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Author Topic: Booth's layovers  (Read 7459 times)
Dave Taylor
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« on: January 03, 2011, 10:37:36 PM »

I was talking to Randal the other day and we talked about things like Booth's stay at Mudd's which already has been subject of debate here.  One thing that I thought about after, was why Booth took such long breaks at different places along the escape route.  First he was at Dr. Mudd's for over half a day.  Later, after failing to cross the Potomac, he stayed at John J. Hughes Indiantown residence for a day and a half.  And finally, his stay at Garrett's didn't seem to have an end in sight until the cavalry spooked him.  While the stay at Dr. Mudd's might have been so that his leg had time to heal, I don't understand why he took such long breaks after that.  I mean he was in the pine thicket for so long, you'd think he'd want to keep moving as far as he could after that.  I'd love to hear what other forum members think about his extended stops.
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Randal
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« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2011, 05:25:28 PM »

I don't buy the old song and dance I have seen other people write about Booth leaving at dusk, nightime,to avoid detection etc. Never did. He left at 4 p.m. that day, the sun was still out. I think Steer's and Swanson mention that in their books. (that they left in darkness to avoid detection). I think the sun set at 5:17 p.m. that day, I'll have to look back at my article I wrote about it the Courier. I gleamed that information from the Historical Weather Site of Maryland. Hang on, and I'll find my papers.
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rich smyth
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« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2011, 05:47:42 PM »

This concerns a Booth layover, not on the escape, but on his last trip to Canada. After he left his brother's house in New York City, he had an unexplained 24 hour stop in Newburgh, NY...about an hours drive (today) from NYC. Any thoughts on what may have caused him to stop there?
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« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2011, 07:11:48 PM »

Most of what has been written about, when the fugitives left Mudd's, is fixed at 4:00 p.m.
Daylight Savings Time wasn't established until 1918, if my memory is correct, so that won't play into that.

I never understood the logic either of why the fugitives would leave out at daylight either, and on the other hand, I never understood why the fugitives would go to Mudd's anyway, broken leg or not. You are aware of my opinion on this, so I'm not really trying to argue with you, just sayin'  Smiley
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Dave Taylor
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« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2011, 08:43:25 PM »

I was under the impression that the pair left Mudd's between 4:00 pm and dusk.  Electus Thomas, Henry Mudd's slave, made a statement talking about seeing Herold as he made his way towards, and then hurriedly back from the direction of Bryantown.  He himself stated that he did not believe that Herold had time to reach Bryantown due to how soon after he came up the road back towards Beantown.  Electus said that he saw the man do this "between 3:00 and 4:00 o'clock.  He then goes on to say that Herold approached him later "about dusk".  Herold approached him on foot because he and Booth had gotten lost in the swamp and they needed to get their bearings.  In the footnotes for his statement in The Evidence, Steers says, "Booth and Herold left the safety of Dr. Samuel Mudd's house at dusk (civilian twilight ended at 7:12 p.m.) on Saturday, April 15.  

Looking it up, the process seems to go sunset (when the top part of the sun sinks under the horizon) to twilight (where the atmosphere, still receiving direct light from the sun, reflects the light down on the earth) to dusk (when the sun no longer illuminates the atmosphere enough to provide adequate lighting).  Dusk is more of a colloquial term, however.  So sunset on April 15th, 1865 in Waldorf, MD was at 6:44 pm according to the U.S. Naval Observatory .   Twilight ended as Steers correctly states at 7:12 pm.  So this gives us a span of time between 6:44 and 7:12 where Herold conversed with Electus Thomas.  I've attached a photo of the distance between Dr. Samuel Mudd's farm (blue) and his father's (red).  From here we'd have to make assumptions on how long the pair was lost in the swamp and then we may get closer to a departure time.  

My personal feeling is that Booth and Herold were probably held up by the swamp for an hour before seeking help.  This would put their departure from Dr. Mudd's around 5:45ish.  What do you all think?  
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Randal
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« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2011, 08:59:59 PM »

Ok, NOW, you got me started!

