Surratt House Museum

Surratt House Museum Do you like a good murder mystery? We have a great one for you at the Surratt House Museum!
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Happy Mother's Day! Mary Surratt's mother, Elizabeth Ann Webster Jenkins, was widowed when her husband, Archibald Jenkin...
05/12/2019

Happy Mother's Day! Mary Surratt's mother, Elizabeth Ann Webster Jenkins, was widowed when her husband, Archibald Jenkins, died in the fall of 1825. Elizabeth was left her husband's estate, young son John, and two-year-old Mary.

It is likely Mary was influenced by her mother's strong will and abilities. Far from a helpless widow, sources indicate Elizabeth was highly competent. She conserved her husband's estate, which included eleven slaves and more in dispute, bought land, and managed it well.

Mrs. Jenkins outlived her daughter by almost thirteen years, dying on June 8, 1878, aged 84. She is buried in a well-marked grave in the little cemetery at St. Ignatius Catholic Church on Brinkley Road in Oxon Hill.

Curious Collections: With the warmer weather we are enjoying, it is hard to imagine just how cold homes could be during ...
05/11/2019

Curious Collections: With the warmer weather we are enjoying, it is hard to imagine just how cold homes could be during the winter months 150 years ago. For those freezing nights, a bed warmer would be just the thing! Most people think of a bed warmer as a round metal pan full of coals, but that wasn't the only way. A fire warmed soap stone would work just as well, and pose less of a fire hazard- like this one on display in our master bedroom. Try and spot it on your next visit!

But just how cold could it get overnight? Cold enough that you would have to chip thin layers of ice off the top of the pitcher in the morning in order to bathe and brush your teeth. BRRRRR!

John Wilkes Booth was born on this day 181 years ago near Bel Air, Maryland, to Junius Brutus Booth and Mary Anne Holmes...
05/10/2019

John Wilkes Booth was born on this day 181 years ago near Bel Air, Maryland, to Junius Brutus Booth and Mary Anne Holmes. While the Surratt Society Booth Escape Route Tours discuss Booth in his final years and as a conspirator, you can discover more about Booth's childhood and upbringing at his boyhood home, Tudor Hall. The Spirits of Tudor Hall blog also includes some fascinating information.

05/08/2019

We are celebrating our 100th like! Thanks for helping us get to this milestone.
Here's to the next 100!

At one point in its history, there were seven enslaved African Americans working at the Surratt farm. Several of them ca...
05/07/2019

At one point in its history, there were seven enslaved African Americans working at the Surratt farm. Several of them carried the last name Hawkins, but we know the most about one domestic servant who preferred to be called Aunt Rachel. Rachel Hawkins has also been listed as Rachel Semmes, but we know little about her early life except that she was rented to the Surratts by Cornelius Wildman of Charles County and Washington, D.C. in 1859, and remained with the family until freedom came in November of 1864.

Rachel had a son and a daughter and the chances are excellent her line was carried on. Today, there are still families that carry the name Hawkins in southern Prince George’s County. While we have reached out to some of
these individuals, they have not been able to help. Can you help us trace the descendants of Aunt Rachel Hawkins? As we aim to tell more of Rachel's story and connect with descendants, we are calling on you to become a historian by sharing family lines and stories. If you believe you or someone you know might have a connection to Aunt Rachel or the enslaved population that lived at Surratt House, please contact us!

Roughly 100 visitors joined us this weekend for the Buffalo Soldier encampment. Visitors young and old learned about the...
05/06/2019

Roughly 100 visitors joined us this weekend for the Buffalo Soldier encampment. Visitors young and old learned about the often difficult tasks faced by the Buffalo Soldiers during the era of westward expansion, a turbulent time in America's history. We appreciate the reenactors and interpreters from the 9th & 10th Cavalry units, who remain dedicated to keeping this history alive!

There’s still a little bit of time to come visit the Buffalo Soldiers camped out in the lawn this afternoon! Stop by f...
05/04/2019

There’s still a little bit of time to come visit the Buffalo Soldiers camped out in the lawn this afternoon! Stop by for this free event!

PGParks History
05/03/2019

PGParks History

Fun Fact Friday! Most people know the name John Wilkes Booth and if they know anything about him, it is that he was a famous actor who killed President Abraham Lincoln. But what happened to all his costumes? Tragically they were mostly ruined when aboard a schooner named the Marie Victoria that sank in 1865. What could be salvaged of the “…splendid collection of theatrical clothes, in fine silk velvets, silks, satin, ermine, crimson clothing, hats, caps, plumes, boots, and buskins, shoes, &c.” was only worth $500 in the end.

