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Author Topic: Civil War News - Gourlay Article  (Read 1662 times)
Barry Doohan
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« on: May 24, 2012, 10:22:31 AM »

As an fyi, an interesting article regarding the Gourlay family and their presence at Ford's Theatre is the lead in the June 2012 Civil War News. While much of the basic information has been discussed on these pages, I think it's worth a read and can be accessed at
www.civilwarnews.com.

In another article, the 2012 National Conference of the Society of Civil War Surgeons was hald in Columbus, GA. They referenced a tour of the Port Columbus National Civil War Museum and a recreated autopsy of John Wilkes Booth. A photo from their website is posted below. I can't tell whether the Booth Autopsy is a museum program or was setup by the Society for their conference.



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rich smyth
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« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2012, 11:47:56 AM »

Hello Barry,
I cannot read the article without subscribing but I can tell you that I have talked to Thomas Gourlay. He is the great-grandson of Thomas Cameron Gourlay, former stage manager at Fords. His grandfather Thomas P. Gourlay was Jeannie Gourlay's younger brother and also in the audience when Lincoln was shot. When he was a child at family gatherings on Long Island or Brooklyn, there would be a great deal of discussion about the assassination and the flag. Unfortunately, Thomas does not know too much about the family. His older brother who died a few years ago had done extensive research but it is unknown where any of the material is now. I have been looking for the grave of Margaret "Maggie" Gourlay Shielz for a number of years. Maggie played the part of a maid in Our American Cousin. I think she was "Skillet". I had information that she died of abdominal disease in Lumberland, New York on October 2nd, 1868…two weeks after giving birth to son William Gourlay Shielz. Lumberland has no death records but that was not uncommon back then. Burials and births could have been recorded in the church they were attending. Thomas Gourlay remembered that Maggie died of burns received while cooking when her dress caught fire.
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Randal
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« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2012, 11:50:53 AM »

Rich,
I could read it without subsribing, hmmm.
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rich smyth
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« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2012, 12:52:30 PM »

Barry, you are correct. I went back to the article. I was trying to open the link by clicking on the photo of the newspaper article instead of the story link below it.
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rich smyth
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« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2012, 12:59:17 PM »

Herb, I am a believer. Rathbones blood would have been splattered onto the flag. Tests have confirmed that the stains are contact stains. The Gourlays did not look to profit in any way from the relic, instead kept it in the family and finally donated it. I am not convinced that either Thomas C. Gourlay or the flag travelled with Lincoln across the street. There is no testimony that he was present or a blood stained flag was removed from under Lincoln's head when he was placed into the bed. Of course there was no mention of the 4 PA soldiers who probably assissted in carrying the President either. I think Gourlay may have remained in the theater and took the flag home with him that night.
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Dave Taylor
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« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2012, 03:56:02 PM »

Here's a picture of Maggie Gourlay:


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Tom
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« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2012, 06:40:39 PM »

Even though that photo has the HTC link and attribution, I've got to say I think that's Jeannie, not Maggie. Maggie never grew to that age. I've attached two pics of Maggie, also from HTC (so are only of xerox quality and can't be recopied).


By tombogar at 2012-05-24



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Randal
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« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2012, 07:05:47 PM »

Tom,
Any idea when "Walking Shadows" will be out?

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Tom
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« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2012, 07:38:23 PM »

I'm working on (hopefully) the last chapter this month, chapter 22. It's the epilogue for the managers and stage crew, updating each one to his/her death. (The actors are done.) But then starts the search for a strong, effective agent.
Laurie, I'm hoping you might have some time in the next few months (I know summer is the busiest season for you) to review the manuscript for glaring errors. I'll be in touch.
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Dave Taylor
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« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2012, 07:38:56 PM »

And while I definitely respect your expertise in the matter Tom, I really think the second picture you posted is a dead match for the one I posted.



The nose and eyes seem very similar to me.

Here's Jeannie for comparison, too:

Jeannie Gourlay
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Tom
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« Reply #10 on: May 24, 2012, 08:13:15 PM »

You definitely might be onto something, Dave. It's things like this that make this all fun. I have to admit, the Harvard Theatre Collection folks rarely mis-identify photos. And women did look older than their years back then. Even though Maggie's headstone reads 1848-1868, one of her obits gives her a birth date of July 21, 1847, and Jeannie said Maggie was born July 15, 1846. So, she could have been as old as 22 when she died Oct. 2, 1868, and the photo could have been taken close to then, although it would have to have been more than nine months before, since she doesn't look at all pregnant (not than any woman back then would have allowed herself to be photographed in that condition). My other pictures of a young Jeannie have a different shape of chin, and I was going primarily on Maggie's beveled/pointier chin and squared-off cheeks. Oh well, back to the drawing board, and probably another trip back to Harvard. To be continued . . . .

Tom
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Randal
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« Reply #11 on: May 24, 2012, 08:21:49 PM »

I sent an email to Richard Sloan about this, as he has been researching the Gourlay family for many years I believe. Maybe he'll chime in.
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rich smyth
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« Reply #12 on: May 25, 2012, 04:51:30 AM »

I believe the picture that Dave posted is Maggie. The Pike County Historical Society has a copy with her name attached. Gourlay relatives (Jeannie's) daughters and son) have visited as late as the 1970's. They are all dead now. Vivian (son),lived only a 10 minute walk from the society. I would hope that if the picture is not correct one of them would have pointed it out.
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Randal
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« Reply #13 on: May 25, 2012, 05:00:47 AM »

Good "eye" Dave!
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Gene C
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« Reply #14 on: May 25, 2012, 08:07:59 AM »

Did they recycle fashion styles every few years back then like they do today?
My wife says she doesn't want to get rid of any of her old clothes, since the fashion and colors will come back in style.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2012, 08:15:46 AM by Gene C » Logged

The more you know, the more you think the less you know, because you know that you don't know.  The less you know the more you think the more you know, because you don't know that you don't know. 
 (Not bad for an old dog)
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