Description

    John Harrison Surratt (the Husband of Mary Surratt and Father of John (Junior), the Chief Co-Conspirator of John Wilkes Booth) Partly Printed Document Signed "John H Surratt", two and one-half pages, 8" x 12.5", [Washington, D.C.], 24 May 1860. Surratt, "of Prince Georges County . . . Maryland (at present in the city of Washington)", conveys a certain described "ground and premises" in the city to Henry Naylor, to be held in trust pending Surratt's payment of two notes, for $307.84 and $302.26, given the same day to Adam Gaddis Jr. and to Gaddis and his brother Lemuel, "trading under the name and firm of A. Gaddis Jr. & Company", both notes being payable in twelve months with interest. The document is witnessed by two justices of the peace. John H. Surratt was the postmaster of tiny Surrattsville, Maryland, where he and his wife Mary also operated a farm and ran a tavern until his death in 1862. Mrs. Surratt subsequently moved into the premises conveyed by this document, on H Street, and began renting out its rooms, thus giving the property the name by which it is known to history: the "Widow Surratt's Boarding House", the so-called "nest that hatched the egg" of assassination. It was here that John Wilkes Booth and his fellow conspirators - including Mrs. Surratt's own son -- laid some of their dark plans, and it was here that Lewis Payne, a former boarder, was arrested after his failed attempt to fulfill his assigned role, that of assassinating Secretary of State William H. Seward. Page two has separated at center fold, except for one piece of tape. Near very good.

    Together with John H. Surratt III, Son of the Conspirator, Autograph Letter Signed ("J. H. Surratt"), one page, 7.75 " x 10.5", on letterhead of the "Baltimore Steam Packet Company / Traffic Department", illustrated with a small cut of the line's flag, Baltimore (Md.), 16 October 1901, to John C. Smith in the city. Surratt advises that the line has three passenger steamers and one freight steamer. "We recently sold the Strs. Virginia and Carolina and are now building a new steamer on same lines as Alabama 320 feet long. I recognize your picture. It is a good one." John H. Surratt III followed his father into employment at the "Old Bay Line". His mother, Mary Victorine Hunter, wed John H. Surratt, Jr. about 1871. She belonged to the family that included Francis Scott Key and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Age toned; fine.


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    Auction Dates
    November, 2008
    20th Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
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