I am so SICK of EVERYONE pulling the old "prevarications quote" outta the top hat, from Mudd's LAWYER, , who stated that WAY later,.. after Mudd's death I believe, (so Mudd couldn't refute it), when HE, (Mudd's Attorney, Frederick Stone,) guaranteed the payment for the boat to be used in the abduction plot, HIMSELF! Stone lost all credibility when he made that statement. And I believe, since he made that statement years later, was posturing, yet in reality, he was representing a man at the time, when his (Mudd's) life was on the line, when in FACT, I suspect he knew about the abduction plot, probably not at the time he guaranteed payment for the Smoot boat and guaranteed John Surratt's "promise of payment" but he surely learned of it during the trial, and yet he still made that assinine "prevarication' statement, after, when all was said and done. As I said, he was posturing, for political gain, LONG after the trail. That's my story, and I'm sticking like a fly on a fly-trap.

BOTTOM LINE, Stone SECURED SURRATT'S payment for the Smoot boat, how could he have not known what it was to be used for? If not BEFORE the assassination, then surely DURING/AFTER. He HAD to make that statement about Mudd, because of the outcome of the trial. I can guarantee anybody, IF Mudd had been found NOT GUILTY, he would had never made that statement, as he would have been a "person of interest" as well, before the trial. This is a perfect example of the Pot calling the Kettle black.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2011, 05:59:36 PM by Randal » Logged

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Dave Taylor
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« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2011, 11:30:18 AM »

Using the legend, the distance between my markers is about 3500 ft or .6 of a mile, as the crow flies.  

And while I agree that the pair may have been trying to throw Mudd off, to me that doesn't explain why Herold would approach Electus Thomas and ask for directions.  From Thomas' statement it seems to me that Herold was genuinely lost.  He asked what direction the sun rose and set.  And he actually asked Thomas if they were close to Dr. Samuel Mudd's.  

I think they were trying to make their way through the swamp so they could swing west around Bryantown.  But the swamp proved too much for them and their horses, so they retreated back to more solid ground.  Herold was probably quite disappointed to hear how little far south they had traveled in this attempt.  
« Last Edit: January 05, 2011, 04:00:30 PM by Dave Taylor » Logged
historynut1123
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« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2011, 10:34:15 AM »

Laurie,

Silly question but do you know of anyone who has ever gone to look for the remains of the horses in Zekiah Swamp?

It's something I have wondered about, because it was said on here once that it can't be proven that the horses were shot, it was hearsay, that they may have been let go to wander free.

Also do you have any good links to photos of the swamp today? Someday I want to make it to your area and see everything, until then, I keep searching online for pictures! I found one that was by Google, and the info said people could trail-hike through the area. It didn't appear as foreboding as you described, but it was taken on a sunny day in a clearing.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2011, 10:39:42 AM by historynut1123 » Logged

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Dave Taylor
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« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2011, 11:33:18 AM »

So you're telling me not to pack my waders when I come in March, Laurie?
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Conspirator9
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« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2011, 12:01:10 PM »

Julie there are some artciles from the Courier that a friend of mine wrote about alternate fates of the two horses.  If you want I can try and track them down, it's rather interesting (to me anyway I used to ride all the time).
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Dave Taylor
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« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2011, 04:45:23 PM »

Laurie,

I looked at Electus Thomas' statement again and can officially say that I am now back to, I am unsure what Herold was trying to accomplish with him.  You had asked me who approached who, and Electus does make it clear that Herold approached him.  I took this to mean that Heorld and Booth were lost and that's why he asked this servant for directions.  And, to be honest, most of their conversation supports this belief i.e. "I am lost...Which way does the sun rise and set?...Is Dr. Mudd's near here?"  However, Herold also throws in a couple of things which confuse the heck out of me.  Namely, "Could I stay here, tonight", "Where is the swamp?", and "Would you like to go to Bryantown with me?"

