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The Spur Question
02-09-2018, 07:08 PM
Post: #46
RE: The Spur Question
I've always heard those photos attributed to Brady, but don't think I've ever seen anything substantial to verify that. I recall a similar discussion on this forum a couple of years ago, but have not had time to go back to check that thread.

Since Gardner was the government's photographer of choice at that time and Brady's eyesight was failing, it seems doubtful to me that Brady was there taking pictures. Perhaps an associate of his was there or maybe even the Gardner did it.

James Gifford (house carpenter) testified the following at the trial of the conspirators:
"I set a scene for a gentleman there to take a view for the Secretary of War. At the time I left the theatre, the scene was set as it was the night of the assassination."

He also later testified that he was at Ford's on Monday morning when the Secretary of War stopped by to look at the State Box.

So, it appears that things were reset for pictures.

I also seem to remember reading that the pictures were taken on Monday, April 17, not Easter Sunday, April 16. I think Tom Bogar agrees with that in his book.

Bob
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02-09-2018, 07:27 PM
Post: #47
RE: The Spur Question
(02-09-2018 04:16 PM)Dennis Urban Wrote:  Indeed the Devil's Den scene with bodies strewn all over the rocks was staged. Some publications still today consider that as an actual scene which it is definitely not.

I have also seen an image of the "mark" supposedly left by JWB's heel in the covering of the stage. Since the only images were taken by Brady, there must be an enlargement somewhere of that portion of the stage. I'm sure I have seen one, but where???

Maybe on this forum because I think it was Joe Beckert who first posted about the tear in the stage carpeting.
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02-10-2018, 12:21 PM
Post: #48
RE: The Spur Question
Back to the spur: "When Booth fell to the stage, he apparently broke a spur's leather strap." cited in a post by Jim Garrett earlier.

How difficult would it be to break a spur strap? I'm assuming that Dapper Dan Booth was attired in his usual well-kempt style for his grand exit from the stage of history. Therefore, I would also assume that it extended to the tip of his toes with good boots and good spurs/straps that would take a hard amount of wear and tear in the days to come.

I agree that at least one piece of flag or bunting was involved in his landing on the stage (note that witnesses described a piece attached to a spur as he exited so at least one spur was intact, and no one noticed another one missing). I think there was the tear in the baize carpeting also - likely caused by one of his spurs. Has there ever been any mention of damage to the wooden stage itself, however? If we want to speculate that a spur landed with enough force to pop a strap, there should be damage to the floor itself. Such a landing would also seem hard enough or off-kelter enough to pop a small bone.

My other "bone" of contention is the Mudd spur. When Mrs. Mudd turned the boot over to the authorities, why didn't that spur that she later gave to her neighbor go with the boot and the authorities to the War Department? Did Sarah Francis Mudd keep a souvenir of her experience? Did hard times force her to sell it to the neighbor - or did the good doctor want it out of his sight when he returned from prison?

Isn't it fun to speculate - and also consider that hundreds or thousands of other interested people have speculated about the same topics for a hundred years?
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02-10-2018, 01:40 PM
Post: #49
RE: The Spur Question
(01-28-2018 02:20 PM)JMadonna Wrote:  I don't see how a broken spur combined with a myth makes the Naval Academy's spur anything more than just a story. Following the trail of evidence, this spur has no beginning. Somebody probably broke it, tried to repair it to make it useful and failing that found some sucker and sold him a piece of junk and a story.

(02-10-2018 12:21 PM)L Verge Wrote:  Back to the spur: "When Booth fell to the stage, he apparently broke a spur's leather strap." cited in a post by Jim Garrett earlier.

I came across a web page that has a lot of discussion regarding the spur. I do not know how accurate (or apocryphal?) the page is.

https://archive.org/stream/assassinaxxx0...c_djvu.txt

"One of the spurs he was wearing caught in an American flag draped around the box causing Booth to fall on the left leg breaking the shinbone. The spur was torn off his riding boot and broke in two pieces. It was picked up by a Union soldier who was attending the play in Ford's Theatre that night. The soldier's name was Samuel B. Ream."

