Henry Rathbone

Henry Rathbone

Henry Reed Rathbone (July 1, 1837 – August 14, 1911) was a United States military officer and diplomat who was present at the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. Rathbone was sitting with his fiancée, Clara Harris, next to the President and wife Mary Todd when John Wilkes Booth entered the president's box at Ford's Theatre and fatally shot Lincoln.

Henry R. Rathbone was born in Albany, New York and was the son of Jared L. Rathbone, a merchant and businessman, who later became Albany's mayor. At the time of his father's death, Rathbone inherited the very considerable sum of two hundred thousand dollars from his family's estate. His widowed mother, Pauline Rathbone, remarried Judge Ira Harris, who was appointed U.S. Senator from New York after William H. Seward became Lincoln's Secretary of State. As a result of this marriage, Ira Harris became Rathbone's step-father and his daughter Clara became Rathbone's step-sister. Although this unusual series of events made them step-brother and step-sister, they were not related by blood.

Rathbone studied law at Union College, was a member of the Sigma Phi Society, and briefly had a law partnership in Albany before entering the Union Army at the start of American Civil War, during which Rathbone served as Captain in the 12th Infantry Regiment; by the war's end, he had attained the rank of Major.

On Good Friday, April 14, 1865, President Lincoln and his wife Mary Todd decided to attend a performance of the play "Our American Cousin" at Ford's Theatre. The Lincolns had invited several people to accompany them, including General Ulysses S. Grant and his wife, but all of them declined for various reasons. Mrs. Lincoln finally invited Major Rathbone and Clara Harris, and they accepted. The young couple had recently become engaged, and Mrs. Lincoln was fond of Clara, having invited her to attend numerous social functions at the White House.

During the play, John Wilkes Booth surreptitiously entered the Presidential box and shot Lincoln with a deringer pistol. Rathbone grappled with the assassin and was severely wounded by Booth, who also wielded a large dagger. After stabbing Rathbone in the arm and slashing at his head, the assassin leapt from the box onto the stage and reputedly cried out "Sic semper tyrannis," while some claimed to have heard him say, "The South is avenged." Although he allegedly had broken his leg jumping on to the stage, Booth amazingly made a successful escape, and remained at large for almost two weeks. Meanwhile the dying Lincoln was taken across the street to the house of William Petersen, where Clara Harris remained with Mrs. Lincoln during her vigil of some nine hours. This death watch lasted through the night, until morning, when Lincoln died at 7:22 A.M. on April 15, 1865.

Rathbone recovered from his wounds and married Clara Harris on July 11, 1867. They had three children. In 1882, Rathbone was appointed U.S. consul to Hanover, Germany, and his family accompanied him there. For some time there had been signs of mental instability in Rathbone, which culminated in the murder of his wife on December 23 1883. After he stabbed Clara, Rathbone attempted suicide by stabbing himself. Their children, who were also almost killed by their father, were afterwards taken to live with their uncle, William Harris, in the United States. When the police arrived, the bleeding Rathbone claimed there were people hiding behind the pictures on the wall. He spent the rest of his life in the asylum for the criminally insane in Hildesheim, Germany. He died in 1911 and was buried next to Clara in the city cemetery at Hanover/Engesohde. As time passed, the cemetery management, looking over records concerning plots without recent activity or family interest, decided in 1952 that Rathbone's and Clara's remains could be disposed of.

Rathbone's eldest son, Henry Riggs Rathbone (1870-1928), was a U.S. Congressman from Illinois. One of his distant cousins is actor Basil Rathbone.


*Richard Bak (1998). "The Day Lincoln was Shot". Taylor Publishing Company. Dallas, Texas

ee also

*Clara Harris

External links

*findagrave|11126233 Retrieved on 2008-03-14

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Нужно решить контрольную?

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Henry Rathbone — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Rathbone. Henry Reed Rathbone Henry Reed Rathbone (1er juillet&# …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Henry Reed Rathbone — Henry Rathbone Henry Reed Rathbone Henry Reed Rathbone (1er juillet 1837 – 14 août 1911) est un officier de l armée de l Union et un diplomate qui était présent lors de …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Rathbone — may refer to:* Rathbone, New York, a US town *Rathbone (charity), a UK charitable organizationPeople with the surname Rathbone: * Basil Rathbone, British actor * Clyde Rathbone, Australian rugby union player * Eleanor Florence Rathbone… …   Wikipedia

  • Rathbone —  Cette page d’homonymie répertorie des personnes (réelles ou fictives) partageant un même patronyme. Rathbone est le nom de famille de plusieurs personnalités : Basil Rathbone (1892 1967), acteur britannique ; Clyde Rathbone (1981) …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Henry Daniell — Nombre real Charles Henry Daniel Nacimiento 5 de marzo de 1894 Barnes, Inglaterra, Reino Unido Fallecimiento …   Wikipedia Español

  • Henry Daniell — (March 5, 1894, London, England – October 31, 1963, Santa Monica, California) was an English actor, best known for his villainous screen roles, but who had a long and prestigious career on stage as well as in films.Early lifeEducated at St Paul s …   Wikipedia

  • Henry Fothergill Chorley — (15 December 1808 ndash; 16 February 1872) was an English literary, art and music critic and editor. He was also an author of novels, drama, poetry and lyrics. Chorley was a prolific and important music and literary critic and music gossip… …   Wikipedia

  • Henry Frankenstein — Henry Frankenstein, is a fictional character appearing in Universal Pictures horror films. In Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein he was played by Colin Clive. Character overviewThe character of Henry Frankenstein is based on Victor… …   Wikipedia

  • Henry Stephenson — Dans Les Quatre Filles du docteur March en 1933 Données clés …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Henry Herbert (actor) — Henry Herbert was an English stage actor and producer, who became well known in the United States.He appears to have commenced his early career with Ben Greet s Company, and with Sir Frank Benson; for some years he managed Benson s No.2 Company… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”