What did john wilkes booth have to do with boston, massachusetts?
The Deringer by Henry Deringer of Philadelphia
John Wilkes Booth prepared to be a Bostonian
John Wilkes Booth purchased property in the newly developed Back Bay area, at 115 Commonwealth Avenue in 1863. This was not a speculative financial purchase. His brother resided in Boston for 15 years. Instructions to thes real estate agent were clear that this would be his home.
“Dear Joe, Did you or Orlando send me that catalog of Back Bay lands to be sold April 9th. However, find out about them. For lots No. 5,6,7 or 9 (any one of them) on the north side of Commonwealth Avenue. I will bid as high as $2.70 per foot (their minimum value is $2.25). If you fail to get any one of the above, I will bid on corner lot (Commonwealth Avenue) No. 20. as high as $3.25 per foot. If you are not out bid and fail to get any of them, I will bid on any one (single lot) on south side of Marlborough Street as high as 20 percent above its minimum valuation (a corner lot preferred.) Attend to this, dear Joe. See Keach who said something about the auctioneer being sorry he did not know I wanted to buy last time. Let Orlando see this. Advise with him about it. He promised to buy from me, or to let me know about it. I don’t care about the lots on Marlborough St. If I buy one of them, it will be on spec. So if you miss Commonwealth Ave, strike light on the first….Yours truly, J. Wilkes Booth”[i]
Here are some financial comparisons of the property value then and now at 115 Commonwealth Avenue
The purchase price was $8,192
The land was recorded in his mother's name
Booth did not develop the property. It appears he subsequently suffered financial losses in the oil business
In 1876 Walter Hastings Jr. purchased the property and built a house on it that cost twenty-six thousand dollars
115 Commonwealth Avenue, sold for $10,600,000, on September 5, 2010[ii]
The sale price in 2010 was $1,012, a square foot, compared to the original lot sale price of $8,192
Yearly taxes today are three times the value of the house and land in 1876
Footprint of the Booths and Boston;
John Wilkes Booth stayed at the Parker House in April 1865
He practiced shooting with a pistol on School Street over the five-day stay in April 1865
He was killed by pursuing Union soldiers April 23rd, 1865
The Union soldier that shot and killed Booth at the Garrett barn in Port Royal, Virginia, was also a Bostonian; Sergeant Thomas P. “Boston” Corbett
His brother Edwin Booth was a long-term Boston resident
After the assassination, Boston was sympathetic to the burden Edwin endured
Edwin Booth's wife Mary was buried at Mt. Auburn Cemetery, in 1863[iii]
Edwin remarried in 1869
Edwin declared bankruptcy during the depression of 1873. His theatre folded
His second wife died in 1881
After two strokes Edwin Booth died June 6, 1893, and was interred next to his first wife, Mary
Asia Booth Clarke, younger sister to the two Shakespearean actors, died at age 52 on May 16, 1888, in England ending a lightly threaded marriage to John Sleeper Clarke of Boston comedial acting fame
Her body was returned to the Booth Family site in Barltimore, Maryland
John Wilkes Booth’s body was eventually returned to the Booth family sight, at Green Mount Cemetery, Baltimore Maryland, joining his family in eternity[iv]
After the assassination, John Wilkes younger brother, Junius, managed for many years the "Boston Theatre", ran a retreat for actors at Manchester By The Sea and married in Boston and raised four children. He died in 1886.
Sources http://historyofmassachusetts.org/john-wilkes-booth-owned-property-in-boston/Rebecca Beatrice Brooks American Brutus: John Wilkes Booth and the Lincoln Conspiracies; Michael W. Kauffman; 2005 Classic Realty; 115 Commonwealth Avenue Boston: www.classic-realty.com/115-commonwealth-avenue-boston/ http://www.bu.edu/bhr/2015/05/11/boston-the-booth-brothers-and-the-parker-house/By: Susan Wilson
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