"The above mentioned spur was repaired by Uncle Sam Ream by welding, and was in his possession until 1927 when he died suddenly while attending a convention of the Grand Army of the Republic."

"Shortly after his death the spur came into the possession of Mr. D. L. Reem (spelling now changed from Ream to Reem), of 107 N. Market Street, Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, who on 6
May 1951 presented the spur to the U. S. Naval Academy Museum"
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02-10-2018, 02:52 PM (This post was last modified: 02-10-2018 02:57 PM by L Verge.)
Post: #50
RE: The Spur Question
Thanks for that link, Roger. Although it does not solve our problem, I did find part of the correspondence about Mr. Ream and his descendants historically interesting also:

«2. Uncle Sam Ream, as he was known to his relatives, was
born at the Reem homestead at Rheems, Pennsylvania, in I8I4.5.
At nineteen he enlisted in the U. S. Cavalry for the duration
of the Civil War. After the war he went to Kansas where he
lived the rest of his days. He taught school at Holton,
Kansas where Buffalo Bill (Bill Cody) also taught at the same
time. Ream and Cody became very intimate friends. He followed
the great scout in the circus business for several years but
later returned to Holton and entered into business. He never
married but spent much of his earnings assisting poor boys,
bearing the expense of rearing and educating four boys, all of
whom are living but one. The latter was only seventeen years
old when Mr. Ream died. The young man mourned his death and
is said to have died of a broken heart two weeks later.

3. The above mentioned spur was repaired by Uncle Sam Ream
by welding, and was in his possession until 1927 when he died
suddenly while attending a convention of the Grand Army of the
Republic.

I4.. Shortly after his death the spur came into the possession
of Mr. D. L. Reem (spelling now changed from Ream to Reem), of
107 N. Market Street, Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, who on 6
May 1951 presented the spur to the U. S. Naval Academy Museum
in memory of his grandnephew, 2nd Lieutenant Robert Dale Reem,
USMC, who graduated from the U. S. Naval Academy in the Class
of 19I8. Lieutenant Reem heroically sacrificed his life on
November 6, 1950, in the Chosen Reservoir sector of Korea by
dropping on a hand grenade hurled into a group of his command
by a unit of the Chinese Red Army. Lieutenant Reem was
instantly killed but saved the lives of his men.

5. S. B. Ream, who picked up the spur in Ford's Theatre, was
the great -great -uncle of Lieutenant Reem.

One thing I noted was that Uncle Sam Ream was born in 1814, enlisted in 1833, and would have been in the cavalry at age 46 when the CW began. If his birth date is correct, the death date given as 1927 would have him at 113 when he died. Possible, but... Steve, can your marvelous research sources determine if his birth and death dates are correct as given?

I also questioned if the black paint would have been original to Booth's spur? Was painting spurs at all common in those days - or did a later generation paint it thinking they were preserving it from what appeared to be deterioration?

I would also encourage all to read other portions of that link, especially correspondence related to the possibility that the boot's maker's mark has been damaged over the years. The gentleman who was writing the gov't. was the late-John C. Brennan, a veritable walking encyclopedia on the Lincoln assassination, a side-kick to James O. Hall, and a mentor to me as well as Betty O, Joan Chaconas, and Mike Kauffman, to name just a few. He was also the one we turned to whenever we needed a lesson in the English language and the use thereof.