For more information visit www.surratthousemuseum.org

05/01/2019

Created in 1866, six African American units of Buffalo Soldiers were tasked with maintaining peace, aiding infrastructure, and ensuring safety of settlers heading west. This weekend, you're invited to join us In Camp with the Buffalo Soldiers and discover their legacy of bravery and triumph.

PGParks History
04/28/2019

PGParks History

It's National Celebrate a Librarian Day! Surratt House Museum is home to the James O. Hall Research Center, which is a treasure trove of local history and all things Lincoln assassination related. Colleen Puterbaugh has been the Research Librarian since August 2015. A graduate of the History program at UMBC and a Maryland native, Colleen loves to share her passion for history and to help visitors connect past events to their own life experiences. She pulls triple duty, also serving as the museum’s collections manager and as a tour guide for public tours.
The James O. Hall Research Center houses a vast amount of primary source documents, reference files, periodicals, maps, photos, and even a collection of freedom papers from the 18th and 19th centuries for former enslaved people in Prince Georges County. It is also a resource for anyone interested in local history, including a section on genealogy references and the history of Prince Georges County, especially the Clinton area. The library is open to the public by appointment, so call Colleen at 301-868-6185 to find out more today.

While our remaining spring tours are sold out, there are plenty of spaces remaining for our September ones. Contact us t...
04/26/2019

While our remaining spring tours are sold out, there are plenty of spaces remaining for our September ones. Contact us to learn more!

#OnThisDay in 1865 John Wilkes Booth was tracked down and shot following a 12-day escape after the assassination of President Lincoln. Our friends at Surratt House Museum offer tours of his escape in the spring and fall.

Can you spot the family resemblance? Two descendants of Civil War notables joined us during our Author's Hour earlier th...
04/24/2019

Can you spot the family resemblance? Two descendants of Civil War notables joined us during our Author's Hour earlier this month. Admiral John Dahlgren, pictured on top, was assigned to the Washington Navy Yard in 1847 and is well-known as the Father of Naval Ordnance. His son Ulric Dahlgren, pictured on the bottom, was a Union colonel who was killed during a failed 1864 raid on Richmond. After his death, suspicious papers linked to a plot to assassinate Confederate president Jefferson Davis, were found on his body. These might have sparked John Wilkes Booth's later plan to assassinate Abraham Lincoln. You never know what famous (or infamous!) characters might be in your family tree!

On this first night of Passover, we are taking at look at the Shapell Manuscript Foundation’s fascinating project rese...
04/20/2019
HHMAG

On this first night of Passover, we are taking at look at the Shapell Manuscript Foundation’s fascinating project researching Jewish soldiers who fought on both sides of the war. Through photographs, diaries, newspaper clippings, military rosters, and other primary sources, this new research gives a glimpse into not only the individual stories of Jews who served during the Civil War, but also Jewish culture in the middle of the 19th century.

"Over the course of ten years, Shapell Manuscript Foundation researchers have unearthed a treasure trove of information on Union and Confederate Jews during the Civil War era, giving life to a buried record of the Jewish immigrant experience and American patriotism."

Here’s a closer look at one of our most treasured pieces, on view in the family dining room. As advances in glass pres...
04/18/2019

Here’s a closer look at one of our most treasured pieces, on view in the family dining room. As advances in glass pressing techniques were made in the 1850s, there was an increase in the availability of more affordable, decorative tableware that mimicked cut glass. While no maker’s mark exists on this cordial set, the skill of its craftsmen and artisans is evident.

This beautiful ruby red and clear glass cordial set that features the Greek Key (or Meander) pattern was originally owned by Mary Surratt. It was passed down to her daughter Anna and eventually made its way to the Surratt House Museum in 2006. Practically all of the family's belongings were sold a few years after Mary's death, which makes this piece especially remarkable.

Come by the Surratt House Museum today for a tour to see this and much more!

On this day in 1865, Mary Surratt was arrested at her 541 H Street boardinghouse in Washington, DC. In the aftermath of ...
04/17/2019

On this day in 1865, Mary Surratt was arrested at her 541 H Street boardinghouse in Washington, DC. In the aftermath of the April 15 assassination of President Lincoln, the metropolitan police carried out an extensive search for John Wilkes Booth, who had been easily identified as the assassin, and his suspected accomplices.

