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Mary Ricard Van Tyne


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The Charges and Specifications Against the Prisoners. Davis, Sanders, Tucker, Thompson and Clay in the Indictment. They are Charged with Conspiring to Kill Lincoln, Johnson, Seward and Grant.

The Testimony Taken: New York Times (May 16, 1865)

Mary Ricard Van Tyne

b. 1812, London, England

d. after 1880, probably in Washington, D. C.

md. Dr. John P. Van Tyne
23 May 1833, Baltimore, Maryland

Testimony of Mary Van Tine.
Examined by Judge Holt--
Q.--Do you reside in the City of Washington?
A.--I do; at No. 240 G-street.

Q.--Do you keep rooms for rent?
A.--I do.

Q.--Will you look at the prisoners at the bar, and state whether, in the month of February last, you saw any of them, and, if so, which?
A.--Two of these gentlemen had rooms at my house, Arnold and O'Laughlin.

Q.--What time in February did they take rooms in your house?
A.--As near as I can recollect it was on the 10th. I cannot state positively the date.

Q.--Did you know J. Wilkes Booth in his lifetime?
A.--I knew him by his coming to my house to see gentlemen who had rooms there.

Q.--Did he or not come very often to see the prisoners O'Laughlin and Arnold?
A.--Yes, frequently.

Q.--Would he remain for a good while?
A.--As a general thing he would go into their rooms, and I could see nothing further of him.

Q.--Did these prisoners leave the city and return several times?
A.--They left on Saturday to go to their homes, as I understood, in Baltimore.

Q.--Do you know whether Booth accompanied them or not?
A.--I think not.

Q.--Were these interviews between Booth and them alone, or was Booth accompanied by others?
A.--I never saw any one with him.

Q.--They told you his name was J. Wilkes Booth, did they?
A.--Yes, Arnold did. I inquired who he was, and he said J. Wilkes Booth.

Q.--Did he call for them frequently and not find them in?
A.--Yes, some times.

Q.--Did he manifest much anxiety to see them on these occasions?
A.--Frequently, when they were away, he would call three or four times before they returned. he would seem very anxious to see them.

Q.--Would he leave messages for them.
A.--Sometimes he would request if they came before he called again, to say they would find him at the stable. Sometimes he would go into their room and write a note.

Q.--Look at the photograph now shown you, and say if you recognize it as the man you call Booth?
A.--I cannot see without my glasses. (Glasses were brought in and handed to the witness.) I should call it a good likeness. I recognize it as Booth, but it is a very poor likeness.

Q.--Do you remember the last time Booth played in this city, about the 18th or 20th of March?
A.--Yes.

Q.--Did these prisoners present you with complimentary tickets for the play that night?
A.--Yes, I expressed a wish to see him, and O'Laughlin gave me tickets.

Q.--Did there seem to be any difference in the intimacy of his association with these two men? If so, with which was he the most intimate?
A.--I cannot say. He would sometimes inquire for one and some times for the other; though I think he more frequently inquired for O'Laughlin.

Q.--Did you not see any arms in their room?
A.--I saw a pistol once, and but once.

Q.--Do you remember at any time seeing a man call, a very rough-looking person--a laboring man or mechanic?
A.--Not a laboring man. There was a man who used to come sometimes. I think he passed one night with them, from his coming out early in the morning.

Q.--Do you know his name?
A.--No. I would know him if I saw him. He was what you would call a respectable-looking mechanic; not what you would call a gentleman.

Q.--Could you describe him at all?
A.--Not very minutely. His hair looked as if it had been exposed to the weather.

Q.--Do you recognize him as among the prisoners at the bar?
A.--No.

Q.--Did these prisoners seem to have any business transactions with Booth, and if so, of what character?
A.--They said they were in the oil trade.

Q.--Did they seem to have an extensive correspondence? Did many letters come to them?
A.--Not a great many.

Q.--Where did they generally come from?
A.--I never noticed; they were brought in and laid down.

Q.--They were addressed to the names of O'Laughlin and Arnold, were they?
A.--Yes; sometimes to one and sometimes to the other.

Q.--You say Booth came sometimes by day and sometimes at night?
A.--I do not know as I ever saw him at night. He might have come there without my seeing him; I slept in the back part of the house, and persons might come into the front part of the house without my seeing them.

Q.--You do not know whether, when they went out and staid late at night, they were with Booth or not?
A.--No.

Q.--Which was about the 20th of March? {There may be text missing from the newspaper since this question doesn't follow.}
A.--I think so. It was the Monday after the Saturday Booth played.

Q.--Did you ever see Booth ride out in the evening with these men?
A.--No, I do not think I ever did. I could not say positively whether I did or not. He frequently came to my house in a carriage and inquired for them. I never say them, that I recollect, ride out together.

CROSS-EXAMINED BY MR. COXE.
Q.--Did these prisoners say there were, or had been, in the oil business?
A.--That they were in it.

Q.--Was it during the first of latter part of the time they occupied a room at your house?
A.--I think they had been there two or three weeks.

Q.--Did they say anything when they went away from your house--where they were going?
A.--To Pennsylvania.

Q.--Did they say anything about having abandoned the oil regions?
A.--No; not that I recollect.

Q.--Were they much in the room, or were they moving about?
A.--They were not in the room a great deal.

Q.--Did they occupy it regularly at night?
A.--They were out sometimes.

Q.--Do you fix the 20th of March as the day they left?
A.--If you can ascertain what night Booth played I can tell you. It was the Monday following.

Q.--Was "Pescara" the play?
A.--Yes.

Q.--You cannot speak with certainty of anybody being with them beside Booth?
A.--No; not anybody that I know. Others may have gone into this room. I could not say in regard to that.

Q.--I ask you whether Booth's visits were most frequent in February or the latter part of the time they were there in March?
A.--I think they were pretty much the same all through the time they were there; he was a pretty constant visitor.

Q.--Were you present at any conversations between them?
A.--No, I was not.

Q.--You never heard any of their conversation?
A.--No.

Q.--Did they room up stairs?
A.--No; in the back parlor.

End of testimony

Ancestry.com. 1860 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2004. Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Eighth Census of the United States, 1860. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1860. M653, 1,438 rolls.

Year: 1860; Census Place: Washington Ward 3, Washington, District of Columbia; Roll: M653_102; Page: 682; Image: 475.