We talk about the Greatest Generation, and that included historians like Brennan, Hall, Tidwell, Hanchett, Keesler and others. Even those like Eisenschiml, who screwed up parts of history, were of that generation - but their suppositions kept the story alive and open for discussion and further research.
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02-10-2018, 02:52 PM
Post: #51
RE: The Spur Question
Here is a photograph of the Ream spur at the Naval Academy museum along with a photograph of Ream, courtesy of Bruce Guthrie:

[Image: NAMUCW_110130_436.JPG]

This is Guthrie's text accompanying the image:

"Spur: On April 14, 1865, John Wilkes Booth shot Abraham Lincoln at Ford's Theater. As Booth tried to escape, he caught his foot in the bunting draped along the front of the presidential box. Samuel B. Reem picked up this spur from the theater's stage. It is believed to be one worn by Booth. -- U. S. NAVAL ACADEMY MUSEUM 118 Maryland Avenue Annapolis, Maryland 21402-5034 USNA 51.18.1 Uniform: Footwear: Boot Spur: John Wilkes Booth (1838-65). Material: steel Color: steel gray Dimensions: 1 1/8 x 4 5/8 x 3 inches Maker: unknown Country of origin: U.S. Period/date: 1860s Description: Rounded “Y-shaped” metal device or boot spur; slots for straps in both outer ends of the “U-shaped” shank; one side of the shank shows break and repair; slotted stem, post or neck holds 12-tooth wheel or rowel or ***** which is riveted in place; general pattern commonly known as a “Prince of Wales” or English-style spur. Source: Gift of D. L. Reem, 107 North Market St., Elizabethtown, PA, May 6, 1951. Special condition of gift: Donated in memory of his grandnephew, 2d Lieutenant Robert Dale Reem, USMC (1925-50), NA Class of 1948; KIA Korea; MH Historical significance: This boot spur was reputedly worn by the actor John Wilkes Booth (1838-65) on the night of April 14, 1865, when he assassinated President Abraham Lincoln in Ford’s Theater in Washington, DC. The President and Mrs. Lincoln were seated in a box located above the stage and the front of which was decorated with patriotic bunting. Booth entered from the rear of the box, shot Lincoln using a small Derringer pistol, and leapt through the box onto the stage below. His right foot got caught in the bunting and his left ankle was badly injured in the fall. This spur was pulled from the boot by the bunting and broke when it fell on floor below. U.S. Cavalry soldier Samuel B. Ream (1845-1927) of Pennsylvania, who was in the audience, picked up the pieces of the broken spur and kept it as a souvenir. At some later date he repaired the spur by welding. The donation of this boot spur was accompanied by a handwritten statement signed by the donor and it reads: “This stirrup (spur) is presented to the Museum of the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md., by D. L. Reem, Elizabethtown, Pa., in memory of 2nd Lieutenant Robert D. Reem, who graduated from Annapolis Academy, Class of 1948. Lieutenant Reem was killed in Korea, November 6th, 1950, while serving with the U.S. Marines. This stirrup was picked up in Ford’s Theatre, Washington, D. C. by Lieutenant Reem’s great-great uncle, Samuel B. Reem, who was attending the play the night President Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth. The great-great uncle of Lieutenant Reem at the time was serving as a Union Soldier. The spur was later welded by Uncle Sam Ream, as he was known by his relatives, and was in his possession until 1927, when he died suddenly while attending a convention of the Grand Army of the Republic. Shortly after his death the spur came in possession of D. L. Reem, a great uncle of Lieutenant Reem. Uncle Sam Ream was born at the Reem homestead at Rheems, Pa. in 1845. At nineteen he enlisted in the U.S. Cavalry for the duration of the Civil War. Returning from the war he went to Kansas where he lived the rest of his days. He taught school at Holton, Kansas, where Buffalo Bill (Bill Cody) also taught at the same time. Ream and Cody became very intimate friends. He followed the great scout in the circus business for several years. Later he returned to Holton, Kansas, and entered into business [soft drink bottling]. He never married, but spent much of his earnings assisting poor boys, bearing the expense of rearing and educating four boys, all of whom are living but one, who was only seventeen years old when Uncle Sam died. The young man mourned his death and died of a broken heart two weeks later. [According to a later newspaper article Sam Ream “dropped dead on a boat on Lake Michigan, while throwing coins to kids on the shore.] During his career he served several terms in the Kansas Legislature. Since one of the descendants of S. B. Ream, has made such an unusual, short career, it is only fitting that this cherished relic be placed in the Annapolis Museum as a token of the patriotic deed performed by 2nd Lieutenant Robert Dale Reem on Nov. 6th, 1950.” Signed: D. L. Reem. Along with the boot spur D. L. Reem provided a press clipping from the Lancaster, PA, Sunday News, dated April 11, 1937, with an article titled “Booth’s Broken Spur Owned by Man in Lancaster County.” The article quotes a message written about the spur by Samuel B. Ream himself on the back of a carte de visite photograph of Daniel Snyder and himself [see USNA 51.18.2] which read: “This stirrup (spur) was picked up by me in Ford’s Theatre at Washington, DC, on the night Lincoln was shot. I was attending the play of the evening. Jumping from the box seat in the gallery, this stirrup caught in the American flag and threw him [John Wilkes Booth] to the stage below, tearing this from his foot. I picked both pieces up.” On a visit to the Lincoln Museum located in the old Ford’s Theater on