On the night of April 17, officers entered the boardinghouse in search of Booth. While Mary was not initially suspected in the plot, conspirator Lewis Powell (alias Paine or Payne) made a curious visit to the boardinghouse that night while officers were present. Surratt claimed to not know Powell, though he had visited the boardinghouse numerous times under different aliases. This cast greater suspicion on Mary and she, along with her daughter Anna and other residents of the home, were arrested and taken to the Carroll Annex of the Old Capitol Prison. All but Mary would be released.

This carte-de-visite, entitled "Morning, Noon, and Night," was taken from a mantel at the Surratt boardinghouse during the police search of the premises. Anna Surratt had hidden a photograph of John Wilkes Booth on the backside of the card, casting even more suspicion on the involvement of the family in the assassination plot.

Photo credit: Photo by Abbie Rowe- Courtesy National Park Service

Be sure to say hello to Laurie the next time you visit us! We couldn't do what we do without our knowledgeable and dedic...
04/08/2019

Be sure to say hello to Laurie the next time you visit us! We couldn't do what we do without our knowledgeable and dedicated fearless leader!

Not many people can say they have been tracking an assassin most of their lives, but Surratt House Museum director Laurie Verge can! Since learning at age 10 that her great-grandfather was perhaps involved with John Wilkes Booth in the plots against President Abraham Lincoln, she became fascinated by the subject and of one of the most infamous crimes in American history.

Laurie attended public schools in Prince George's County and graduated from Frostburg State University. She then returned to her home county and turned her avocation for history into a vocation, teaching history and government for nearly a decade. During a hiatus from teaching while raising a family, Laurie responded to a call for volunteers to give tours of Surratt House when it opened in 1976 as the first public historic house museum in the county. She volunteered for eight years before becoming the full-time facility manager in 1983.

During her years at the museum, Verge has spoken to many groups, participated in numerous conferences, and written a number of articles for history-related journals. She was appointed by President Bill Clinton to the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, which planned celebrations for the 2009 birthday commemoration of our 16th U.S. President. Laurie has worked with many authors and media programs related to the museum and was honored to be acknowledged on-screen for her work with the 2010 American Film Company's, "The Conspirator," which tells the story of Mary Surratt and her involvement in the Lincoln assassination. At the world premiere at Ford's Theatre, Laurie met the film's director, Robert Redford, who thanked her for continuing to tell a story that has fascinated the public and historians for over 150 years.

We’ve got a full house for this evening’s reception kicking off the 20th Annual Conference weekend! Enjoying great c...
04/05/2019

We’ve got a full house for this evening’s reception kicking off the 20th Annual Conference weekend! Enjoying great company and conversation with old friends, scholars, and friendly faces.

Here’s a great opportunity to show your county pride! ❤️💛🖤
03/30/2019

Here’s a great opportunity to show your county pride! ❤️💛🖤

In celebration of St. George's Day, PGParks History is challenging everyone to tell us, " What Prince George's County Means to Me." Snap a picture, be creative, and most importantly have fun!
Wondering what St. George's Day is? St. George's Day takes place on April 23 and is the day we celebrate the founding of Prince George's County. On that day in 1696, the Maryland legislature passed an act to take portions of Calvert and Charles County to create Prince George's County.
Be sure to tag us in your photos all month long and use the hashtag #stgeorgesdayhistory.
We can't wait to see your Prince George’s County pride!

Looking to introduce children to history in a fun, educational way? Dive into Mary Surratt's life in a kid-friendly way ...
03/29/2019

Looking to introduce children to history in a fun, educational way? Dive into Mary Surratt's life in a kid-friendly way while reading, "Mary's Story," while snuggled up with a doll. Need a little bit more action? Youngsters can hone their sleuthing skills and pretend they're in pursuit of John Wilkes Booth, decoding secret messages and mapping the trail with a compass as they go. Pop into the museum shop, where you'll find these and other children's games, books, and toys for the young and the young at ❤️!

There are still a few days left to register for our Annual Confererence: Was It Just One Mad Act? Participants will be t...
03/27/2019

There are still a few days left to register for our Annual Confererence: Was It Just One Mad Act? Participants will be treated to the launch of Sandy Prindle's new book, "Booth's Confederate Connections." A retired federal court judge from Texas, Prindle has long been curious as to where assassin John Wilkes Booth received his monetary support. After years of research, this book dives into that very subject. Prindle will present his conclusions at the conference and his title might give you a big clue regarding his findings!

