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John Wilkes Booth by Phebe Staggs (Age: 16)

John Wilkes Booth, best known for the assassination of President Lincoln and his thespianism in the theater, is written in history as the man who ran from the government for twelve days. He was accused of shooting President Lincoln in Fords Theater before being shot in Garrett's tobacco barn on April 26th, 1865. This has been challenged by the notion that the man shot was not Booth, and Booth lived long after under an alias. Nate Orlowek, a historian specializing in the case, has presented an abundance of evidence to prove that Booth had not died that very day, but a coconspirator of Booth's took the fall. While both sides are somewhat viewed with bias, and a need to prove the other wrong, the true question on everyone's mind is: Did John Wilkes Booth die in Garret's barn?

History teaches us that after Booth ran he was found twelve days later in a tobacco barn with a friend, David Harold, who was hiding with Booth at the time. Boston Corbett, the solider who had been said to have shot Booth, randomly opened fire in to the barn allegedly killing Booth. It's not said what happened after Booth's death. Though David Harold is recorded to have spoken out that the man shot was not Booth, the soldiers thought he was only delusional from the smoke and fear. Harold was hung not long after due to treason before Booth's alleged body was examined. Booth's family was called and all of Booth's life came to a close. He was buried in the family's plot only to be talked about when Lincoln was brought up.

Nate Orlowek on the other hand, has an entirely different view on the subject. Nate teaches us that the man buried in the Booth family plot was actually another friend of Booth's who was hiding with him in the Tabaco barn before the shooting. Nate says that after Booth's "murder", the soldiers knew that this was not Booth. Not wanting to be discovered the soldiers took him to a doctor, who coincidentally knew Booth. The Doctor was a family friend. He was held at gun point and forced to write on Booth's death certificate that the man shot had red hair, not black like Booth's. He had no injured leg, something Booth was also famous for. After killing the President, he jumped off the balcony and broke his leg, and had it set by Harold. Nate believes that Booth escaped for 38 years, using the alias John Saint Helen in Enid, Oklahoma. After allegedly trying to kill himself with poison, a guilt ridden Booth tells a friend who he really is. He claims on his death bed that President Johnson paid him to kidnap Lincoln, but he killed him in improvisation. Booth is said to have escaped under a wagon through enemy lines as a spy. While many believe that the man who told him he was Booth was just delusional and sick, others believe it to be true. Scientists, looking at the body of John Saint Helen showed the vast similarities between the body, to that of Booth. The scarred eyebrow from a bad hit, the crushed thumb from a set piece falling, and his crooked broken leg, were all evidence that they were one in the same.

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