“April 15th, 1864” Major Henry W. Smith Signed Document Exactly One Year to the Day Abraham Lincoln Died, Smith Personally Captured Lewis Payne and Mary Surratt Two of the Abraham Lincoln Assassination Conspirators Hanged
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HENRY W. SMITH (1836-1869). Major Henry W. Smith gained notoriety in 1865 for helping to Capture Lewis Payne and Mary Surratt, the first woman executed by the U.S. federal government (July 7, 1865), who were subsequently tried and hanged for involvement in the Assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.
April 15th, 1864-Dated Civil War Era, Partially-Printed Document Signed, “Henry W. Smith,” at Washington (D.C.), a legal Document Granting Power of Attorney, it being Signed by Henry Smith exactly “One Year to the Day” that President Abraham Lincoln would die from Assassination by the hand of John Wilkes Booth at Fords Theater in Washington, D.C.. This amazing document being further officially attested, verified, and notarized one year later on April 18, 1865 by an attached accompanying Partially-Printed form, both together Very Fine. This Document is Signed, “Henry W. Smith” dated on April 15th, 1864, at Washington (D.C.), being exactly one year prior to the very day that President Abraham Lincoln died. Major Smith and his wife are granting Power of Attorney to Colonel Joseph R. Smith, regarding certain of their property holdings in the State of Michigan.
This unique mated Document pair are extraordinarily dated, April 14, 1864 Signed, and April 18, 1865 when Confirmed. They are complete and in very collectable condition. The accompanying Partially-Printed Power of Attorney Form is also fully completed in manuscript, the attached verification form dated on “April 18, 1865”. Both documents have some expected tone, minor edge wear and creasing. Two official blue 50 U.S. Internal Revenue Postage Stamps are manuscript cancelled, intact and properly attached. The verification form has a 5 U.S. Revenue Stamp attached, it with a manuscript cancel hand-dated “December 17, 1865” with deft archivally sealed splits along the main horizontal folds. This April 18, 1865 dated Document is just Three Days after Abraham Lincoln’s death. It measures about 8.5" wide x 6.5" tall, the two documents together measuring about 8.75" x 12.25" including the verification form.
The “April 15th, 1864” Document is boldly Signed, “Henry W. Smith” is amazingly Signed Exactly One Year to the Day, before Lincoln was Assassinated by John Wilkes Booth. President Lincoln was shot by Booth at Ford's Theatre on the night of April 14th, 1865 while watching the play “Our American Cousin” and died the following morning on April 15th, 1865. The official Assassination Report regarding Henry Smith’s testimony to his actions, reads, in part:
"I was in charge of the party that took charge of Mrs. Surratt's house, 541 H Street, on the night of the 17th of April (1865), and arrested Mrs. Surratt, Miss Surratt, Miss Fitzpatrick, and Miss Jenkins. When I went up the steps, and rang the bell of the house, Mrs. Surratt came to the window, and said, 'Is that you, Mr. Kirby?' The reply was that it was not Mr. Kirby, and to open the door. She opened the door, and I asked, 'Are you Mrs. Surratt?' She said, 'I am the widow of John H. Surratt.' And I added, 'The mother of John H. Surratt, Jr.?' She replied, 'I am.' I then said, 'I come to arrest you and all in your house, and take you for examination to General Augur's Headquarters.' No inquiry whatever was made as to the cause of the arrest.
While we were there, (Lewis) Payne came to the house. I questioned him in regard to his occupation, and what business he had at the house that time of night. He stated that he was a laborer, and had come there to dig a gutter at the request of Mrs. Surratt. I went to the parlor door, and said, 'Mrs. Surratt, will you step (out) here a minute?' She came out, and I asked her, 'Do you know this man, and did you hire him to come here and dig a gutter for you?' She answered, raising her right hand, 'Before God, sir, I do not know this man, and have never seen him, and I did not hire him to dig a gutter for me.'
Payne said nothing. I then placed him under arrest, and told him he was so suspicious a character that I should send him to Colonel Wells, at General Augur's headquarters, for further examination. Payne was standing in full view of Mrs. Surratt, and within three paces of her, when she denied knowing him." (Steers, Edward Jr.; Testimony of Col. Henry W. Smith; The Trial: The Assassination of President Lincoln and the Trial of the Conspirators).
On the evening of April 17, 1865, two days after Lincoln died, Major Henry Smith arrested Mrs. Mary Surratt and Lewis Thornton Powell (alias Lewis Paine or Payne) at Mrs. Surratt's boarding house. John Wilkes Booth and his coconspirators had met at her house at 541 H Street in Washington, D.C. to devise their murderous plots against Lincoln, Vice President Andrew Johnson, Secretary of State William H. Seward and General Ulysses S. Grant. After a trial by a military commission, Payne, who had seriously wounded Seward in his assassination attempt, was hanged together with Surratt on July 7, 1865. Other conspirators hanged that day were David Herold (who had escaped with Booth) and George Atzerodt, who was supposed to kill Johnson.
We have located only one other example of this rare signature, signed on an unimportant document, dated later in 1868 Signed, "H.W. Smith" as Lieutenant 3rd U.S. Cavalry Commanding, Carlisle Barracks, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. That document was offered at a price of $4,999 and was in Fine condition. This historic signature is of Henry w. Smith is very rare, lacking in even the most advanced specialized Abraham Lincoln and Lincoln Assassination related collections. The two unique extraordinary dates on the document pair, being relatively tied to the Assassination of President Abraham Lincoln are extraordinary. (2 items) Mary Surratt (1823-1865) was convicted of taking part in the conspiracy to assassinate President Abraham Lincoln. Sentenced to death, she was the first woman executed in the United States and was hanged. She was the mother of John Surratt, also alleged to have been involved in the conspiracy. Mary Elizabeth Jenkins Surratt was an American boarding house owner in Washington, D.C., in 1865 who was convicted of taking part in the conspiracy to assassinate U.S. President Abraham Lincoln. Sentenced to death, she was hanged and became the First Woman Executed by the U.S. Federal government.
Lewis Payne (also known as Lewis Powell) (1844-1865) attempted unsuccessfully to assassinate U.S. Secretary of State William H. Seward on the same night Lincoln was assassinated, and along with Mary Surratt, was one of four people hanged for the Lincoln assassination conspiracy.
Abraham Lincoln was shot and killed at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C., as the Civil War was drawing to a close, just six days after the surrender of General Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia to General Ulysses S. Grant and Union forces. The assassination was planned and carried out by John Wilkes Booth as part of a larger conspiracy in an effort to rally the remaining Confederate troops to continue fighting. Lincoln was attending a stage performance of "Our American Cousin" at Ford's Theater on the evening of April 14th, 1865, with his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, Major Henry R. Rathbone, and his fiancee, Clara Harris.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN was the first American president to be Assassinated, though in 1835 an attempt had been made to assassinate Andrew Jackson. Lincoln's assassin, actor and Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth, had also plotted with fellow conspirators, Lewis Powell and George Atzerodt, to kill Secretary of State William H. Seward and Vice President Andrew Johnson respectively. Although Booth succeeded in killing Lincoln, the larger plot failed. Seward was attacked by Powell, but recovered from his wounds, and Johnson's would-be assassin fled Washington, D.C. upon losing his nerve.