maj. rathbone

Maj. Henry R. Rathbone

Henry R. Rathbone, the man who couldn’t hold on to John Wilkes Booth after the assassin shot the president, gradually grew despondent over his failure. Friends said he relived the theater scene in his mind repeatedly.

At Christmastime 1883, while living in Germany, Rathbone fatally shot and stabbed Clara Harris Rathbone, his wife and also his step-sister.

He then attempted suicide but was unsuccessful. He lived out his days in a luxury asylum in Hanover, Germany, where he was attended by servants and was allowed to drive a car through the surrounding countryside.

Six weeks after the murder, the couple’s three young children boarded the White Star steamship Britannic for the voyage to New York, where their mother’s siblings were waiting to take them in.

An uncle, Hamilton Harris of Albany, N.Y.,  met Henry Riggs, Gerald and Pauline at the dock.

Henry Riggs, who was called “Harry,” grew devoted to President Lincoln.


Rep. Henry Riggs Rathbone

Lean and tall, he developed a stoop in his carriage similar to the president’s, and those who knew him said it pleased him to hear people remark on the resemblance.

He was elected to Congress in 1922 and pushed for the preservation of Petersen House and Ford’s Theatre.

Source: Washington Post, Proquest Historical Newspapers