Saginaw, Michigan seems like an unlikely location for an Abraham Lincoln-related connection but there I was –at the grave of Dr. Richard D. Mudd in Mount Olivet Cemetery! Who was Dr. Richard D. Mudd, you ask? Well, he was the grandson of Dr. Samuel A. Mudd. Dr. Samuel Mudd, as most people know, gave medical attention at his home to the fleeing John Wilkes Booth after shooting President Abraham Lincoln. Soon afterward, Dr. Mudd was arrested as a co-conspirator in the assassination of Lincoln and tried by a military tribunal. He was given a life sentence but later pardoned by President Andrew Johnson for performing medical service while imprisoned during an epidemic of yellow fever. Dr. Mudd returned home to Maryland and eventually died in 1883.
According to the book Seeking Lincoln in Michigan: A Remembrance Trail by Weldon E. Petz and Roger L. Rosentreter, Dr. Richard Mudd spent most of his life (over 80 years) trying to have his grandfather’s name cleared. Dr Richard Mudd earned both PhD and MD degrees. He interned at Detroit’s Henry Ford Hospital-followed by a career with General Motors as a physician. He made his home in Saginaw. Obviously, he did not believe that his grandfather was guilty in the conspiracy to murder Lincoln. He utilized whatever legal means was at his disposal in his effort to exonerate him. He even received letters from Presidents Carter and Reagan-both stating their beliefs that Dr. Samuel Mudd, was indeed, innocent. However, both also noted that they could not set aside or reverse the judgment as was rendered by the military commission.
Dr. Richard Mudd passed away in 2002. He became well-known for his work in behalf of his grandfather. The work he had so diligently labored on will have to continue with his descendants or other family members-if any one of them should choose to do so. He can rest in peace in the knowledge that he gave so much to honor his grandfather and his family name.Mail this post