November 3, 1952, Captain Wade DeWeese, USN(Ret), then Director, U.S. Naval Academy Museum, saw a spur on exhibit identified as coming from a boot worn by John Wilkes Booth on the night he assassinated President Lincoln. DeWeese wrote the Lincoln Museum about this second spur and received the following reply: “The spur on display was acquired by O. H. Oldroyd who spent a lifetime collecting Lincolniana. The Government purchased his collection in 1926 and it is now a part of the items at the Lincoln Museum. In William Benham’s Life of Osborn H. Oldroyd, the circumstances surrounding the purchase of the spur are given as follows: ‘Mrs. Samuel Mudd received him [Oldroyd on a visit in 1901] cordially upon learning who he was and the nature of his errand. She told Captain Oldroyd that Dr. Mudd upbraided Booth for his rashness and told him that he had inflicted an irreparable injury to the South. She also said that when Booth arrived at their home his ankle and leg were so badly swollen that it was necessary to slit the bootleg to get his foot out of it. Speaking of the spur which was attached to the boot she said it was in the possession of a gentleman living about eight miles farther up the road. Bidding her adieu Captain Oldroyd continued his journey to the home of the possessor the spur and after some dickering with him he became the owner and possessor the relic at a cost of fifty dollars.’” Later observers of both the spur in the Naval Academy Museum and the specimen in Ford’s Theater point out that the two spurs are not a matching set. Correspondence in 1973 with Dr. Richard D. Mudd, a descendant of the doctor who treated Booth, stated that “from every account Booth only wore one spur and it is at Ford’s Theatre.” Of course, Dr. Mudd was only familiar with the story of the spur acquired by Osborn H. Oldroyd and sold with his collection to the Lincoln Museum in 1926. In December 1975, John C. Brennan, who had corresponded with the Naval Academy Museum about the two different spurs and had concluded that Booth was too vain to have worn mismatched spurs, provided additional information about Booth and his spurs extracted from the records of the investigation of the Lincoln assassination. In a statement by James M. Pumphrey, the keeper of the stable where John Wilkes Booth rented a horse on April 14, 1865, he said “before he mounted he took out a brass spur and put it on his right foot. I could identify the spur if shown to me.” Later in the record it states: “James M. Pumphrey being duly sworn makes the following statement. A spur being shown by Superintendent Richards of the Metropolitan Police the witness states ‘this to the best of my knowledge and belief this spur is the same that J. Wilkes Booth put on at my stable yesterday.’” This statement would have been given on April 15, and thus adds further confusion over how many different spurs Booth may have worn on April 14, 1865. This third spur could not be either the one then with Booth or Dr. Mudd, on April 15, in southern Maryland or the one collected at Ford’s Theater by Samuel B. Ream. Perhaps it was simply a matching spur to the one James M. Pumphrey had observed Booth putting on his right boot the night before. It could be that all three spurs were associated with Booth on April 14, 1865, and that he could have changed spurs and/or the boots themselves between his fleeing Ford’s Theater, renting the horse, and arriving at Dr. Mudd’s home. When he jumped from the box to the stage in the theater it is most likely that he injured the foot and leg opposite from the foot which caught in the bunting and from which he lost the spur. He would have damaged the leg on which he landed and which took the full weight of his body. Since it was his left leg injured, the spur collected from the floor by Samuel B. Ream probably came off the boot on the right foot. It is interesting that the stable keeper, James M. Pumphrey, testified that he observed Booth put a new spur on his right foot. When Booth was treated by Dr. Mudd, the account indicated that the leg and foot were so swollen it was necessary to cut the boot to remove it. If this was the same boot from which the spur was later collected by Dr. Mudd’s neighbor and subsequently purchased by Captain Oldroyd, it would have been from the left boot. No evidence has been produced to prove that the spur, which U.S. Cavalryman Samuel B. Ream said he collected at Ford’s Theater on the night of April 14, 1865, is not authentic as having been worn by Booth that night. As a cavalryman, too, Ream would have had more than passing knowledge of spurs. The fact that it does not match the second spur at Ford’s Theater, proves that John Wilkes Booth wore more than one set of boots or more than one set of spurs on that fateful evening. The eyewitness record exists that after the assassination he added a new spur to his right boot before mounting a rented horse for his escape into southern Maryland. The Reem’s spur remains in the U.S. Naval Academy Museum as an important historical object and as part of the memorial to Naval Academy alumnus Lieutenant Robert Dale Reem, USMC, killed in action in Korea and awarded the Medal of Honor. References: Chamlee, Jr., Roy Z. Lincoln’s Assassins: A Complete Account of Their Capture, Trial, and Punishment. Jefferson, NC: McCarland & Co., 1990. Guttridge, Leonard F. and Ray A. Neff. Dark Union: The Secret Web of the Profiteers, Politicians and Booth Conspirators That Led to Lincoln’s Death. New York: Wiley, 2003. Kauffman, Michael W. American Brutus: John Wilkes Booth and the Lincoln Conspiracies. New York: Random House, 2004. U.S. Naval Academy Museum documentation file 1951.018.001. James W. Cheevers Associate Director/Senior Curator U.S. Naval Academy Museum"

