Villainesses: Mary Surratt
Hello from wonder media network. I'm jenny kaplan and this is encyclopedia will manteca if you're just tuning in welcome every weekday were sharing the story of a woman from history who you may or may not know about but definitely should each month has been and for august. We're talking about villainous today. Let's head back to the civil war. Era united states are villainous was convicted of taking part in the conspiracy to assassinate president abraham lincoln. Let's talk about mary. Surat mary elizabeth jenkins born in waterloo maryland in eighteen twenty three. We don't know a whole lot about her early life but we do know that she was more highly educated many of her peers at the time that's because when mary was twelve years old her mom took her across the river to alexandria virginia to attend the catholic school when mary was seventeen she married john harrison sarah a landowner. Some sources described john as a sort of sketchy character. He was a heavy drinker and eventually found himself in significant debt. The couple moved to a mill near oxen hill maryland and had three kids two sons and a daughter in eighteen fifty two john purchased a big chunk of land and prince george's county and immediately started developing the property the two-storey who story structure that he developed became both a tavern and the surat family home. It was a central hub for the community and in eighteen fifty four the maryland maryland general assembly made its importance official it named the area surat's bill created new election district and chose the surat hotel was the polling station station the surat how serve locals of all sorts farmers politicians doctors and lawyers people went there to chat about politics and the growing tensions sends leading up to the civil war for awhile business was booming mary and john we're able to send all three of their kids to boarding school but john's drinking got worse and his debts grew in april eighteen sixty one the civil war began. Mary and her husband were confederate. Sympathizers and both of their sons worked for the southern forces the following year an eighteen sixty two john iraq collapsed and died their eldest eldest son. John junior returned to take over the family business and it was during his tenure that the tavern became a haven for confederates and confederate sympathizers in eighteen sixty four. Mary lease the tavern and hotel to surat spell local. John lloyd and moved to d._c. Where she turned town how she owned into a working boardinghouse mary's boarding house became the base for planning a conspiracy that would kill the u._s. President her our son john junior had taken up association with fellow confederate and well known actor. John wilkes booth the two along with a small group of additional conspirators made plans to assassinate president abraham lincoln and other members of his cabinet. John wilkes this booth shot. President abraham lincoln on april fourteenth eighteen sixty five just a few hours later police showed up at mary surat's boarding house looking for booth and i'm mary son john junior after booths assassination attempt succeeded. He further relied on mary's property. He tried to escape via the tavern in surat hot spell. Some sources say that mary helped supply booth with arms as he attempted his escape. She hit delivered a package for the conspirators to tavern mm proprietor. John lloyd early on the day of the assassination suggesting that booth stopover during his escape was premeditated by eleven thirty a._p._m. John wilkes booth run food with david herold and after picking up rifles in a bottle of whisky at a country inn owned by mary surat they headed south. John lloyd's part in the matter did marian. She was arrested along with about five others in connection to lincoln sauce initiative. Mary was charged with the betting being aiding counseling and harboring the other defendants. Her trial took place on may twelfth eighteen sixty five in front of a military commission. Mary said she was innocent. But witnesses disagreed john lloyd served as a witness for the prosecution he testified that mary had asked him to collect the noculars and guns prepared for john wilkes booth and another accomplice on the evening of the crime witnesses for the defense attempted to use the fact that mary was a deeply religious woman and described her as gentle on may twelfth eight defendants stood trial for the murder of abraham lincoln mussa wrought received a death sentence members of the military commission actually recommended that the president changed mary sentence from death to life life in prison but it didn't happen. Some accounts say he never got the message. The choice of military court over civilian court for mary's trial is still debated today a supreme court decision a year later may have invalidated the entire proceedings in fact. Mary son was not hanged when he was tried a oh. You're so later in civilian court. Mary surat exact role in the lincoln. Assassination isn't clear and the verdict is still debated by scholars to this day you tune in tomorrow for the story of our final villainous this month special special thanks to liz caplan my favorite sister and co-creator talk to you tomorrow <music> before we go a few words about another podcast. You might need a little creative inspiration checkout just at the beginning kickstarter podcast about how independent creators bring their ideas to light meet an artist touring the u._s. In a mobile tattoo shop for women a designer turning discarded plastic water bottles into chic. I losses and the creator of a new kind of dating app one inspired by personal ads in vintage lesbian coroda. Listen to the entire first season of just the beginning on apple podcasts spotify or wherever you find your favorite shows and be sure to subscribe subscribe to catch new episodes.