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A little-known person
07-24-2021, 01:40 PM (This post was last modified: 07-24-2021 01:42 PM by Steve Whitlock.)
Post: #31
RE: A little-known person
(07-24-2021 01:05 PM)RJNorton Wrote:  I would like to see what detective John Clarvoe had to say about the events in the early morning hours of April 15, 1865. If I recall correctly Richards placed him in charge of the group of detectives who went to Mary Surratt's. I'd be curious if Clarvoe supports (or not) McDevitt's story of the tipster. If anyone can post words from John Clarvoe that would be wonderful.

Roger,

This isn't as clear as what you want, but does mention Richards, Weichmann, McDevitt and Clarvoe in a letter written by Richards to Louis Weichmann.

Lot #206:
Eyewitness Account of the Eve of Lincoln's Killing -- ''...Was not Mrs. Surratt 'acting' a part at that time - when I said that the President had just been assassinated...she expressed no astonis
Historic letter by Almarin C. Richards, vividly recounting the events of the night of President Lincoln's assassination. Richards was in Ford's Theater that fateful night and, as Metropolitan Police Superintendent, led the search for the conspirators. He writes to Louis Weichmann, chief prosecution witness, regarding the controversial visit to Mary Surratt's boardinghouse, which many conspiracy theorists question. In part, ''...Whether [Detective James] McDevitt or myself was first at the Surratt house on the night of the assassination I cannot say...Now McDevitt writes me that he thinks I did not visit the house that night and that he was the first one to enter the house. I have written McDevitt that he was never more mistaken in his life than in supposing I did not visit the house that night. I am not certain that the hour of the visit was one o'clock but I do not think it could have been as late as two o'clock. I did not enter the house, as I have before stated, but remained at the first door in conversation with Mrs Surratt for part of the time while officers entered of whom I supposed McDevitt was one. I did not go there to search the house but to ascertain from Mrs. S., if I could, who the parties were that Booth called to see at her house. I knew at the time that Booth was the assassin of the President but had not learned who the conspirators were. I had learned of the attempted assassination of Secretary Seward and had reports of other attempts or plans of assassinating new President Johnson, Gen. Grant, Secretary Stanton and perhaps others...I had not the remotest idea that Mrs. Surratt could have been in any way privy to the plot and never sought her for information. The only recollection I have of [Detective John] Clarvoe that night is that at about 11 o'clock I had information that two mounted men had passed the military guard at the Navy Yard bridge and that from statements made by that guard I suspected that those two mounted men might be the assassins. Very soon thereafter I directed Clarvoe to assemble 12 good riders from the force and be prepared to follow those men into Maryland as soon as I could procure horses to mount the men...7 o'clock that hour until about 11 o'clock next morning Clarvoe was waiting at headquarters or within call to head his expedition as above intended as the horses did not arrive at headquarters until the last above named hour. For the reasons above stated I cannot see how Clarvoe could have been at Mrs. Surratt's house at 2 o'clock on the night in question. Are you positive in your mind that Clarvoe was at the house at 2 o'clock that morning? Are you also positive that you let McDevitt in at the front door that morning? If you are then there must have been two visits to the house that night. The first of which you were unaware of. Did you impart any information to McDevitt at that visit of his? Did you call at my office the next morning at McDevitt's suggestion or was it of your own motion? Am I not correct in stating that you came unattended by anyone? I am unable to make it clear to my own mind that it was Saturday morning when you first called. I know I did not get home until sometime after daylight that morning. My family had not learned of the assassination when I reached home...I remember of motioning the crowd about the theater and opposite and I went down toward my office and that I remained there for a while. Now it seems to me that you called at my office quite early - as soon as 8 1/2 o'clock. I do not recall that you referred in our first interview to any visit to Mrs. Surratt's house the night previous. It seems to me that you believe you were in possession of information which after reading the morning papers and from other sources you declared important information that I should also posses...Of course I cannot explain why when you informed Mrs. S of the assassination Clarvoe told you that she should have expressed surprise and astonishment. Was not Mrs. S 'acting' a part at that time - when I said to her that the President had just been assassinated and that Booth, who had been rumored to be a frequenter of her house, was his assassin. She expressed no surprise or astonishment. When I went to the house it was dark so far as I could see throughout the house. I know I was surprised that she answered my ring at the bell so promptly and that she should be dressed and hair in perfect order. I would account for this on the presumption that Mrs. Surratt at the hour of my visit was expecting a call from some other person and had been waiting in a darkened house for a call prearranged and anticipated but in which she was disappointed. My call was a surprise to her of course and she had not then considered the part she should enact. When you first saw her that night she had had time for reflection as to the position she might be placed in. Evidently she and the others had not predicted the possibility that their plot would mislay in any manner as it did...for a time at least during this presumed confusion and alarm the conspirators had satisfied themselves that they could meet somewhere prior to making their escape. If so many of the leading officials of the government as were included in their plot had been killed they had good ground to presume that alarm, anarchy and confusion would exist for a while. Circumstance and feint hearts of actors prevented the realization of their preconceived expectations of the course of events...A.C. Richards''. Six page letter, dated 24 May 1898 is written on the front and verso on three 7.75'' x 9.75'' sheets. Very good condition.
Eyewitness Account of the Eve of Lincoln's Killing -- ''
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07-24-2021, 01:49 PM
Post: #32
RE: A little-known person
I believe John Clarvoe testified at the trial of John Surratt in 1867. Can his testimony be posted? (especially the part if he were asked about the trip with McDevitt and others to the boardinghouse; in other words, did he testify as to why the group of detectives went to that particular boardinghouse)
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07-24-2021, 03:37 PM
Post: #33
RE: A little-known person
IMO, the two most likely possibilities are (1) McDevitt told the truth and our mystery person in the street suggested to the group of detectives that they go to the Surratt boardinghouse or (2) Superintendent Richards was already suspicious of the boardinghouse (maybe acting on Gleason's information) and specifically ordered Clarvoe, McDevitt, and the other detectives to go to the Surratt boardinghouse.

