The Last Day of Abraham Lincoln - by Henry Riggs Rathbone

The Last Day of Abraham Lincoln - by Henry Riggs Rathbone (Illustration) American History Biographies Government American Presidents Disasters

Major Henry Reed Rathbone and his fiancé, Clara Harris, attended the play with President and Mrs. Lincoln on the night of the fatal shooting. 

In addition to his Derringer, Booth had a knife which he used on Rathbone.  After a struggle with the Major, Booth jumped from the presidential box to the stage below.

Years later, Major Rathbone's son—Henry Riggs Rathbone (1870-1928)—became a Republican Congressman, serving in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1923 to his death in 1928.  As depicted in this promotional flyer, he was also a speaker about what had happened to his parents, and Abraham Lincoln, on the last day of the President's life.

The younger Rathbone endured his own trauma, while he was a boy.  In 1882, he and his family moved to Germany where his father worked in Hanover.  The following year, his father (the former Major Rathbone) murdered his mother and was committed to an asylum for the criminally insane in the German town of Hildesheim (located south of Hanover).

The Rathbone children, now without both their parents, were sent back to the States where they lived with their maternal uncle, William Harris. 

The tragedy of his parents did not impede the young Rathbone's academic success.  After graduating from Phillips Academy (in Andover, Massachusetts) during 1888, he successfully completed his undergraduate studies at Yale and then took a law degree from the University of Wisconsin (in 1894).

Rathbone went on the speaking circuit to talk about what happened the night the President was shot.  This image depicts how he appeared at that time.

Click on the image for a better view.


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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5183stories and lessons created

Original Release: Sep 21, 2013

Updated Last Revision: Nov 16, 2019

Media Credits

Image online, courtesy Library of Congress.



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"The Last Day of Abraham Lincoln - by Henry Riggs Rathbone" AwesomeStories.com. Sep 21, 2013. Nov 16, 2019.
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