Sunday, April 21, 2013

John Wilkes Booth's Grave

The unmarked grave of JW Booth with some Lincoln pennies on top (source).

John Wilkes was named after the English radical politician John Wilkes, a distant relative (Booth's uncle Algernon Booth is the great-great-great-grandfather of Cherie Blair, wife of former British PM Tony Blair). After the government released his remains to the Booth family in 1869, John Wilkes rests under a small unmarked stone at the corner of the family plot, dwarfed by the memorial obelisk at its center.
Gravesite of the Booth family at Baltimore’s Green Mount Cemetery where the famous actor Junius Brutus Booth and several other family members are buried (source).

Junius Brutus Booth (the father of John Wilkes) was named after the lead assassin of Julius Ceasar. He was born in London but ran off to America with a London flower girl (while married to a Belgium-Dutch wife) in 1821 to start a new family and career. They settled in Harford County near Baltimore and built a house named Tudor Hall which still survives.

Obelisk (source)

As a noted Shakespearean dramatist Booth helped popularize theatre in the United States. He also wrote a letter in a fit of drunken anger to president Andrew Jackson with the threat of assassination. He is the father of Edwin Booth, the foremost American Shakespearean actor of his day who founded The Players, a New York City actors' club which continues to the present day.

next episode: a brighter subject

3 comments:

  1. It's interesting to find distant genealogical connections and the stories of people who ran off from Europe to the US.

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  2. That name "Junius Brutus" is a very rare name. In my village recently died a man - 89 years old - having the name "Giunio Bruto" (=Junius Brutus). I was thinking that his father/family hated Rome. Instead it seems such a name had been used in Hebrew families - at least here - just not to use names having Christian saint in the calendar.

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  3. Thanks for including all the links in this post. It was interesting to learn more about Junius Brutus Booth and his theatrical family. What a scandal it must have been when his wife from London showed up at Tudor Hall in 1847 when she learned he had a wife and family in America. The Wiki article stated she was required to live in Maryland for three years and then she divorced Junius. During that three year period, she made life miserable for his partner Mary Ann and their ten children.

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