Steve, the John Surratt trial testimony is here

https://archive.org/details/trialjohnhsurra00surrgoog

but my old computer does not seem to be able to find Clarvoe's testimony. I have numerous books that say he did indeed testify. All I am curious about is if he is asked about how the detectives ended up at the Surratt boardinghouse.
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07-24-2021, 05:54 PM (This post was last modified: 07-24-2021 06:00 PM by Steve Whitlock.)
Post: #34
RE: A little-known person
(07-24-2021 03:37 PM)RJNorton Wrote:  IMO, the two most likely possibilities are (1) McDevitt told the truth and our mystery person in the street suggested to the group of detectives that they go to the Surratt boardinghouse or (2) Superintendent Richards was already suspicious of the boardinghouse (maybe acting on Gleason's information) and specifically ordered Clarvoe, McDevitt, and the other detectives to go to the Surratt boardinghouse.

Steve, the John Surratt trial testimony is here

https://archive.org/details/trialjohnhsurra00surrgoog

but my old computer does not seem to be able to find Clarvoe's testimony. I have numerous books that say he did indeed testify. All I am curious about is if he is asked about how the detectives ended up at the Surratt boardinghouse.

Roger,

I made a pdf file of the trial testimony from the link you sent. You can do the same, or I'll try to copy the pertinent pages. Clarvoe's testimony starts at pg 688 for a short statement, then has a much longer testimony starting on pg 696. He does not mention McDevitt's tipster, or any tipster. McDevitt starts his testimony on pg 707 and only mentions that he received information that J. Wilkes Booth had fired the shot, then the attorney guides him to the arrival of himself and others at Mary Surratt's house, without examining why he went there.

As for the Richards letter, there are documents that say Richards sent the detectives, and no mention of accompanying them. I think Richards wanted to upgrade his involvement for reward purposes. McDevitt and Clarvoe wrote a statement that they, and nobody else (which isn't true) went to the Surratt house.

That last information, plus more about Lewis Weichman is in:

The Lincoln Assassination - The Rewards Files
By William C. Edwards

I'm trying to slow myself down on the jump to wrong conclusions track, so I'll take a little time to get you those pages with the Clarvoe and McDevitt testimony. Another individual getting a lot of questioning from the Surratt household is John Holohan, who accompanied Weichman on the morning of the 15th to the Metropolitan Police Station, where they worked with Clarvoe and McDevitt, even so far as going with them to Canada to find John H. Surratt. All that while under arrest and represented as government agents.
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07-24-2021, 06:15 PM
Post: #35
RE: A little-known person
Steve, thank you for all your efforts!

RE: "I think Richards wanted to upgrade his involvement"

Many historians do not consider Richards a reliable source. For example, Ed Steers, in The Lincoln Assassination Encyclopedia, writes, "Richards gave several statements in the forty years following the assassination, all filled with inconsistencies and errors."
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07-24-2021, 09:48 PM
Post: #36
RE: A little-known person
(07-24-2021 06:15 PM)RJNorton Wrote:  Steve, thank you for all your efforts!

RE: "I think Richards wanted to upgrade his involvement"

Many historians do not consider Richards a reliable source. For example, Ed Steers, in The Lincoln Assassination Encyclopedia, writes, "Richards gave several statements in the forty years following the assassination, all filled with inconsistencies and errors."
Roger,

I'll email the pages for John A. W. Clarvoe testimony to you. They are too large for me to post. The last one also has the beginning of the James A. McDevitt testimony.
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Yesterday, 05:51 AM
Post: #37
RE: A little-known person
(07-24-2021 09:48 PM)Steve Whitlock Wrote:  The last one also has the beginning of the James A. McDevitt testimony.

