The John Wilkes Booth DNA Project

This story is ongoing: Did Booth escape death at the Garrett farm? Has history got it all wrong?

December 2010 saw articles abound with the news that descendants of Booth have agreed to exhume the body of John’s older brother-the famous Edwin Booth (noted actor of his day). Family members want Edwin Booth’s DNA compared against a specimen of Wilkes’ to determine “once and for all” if it was really him that died in the Garrett barn.

Please go to the following link for further details:


Personally, I welcome such inquiry-however I’m not at all moved by the possibilty that it wasn’t John Wilkes Booth that died at the Garrett farm that day. As I have mentioned previously, the evidence is overwhelming that it was. Read assassination literature by Edward Steers, for instance. The notion by Finas Bates that Booth escaped and remained alive into the 1900’s has been dealt with and disclaimed. But—–we shall see won’t we! We wait the results!!!





John Wilkes Booth

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36 Responses to “The John Wilkes Booth DNA Project”

  1. Lee Matous says:

    Noticed not too many other comments lately. I have a surprise, DNA is being done secretly. I am working with decendants of Booth family. Will know something before April 26th, the 150th anniversary…… me Mr. Nash with a phone number……. This announcement is real, I found a way to do the DNA testing without exhuming…..Been working on this and retrieving documents no one has seen for last 6 years. So, stand by…..

  2. JD Huntley says:

    ALL CONSPIRATORS DEAD, their secrets gone. Family believes JWB lived 38 more years, proof: photos of men with fingers. Bet Stanton burned the dead man’s pics along with the 18 missing diary pages. Almost impossible to get away with murdering a US President nowadays, John Boehner needs a drink.

  3. Len Jones says:

    Let’s face it folks……………….it doesn’t take 2+ years to conduct DNA testing. I love a good “conspiracy type” theory as much as the next man, but Booth did not survive/get away/etc.

  4. Jim Toto says:

    Sorry, my articulation on last post was not good!
    To be clear….LOTS of mistakes and fuzziness surrounding JWBs final hours….conspiracies are great, but this one can be proved or disproved by modern technology.
    Get ‘er done!!

  5. Jim Toto says:

    Just read O’Reillys book.
    The thing that gets me from a “realistic” viewpoint is this: the South just lost the war. Feelings at that point are still very raw & the thought process of “seccession” is still permeating through many powerful people’s minds. So, the Stanton / Baker connection in O’Reilly’s book is fascinating. COULD they have convened a cover-up? Better yet, why would they want a braggadocius lout like Booth to remain a) on the lamb & b) IN the states!? I believe JWB may have survived, especially after the “burial” post autopsy, etc…. My 2 cts!

  6. Rvellano says:

    Debate is futile and pointless. The stories are fascinating and I think there is enough evidence which leads to the only reasonable action… press for the DNA results. It is our government and we the people have a right to know the whole story regarding one of our greatest presidents and his killer.

  7. ceaz damoment says:

    they will never release the dna results because it wasnt john wilkes booth that died in that barn…and once that is proven history will be all wrong and they will never let that happen

  8. Frosteetoes says:

    So, what’s the progress of this DNA testing? Is it still ago?

  9. Amos Humiston says:

    What a sideshow this has become. Maybe Booth and Elvis are hiding out together somewhere, like on a spaceship. No one can prove to me that they’re not. Have you definitely NOT seen them together on a spaceship?

  10. P. Weaver says:

    Today is the 110th anniversary of John Wilkes Booth’s suicide in Enid, OK. Here’s the link to an excellent article in the Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK about Booth/David E. George.​deathbed-claim

