In 1924, Whitney Bolton, editor of the Dayton Daily News, wrote an article telling of the escape of John Wilkes Booth, after interviewing reporter John Young. At age seven, Young had attended the play Our American Cousin at Ford’s Theatre with his father. It was a night Young would never forget.
Near the end of the second act, a shot rang out and a man crashed to the stage, brandished a long knife, yelled, “Sic semper tyrannis!” and ran away, a significant limp in his step.
Years later, Young interviewed James Kelley, a man who had been a member of the Richmond Theatre Company with John Wilkes Booth. Booth and Kelley had shared a dressing room and the services of a young dressing valet named Henry.
When the war started, Booth became passionate for the South, at first enthusiastically, then slowly becoming sullen and angry. The change in his mood caused John Wilkes Booth to be fired from his acting job. Booth left for Washington, and took Henry with him. He left behind a number of play manuscripts with scribbled notes in his handwriting. Kelley kept the manuscripts.