Speaking of assassins, this Atlas Obscura piece shows an interesting use of coins at the grave of John Wilkes Booth.
One of the top actors of his day, Booth assassinated President Lincoln on April 14, 1865 before being killed himself. But Booth had quite a journey on the way to death.
After shooting the president, Booth jumped to the stage from Lincoln’s box at Ford’s Theater shouting, breaking his leg in the process, and proceeded to escape through Maryland to Northern Virginia.
While on the lam, Booth had his leg treated by a doctor who would later be tried for conspiracy. He and fellow conspirator David Herold hid in the swamps for nearly a week. By April 26, federal officers had cornered the men, who were hiding in a tobacco barn. Booth was coaxed out when only when the barn was lit on fire, but refused to surrender. As he ran out with guns up, Sergeant Thomas P. "Boston" Corbett shot him. The soldier maintained that he had only meant to disarm the man, but Booth only lived a few hours after the officers dragged his body to the farmhouse porch.
First he was buried in the Old Penitentiary, along with his co-conspirators who were hanged there. Booth’s remains were exhumed and reburied in a warehouse of the Penitentiary in 1867. Finally in 1869, his remains were exhumed a third time and released to his family.
The assassin’s body was transported to Baltimore, the city of his youth, and buried in the Booth family plot in Green Mount Cemetery. The family plot is easy to find due to Junius Brutus Booth’s towering obelisk. But the Booth family, John Wilkes’ brother Edwin in particular, believed that an elaborate headstone for John Wilkes might attract unwanted attention and vandalism. Visitors today believe the small, plain, unmarked headstone denotes John Wilkes Booth’s final resting spot. In lieu of flowers or stones, people leave pennies behind on the headstone, as if to give Lincoln the final word.
Interesting practice, and a use of cents I hadn't heard of.
To read the complete article, see:
Grave of John Wilkes Booth
Wayne Homren, Editor
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