Junius Brutus Booth, Father of an Assassin

Junius Brutus Booth, Father of an Assassin


Junius Brutus Booth was the father of John Wilkes Booth, Lincoln's assassin.

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Junius Brutus Booth's Ship Passenger List Entry

Junius Brutus Booth was born in 1796 in London, England, the son of Richard Booth and Jane Elizabeth Game and named for Marcus Junius Brutus, the assassin of Julius Caesar (could that have possibly been his real name, or is it a stage name?). He immigrated to America in 1821 with his "wife", Mary Ann Holmes - unfortunately for his real wife, Adelaide, and their young son, Richard. The ship passenger list for the Two Brothers, captained by Charles Webber, which arrived at Norfolk, VA, on 30 June 1821 shows Junius Brutus Booth, age 25, theater performer from England, and Mary Ann Booth, age 20, also from England. He left behind a career as a prominent actor to start a 30 year career acting in Baltimore, New York, Boston and New Orleans, where he performed in French. They bought a farm house near Bel Air, MD, which he remodeled and named "Tudor Hall". It was in this capacity that Edmund Spangler, carpenter and accomplice in the Lincoln assassination, became more familiar with the Booth family. Junius returned to England twice to make tours.

By most accounts, Junius was quite a character, even when he wasn't drunk. A Shakespearian actor, he was at various times a theater manager and father. One of his children, by Mary Ann, was John Wilkes Booth who, with his brothers and sisters, learned long passages of poetry and plays as children of a theatrical family. Young Wilkes was named for a relative of his paternal grandmother, the radical politician John Wilkes. Junius died in 1852 as he was returning to Baltimore from California via New Orleans with his son Edwin, also an actor.

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