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    Mary Elizabeth Surratt, Convicted Lincoln Assassination Conspirator, Rare Autograph Letter Signed "M. E. Surratt", one and one-half pages, 7.5" x 9.5", n.p., 12 April 1853, to "Dear Father". Surratt, the first woman ever executed by the United States, writes to her priest expressing concern for her husband John, who was fond of drink and -- to her thinking -- insufficiently religious; she had attended a Catholic girls' school and faithfully attended mass. This letter acknowledges one from the priest and thanks him for unspecified "good advice . . . I think myself it is the only way to get him to do what is only half right. I am glad to inform you that he has been to church three times within the last two months and the last time he went in to see Father Donlon to my great joy and surprise and had a long talk with him and Father promised to come up to see him soon . . . I hope he will be up in a few days, and the long wished-for story may be told. Dear Father please pray for him. O pray that God may release his dear family by the conversion of his dear soul. Sometimes I try to think there is a great change in him but then again he forgets all his promises and goes on as bad as ever but I hope, I pray that the Blessed Lord will . . . give me peace and strength to bear it all as I may attend to education of my dear children both of soul and body." She closes hoping to have her correspondent "with us once more. I must end my letter as I am suffering with a violent headache", and subscribes the letter: "Do not forget to pray for a poor sinner sometimes." In December of this year John Surratt bought the Washington, D.C., property that Mary would move into as a widow and maintain as a boarding house. Their son, John Harrison Surratt, Jr., was a Confederate courier, and it seems that her own wartime sympathies and activities ran along the same lines. When her son became acquainted with John Wilkes Booth -- and their fellow plotters George Atzerodt and Lewis Payne briefly became her boarders -- she was, unwittingly or otherwise, swept up in a conspiracy that cost her her life. In a few places, the ink, while still wet, was lightly smeared. Fine condition.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2008
    20th Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 10
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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