Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesHistory · 1 decade ago

who was David E. George?

2 Answers

  • gatita
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago
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    David E. George committed suicide in Enid, Oklahoma. Before he died, George claimed that he was John Wilkes Booth and that someone else had been killed at Garrett's farm and buried in his place.

    On May 17, 1995, a hearing was begun in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, Judge Joseph H. H. Kaplan presiding, to determine whether the body of John Wilkes Booth should be exhumed from Green Mount Cemetery in Baltimore. Petitioning to have the body exhumed were Lois W. Rathbun, Booth's great-great-grand niece, and Virginia Eleanor Humbrecht Kline who is Booth's first cousin, twice removed. These distant relatives sought the exhumation in order that the remains might be examined to determine whether the body in the grave actually is John Wilkes Booth.

    Controversy over who is buried in Booth's grave dates back to 1903 when a man named David E. George committed suicide in Enid, Oklahoma. Before he died, George claimed that he was John Wilkes Booth and that someone else had been killed at Garrett's farm and buried in his place. George's claims were "confirmed" by Finis L. Bates, a lawyer who said that George confessed the same to him several years earlier. Bates wrote a book entitled The Escape and Suicide of John Wilkes Booth and exhibited George's mummified remains at carnival sideshows for years, thus keeping the rumor going.

    Green Mount Cemetery opposed Booth's relatives' request for exhumation. Surratt Society members Steven G. Miller of Chicago, Dr. William Hanchett of San Diego, Michael Kauffman of Maryland, and Dr. Terry Alford and James O. Hall, both of Virginia, presented the documented history of Booth's capture and death. On May 26, Judge Kaplan ruled that the exhumation should not occur. He concluded that there was no compelling reason for an exhumation. This decision was based on the facts that:

    (1) Green Mount Cemetery is not certain where John Wilkes Booth is buried, and there is evidence that three infant siblings are buried in a coffin on top of his remains. Exhumation would inappropriately disturb these individuals.

    (2) Accurate identification of the body is not probable due to the length of time that has elapsed since Booth was buried; the effect that excessive water damage to the Booth burial plot would have had on his remains; and the lack of dental records by which to make the identification. Because there are no dental records, experimental "video superimposition" techniques would have to be used instead. DNA testing is not an option because a proper match cannot be expected from among Booth's relatives.

    (3) The historical evidence that Booth was indeed killed at Garrett's farm is convincing. Numerous people, who were in a position to know Booth intimately, positively identified him during his escape, while he was at Garrett's farm, after he was shot, and at his reinternment in Green Mount Cemetery in 1869. Evidence offered in support of having the body exhumed includes the claims of two soldiers who said that Booth was not killed at Garrett's Farm. But these men were not even present when Booth was captured and killed. Furthermore, the escape/cover-up theory at the heart of the current case is based on Finis L. Bates' book. In 1920, this book was declared an outright fraud by investigators hired by Henry Ford to whom Bates was endeavoring to sell the David E. George mummy. And during the recent hearing, the book was described as unreliable by the Petitioners' own expert witness.

    Judge Kaplan's ruling may not end the matter. According to the August 1995 edition of the Surratt Courier, a Petitioners' Notice of Appeal was filed in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City on June 21, 1995.

    For additional background on this subject, see The Body in the Barn: The Controversy Over the Death of John Wilkes Booth which is a compilation of relevant articles that appeared in the Surratt Courier. The booklet can be ordered from the Surratt House Bookstore for $11.50 ppd. Also see Michael Kauffman's article in the May/June 1995 issue of "Civil War Times Illustrated" and his article in the December 3, 1994, edition of the "Washington Times."


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  • 5 years ago

    Then do a DNA study on David E George.. and see if it matches the ancestry of John Wilkes Booth.. and it probably does.. and then you will know someone else is in the grave of John Wilkes Booth..

    • Tim1 year agoReport

      Funny how they claim that DNA can trace people back to people groups thousands of years ago but conveniently they say it can't be trusted to tie the body to his descendants 150 years later. The greatest cover up in history is the cover up of history.

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