the first one being held in May of 1977. Hall was telling of the situation at Cleydael long before others were publishing books. He is also the one who "discovered" where the Stuarts came up with the Cleydael name for their 1859 summer home. He was also very explicit in stating that it was Mrs. Dr. Stuart who retrieved the later Booth note from the fireplace after her husband had crumpled it up and thrown it away.


Laurie:

It is no surprise that Hall, Brennan, et al., paved the way on this one. A couple of other items that favor the conventional wisdom are worth mentioning, namely that 1) The use of initials, rather than his or her name, by the author of the August, 1884, article, suggests that he or she feared to reveal his or her true identity, which in turn suggests that it would reflect poorly on the veracity of the article, and 2) The fact that Booth addressed his letter to Dr. Stuart, and not to his wife, suggests strongly that he had had direct contact with the doctor, and that Herold did too. Further, the contents of the letter ("I hate to blame you for your want of hospitality...you were kind enough to give me something to eat...Be kind enough to accept the enclosed two dollars and a half...") are strongly probative of direct contact with the doctor and not with his wife.

John
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