On this day, in 1865, President Abraham Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth as he watched a play at Ford’s Theater in Washington, DC.
While that might seem like forever ago, that day and today are separated by only a few generations. Its sometimes easy to forget how young our nation is in the grand scheme of things.
Here is something that will put it in perspective. In 1956, on the gameshow “I’ve Got a Secret,” 96 year old Samuel J. Seymour appeared on the show to see if a celebrity panel could guess his secret.
When he was five years old, Seymour attended a play on April 14th, 1865. In a prior interview with a local newspaper, Seymour described the incident:
“All of a sudden a shot rang out — a shot that always will be remembered — and someone in the President’s box screamed,” read the 1954 article in the Milwaukee Sentinel, quoting Seymour. “I saw Lincoln slumped forward in his seat. People started milling around and I thought there’d been another accident when one man seemed to tumble over the balcony rail and land on the stage.”
The celebrity panel was able to fairly easily guess Mr. Seymour’s secret mainly going off his age. Actress Jayne Meadows got the correct guess.