William J. Ferguson, a young actor and call boy at Ford’s Theatre, had a beer with John Wilkes Booth at 3 p.m. the afternoon of the assassination.
“He was perfectly cool,” Ferguson recalled later.
Asked how Booth got to Lincoln, Ferguson said, “He went into the box. It was a sudden freak. I don’t believe anyone knew anything about it but himself.”
Ferguson, a teen, didn’t immediately tell anyone Booth was the assassin, although he recognized him instantly.
“Why, he was my friend. I wasn’t going to tell on him. I was a boy. I had not reached the age of discretion. I had not any interest in Lincoln, but I think differently now,” Ferguson said later. “It was a great mistake. It was a great mistake.”
Source: Notes, N.Y. Historical Society