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Odd Wisconsin Archive

Lee Harvey Oswald of April 1865


When Abraham Lincoln was gunned down on the night of April 14, 1865, John Wilkes Booth was seen fleeing Ford's Theater by W.D. Kenzie who heard gunshots and saw the actor-assassin leap from the balcony and get away. Another Wisconsin man, W.H. De Groff, was outside the theater and saw Booth escape on horseback.

Kenzie was acquainted with Booth and knew him well on sight, so he quickly joined the soldiers who pursued the murderer into Virginia, and witnessed his death 12 days later. Strangely, Kenzie always believed that it was not Booth but rather an imposter who was shot that day, and that Booth escaped alive in an elaborate cover-up.

He was not alone. This theory, like Kennedy assassination conspiracy theories, persisted for decades and spawned a series of books and articles. Modern historians, however, with access to volumes of forensic and archival evidence, disagree, and have no doubt that Booth met his end in the Virginia barn as described by W.D. Kenzie in the story linked above.


:: Posted in Strange Deaths on April 14, 2005
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