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1930 recording of an eyewitness
08-27-2022, 09:10 PM
Post: #1
1930 recording of an eyewitness
I've never seen this one before and I found it interesting that he doesn't mention a broken leg and that what he does say is more in line with the earliest accounts. Booth merely had a bad landing.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q6IFEE_CM-I

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08-28-2022, 05:20 AM
Post: #2
RE: 1930 recording of an eyewitness
Thanks for posting this, Joe.

Joe Di Cola once posted the name of the man in the video. He is Charles L. Willis, and he is in Good's book...p. 178.
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08-30-2022, 09:54 PM
Post: #3
RE: 1930 recording of an eyewitness
(08-27-2022 09:10 PM)J. Beckert Wrote:  I've never seen this one before and I found it interesting that he doesn't mention a broken leg and that what he does say is more in line with the earliest accounts. Booth merely had a bad landing.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q6IFEE_CM-I

No where does it mention this man's name. I would have loved to do some digging on him. Joe this was a great find. Thank you!

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09-01-2022, 05:39 PM
Post: #4
RE: 1930 recording of an eyewitness
Thanks, Roger. I have to dig out Good's book and see what he said.
GustD45 - you're welcome and if you don't have Timothy Good's book, it's fantastic.

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09-02-2022, 04:33 AM
Post: #5
RE: 1930 recording of an eyewitness
just one picky point from me ... did the man see Booth escape through an alley? Thats how it sounds .

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09-02-2022, 05:01 AM
Post: #6
RE: 1930 recording of an eyewitness
(09-02-2022 04:33 AM)AussieMick Wrote:  just one picky point from me ... did the man see Booth escape through an alley? Thats how it sounds .

He says that's how Booth escaped, but I don't hear him saying he literally saw Booth in the alley. Remember this account came in 1930, 65 years after the assassination. I think many of the later accounts from the eyewitnesses were actually a combination of what they saw and what they had read in the years after 1865. My guess is that Mr. Willis was an eyewitness to JWB running off the stage but added the part about the alley because he read or heard about Baptist Alley in the time after the assassination. It's also possible that Mr. Willis knew firsthand about the alley because he had used the "outhouses" located there during an intermission in the play. Ford's Theatre had no indoor restrooms at that time.
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09-02-2022, 05:34 PM
Post: #7
RE: 1930 recording of an eyewitness
I concur with Roger, above, and second Joe's commendation of Tim Good's book.
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09-07-2022, 03:28 PM
Post: #8
RE: 1930 recording of an eyewitness
I'm going to have to find Tim Good's book then since both Tom AND Joe recommend it.

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09-08-2022, 06:56 AM
Post: #9
RE: 1930 recording of an eyewitness
That truly is an amazing bit of film. I wonder if he was vetted someway back then to authenticate his account. That clip should be featured in Ford’s Theater. Another thing, how old was he at the assassination? Or when the film was made?

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09-08-2022, 08:11 AM
Post: #10
RE: 1930 recording of an eyewitness
(09-08-2022 06:56 AM)LincolnMan Wrote:  That truly is an amazing bit of film. I wonder if he was vetted someway back then to authenticate his account. That clip should be featured in Ford’s Theater. Another thing, how old was he at the assassination? Or when the film was made?

Bill, according to Tim Good's book Willis was 86 when he gave his account in 1930. He said he was 18 at the time of the assassination. But if my math be correct he would have been 21 in 1865. (Or he was actually 83 in 1930.)
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09-16-2022, 04:14 PM
Post: #11
RE: 1930 recording of an eyewitness
Such a good point! Some recollections of what happened inside the theater seem to have changed in just the minutes after based on what they heard from people up above or down below - such as people who first thought they heard Booth saying one thing, then later believed they had heard something different - so can only imagine (even with the purest of intentions) much would be 'filled in' from outside sources over 6 decades that could seem like genuine personal memory.

(09-02-2022 05:01 AM)RJNorton Wrote:  
(09-02-2022 04:33 AM)AussieMick Wrote:  just one picky point from me ... did the man see Booth escape through an alley? Thats how it sounds .

He says that's how Booth escaped, but I don't hear him saying he literally saw Booth in the alley. Remember this account came in 1930, 65 years after the assassination. I think many of the later accounts from the eyewitnesses were actually a combination of what they saw and what they had read in the years after 1865. My guess is that Mr. Willis was an eyewitness to JWB running off the stage but added the part about the alley because he read or heard about Baptist Alley in the time after the assassination. It's also possible that Mr. Willis knew firsthand about the alley because he had used the "outhouses" located there during an intermission in the play. Ford's Theatre had no indoor restrooms at that time.
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09-17-2022, 08:30 PM
Post: #12
RE: 1930 recording of an eyewitness
More on this topic. Reading here I remembered Gene posted a thread last year "Witness To Lincoln's Assassination-Filmed in 1930."
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