This is Guthrie's webpage with the photograph of the spur:

http://www.bguthriephotos.com/graphlib.n..._Museum_CW

Guthrie's description lists the dubious Neff-Guttridge book as a source used for his description, so be aware of that.
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02-10-2018, 03:14 PM
Post: #52
RE: The Spur Question
Just one comment before I digest all of this, the bio that Roger linked us to has Ream being born in 1814, which would have made him 46 when the CW began. The man identified as Ream in that CDV certainly looks a lot younger than 46.
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02-10-2018, 03:38 PM
Post: #53
RE: The Spur Question
(02-10-2018 03:14 PM)L Verge Wrote:  Just one comment before I digest all of this, the bio that Roger linked us to has Ream being born in 1814, which would have made him 46 when the CW began. The man identified as Ream in that CDV certainly looks a lot younger than 46.

Laurie, he was born in 1845 (as Steve noted). That would make him 82 when he passed.

Here is a more accurate .pdf file of the link which I originally posted:

https://archive.org/details/assassinaxxx00linc
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02-10-2018, 06:09 PM (This post was last modified: 02-10-2018 06:12 PM by L Verge.)
Post: #54
RE: The Spur Question
(02-10-2018 03:38 PM)RJNorton Wrote:  
(02-10-2018 03:14 PM)L Verge Wrote:  Just one comment before I digest all of this, the bio that Roger linked us to has Ream being born in 1814, which would have made him 46 when the CW began. The man identified as Ream in that CDV certainly looks a lot younger than 46.

Laurie, he was born in 1845 (as Steve noted). That would make him 82 when he passed.

