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John Lee, Assassination Investigator
08-16-2021, 01:30 PM (This post was last modified: 08-16-2021 01:31 PM by larmarhar8.)
Post: #1
John Lee, Assassination Investigator
Hi, all! New to this site, but certainly not to the topic of Lincoln's Assassination.

In researching for information I hope to use in upcoming books, I became fascinated by the story of John Lee, Provost Marshal Detective that collected evidence from George Atzerodt's room at the Kirkwood House the night of the assassination.

Apparently he rode with the infamous Lafayette Curry Baker in Baker's Cavalry before joining the Provost Marshal's Department and later served as a Justice of the Peace, then as a Reconstruction Registrar in Mississippi.

I was disheartened to find, after securing his pension file from the National Archives, that he died without issue and in an unmarked grave in Oak Hill Cemetery in Washington. I took it on myself to file an application to the VA, requesting an appropriate marker be provided. We'll see how long that takes.

But, I digress. The purpose of this post is to solicit any assistance in locating a picture of Mr. Lee. Despite tearing up the Internet, I have come up empty on this score. So, does anyone out there know if such a picture exists?

Appreciate any input!

L. E. Harris
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08-16-2021, 03:19 PM
Post: #2
RE: John Lee, Assassination Investigator
Hi Larry. In all my years I have never seen a photo of John Lee. He joins folks such as John F. Parker, John Lloyd, William Petersen, and Peanut John Burroughs as someone for whom I have never seen a photograph. I have seen an artist's sketch of William Petersen, but that's it.
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08-30-2021, 10:22 AM (This post was last modified: 08-30-2021 10:23 AM by Wesley Harris.)
Post: #3
RE: John Lee, Assassination Investigator
Having spent 43 years in law enforcement, I've always been impressed by John Lee. His report of the search of Atzerodt's room and the handling of the recovered evidence is typical of policing procedures that didn't become common until 100 years later. Some of the most professional "police work" in the entire assassination investigation. If only the D.C. police had been as meticulous in their procedures and reporting, we know know much more than we do.
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08-30-2021, 12:17 PM
Post: #4
RE: John Lee, Assassination Investigator
(08-16-2021 01:30 PM)larmarhar8 Wrote:  Hi, all! New to this site, but certainly not to the topic of Lincoln's Assassination.

In researching for information I hope to use in upcoming books, I became fascinated by the story of John Lee, Provost Marshal Detective that collected evidence from George Atzerodt's room at the Kirkwood House the night of the assassination.

Apparently he rode with the infamous Lafayette Curry Baker in Baker's Cavalry before joining the Provost Marshal's Department and later served as a Justice of the Peace, then as a Reconstruction Registrar in Mississippi.

I was disheartened to find, after securing his pension file from the National Archives, that he died without issue and in an unmarked grave in Oak Hill Cemetery in Washington. I took it on myself to file an application to the VA, requesting an appropriate marker be provided. We'll see how long that takes.

But, I digress. The purpose of this post is to solicit any assistance in locating a picture of Mr. Lee. Despite tearing up the Internet, I have come up empty on this score. So, does anyone out there know if such a picture exists?

Appreciate any input!

L. E. Harris

I didn't come across a photo of John Lee, just a mention of his search of Atzerodt's room, for those who may not know.

