The Trial of Mary Surratt (Book Five)

mary elizabeth surratt cover page for book 5


BOOK 5 IN THE 150th Anniversary Series of the Lincoln Assassination: In 1851, Mary Elizabeth Jenkins Surratt and her husband John stood outside their home and scrutinized each wooden plank, one by one, burn and fall to the ground.. They elected not to rebuild the home, and, instead, built a home in combination with a tavern for weary travelers to partake in drink, near Mary’s parent’s place, a small area called Surrattsville.
John Surratt, Sr. died in 1862. Mary moved with her daughter Anna in 1864 to their Washington City location that John and she purchased in 1853. This location plays a vital role in the many meetings held by Booth, John Surratt, Jr. and others.
On April 11th, Mary traveled with Louis Weichmann to her tavern in Surrattsville she had leased to John Lloyd. They passed John Lloyd while traveling down the road to Uniontown and from testimony given by Louis Weichmann in the Conspiracy Trial, Mary told Lloyd the “shooting irons” would be needed soon. This was associated with other testimony given in the trial about rifles hidden at the tavern by some Booth’s conspirators.
This fifth book in this series will allow the reader to determine for themselves if in fact Mary Surratt should have received the penalty handed down to her at the completion of the trial. In numerous novels on this subject, there are those who say Mary Surratt is guilty as sin. There are many who say Mary Surratt was only in the wrong place at the wrong time and it was the United States Government out for revenge…out for blood.
In The Lincoln Assassination – The Trial of Mary Elizabeth Jenkins Surratt, a military tribunal, rather than a civilian court, was chosen as the prosecutorial venue because the government officials at the time thought it might be more lenient in regards to the evidence allowing the court to get to the bottom of what they perceived as a vast conspiracy.
Conviction required a simple majority of the judges, while imposition of the death sentence required a two –thirds majority. The only appeal available would need to be made to the President of the United States.
From all indication, enough preliminary witnesses have mentioned Mary Surratt’s participation as responsible for providing the nest that hatched the egg.
One thing in the proceedings appearing suspicious is on the night she is arrested, she denies ever seeing Lewis Thornton Powell when he appeared at her boarding house. According to numerous witnesses in the trial, Lewis frequented the boarding house on numerous occasions to meet with her son and others. Was Mary lying, or was it too dark when she was asked if she recognized him in the in front of the boarding house.
Mary Surratt was on trial with seven men. Her attorneys were John Clampitt and Frederick Aiken. In prison, Lewis Powell continued to tell anyone who would listen having Mary shackled and in prison was wrong. She had nothing to do with the assassination of the President.
Testimony given by John Lloyd and Louis Weichmann carried the most weight in the Military Commission’s final decision.
During the trial Mary was dressed in black. Her head was covered in a black bonnet. The expressions on her face could not be recognized hidden behind the netting of her silk veil.
This court case in its entirety for Mary Surratt is depicted in this novel, the fifth novel in the 150th Anniversary Series of the Lincoln Assassination.  The reader will have the opportunity to determine from the evidence and the testimony of the witnesses rather or not Mary Elizabeth should have been hanged or be turned free based on the same information the United States Military Commission were subject to in the months of May and June in 1865.
Elizabeth ‘Bessie’ Jenkins, the mother of Mary Surratt, died in June 1878. She was 84 years old. Until her death, she never made a comment in public about her daughter’s death on the gallows that fateful day, July 7th, 1865.