Samuel A. Mudd - Defendant in the Lincoln Conspiracy Trial

Samuel A. Mudd - Defendant in the Lincoln Conspiracy Trial Trials Crimes and Criminals American History Civil Wars Famous Historical Events Social Studies

Samuel A. Mudd was a young doctor with several children when he met John Wilkes Booth in the fall of 1864.  Who was he?

We learn more about his background from James L. Swanson in Manhunt:  The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer:

Mudd was thirty-two years old and had attended Georgetown College.  He received his M.D. from the University of Maryland in 1858.  He and his thirty-year-old wife, Sarah Frances, lived on a 218-acre farm with their four young children, three boys and a girl, aged between one and six years old. 

In 1859, he built a handsome new farmhouse and enjoyed life as a physician-farmer.  He was anti-Union, anti-black, and the owner of up to eleven slaves before emancipation freed them.

On the 13th of November, 1864, Dr. Mudd met John Wilkes Booth.  The two men were introduced by Dr. William Queen:

Booth told Queen about the kidnapping plot [to capture President Lincoln and hold him until the Union released Confederate prisoners of war], and Queen agreed to help. 

The whole county [Charles County, Maryland] was anti-Lincoln - in the presidential election of 1860 Abraham Lincoln won 6 votes out of a total of 1,197 cast - and was home to a number of Confederate agents, operatives, and couriers.  Queen would have no trouble, he assured Booth, in identifying those sympathetic to his plan.  And tomorrow, at church, he would introduce the actor to one of them, Dr. Samuel A. Mudd. . .

The Queen family took Booth to church with them on Sunday morning, November 13, 1864, and John C. Thompson, Dr. Queen's son-in-law, made the fateful introduction, presenting Booth to Dr. Mudd.  (Manhunt, pages 127-8.)

In this photo, Dr. Mudd is serving time for his alleged role in conspiring with Booth to harm President Lincoln.

Click on the image for a better view.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Oct 07, 2013

Updated Last Revision: Nov 16, 2019

Media Credits

Image of Dr. Samuel A. Mudd, at Jefferson Prison in the Dry Tortugas, online courtesy Library of Congress.


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