MARY SURRATT BECOMES FIRST WOMAN HANGED BY US GOVERNMENT
At trial, the most damaging evidence against Mrs. Surratt was presented by John Lloyd who rented the Surratt House in Maryland. He said that three of the conspirators came to the tavern a few weeks before the assassination to drop off two carbines, ammunition and rope. They asked Lloyd to conceal these items and twice before the night of April 14, 1865, Mrs. Surratt told Lloyd to have the "shooting irons" ready.
Another witness at trial testified that he was with Mr. Lloyd when they heard the news of the assassination. This witness heard Lloyd say..."Oh, Mrs. Surratt, that vile woman...has ruined me."
Five of nine commissioners handing down the sentence of death by hanging to Mary Surratt and her fellow conspirators included a request to President Johnson to reduce her sentence to life imprisonment. He did not.
The other conspirators hanged along with Mrs. Surratt were George Atzerodt, David Herold and Lewis Powell. The ringleader of the murder plot, John Wilkes Booth, was shot and killed two weeks after the assassination.
Mary Surratt, who wore a black dress, bonnet and veil, led the procession of prisoners out of their cells at 1:15 p.m. local time. They walked by "their own freshly dug graves, each with a raw pine coffin beside it" and then "slowly climbed the scaffold."
Soldiers tied the prisoner's hands behind their backs and put white hoods on their heads. At 2 p.m., the hinged trap supports on the scaffold were knocked away "and the prisoners plunged down."
*Mary Elizabeth Jenkins Surratt (1823-1865) was born in Waterloo, MD, attended a Catholic seminary & married John Surratt at age 17. They ran a tavern & post office at Surrattsville, MD. which became known as a Confederate safehouse during the Civil War.
**Surratt Boarding House is located at 604 H Street, 5 blocks from Ford's Theater. 3 days after Lincoln's assassination, police came calling here only to run into Louis Powell, who had already been identified as part of the plot. The coincidence was enough to implicate Ms. Surratt.
"Biographic Sketch of Mary Surratt," www.law2.umka.edu/
"Civil War to Civil Rights," Downtown Heritage Trail e.9," www.CulturalToruismDC.org/
"The Civil War: The Assassination, Death of a President," Time-Life Books, by Champ Clark and the Editors of Time-Life Books, Alexandria, Virginia, 1987.
Surratt Boarding House (1910)