There are many different way to interpret his last few statments in the context of the whole conversation, which brought me back to, "I have no idea about the whole bloody thing".
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historynut1123
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« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2011, 05:07:45 PM »

Dave,

I remember reading the passage in AB about that conversation and it just sounded like desperation to me. They were lost, and Davey was realizing the fun adventure was over, with no shelter, no support, and nowhere to go. Booth was probably in the swamp having a conniption and expecting Davey to guide his way, since Booth being a sophisticated city boy actor knew nothing about travel in the wilderness. When you really think about it it is amazing to think they traveled as far as they did in less than 2 weeks, considering the long layovers that JWB took.

Laurie I didn't realize the Zekiah was that large. Picturing a "swamp" I imagine a small, marshy area adjacent to a lake or river, like we have here in WI.  Before getting in to the assassination story, I also pictured Maryland as nothing but cities, suburbs and miitary bases! Your counties must be smaller in square miles than ours are.

Lindsey, I'd love to see the text of the article if you can find it.
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"But hark! The doorbell rings and Mr.J.W. Booth is announced. And listen to the scamperings. Such brushing and fixing."-letter of John Surratt, observing sister Anna
Randal
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« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2011, 08:02:27 AM »

Julie there are some artciles from the Courier that a friend of mine wrote about alternate fates of the two horses.  If you want I can try and track them down, it's rather interesting (to me anyway I used to ride all the time).

I suspect this is what Lindsey was referring to:

Horse Faking

 

 

In the Conan Doyle novel, “Silver Blaze”, while explaining to Dr. Watson how a well known and very valuable racehorse that he has recently recovered could be successfully hidden for such a period of time, Sherlock Holmes says of the thief, “Oh, an old horse-faker like him has many a dodge.”

 

And later, having informed the horse’s owner, Colonel Ross, that he is indeed standing in the presence of his horse, Ross cries, “That is not my horse!  That beast has not a white hair upon its body!” 

 

Later still, after Ross’s horse, Silver Blaze, wins the stakes, Holmes says, “Let us all go round and have a look at the horse together.”  And then, “Here he is.  You have only to wash his face and his leg in spirits of wine, and you will find that he is the same old Silver Blaze as ever.”

 

 “Mr. Holmes, you take my breath away!” the Colonel exclaims.

 

 “I found him in the hands of a faker and took the liberty of running him just as he was sent over.”

 

Horse faking.  The subtle art of altering the appearance of a horse, whether for good or evil, is a practice that is as ancient as the horse itself.  Stories of thieves altering a horse’s appearance abound in the literature of antiquity and are the topic of modern day newspaper headlines.

 

For example, in March of 2003, a Florida stable was raided by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Department and found to contain stolen and altered show horses, one of which was valued at over $100,000.  One horse, a well-known 16 hand Oldenburg, was disguised in an effort to prevent it from being recognized.  A large white blaze running from its forehead and down its muzzle, and a large, star shaped scar on its shoulder had been sprayed with brown Rustoleum.  Another animal’s legs and hooves had been painted.  The thief, a Chicago veterinarian, was arrested and charged with grand larceny.  These horses had been missing since October of 2002.

 

My friend, William Richter, of Tucson, Arizona, who is a skilled farrier [one who shoes and otherwise tends to horses feet / hooves] and knowledgeable horseman, as well as being a member of the Surratt Society, tells me that not only are there methods by which physical appearance may be altered, but there are ways to change the conformation [stance & movement or gait] of the horse by various means which render the animal temporarily sound or temporarily lame.

 

All of the forgoing is by way of introduction to a theory regarding the horses that were ridden by John Wilkes Booth and David Herold from Washington City the night of April 14, 1865.

 

The “accepted” version of history as regards the fate of the bay mare and the roan gelding which carried Booth and Herold out of the City that eventful night is as follows:

 

While giving them instructions relative to their safety prior to crossing into Virginia, Thomas Jones cautioned Booth and Herold that they would not be allowed to have a fire at their place of hiding, to be patient and stay quiet, and that their horses would have to be disposed of due to the risk they posed were they to be seen or heard.  Then, depending on which version you believe, either David Herold, Thomas Jones, or Frank Robey led the horses deep into the Zechiah Swamp, shot them, and sunk the carcasses into the mire.

