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Author Topic: Lewis Powell's Skull  (Read 9876 times)
Dan
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« on: October 16, 2010, 08:32:44 AM »

I Just finished listening to "An Awesome Talk with" Betty Ownsbey. fascinating. Was there any reason given as to why the undertaker liberated Powell's  head from the rest of his body and it was placed in the Army medical museum? Laurie, you can attest to the condition of his teeth. The best line was" He (Powell) didn't need a knife, he could have just walked in and breathed on him" (Seward). He's described as a goodlooking man, but I'm wondering what Ms. Branson thought when Lewis would flash his smile Huh  Was the Army Medical Museum studying his "Twin Teeth"?   
 
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Bronte
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« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2010, 09:40:12 AM »

I thought that one of the items that was found on Powell was a tooth brush.If that be the case he must have not known how to use it.What do you mean by "Twin teeth"?
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Dan
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« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2010, 01:09:05 PM »

I'm not 100% sure what twin teeth are, what  I've been to  discern is that it is a condition where two teeth errupt where there only should be one. From the podcast it sounded as though Lewis had some nasty teeth.
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JohnE
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« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2010, 02:49:21 PM »

Yes, nasty teeth indeed.  2 teeth growing in where one should be.  Decay, rot, you name it. 

John E.
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Randal
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« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2010, 09:04:39 PM »

I thought Powell's head spent some time at Ford's?, before the Smithsonian?
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"It was a walking graveyard"
Dan
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« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2010, 07:30:03 AM »

Thank you Laurie! The undertaker taking poor Powell's skull for his collection is a little spooky in itself. I really enjoyed the podcast. Being able to witness and see a part of history, poor Powell's skull, must have been something.
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Dan
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« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2010, 10:03:34 AM »

add the chewing tobacco to that mix.... not many pearly whites amongst the soilders.
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Bronte
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« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2010, 11:32:37 AM »

Why wasn't the bodies released to their families as soon as they were cut down instead of waiting soo long? why was it so important that each of them be buried on the prison grounds? its not like they were going to get up and walk off.
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leaycraft
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« Reply #8 on: October 17, 2010, 12:06:46 PM »

Bronte:  It is not uncommon for executed criminal to be buried in unmarked graves.  Until at least as long as executions lasted in Britain ALL executed prisoners were buries in  "unmarked" graves within the prison.  It also prevented the collecting of relics.  If you want more info on the handling of executed criminals then and now drop me an email so we dont tie up bw here.
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Dan
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« Reply #9 on: October 17, 2010, 12:29:33 PM »

Good question Bronte..  and the response makes sense as well. But does being an excecuted criminal, are your remains are fair game? The undertaker deciding to remove the skull from the rest of the remains seems a bit odd.
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leaycraft
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« Reply #10 on: October 17, 2010, 12:35:45 PM »

Its not fair game- but grave robbing is a well established and old profession.  The remains would have been in poor shape, not being embalmed and in somewhat damp ground.  Exhumation requires care not just digging up as many of the smaller bones get lost.  In historical perspective, when Charles I grave was being refurbished a physician stole the neck vertebrae severed by the axe and used it as a salt cellar; Queen Victoria found out and had it returned to the grave. 
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Houmes
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« Reply #11 on: October 17, 2010, 05:09:21 PM »

Grave robbing can be a matter of interpretation.  One of the pioneer physicians (Dr. Henry Wheeler) in Grand Forks,  North Dakota, happened to be in Northfield, Minnesota, on September 7, 1876, when the Jesse James-Cole Younger gang attempted to rob the bank.  Didn't work; they only got $26.70 and out of 8 gang members, all were killed or captured except for Jesse and his brother, Frank James.  At that time Dr. Wheeler was a medical student, and coincidentally needed a cadaver for anatomy class.  He confiscated the body of the gang member he shot and sent it in a barrel of whiskey to his school in Chicago.  After the class was over, he boiled down what was left of the dissected body and kept the skeleton for years, even when he returned to practice in Grand Forks.  The robber's family was none too impressed, but were never able to obtain the skeleton for a proper burial.  It was ultimately consumed in a major fire that wiped out a good part of the downtown, years later.
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rich smyth
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« Reply #12 on: October 17, 2010, 05:43:10 PM »

The day two of John Brown's raiders were hung, students from the medical college in Winchester, Virginia (now West Virginia) took the train into town to await  their goal...return to the school with bodies to use in class. They were sucessfull. The next day the bodies had been dug up from the graves beneath the gallows, packed in barrells and shipped south.
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Dave Taylor
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« Reply #13 on: October 17, 2010, 08:11:38 PM »

Laurie, could you post a picture of Powell's skull?  I have a picture (courtesy of Steve Miller, I believe) of Mr. Kauffman holding the skull, but I'd love to see an image of skull straight on if you have one.
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Randal
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« Reply #14 on: October 17, 2010, 09:08:42 PM »

If I remember correctly, Powell's skull and Booth's C4 or C5 vertebrae also resided at Ford's for awhile, making two of the conspirators to return to the scene of the crime. AFTER the deed. Somewhat spooky,
"they always return to the scene of the crime"  Roll Eyes
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