The Mystery of Mary Surratt: The Plot to Kill President Lincoln

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9780870335600: The Mystery of Mary Surratt: The Plot to Kill President Lincoln

The Mystery of Mary Surratt is a true story about the Maryland woman who was convicted and hanged in 1865 for her alleged part in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. For more than a century, historians have argued about her true role. Some claim she knew nothing about John Wilkes Booth's plan to shoot Lincoln and other top government leaders. Others insist she knowingly helped Booth and might even have masterminded the whole plot. This book lays out the facts in a narrative that lets young readers draw their own conclusions. Author Rebecca C. Jones researched the book at the Surratt House library in Clinton, Maryland, where she read letters, old newspapers, diary entries, and other sources. She also followed the Booth escape route, interviewed researchers, and found a diary written by a woman who was in the Old Capitol Prison with Mary Surratt. The book is aimed at middle-schoolers, but is accessible to fourth graders studying Maryland history. It should help students develop critical thinking skills as they decide for themselves whether Mary Surratt was guilty or innocent. Grades 4 to 8

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About the Author:

Rebecca C. Jones lives near the Chesapeake Bay in Annapolis, Maryland, where she writes books for children.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Building 20

It's hard to explain some of the things that have happened in and around Building 20 at Fort McNair in Washington, D.C.

One Army captain who used to live in Building 20 has told of trying to comfort his crying baby one night. Suddenly he felt a hand on his shoulder. The baby looked up and stopped crying.

Later, the captain went into the kitchen and thanked his wife for quieting their child. But she said she hadn't gone near the baby's room. The captain was puzzled: No one else was at home, he told The Washingtonian magazine, and "I definitely felt a hand on my shoulder."

Another captain has told of being awakened one night by the sound of someone moaning and weeping. "It was a female voice," he told People magazine, "and it was crying out, 'Oh, help me! Oh, help me!'" The captain rushed downstairs where the cries seemed to be coming from but no one was there.

Other former residents have told of heavy chairs being dragged across rooms, washing machines being turned around, and doors being locked from the inside all while no one was home. Children have described a lady, dressed in black, who comforted them when they fell. Mothers have reported glimpsing a similar woman, checking on children who were sick.

Not everyone in Building 20 has had experience with the mysterious lady. After living there for several months, one resident said the only strange thing he'd noticed was the sound of water bubbling in the old building's pipes. Maybe that's what people were hearing, he said, when they thought they heard a woman crying.

But many people especially people who know the history of Building 20 don't think old pipes can explain all of the strange things that have happened there. They are convinced that Building 20 is haunted by the ghost of a woman named Mary Surratt.

In the spring of 1865, Mary Surratt was probably the most hated woman in America. President Abraham Lincoln had just been murdered, and almost everyone blamed Mrs. Surratt.

No one suggested that Mrs. Surratt pulled the trigger on the gun that killed the President. The trigger was pulled by a handsome young actor named John Wilkes Booth. But the government accused Mrs. Surratt of helping Booth plan the murder. Mrs. Surratt insisted she was innocent, but she was sentenced to death after a trial that was held at the Old Arsenal Penitentiary in what is now Building 20.

Ever since her death, Americans have argued about Mary Surratt. Many people are convinced she was an innocent woman, wrongly accused and unfairly punished. Others believe she knew maybe even helped plan every detail of the plot to kill President Lincoln.

What is the truth?

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Book Description Cornell Maritime Press Inc.,U.S., United States, 2010. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The Mystery of Mary Surratt is a true story about the Maryland woman who was convicted and hanged in 1865 for her alleged part in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. For more than a century, historians have argued about her true role. Some claim she knew nothing about John Wilkes Booths plan to shoot Lincoln and other top government leaders. Others insist she knowingly helped Booth and might even have masterminded the whole plot. This book lays out the facts in a narrative that lets young readers draw their own conclusions. Author Rebecca C. Jones researched the book at the Surratt House library in Clinton, Maryland, where she read letters, old newspapers, diary entries, and other sources. She also followed the Booth escape route, interviewed researchers, and found a diary written by a woman who was in the Old Capitol Prison with Mary Surratt. The book is aimed at middle-schoolers, but is accessible to fourth graders studying Maryland history. It should help students develop critical thinking skills as they decide for themselves whether Mary Surratt was guilty or innocent. Grades 4 to 8. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780870335600

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Book Description Cornell Maritime Press Inc.,U.S., United States, 2010. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The Mystery of Mary Surratt is a true story about the Maryland woman who was convicted and hanged in 1865 for her alleged part in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. For more than a century, historians have argued about her true role. Some claim she knew nothing about John Wilkes Booths plan to shoot Lincoln and other top government leaders. Others insist she knowingly helped Booth and might even have masterminded the whole plot. This book lays out the facts in a narrative that lets young readers draw their own conclusions. Author Rebecca C. Jones researched the book at the Surratt House library in Clinton, Maryland, where she read letters, old newspapers, diary entries, and other sources. She also followed the Booth escape route, interviewed researchers, and found a diary written by a woman who was in the Old Capitol Prison with Mary Surratt. The book is aimed at middle-schoolers, but is accessible to fourth graders studying Maryland history. It should help students develop critical thinking skills as they decide for themselves whether Mary Surratt was guilty or innocent. Grades 4 to 8. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780870335600

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