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Friday, February 08, 2013

There Is Sobbing Of The Strong

A strange epilogue to Lincoln's assassination on Birth of a Nation Day.  Major Henry Rathbone and his fiancee, Clara Harris, were present in the theater box:

CLARA HARRIS AND HENRY RATHBONE MARRIED IN 1867, HAD three children, and moved to Hanover, Germany. No one ever blamed Rathbone for the night at Ford’s Theatre. He was a social guest, not Lincoln’s bodyguard. He wasn’t assigned the duty of protecting the presi- dent. And he didn’t see Booth until after the actor fired his pistol.

Still, he was an army officer. And he was in the box.  Fortunately for Rathbone, it did not become widely known that he had asked Dr. Leale to treat his wound before treating Lincoln’s...

Clara would have been better off if John Wilkes Booth had stabbed her fiance again and slain him at Ford’s Theatre on April 14, 1865. If Booth had served her that night, then she would have survived the night eighteen years later when, on December 23, I883, Henry, after behaving oddly and menacing the children, murdered Clara in their home. In a bizarre, chilling reminder of Booth’s crime, Henry selected the assassin’s weapons of choice—the pistol and the knife. Rathbone shot his wife and then stabbed her to death. Then he tried to commit suicide with the same blade.

It was a brutal, bloody crime that harkened back to the horrific scene in the president's box. But this time Clara's dress was drenched not with Henry's blood, but her own. Henry never returned to America and lived out his remaining days in a German asylum.

History rhymes...

ntodd

February 8, 2013 | Permalink

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