Rathbone Henry Reed

Henry Reed Rathbone (1837–1911), 5th cousin 4x removed

Maj. Henry Reed Rathbone (1837-1911)

Maj. Henry Reed Rathbone (1837-1911)

Henry Reed Rathbone was a United States military officer and diplomat who was present at the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.

On 14 Apr 1865, Major Rathbone and his fiancee Clara accepted an invitation to see a play at Ford’s Theatre from President Abraham Lincoln and his wife, First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln.  The couple, who had been friends with the President and his wife for some time, were invited after Ulysses S. Grant and his wife Julia, Thomas Eckert and several other people had declined Mrs. Lincoln’s invitation to the play.  During the play, noted stage actor John Wilkes Booth surreptitiously entered the Presidential box and fatally shot Lincoln in the back of the head with a Derringer pistol.  Rathbone attempted to apprehend Booth and, during the struggle, Booth slashed Rathbone’s left arm with a Bowie knife from the elbow to his shoulder.  After stabbing Rathbone in the arm and slashing at his head, Booth leapt from the box onto the stage and reputedly cried out “Sic semper tyrannis,” (“Thus always to tyrants”).  Although Booth had broken his left fibula two inches above the ankle when he jumped onto the stage, he successfully escaped, and remained at large for twelve days.  Meanwhile, the mortally wounded President was taken across the street to the house of William Petersen after doctors decided that Lincoln would not survive the journey back to the White House.  Despite his serious wound, Rathbone escorted First Lady Mary Lincoln to the Petersen House and, shortly thereafter, passed out due to loss of blood.  Clara Harris arrived at the house soon after and held Rathbone’s head in her lap while he drifted in and out of consciousness.  A surgeon who had been attending the President finally examined Rathbone and realized his wound was more serious than initially thought.  Booth had severed an artery located just above Rathbone’s elbow and had cut him nearly to the bone.  Rathbone was taken home while Harris remained with Mrs. Lincoln during her vigil at the Petersen House for some nine hours.  This death vigil lasted through the night, until morning, when President Lincoln died at 7:22 AM on 15 Apr 1865.

The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln: from left to right: Major Henry Rathbone, Clara Harris, Mary Todd Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln, and John Wilkes Booth. This Currier & Ives print gives the impression that Rathbone saw Booth enter the box and had already risen as Booth fired his weapon. In reality, Rathbone was unaware of Booth's approach and reacted after the shot was fired.

The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln: from left to right: Major Henry Rathbone, Clara Harris, Mary Todd Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln, and John Wilkes Booth. This Currier & Ives print gives the impression that Rathbone saw Booth enter the box and had already risen as Booth fired his weapon. In reality, Rathbone was unaware of Booth’s approach and reacted after the shot was fired.

Henry Reed (Major) Rathbone (1837 – 1911), 5th cousin 4x removed – Jared Lewis Rathbone (1791 – 1845) – Samuel Rathbone (1758 – 1831) – Joshua Rathbun (1723 – 1807) – Jonathan Rathbun (1691 – 1766) – John Rathbun (1655 – 1723) – John Rathbun (1629 – 1702) – Thomas Rathbun (1657 – 1733) – John Rathbun (1705 – 1781) – Patience Rathbun (1742 – 1840) – John Clarke (1780 – 1865) – Oratio Dyer Clarke (1811 – 1899) – Harriet Allen Clarke (1839 – 1898) – Clarence Clark Hamlin (1868 – 1940) – Elizabeth Gunnell Hamlin (1901 – 1982) – Tor Martin Hylbom (1939 – 2009) – Tor Martin (Majerus) Hylbom

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