 

I would respectfully take several issues with this view:

 

* If a fire and the nickering of horses would attract unwanted attention, then surely two gunshots would do the same.  Especially if the reports came from a .52 caliber Spencer.

 

* Is the Zechiah Swamp of a nature that it would contain such deep mires and quick sand bogs of the kind as would be capable of sinking two 1500 pound animals out of sight?  I have seen no evidence to suggest that the Zechiah is such a swamp.

 

* The idea that men of that time, who understood horses, would destroy such valuable animals is absurd, especially when there were other means of making those horses “disappear” rather than to have them put down.   

 

* James Owens gives a firsthand account of two men riding into Newport and describes not only the men, but the horses ridden by them. The description of the horses given by Owens is an exact description of the horses ridden from Washington City by Booth and Herold.  For those of you who have not read the Owens statement, or are otherwise not aware of it, he was giving a description of two men and their horses as they appeared in Newport after the time that the animals in question were supposed to have been destroyed.

 

Here is what I believe, based in part on my reading of the Owens statement:



* Booth and Herold leave their hiding place in the pine thicket near Rich Hill, and are led to Newport, a distance of seven miles, by seventeen year old Samuel Cox, Jr.  In his statement to Colonel Wells, Owens mentions the two men riding into Newport on Thursday night [April 20] “It was pretty late, nearly supper time, when two men came there on horseback, accompanied by a white boy….”

 

* Booth and Herold are hidden for about twenty-four hours in a pine thicket near the Adams Tavern, and according to Owens, they take meals at the tavern. “They stayed in the pines near the house until next evening, which was Friday night [April 21] and were at the house on and off at different times; they did not lodge at Mr. Adams’, but only got meals there.”

 

* Booth and Herold leave Newport after dark the day after arriving [April 21].  Says Owens, “They left in the evening after dark, and went towards Pope’s Creek where Thomas Jones lives.”

 

* Owens states further, “Their horses came back this way [to Newport] in charge of the boy.  If I were to try to find them [the horses] I would inquire of the people who saw them……”

 

* The horses are then stabled at Adams’s, at least for the time being.  Both animals are faked, or altered with dye to cover or otherwise disguise any distinguishing marks, such as the star on the bay mare’s forehead, or to darken the roan gelding’s light colored coat; their hooves are painted; their teeth are filed, and they are led to another location to await the conclusion of events in hiding.  Or, they may have remained stabled at Adams’.

 

Recently, I was told that James O. Hall believed those two horses lived a good, long life.

 

I see absolutely no reason to disagree.

 

 

~ Rick Smith

   April 2008

   Spencerville, MD

 

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Richard Petersen
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« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2011, 09:58:05 AM »

Ms Verge,
I have a question regarding your post on January 04, 2011, 08:28:04
In your last paragraph you mention " As for their stay at Garrett's, I still favor the theory that Mosby's men were involved...."

I know this is off the topic of "Booth's layovers" but it is new to me that maybe Mosby was involved in the escape plan.

Any comments would be appreciated.
Thank You.
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Randal
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« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2011, 11:42:19 AM »

Here is another article by forum member Rick Smith on the Owen's Statement.

The Owens Statement

 

After the assassination of President Lincoln, Colonel Henry H. Wells, Provost Marshall for the Military District of Washington, was appointed to find information that would lead to the arrest of the President’s killer. In the course of his investigation, Wells set up a temporary headquarters at the Bryantown Hotel, where he would “interview” those who had been arrested by his officers for questioning in the matter. To give the reader some small insight into Wells’ methods, one of those arrested and questioned was Thomas Jones, who said that Wells was, “The blood thirstiest man I ever saw.”

 

On April 22, Wells had already squeezed John Lloyd, who had directed Wells’ attention to Austin L. Adams, a tavern keeper at Newport, Maryland. Adams, his wife Adeline, and an employee, James Owens, were quickly arrested and brought to Bryantown for a little chat with Colonel Wells. Owens was a farm laborer and a fisherman who also worked at Adams Tavern. James Owens’ “statement” to Colonel Wells, which follows, is worth reading more than once.

