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Author Topic: Booth's dying words  (Read 5233 times)
Randal
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« Reply #15 on: June 04, 2012, 04:42:09 PM »

Booth's "Last Word's" from Authors.

James Swanson
"Kill me, Kill me, Kill me"
"Did that man betray me?"
"Did Jett betray me?"
"My hands"
"Useless, usless"

Michael Kauffman
"Tell mother I die for my country"
"Kill me kill me"
a couple more of tell me, tell me
"useless, useless"

Francis Wilson
"water, water"
"Harder"
"Kill me, kill me"
"I care not to outlive my country"

Ed Steers
"Tell my mother I die for my country"

L.C. Baker
"Tell mother and die for my country"
"I thought I did for the best"
"Useless, usless"

Testimony from Everton Conger
"Tell mother I die for my country"
"Yes"
"harder"
"kill me, kill me"

Osborn Oldroyd
"Tell my mother I died for my country and"
"I did what I thought was best"
"Useless, useless"

Philip Van Doren Stern
"Turn me over"
"The pain is killing me"
"For God's sake, turn me back again. I'm choking to death. Is there blood in my throat Colonel?"
"Useless, usless"

We probably will never know the "real" words Booth said as he lay dying, but the concensus is, "useless, useless, and "tell mother..."
(what a great title for a book!)




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J Madonna
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« Reply #16 on: June 04, 2012, 04:52:57 PM »

Consnsus be damned. 'Useless, Useless' makes no sense.... Unless he was checking to see if his hands were clean enough for dinner.
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Randal
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« Reply #17 on: June 04, 2012, 05:29:20 PM »

It is plain as the nose on your face, that "useless, useless" Booth was refering to his paralyzed limbs. C'mon!
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J Madonna
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« Reply #18 on: June 04, 2012, 06:50:27 PM »

It is plain as the nose on your face, that "useless, useless" Booth was refering to his paralyzed limbs. C'mon!

Randal, You are shot, paralyzed and dying. You've just been lugged out out of burning building. You have no feeling in your extremities. So of course, the first thing you'd want to do is have someone put your hands in front of your face so that you could proclaim them useless. If that's how you think then I can't argue with you.

I have a friend that flipped over the handlebars of his bike and was temporarily paralyzed. As he laid there he worried about his wife and family, not himself. This to me is probably the reaction I would have.

People sometimes hear things incorrectly and after reflection try to piece together the scene in some sort of context. The assassination story is filled with these types of examples, the 'useless' comment is just another one.

I don't believe that Chester was lying about the ring. Booth would never have discarded it, so trying to get a last glimpse of it makes far better sense to me especially if ,as in my friends case, he was thinking about his loved ones - which Booth's message to his mother confirms.

I further believe the ring was returned to Lucy when she visited the Montaulk with her father before the autopsy.

So it comes down to either Chester was lying or Conger misinterpreted Booth's whisper. It could go either way but I have to buck the consensus crowd on this one.
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Jenny
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« Reply #19 on: June 04, 2012, 06:56:38 PM »

Quote
It is plain as the nose on your face, that "useless, useless" Booth was refering to his paralyzed limbs. C'mon!

This.
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Randal
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« Reply #20 on: June 04, 2012, 07:19:03 PM »

You must be having a bad, no, strike that, horrible day Jerry.
First, it was Laurie that was "jaded" and now me for posting what other authors had written and Conger's own words. Huh

That "was" the consensus of the "authors", not mine, however,my description of "useless, useless", stands.
The beauty of this is, I wasn't there to hear what Booth said, but even more beautiful is, you weren't either.
We can only go by was was testified to and written.
Also, it ("having your hands put in front of your face", wasn't the first thing that was done, it was the last).
 Wink
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jonathan
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« Reply #21 on: June 04, 2012, 07:32:23 PM »

Yeah, I've always felt that the "Useless, useless" was in reference to his arms/hands. It's actually pretty easy for me to see how he would say that in disgust as he realized the end was so near. Of course it can be argued all day that it meant something else or that he said something else. Over the course of the 12 days, he had seen that the assassination didn't have the result he hoped for. Maybe he was looking at the hands that did the deed and was lamenting that killing Lincoln ended up being useless. And maybe he did say "Lucy, Lucy". After all, it's true that in that kind of moment, a person's thoughts will go to loved ones and other things that are truly important. He thought of his mother, he thought of his country, why not Lucy? But if Lucy was that important to him, why did it take him so long to get to her? He was on that porch for how long (Seriously, I don't know. It was a good 2 or 3 hours I think?), and finally, at the very end, he whispers something about Lucy? He had final words for his mother, but none for this love of his life?

I'm all for alternate theories, but the "Lucy, Lucy" one, at least as it's laid out in the article linked earlier in this thread, is just a little much for me. I understand completely how someone could go down that road, but for me, it requires crossing a few too many bridges.
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Jim Page
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« Reply #22 on: June 04, 2012, 07:37:45 PM »

Well, I guess we can all agree that the last song Booth sang wasn't "Useless in the Sky With Diamonds!"

--Jim
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Randal
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« Reply #23 on: June 04, 2012, 07:38:49 PM »

Well, I guess we can all agree that the last song Booth sang wasn't "Useless in the Sky With Diamonds!"

--Jim

Yup! Wink
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Rob Wick
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« Reply #24 on: June 04, 2012, 08:20:55 PM »

Quote
Over the course of the 12 days, he had seen that the assassination didn't have the result he hoped for. Maybe he was looking at the hands that did the deed and was lamenting that killing Lincoln ended up being useless.

Excellent point, Jonathan. That makes a great deal of sense.

Best
Rob
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Jim Page
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« Reply #25 on: June 04, 2012, 08:25:17 PM »

Jonathan wrote:
>>Maybe he was looking at the hands that did the deed and was lamenting that killing Lincoln ended up being useless . . .

That's always been my take on Booth's last words.

--Jim
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Gene C
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« Reply #26 on: June 04, 2012, 08:44:21 PM »

I've got to agree with Jenny.  This "Lucy, Lucy" idea is a pretty weak story (except for Valentines Day)  The people there when Booth spoke his last words didn't seem to be confused between "Lucy" and "useless". 

Based upon the photos found on Booth, (and the other photos I've seen of her) I wouldn't be pining away over Lucy. She didn't take a very flatering photo.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2012, 08:58:59 PM by Gene C » Logged

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Roger Norton
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« Reply #27 on: June 05, 2012, 03:03:14 AM »

Randal, I noticed none of the authors you quoted said anything about Mexico. Has anyone ever read that Booth said something about having his fun spoiled in Mexico? Is there a legitimate source for it? Is that in the same category as the "body had red hair" story? I know that Booth making the "Mexico" statement to the soldiers made it into print, but very, very few sources carry it. Wonder where it came from.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2012, 04:02:04 AM by Roger Norton » Logged
Randal
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« Reply #28 on: June 05, 2012, 04:55:44 AM »

Roger, that was just a sampling from my library, and I have seen in print regarding Booth going to Mexico, but I can't remember who wrote it.
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J Madonna
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« Reply #29 on: June 05, 2012, 05:38:57 AM »

I've got to agree with Jenny.  This "Lucy, Lucy" idea is a pretty weak story (except for Valentines Day)  The people there when Booth spoke his last words didn't seem to be confused between "Lucy" and "useless". 

But had the people there known that he was engaged to Lucy Hale, they might have heard him a little differently.
Lamenting that killing Lincoln ended up being useless is possible, but thinking of Lincoln as you're dying rather than lamenting the love of your life seems a bit contrived.
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