The Trial of the Lincoln Assassination Conspirators: An Account
George Atzerodt's arrest came on April 20 at the home of his cousin in Germantown, Maryland. Atzerodt had aroused suspicion by asking a bartender on the day of the assassination at the Kirkwood Hotel in Washington about the Vice President Andrew Johnson's whereabouts. (The Vice President had taken a room at the hotel.) The day after Lincoln's assassination, a hotel employee contacted authorities concerning a "suspicious-looking man" in "a gray coat" who had been seen around the Kirkwood. John Lee, a member of the military police force, visited the hotel on April 15 and conducted a search of Atzerodt's room. The search revealed that the bed had not been slept in the previous night. Lee discovered under a pillow a loaded revolver, a large bowie knife, a map of Virginia, three handkerchiefs, and a bank book of John Wilkes Booth.
The prosecution argued that Booth assigned George Atzerodt the job of killing Vice-President Andrew Johnson. Colonel W. R. Nevins testified that on April 12 at the Kirkwood Hotel in Washington, Atzerodt asked him where he might find Vice President Johnson. Police investigator John Lee testified that he searched Atzerodt's room at the Kirkwood (the same hotel that the Vice President was then staying at) on the day after Lincoln's assassination and discovered under a loaded revolver, a bowie knife, a map of Virginia, three handkerchiefs, and a bank book of John Wilkes Booth. The prosecution also showed that Atzerodt had met frequently with Booth in front of the Pennsylvania House in Washington. John Fletcher, an employee of J. Naylor's livery stable testified that on April 14 Atzerodt showed up at the stable with co-defendant David Herold, bringing with them a dark-bay mare. Another witness told of Atzerodt's late night check-in (after midnight) on the night of Lincoln's assassination at the Pennsylvania House, his leaving again and returning around two, and then his checking out of the hotel between five and six in the morning.
From LincolnConspirators.com
Testimony resumed

John Lee, a detective with the D.C. Provost Marshal, was assigned by Provost Marshal James O’Beirne to search the rented room of George Atzerodt at the Kirkwood House hotel following the assassination. Lee testified about his search of Atzerodt’s room and the many items he found contained within it, including articles connected to John Wilkes Booth and David Herold.[9]

The following items were identified by Lee as being found in Atzerodt’s room and were entered into evidence as exhibits.

Exhibit 9 – a black coat
Exhibit 10 – a loaded and capped pistol
Exhibit 11 – an Ontario bank book for $455 under John Wilkes Booth’s name (pictured above). Inside the bank book was an envelope bearing a frank of Sen. John Conness of California
Exhibit 12 – a map of the Southern States
Exhibit 13 – a white handkerchief with “Mary E. Booth” on it (Marion Edwina Booth was a niece of John Wilkes Booth)
Exhibit 14 – a white handkerchief with “F. M. Nelson” on it (Frederick M. Nelson was a brother-in-law of David Herold)
Exhibit 15 – a white handkerchief with the letter H in the corner (the H was likely for Herold)
Exhibit 16 – a pair of gauntlets
Exhibit 17 – a colored handkerchief
Exhibit 18 – three boxes of Colt cartridges
Exhibit 19 – a piece of licorice
Exhibit 20 – a toothbrush
Exhibit 21 – a spur
Exhibit 22 – a pair of socks and two collars
Exhibit 23 – a bowie knife
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04-20-2022, 06:10 PM
Post: #5
RE: John Lee, Assassination Investigator
(08-30-2021 12:17 PM)Steve Whitlock Wrote:  
(08-16-2021 01:30 PM)larmarhar8 Wrote:  Hi, all! New to this site, but certainly not to the topic of Lincoln's Assassination.

In researching for information I hope to use in upcoming books, I became fascinated by the story of John Lee, Provost Marshal Detective that collected evidence from George Atzerodt's room at the Kirkwood House the night of the assassination.

Apparently he rode with the infamous Lafayette Curry Baker in Baker's Cavalry before joining the Provost Marshal's Department and later served as a Justice of the Peace, then as a Reconstruction Registrar in Mississippi.

I was disheartened to find, after securing his pension file from the National Archives, that he died without issue and in an unmarked grave in Oak Hill Cemetery in Washington. I took it on myself to file an application to the VA, requesting an appropriate marker be provided. We'll see how long that takes.

But, I digress. The purpose of this post is to solicit any assistance in locating a picture of Mr. Lee. Despite tearing up the Internet, I have come up empty on this score. So, does anyone out there know if such a picture exists?