 

Bryantown, Md. April 28, 1865, James Owens, farm hand, living with Mr. Austin L. Adams, who keeps a sort of tavern at Newport, Md. States:

 

About two weeks ago, it was on a Thursday night, I was at home; it was pretty late, nearly supper time, when two men came there on horseback, accompanied by a white boy, they got off their horses, and the boy too them and went away.  One of the horses was a roan, or iron gray, and the other was a light bay with a small star on the forehead. One of these men was lame and carried a crutch; he wore a cloth slipper on his right foot, and carried the crutch under his right arm. He had on a close-bodied coat and wore a shawl; he was a stouter man than the other, who was a small man, I think that he had very light whickers; he wore two coats and a soft, black, low-crowned hat with a narrow brim. They came to our place and Mrs. Adams was there but Mr. Adams was away, he came home about half an hour after they came; I was not at the house when they came, but was at work, and left them talking with Mr. and Mrs. Adams. I heard the big man who was lame ask if there were any Yankees or soldiers around there; and Mr. Adams told him there had been none for two or three months. Mr. Adams’ place is at Newport, about six miles from the Potomac.  That was all I heard them say. Mrs. Adams told them they could not stay there, but that she would give them something to eat. I suppose she was afraid to let them stay there because she was also afraid the soldiers would come and catch them. They stayed in the pines near the house until next evening which was Friday night and were at the house off and on at different times; they did not lodge at Mr. Adams’ but only got meals there. They left in the evening after dark, and went towards Pope’s Creek where Thomas Jones lives. A Mr. Bateman, I don’t know his first name, who lives at the oak on the roadside about three miles from Newport, as you go through Allen’s Fresh towards Cobb Neck, told me that Jones put them across the Potomac. They crossed from Pope’s Creek a little above Mrs. {?} Watson’s on the creek. This was a place where they had a boat hid. A man named Lomax used to fish there on the river, gilling shad.  I don’t know Lomax’s first name. Bateman told me that the men got over the Potomac all right and I judge that he and Jones rowed them across by his saying that they got over all right and by what folks said. The nearest point on the Virginia side opposite Pope’s Creek is Matthias point. Their horses came back this way in charge of the boy, if I were trying to find them I would inquire of the people there who saw them, Mr. A_bey {Robey?} or Oliver who keeps a store there. I judge ______ saw these men but I did not hear him say anything about them. Tom Downey, who lives at Newport and Mr. Budd, who lives about two miles the other side of Newport, and some other folks that I don’t know, I judge saw them.  I heard gentlemen, that I don’t know, ask Mrs. Adams where these men were going, and she said she said they were going to Pope’s Creek to cross the Potomac. I know Thomas Harbin and Joseph Bayden {sic}. They came to Mr. Adams from this way about two weeks ago. I think they came on Tuesday before I heard of the death of the President. They stayed there about a week, and went away on Saturday night. There was another man with them that I didn’t know. I was fishing with gill nets and they came to me and I put them across a little run at Allen’s Fresh, on the other side from Mr. Adams, toward the Potomac. They didn’t tell me where they were going. They gave me five dollars to put them across the run. I put them across on a Saturday. They were going towards the Banks of Dee. I heard Harbin say that he was going there. I have not seen them since, and do not know whether they have come back or not.

 

In his files at the at the James O. Hall Research Center, there is a letter which James Hall wrote regarding the Owens Statement, which says in part, “. . . . . but I don’t really know what to make of it. One thing is for sure; Owens had a heck of a lot of information about a lot of things.”

 

I am particularly fascinated by the two unnamed men described by Owens who came on horseback {the horses are also of special note} to the Adams Tavern.  The statement is not just food for thought, it is a feast. I make no claims, nor will I add any personal views, although I hold strong beliefs as regards James Owens’ statement; but I would only ask that you read, then read again, this remarkable statement and consider how it fits into the assassination drama.  Mr. Hall was right, James Owens had a heck of a lot of information about a lot of things.

 

With a view towards  trying to establish who the two unnamed men were that Owens mentions in his statement, let’s take a look at the horses that Wilkes and Davey were known to have been riding, through the eyes of others who saw them, as compared with those which the two unnamed men rode into Newport.

