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Author Topic: The Diary of Horatio Nelson Taft  (Read 1668 times)
Linda Anderson
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« on: March 27, 2012, 09:04:49 PM »

Horatio Nelson Taft was the father of Dr. Charles Taft who was lifted into Lincoln's box right after the assassination.  He was also the father of Bud and Holly Taft who were close friends of Tad and Willie Lincoln. His daughter, Julia Taft Bayne, wrote Tad Lincoln's Father.

From the Library of Congress:

"Early in the war, Horatio N. Taft worked as a patent examiner in the Government Patent Office. He and his wife Mary knew the Lincolns well. One of Taft's sons by his first wife, Dr. Charles Sabin Taft, was present at Fords' Theatre when the president was shot. He attended to Lincolns mortal injury and remained at his side until the president died. He later provided his father with a detailed account of the death scene, which is recorded in this diary."

Here's a link to the Diary homepage:  http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/tafthtml/tafthome.html

Go to Search by Keyword and enter "Booth."  The account of the assassination can be found at Item 4, April 30, 1865.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2012, 12:35:29 PM by Linda Anderson » Logged
Roger Norton
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« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2012, 03:37:06 AM »

Hi Linda. I own a 1931 edition of that book, and it contains some interesting observations and insights (both of the children and the adults) from the early part of Lincoln's presidency. For example Abraham Lincoln had a "pet name" for Julia - he called her "flibbertigibbet."

Julia enjoyed many of the games the boys played in the White House and was often a playmate with them.  One day the boys were having a circus and, for his role, Willie was having trouble putting on one of Mary Lincoln's dresses. Julia helped pin it up so he could manage it, and then she straightened Willie's bonnet.

In truth, Julia was very surprised at what was going on, and she asked the boys, "Does the president know about this?"

Tad said, "Yep. Pa knows and he don't care neither."
« Last Edit: March 28, 2012, 06:44:24 AM by Roger Norton » Logged
Linda Anderson
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« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2012, 09:56:44 AM »

Thanks, Betty!

Roger, that sounds exactly like something Lincoln would say. I had never heard of Julia's book until I found her father's diary and I was happy to find that my library has a copy. It's great reading firsthand accounts of history.
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Linda Anderson
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« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2012, 12:43:17 PM »

Thanks, Herb, for letting us know where Lyons is located.

This part in particular really brings home to me what Mary Lincoln went through. 

"When the shot was fired Mrs Lincoln was sitting near her husband with her hand on his knee. She says she saw the flash and heard the report of the pistol, thinking it was in some way connected with the the Play. She leaned forward to see what it was, and then looked to Mr Lincoln to see where he was looking.
She was not alarmed at this, he sometimes held his head in that way when in deep thought, but she put her hand on his forehead and he not stirring she put it on the back
of his head and feeling it wet she immediately withdrew it covered with blood. She then screamed and that is the last she remembered that took place in the Theatre. She says, as she put her hand on his head she recollects that something suddenly brushed past her and rubbing off her Shawl. It was Booth as he jumped from the Box."
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BoothBuff
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« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2012, 03:46:06 PM »

     I've never heard Booth brushed her shawl off, either. Very interesting.  Somewhere I remember hearing upon seeing a man in black fall from the box, she initially thought Lincoln had fallen out. Sounds like she had a few of those micro second thoughts that happen during a traumatic event. 
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Randal
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« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2012, 03:55:45 PM »

Sorta like Jackie Kennedy trying to put pieces of John's brains back in while in the car, reactionary behavior
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Roger Norton
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« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2012, 03:58:07 PM »

Just like I have tried to compile a list of all men who either assisted, claimed to have assisted, or were given credit for helping to carry the mortally wounded president to the Petersen House, I have also tried to do the same with the doctors who were there at some point during the night.  This is what I have.  If anyone has additional names/corrections/deletions could you please let me know. Thank you!

Dr. Charles Augustus Leale, Dr. Charles Sabin Taft, Dr. Robert King Stone, Dr. Albert Freeman Africanus King, Dr. Ezra W. Abbott, Dr. George B. Todd, Dr. James Crodhill Hall, Dr. Charles Henry Liebermann, Dr. Charles Mason Ford, Dr. William Henry Ford, Dr. Ashbel Woodward, Dr. Charles D. Gatch, Dr. Joseph K. Barnes, Dr. Charles Henry Crane, Dr. William M. Notson, Surgeon Willard Bliss, Dr. Frederick May, Dr. Edward George Curtis, and Dr. Lyman Beecher Todd.
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BoothBuff
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« Reply #7 on: March 28, 2012, 03:59:59 PM »

     Yes - I was shocked when I first learned that years ago. I initially thought she was scrambling to help Agent Clint Hill get in the car, but she was gathering what she could of the Presidents skull and brains. It's amazing what our reactions dictate. Look how fast Rathbone was on his feet.  
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Mr Hess
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« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2012, 05:17:29 AM »

Sadly, Agent Hill has been haunted for years about JFK getting shot while he couldnt get on the car to help quick enough.
Sounds like Major Rathbone Cry
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Linda Anderson
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« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2012, 05:54:05 AM »

I was just reading Henry and Clara last night.  Thomas Mallon has an interesting take on the Rathbone story. He does a good job of showing what could have led Henry to kill Clara and to try to kill himself years later.
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Randal
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« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2012, 06:01:22 AM »

Linda,
That is an excellent book. Mr. Mallon spoke several years ago at the Surratt conference.
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Linda Anderson
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« Reply #11 on: March 29, 2012, 06:18:05 AM »

Randal, I wish I had been there to hear Mr. Mallon's presentation. In fact, I would love to be able to read or, even better, to see the presentations given at the Conference over the years.

 
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Linda Anderson
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« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2012, 10:38:05 AM »

Thanks, Laurie.

I looked on YouTube and found the Lincoln Lectures by the National Archives on YouTube. They include Kate Larson onThe Assassin's Accomplice, Harold Holzer and Ed Steers onThe Lincoln Assassination Conspirators: Their Confinement and Execution, as Recorded in the Letterbook of John Frederick Hartranft  and Philip B. Kunhardt III on Looking for Lincoln: The Making of an American Icon .
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