Appreciate any input!

L. E. Harris

I didn't come across a photo of John Lee, just a mention of his search of Atzerodt's room, for those who may not know.

The Trial of the Lincoln Assassination Conspirators: An Account
George Atzerodt's arrest came on April 20 at the home of his cousin in Germantown, Maryland. Atzerodt had aroused suspicion by asking a bartender on the day of the assassination at the Kirkwood Hotel in Washington about the Vice President Andrew Johnson's whereabouts. (The Vice President had taken a room at the hotel.) The day after Lincoln's assassination, a hotel employee contacted authorities concerning a "suspicious-looking man" in "a gray coat" who had been seen around the Kirkwood. John Lee, a member of the military police force, visited the hotel on April 15 and conducted a search of Atzerodt's room. The search revealed that the bed had not been slept in the previous night. Lee discovered under a pillow a loaded revolver, a large bowie knife, a map of Virginia, three handkerchiefs, and a bank book of John Wilkes Booth.
The prosecution argued that Booth assigned George Atzerodt the job of killing Vice-President Andrew Johnson. Colonel W. R. Nevins testified that on April 12 at the Kirkwood Hotel in Washington, Atzerodt asked him where he might find Vice President Johnson. Police investigator John Lee testified that he searched Atzerodt's room at the Kirkwood (the same hotel that the Vice President was then staying at) on the day after Lincoln's assassination and discovered under a loaded revolver, a bowie knife, a map of Virginia, three handkerchiefs, and a bank book of John Wilkes Booth. The prosecution also showed that Atzerodt had met frequently with Booth in front of the Pennsylvania House in Washington. John Fletcher, an employee of J. Naylor's livery stable testified that on April 14 Atzerodt showed up at the stable with co-defendant David Herold, bringing with them a dark-bay mare. Another witness told of Atzerodt's late night check-in (after midnight) on the night of Lincoln's assassination at the Pennsylvania House, his leaving again and returning around two, and then his checking out of the hotel between five and six in the morning.
From LincolnConspirators.com
Testimony resumed

John Lee, a detective with the D.C. Provost Marshal, was assigned by Provost Marshal James O’Beirne to search the rented room of George Atzerodt at the Kirkwood House hotel following the assassination. Lee testified about his search of Atzerodt’s room and the many items he found contained within it, including articles connected to John Wilkes Booth and David Herold.[9]

The following items were identified by Lee as being found in Atzerodt’s room and were entered into evidence as exhibits.

Exhibit 9 – a black coat
Exhibit 10 – a loaded and capped pistol
Exhibit 11 – an Ontario bank book for $455 under John Wilkes Booth’s name (pictured above). Inside the bank book was an envelope bearing a frank of Sen. John Conness of California
Exhibit 12 – a map of the Southern States
Exhibit 13 – a white handkerchief with “Mary E. Booth” on it (Marion Edwina Booth was a niece of John Wilkes Booth)
Exhibit 14 – a white handkerchief with “F. M. Nelson” on it (Frederick M. Nelson was a brother-in-law of David Herold)
Exhibit 15 – a white handkerchief with the letter H in the corner (the H was likely for Herold)
Exhibit 16 – a pair of gauntlets
Exhibit 17 – a colored handkerchief
Exhibit 18 – three boxes of Colt cartridges
Exhibit 19 – a piece of licorice
Exhibit 20 – a toothbrush
Exhibit 21 – a spur
Exhibit 22 – a pair of socks and two collars
Exhibit 23 – a bowie knife

After reading Dave Taylor's impressive analysis and hypothesis about the envelope bearing the frank of Senator John Conness with the poems written on it, I am convinced the coat belonged to Booth - probably loaned to David Herold. I also believe the handkerchief with the letter H came from Lucy Hale. The "H" is for Hale rather than Herold. Here's where you can find Dave Taylor's article.
https://lincolnconspirators.com/2015/03/...-envelope/
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