 

 

~ John Fletcher, Manager, Pumphrey’s Stable, Washington City:

“He was a light roan horse, black tail, black legs and mane and close to fifteen hands high.” {Describing the horse that he had rented to David Herold on April 14, 1865}.

 

~ Sgt. Silas T Cobb, in command of the guard at the navy Yard Bridge, the night of April 14, 1865: “He rode a small-sized horse, rather an under-sized horse, I should think, a very bright bay, with a shining skin, and it looked as though he had just had a short burst . . .”  {Describing the horse which Booth rode out of the City.  Short burst, shining skin are Cobb’s way of saying that the horse looked to be sweating after a fast run.}

 

“He rode a medium-sized roan horse. I should think the horse was going at a heavy racking pace . . .” {Cobb describing the horse and its gait, essentially a very fast trot, ridden by Herold the night of April 14, 1865}.

 

~ Polk Gardiner, a traveler on the Bryantown Road, on his way to Washington City the night of April 14, 1865: “I met two horsemen . . .”  “The first, who was on a dark horse, I think a bay, asked me if a horseman had passed ahead . . .”  {Referring to Booth and the horse he was riding}.  “As the second horseman rode up . . .”  “He rode a roan horse, a light horse, a roan or an iron gray.” {Referring to David Herold and the horse he was riding}.

 

~ John Lloyd, Tavern Keeper, Surrattsville, about midnight, April 14, 1865:  “The moon was shining when the men came. The man whose leg was broken was on a light-colored horse; I supposed it to be a gray horse, in the moonlight.  It was a large horse, I supposed some sixteen hands high; the other, ridden by Herold, was a bay, and not so large.” {Describing both horses. Note that by this time, Booth and Herold had switched mounts.  Because of his injuries, Booth would have been more comfortable on the larger animal, which had a much smoother gait than the small, skittish bay mare he had ridden out of the City}.

 

~ James Owens, a former slave, now employed by Austin Adams:  “. . . two men came there on horseback, accompanied by a white boy, they got off their horses, and the boy took them and went away. One of the horses was a roan, or iron gray, and the other was a light bay with a small star on the forehead.” {Description of both horses}.

 

“. . . their horses came back this way in charge of the boy, if I were to try to find them I would inquire of the people there who saw them, a Mr. A_bey {Robey?} or Oliver who keeps a store there.” {Referring to both horses}.

 

We've considered the description of the horses, now let’s take a closer look at the men themselves and compare them {on your own} with Wilkes and Davey. Here is how Owens describes the two unnamed men who rode into Newport {which lies about 6 ½ miles from Pope’s Creek and also about 6 ½ miles from the Potomac} and came to the tavern of Austin L. Adams:

 

“. . . two men came there on horseback . . .”

 

The first man, the larger one described by Owens:

 

“One of these men was lame and carried a crutch . . . ”

 

“. . . he wore a cloth slipper on his right foot . . .”

 

“. . . and carried the crutch under his right arm.”

 

“He had on a close-bodied coat and wore a shawl . . .”

 

“. . . he was stouter than the other, who was a small man . . .”

 

“. . . heard the big man who was lame ask if there had been any Yankees or soldiers around there . . .”

 

The second man, smaller one, described by Owens:

 

“. . . I think that he had very light whiskers . . .”

 

“. . . he wore two coats & a soft, black, low crowned hat with a narrow brim . . .”

 

“They stayed in the pines near the house until next evening which was Friday night . . .”

 

“. . . were at the house off and on at different times . . .”

 

“. . . they did not lodge at Mr. Adams’ but only got meals there . . .”

 

“They left in the evening after dark, and went towards Pope’s Creek where Thomas Jones lives.”

 

“. . . A Mr. Bateman . . . told me that Jones put them across . . .”

 

“Bateman told me that the men got over the Potomac all right . . .”

 

“Their horses came back in charge of the boy . . .”

 

 

I think that these are things to consider.

 

 

Rick Smith

Spencerville, MD 2008

 

 

 

 

 
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