Thank you to Steve Whitlock for sending the McDevitt testimony at the 1867 John Surratt trial. In it he does not say a tipster in the street directed the group of detectives to the Surratt boardinghouse.

[Image: mcdevitttestimony.jpg]

Steve also included the Clarvoe testimony. I am including the beginning of this testimony in which Clarvoe does not say anything about a tipster talking to the detectives.

[Image: Clarvoetestimony1.jpg]

[Image: Clarvoetestimony2.jpg]


Thus, it appears neither man testified a tipster in the street cited the Surratt boardinghouse as a suspicious place. Apparently McDevitt saved that story for newspaper interviews years later, but he did not include it when he testified. And Clarvoe says nothing about it. McDevitt also testified at the 1865 conspiracy trial, but he said nothing about a tipster. Unless more information is available, we are left with McDevitt's claim in interviews that there was a tipster in the street in the wee hours of April 15. At this point I do not see any backing for McDevitt's claim.
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Yesterday, 12:24 PM (This post was last modified: Yesterday 12:53 PM by Steve Whitlock.)
Post: #38
RE: A little-known person
(Yesterday 05:51 AM)RJNorton Wrote:  
(07-24-2021 09:48 PM)Steve Whitlock Wrote:  The last one also has the beginning of the James A. McDevitt testimony.

Thank you to Steve Whitlock for sending the McDevitt testimony at the 1867 John Surratt trial. In it he does not say a tipster in the street directed the group of detectives to the Surratt boardinghouse.

[Image: mcdevitttestimony.jpg]

Steve also included the Clarvoe testimony. I am including the beginning of this testimony in which Clarvoe does not say anything about a tipster talking to the detectives.

[Image: Clarvoetestimony1.jpg]

[Image: Clarvoetestimony2.jpg]


Thus, it appears neither man testified a tipster in the street cited the Surratt boardinghouse as a suspicious place. Apparently McDevitt saved that story for newspaper interviews years later, but he did not include it when he testified. And Clarvoe says nothing about it. McDevitt also testified at the 1865 conspiracy trial, but he said nothing about a tipster. Unless more information is available, we are left with McDevitt's claim in interviews that there was a tipster in the street in the wee hours of April 15. At this point I do not see any backing for McDevitt's claim.

In the matter of the McDevitt tipster I have a few more thoughts, but first I should note that I threw away the half-eaten crow and call 'take-backs' for my apologies to James A. McDevitt and his descendants. He lied, but why?

As Tom Bogar and Mike Kaufman have already shown, John B. McCullough was not in DC for Apr 14-15, 1865. In support of that are a few clippings. There are several mentions of McCullough in theatrical performances at Ford's Theater for Jan-Mar 1865, including "The Apostate" which is mentioned by Lewis Weichman in his testimony. That performance was 18 Mar 1865. His last performance was in another play on 22 Mar 1865. The testimony of 2 clerks, Henry E. Merrick and G. W. Bunker, establish that McCullough signed out of the National Hotel on the 26th of Mar 1865, the same day that Lewis Weichman finally settled on after cross examination for the conspiracy trial and the John H. Surratt trial as being when he saw Booth and McCullough together at the hotel. All mention of J. B. McCullough in both trials seems spurious as to dates, and then there is mention in the affidavit of John McCullough read in court that McCullough was not in DC, as has been verified by prior researchers. I'm merely adding support with documents to their findings.

We then must return to the article that Steve Williams found for the interview of Daniel Gleason, in which he states that he and Joshua W. Sharpe went to Gen. Angier after learning that president Lincoln had been shot and upon Gleason's information a guard was dispatched to Mary Surratt's house. It would then appear that the guard must have been McDevitt, Clarvoe and those accompanying them. The order would have gone to Richards, who then dispatched his detectives.

Why then did he fabricate an informant? REWARD! The word comes up frequently while researching Clarvoe and McDevitt. They even wrote a joint letter stating they were the only ones to go to the Surratt home for the other conspirators upon McDevitt's tip, thus reducing potential reward recipients. McDevitt was evasive, in my opinion, because there was no tipster. Had there been his superiors all the way up to Stanton would have demanded that person be named and arrested as a potential co-conspirator. Weichman and Holohan from the Surratt house greatly assisted the investigation, and were both in prison for about 30 days. Why wasn't McDevitt's tipster in there with them? Because there was no tipster beyond Weichman informing Gleason, who informed the War Dept.


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Yesterday, 12:51 PM (This post was last modified: Yesterday 12:54 PM by Steve.)
Post: #39
RE: A little-known person
It was established in the Conspiracy Trial that McCullough left Washington DC on March 26, 1865:

https://books.google.com/books?id=D-O8Ha...gh&f=false

The Gleason article misspelled the name, it's Gen. Augur, not Angier.
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