The month was May, not April, and the assassin of Abraham Lincoln was not named Booth. In fact, history has never been able to identify the assassin by name.
“Whoa! That can’t be right”, you say. Your teachers always told you that Lincoln was killed on April 14th at Ford’s Theater by John Wilkes Booth, who ended Abe’s life with a single shot from behind and escaped afterward. The murder was part of a conspiracy. Abe’s wife Mary was left a widow with children to raise. And all the history books back that up.
But they only had some parts of it correct. He was shot from behind and killed by a single shot all right, and it was part of a conspiracy, but most of the rest is wrong. You see, his son Tom was there, witnessed it, and told his own son all about it later. He told it carefully and included all the details. And at the time, nobody disputed the facts as they had been recalled by the multiple witnesses.
Now, as famous radio host Paul Harvey used to say, “Here’s the rest of the story.”
The year was actually 1786. The assassin was a native American who snuck up behind Lincoln as he chopped wood with his three sons on their homestead in Kentucky. The Indian (as he was called before it became politically incorrect to describe him that way) had a long barreled firearm and shot Abe from a distance. One shot, goodbye.
As the Indian came forward from the cover of the woods to make sure he had finished the job – and perhaps even dispatch Abe’s son Tom – he himself was sent to the “not so happy” hunting grounds where Indians went after they were no longer breathing. Abe’s son Mordicai had fetched the family weapon himself after the fracas began and shot the assassin dead.*
By now you have figured out that what we have here is a case of mistaken identity. The Abe Lincoln in this story is not the same one who was President. But the similarities are remarkable. Both Abrahams had sons named Thomas and wives named Mary. And in fact, they were related. Our Abraham and Mary were the President’s grandparents and our witness, Tom, was Honest Abe’s father.
The unnamed Indian was sent there to kill Lincoln as part of his tribe’s conspiring to rid themselves of a man and his family who they regarded (perhaps correctly) as trespassers on their land. In fact, they had driven him off once before, so from their point of view, he had been warned already.
The moral of the story is..well..there is no moral to the story. It’s just a cool story because of the way history sometimes repeats itself.
* Not every account of the event agrees on every detail. Some have the perpetrator escaping. But I like the version where the killer gets his just reward. So that’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it. (Actually, it’s Wikipedia’s version of the story. And you know if it’s on Wikipedia it’s always correct.)