On this day in 1863, President and Mrs. Lincoln occupied the same Ford’s Theatre box where the assassination would occur less than two years later.

Mary B. Clay, the daughter of U.S. minister to Russia Cassius Clay, was one of the friends who accompanied the Lincolns.

She later wrote: “I do not recall the play, but Wilkes Booth played the part of the villain. The box was right on the stage, with a railing around it. Mr. Lincoln sat next to the rail…Twice Booth, in uttering disagreeable threats in the play, came very near and put his finger close to Mr. Lincoln’s face. When he came a third time I was impressed by it, and said, ‘Mr. Lincoln, he looks as if he meant that for you.’ ‘Well,’ he said, ‘he does look pretty sharp at me, doesn’t he?’


Source: “Mary, Wife of Lincoln,” by Mary Lincoln’s niece Katherine Helm, Harper and Bros, N.Y., 1928