Surratt House Museum
03/26/2019

Surratt House Museum

The location of T.B. is less than a 10 minute drive from the museum. Take a quick drive through history the next time yo...
03/26/2019

The location of T.B. is less than a 10 minute drive from the museum. Take a quick drive through history the next time you're in the area!

At one time in the mid-20th century, the Guinness Book of World Records listed a small town in southern Prince George’s County as having the record of the shortest name in the world. What was the name of this town and what did it stand for? #triviatuesday

A colonial land grant holder by the name of Thomas Brooke marked the corner boundaries of his huge holdings with English fieldstones, carving his initials onto the tops of the stones. Native American trails intersected the property and a village called T.B., taken from the owner’s name, grew up around Brooke’s northwest boundary stone.

T.B. was the nearest town of note when John Surratt Sr. moved his family to the area in 1852 and opened a tavern and post office that gave their town its name- Surrattsville. Today their home is open to the public as the Surratt House Museum.

Two buildings from the town of T.B. remain, in what is now called Brandywine. The NY Deli is housed in what was the Marlow-Huntt General Store and a private residence at 13702 Old Brandywine Road housed a casket shop built in 1878.

Surratt House Museum's cover photo
03/26/2019

Surratt House Museum's cover photo

Fascinating lecture with Michelle Krowl from The Library of Congress today during her presentation on Antonia Ford Willa...
03/23/2019

Fascinating lecture with Michelle Krowl from The Library of Congress today during her presentation on Antonia Ford Willard. Many wonderful primary sources help tell the story of this interesting woman. You can get involved and help transcribe Civil War documents at www.crowd.loc.gov.

Happy first day of spring! 🌱🌷🎋
03/20/2019

Happy first day of spring! 🌱🌷🎋

Published in Harper's Weekly in 1863, this cartoon depicts Antonia Ford, a presumed Confederate spy from Fairfax Courtho...
03/18/2019

Published in Harper's Weekly in 1863, this cartoon depicts Antonia Ford, a presumed Confederate spy from Fairfax Courthouse, VA, delivering messages for Brigadier General J.E.B Stuart. Upon her capture, Antonia's life took an unexpected turn, culminating in love and a marriage to Union Major James C. Willard. Join us this Saturday for On Some Auspicious Day: Antonia Ford Willard, a free talk by Michelle Krowl of The Library of Congress, to take a closer look at the fascinating story of this local figure. #HERstory

Visit our research library for more fascinating information about Sarah!
03/13/2019

Visit our research library for more fascinating information about Sarah!

Sarah Slater is not well-known in history books, and that’s just what she would have wanted. A true femme fatale, she was possibly involved in the attempted kidnapping and assassination of President Abraham Lincoln and connected with John Surratt, Jr. of Surratt House Museum.
Originally from Hartford, CT, she moved to New Bern, NC before the start of the Civil War and married Rowan Slater, a “dancing master.” On July 23, 1864, Rowan joined the Confederate Army and left home, never to see his wife again.
Sarah began using an alias, Kate Thompson, during this time and was recruited by the Confederate government as a female courier, ferrying messages along the Confederate Underground between Richmond and Montreal. She was described as, “an exotic young French-speaking Confederate agent and courier,” and her mastery of the French language allowed her to move easily in Montreal. For many, Sarah was known simply as “the lady in the veil,” due to the veil she wore day and night to conceal her identity.
Her last mission began on April 1, 1865, when she departed Richmond with John Surratt Jr., assigned to deliver Confederate money stashed in Canada to the safety of England. After departing Washington, DC on April 4, Sarah vanishes from the record. Federal agents looked for her until at least 1868, but their pursuits proved fruitless.
In the late 1970s, Lincoln Assassination researcher James O. Hall discovered Sarah Slater’s true identity. Since then, subsequent researchers have patched together the rest of her life. Scholars are now fairly certain this is an image of Sarah in her later years. To read her full life story, contact the James O. Hall Research Center (301-868-6185) at the Surratt House Museum or visit their website, http://www.surrattmuseum.org/hall-research-center. #WomensHistoryMonth #HERstory

Address

9118 Brandywine Road
Clinton, MD
20735

Opening Hours

Wednesday 11:00 - 15:00
Thursday 11:00 - 15:00
Friday 11:00 - 15:00
Saturday 12:00 - 16:00
Sunday 12:00 - 16:00

Telephone

(301) 868-1121

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