Here is a more accurate .pdf file of the link which I originally posted:

https://archive.org/details/assassinaxxx00linc

My apologies for the mix-up in birth date. The first link that you gave said 1814.5, and I guess I skipped through the date supplied by Steve. 1845 is definitely easier to understand. Another clarification to the first article: It states that Ream enlisted at age 19, which would be in 1864 -- short service.
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02-10-2018, 07:48 PM (This post was last modified: 02-10-2018 11:46 PM by Steve.)
Post: #55
RE: The Spur Question
Ream died in 1923, not 1927 as written in the description above. Here's an image of his tombstone:

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/144945340

Here's an 1890 biography of Ream:

   

   

   

Source:
Portrait and Biographical Album of Jackson, Jefferson, and Pottawatomie Counties, Kansas. Containing Full Page Portraits and Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens of the County Together with Portraits and Biographies of all the Governors of the State and of the Presidents of the United States. Chicago, IL, USA: Chapman Bros., 1890. pp. 542-544
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02-10-2018, 11:17 PM
Post: #56
RE: The Spur Question
With all due respect to Uncle Sam Ream, I don't see how Booth could have had this spur pulled from his boot by the bunting and still be able to be trailing part of the flag across the stage.

It is possible that he could have changed spurs and/or the boots after his fleeing Ford’s Theater (most probably at Surratt's boarding house) but he certainly didn't do it in mid air.
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02-10-2018, 11:59 PM
Post: #57
RE: The Spur Question
A similar thought occurred to me ... how does a piece of material manage to break off a spur. I guess he could have snagged the spur in the cloth and desperately wrenched it ... but it all seems difficult to imagine. And , lets face it, there would have been something like 500 pairs of eyes glued to the scene (despite what was happening in the box) ... and yet few (if anyone) saw Booth pulling or struggling with the flag. Perhaps the spur was flimsily attached to his boot and it came off immediately on leaping from the box. I would have thought though that if theres one thing about a spur, it is normally very very firmly attached.


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02-11-2018, 05:19 AM
Post: #58
RE: The Spur Question
Many thanks to Steve for finding and sending this article. It is Ream's account of the assassination. It was given about a year before his death. The article is from page 9 of the 12 Oct. 1922 edition of the Holton Recorder (Kansas).

[Image: ream.jpg]
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02-11-2018, 01:44 PM (This post was last modified: 02-11-2018 03:00 PM by JMadonna.)
Post: #59
RE: The Spur Question
First of all 'Uncle' Sam's lifestyle seems to raise issues. This paragraph in particular caught my eye:

"He never married, but spent much of his earnings assisting poor boys, bearing the expense of rearing and educating four boys, all of whom are living but one, who was only seventeen years old when 'Uncle' Sam died. The young man mourned his death and died of a broken heart two weeks later."

'Uncle' Sam would have been much in demand by the ladies since the war left them with few options, but Sam preferred to hang around with young boys......hmmm.

People who lead lonely lives as Sam did are more frequent to tell tall tales to impress people, usually, making certain that no one can contradict them. This story coming out some 60 years after the fact, seems to fit the pattern.

The opening paragraph claiming he was the last eyewitness probably added to his confidence that he had outlived his contemporaries and was safe to tell his tale. Yet, he leaves himself an out by claiming he had 'sneaked' into the theater that night. If he took the spur as a souvenir he most certainly would have kept his ticket stub to commemorate the historic night. If anyone asked him to produce it he already had his excuse. Furthermore, he never identifies his 'buddies'.

I doubt he was anywhere near the theater that night. Anyone could have made his claims based solely upon newspaper reports. To me, its very doubtful that the leather strap would have broken during the jump let alone the strap AND the metal spur.

That's my take.
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02-11-2018, 01:48 PM
Post: #60
RE: The Spur Question
I wonder, too, Jerry. I wonder if Harry Hawk was often mistaken for Laura Keene.
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