Andrew Jackson Threatened by John Wilkes Booth's Father
One of the 14 known Masonic presidents. All five statues in the park just
north of the White House depict Freemasons.
Presidential assassination threats and theories have abounded over time, but perhaps the oldest one lurking in the shadows of uncertainty for 175 years has finally been proved to be true. According to an article in Sunday's Knoxville News Sentinel, Dan Feller, the director of the Andrew Jackson Papers Project at the University of Tennessee, has determined that President Andrew Jackson's life was threatened by none other than the father of Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth, actor Junius Brutus Booth.
Was the whole family just one big presidential conspiracy theory?
Junius (right) was a famed, London-born, Shakespearian actor, who was known for flamboyant behavior. On July 4th, 1835, he wrote an angry letter to President Jackson, concerning a high-profile trial of a group of pirates, led by two men named De Ruis and De Soto. Apparently it was the O.J.Simpson trial of its day, and it was heavily covered in the newspapers (See "Trial of the Twelve Spanish Pirates of the Schooner Panda, a Guinea Slaver"). The two men had been sentenced to death, and Booth obviously objected.
Brower's Hotel, Philadelphia
July 4th, 1835
You damned old Scoundrel if you don't sign the pardon of your fellow men now under statutes of Death, De Ruiz & De Soto, I will cut your throat whilst you are sleeping! I wrote to you repeated Cautions so look out or damn you I'll have you burnt at the Stake in the City of Washington.
Junius Brutus Booth
You know me! Look out!
Admittedly minor stuff compared to today's typical flame wars on forums and blogsites. And at that time, there was no law that prohibited threatening the President of the United States. Frankly, it's probable the 7th president would have beaten Booth's brains out before the actor had a chance to slit his throat. Jackson had already squared off with a potential assassin earlier that year. A man named Robert Lawrence had approached Old Hickory on the steps of the Capitol, and pointed a pistol at him. The gun jammed, and Jackson chased him down with his cane.
The letter from Booth has been believed to have been a hoax for decades, but a recent study by the University of Tennessee has finally judged it to be genuine, based on handwriting analysis, paper comparison and other closely matching notes known to have been written by Booth the same week from the same Philadelphia hotel where he was staying.
The letter had long been believed to have been a forgery, and had been mislabeled by the president's staff as being anonymous.
Dan Feller, history professor and director of the Andrew Jackson papers project, along with Research Assistant Professors Tom Coens and Laura-Eve Moss, will appear in a segment of PBS' "History Detectives" with host Tukufu Zuberi later this summer, and discuss the letter and the project to determine whether or not it was genuine.
More information at the University of Tennessee website.
We devote an entire chapter of Conspiracy Theories & Secret Societies For Dummies to presidential assassinations and conspiracy theories.