October 13, 2004

Presidential Fun Fact of the Day Week

In the year before John Wilkes Booth shot and killed President Lincoln, his older brother was standing on a train platform in New Jersey. Edwin Booth was a famous actor of the time, and well recognized.

While the train was stopped, it unexpectedly rolled forward again while the waiting passengers stood against it. One young man lost his balance and was falling off the platform when Edwin Booth grabbed him and pulled him to safety. The young man was grateful to the actor for saving his life.

The young man was Robert Todd Lincoln, the President's son.

Robert provided the following account:

"The incident occurred while a group of passengers were late at night purchasing their sleeping car places from the conductor who stood on the station platform at the entrance of the car. The platform was about the height of the car floor, and there was of course a narrow space between the platform and the car body. There was some crowding, and I happened to be pressed by it against the car body while waiting my turn. In this situation the train began to move, and by the motion I was twisted off my feet, and had dropped somewhat, with feet downward, into the open space, and was personally helpless, when my coat collar was vigorously seized and I was quickly pulled up and out to a secure footing on the platform. Upon turning to thank my rescuer I saw it was Edwin Booth, whose face was of course well known to me, and I expressed my gratitude to him, and in doing so, called him by name."
Posted by Jennifer at October 13, 2004 07:00 AM


That IS pretty damned amazing and cool. Shame his little brother wanted to bring down the government.

Neat fun fact!

Posted by: Johnny Huh? at October 13, 2004 01:57 PM

I heard that story years ago.. thanks for the reminder! Talk about a bizarre brush with/of celebrity.

I love this stuff.

Posted by: Tuning Spork at October 14, 2004 09:26 PM