  11. P. Weaver says:

    National Examiner, November 26, 2012, pg. 2 & 3: Lincoln’s Assassin Got Away With Murder and Wasn’t Shot Days Later! Relatives demand DNA tests to prove that John Wilkes Booth lived another 38 years.
    Well, it finally made the tabloids so it must be true – ha ha! Yet the article does suggest to me that the DNA tests still haven’t been done or at least made public. So what’s the hold up?
    I have lived in Major and Garfield (Enid) Counties in Oklahoma for 22 years and have been very involved in the genealogy and history of the area, especially the Booth Legend. Here are some “coincidences” I have come across:
    – Joseph Hanks, nephew of Nancy Hanks Lincoln (mother of Abraham Lincoln), 1st cousin of Abraham Lincoln, made the Cherokee Strip Run in 1893. Joseph claimed a townsite in Enid on Main St. a few blocks from the Grand Ave. Hotel. He is buried in the Enid Cemetery.
    – W.B. Williamson, an early Postmaster in Ames, OK about 20 miles southwest of Enid, was a special dispatch bearer for President Lincoln during the Civil War and was in the Ford Theater the night of the assassination and with the troops at the Garrett farm when Booth was killed. (W.B. Williamson’s father, Alexander, had been the tutor to the Lincoln boys in the White House.)
    – Boston Corbett, the soldier who shot and killed Booth in the Garrett barn in 1865, lived in Enid at the same time as David E. George/John Wilkes Booth.
    – According to “The Escape and Wanderings of J. Wilkes Booth Until Ending of the Trail by Suicide in Oklahoma” by W.P. Campbell, a founder of the Oklahoma Historical Society, Booth escaped after the assassination of Lincoln. During his “wanderings”, Booth had several alias names, one of which was Jesse Smith which he used while he worked on a crew in Kansas transporting supplies for troops. The crew was lead by Levi Thrailkill who staked a claim on the western side of Enid, OK and lived there at the time of the George/Booth suicide.
    – W.P. Campbell (see above) wrote that he had seen “Booth” several times over the years and was to have a meeting with him the Saturday before he committed suicide in Enid, OK. Campbell was unable to make the meeting.

    So what brought 5 people with links to Abraham Lincoln or John Wilkes Booth to live in the unsettled Oklahoma Territory – free land? adventure? hideouts for outlaws? And what brought them all to the Enid area, a small rural town on the prairie? Did they know the others would be there? Did Corbett and George/Booth ever meet on the street? Did they recognize each other? Oh, how I would have loved to have been there!

  12. Yousuf H. Khalil says:

    Since the results haven’t been made public yet, doesn’t it seem very suspicious to all of you? Maybe the people of the cemetery where Edwin Booth is buried don’t want to reveal the results. I believe that JWB killed himself in Enid.

  13. B. Nash says:

    Fair enough. For an interesting posting regarding Booth mummies see:
    Also, you might want to consider joing the Lincoln Discussion Symposium at:

    Have a great week. Thanks for stopping by. :)

  14. P. Weaver says:

    Thank you. I will try to get a copy of this book. I will refer you to a book also: The Escape and Wanderings of J. Wilkes Booth Until Ending of the Trail by Suicide in Oklahoma by W.P. Campbell, a founder of the Oklahoma Historical Society, copyright 1922. This is available through Interlibrary Loan.
    Also there is a MGM short film entitled The Man in the Barn from 1936. I’ve never found a copy but I did see it on Turner Classic Movies a few years ago.
    We could go back and forth all day with books and articles on both sides of the debate and never reach a truce and that’s ok. The reason I hoped to hear about the DNA results was to learn the truth of the identity of the body in the barn. If it was Booth, end of story. If not, well…

  15. B. Nash says:

    On the contrary there is mountain of evidence that it was, indeed, Booth in the barn. To find out the history of the David E. George claim please read: Lincoln Legends: Myths, Hoaxes, and Confabulations Associated with Our Greatest President by Dr. Edward Steers, Jr.

  16. P. Weaver says:

    Well, everyone is entitled to their opinion and I respect yours. But even though I can’t PROVE David E. George was John Wilkes Booth, you can’t prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that he wasn’t.
    Thank you for this blog. It’s been very interesting.

  17. B. Nash says:

    There’s no truth to the legend but it makes interesting talk.

  18. P. Weaver says:

    So Enid’s legend is safe (until DNA evidence does show up) – David E. George may have really been John Wilkes Booth as he claimed and died in Enid Jan. 13, 1903!

  19. B. Nash says:

    There has been silence about it all. Frankly, I’m thinking it isn’t going to happen at all. It could be a “dead in the water” issue as I write this.

  20. P. Weaver says:

    I would think the results would be made public by now – either that the DNA matches and it was John Wilkes Booth in the barn as the government claims, or that it didn’t match and it wasn’t JWB in the barn as the descendants (and we folks in Enid, OK, death place of David E. George, aka John Wilkes Booth) hope.

  21. I want answers. says:

    I would also like to know why there is a delay in the release of the DNA results. Spring of 2012 was the expected time.

  22. B. Nash says:

    I don’t know but there may be a privacy issue involved.

  23. P. Weaver says:

    I e-mailed the cemetery where Edwin Booth is buried in Sept. 2011. They had never been contacted about exhuming Edwin Booth’s body!

  24. B. Nash says:

    Everyone is frustrated with this thing. The results have not been made public as yet.

  25. what are the results of the dna test???would appreciate a reply thxs

  26. Connie Waite says:

    John St Helen (alias for JWB?) was in someway connected to The Opera House (owner, I think) where I live in a small town in Texas so I am curious (especially after reading “Killing Lincoln”). Why are the DNA results not revealed yet? Surely they are completed by now.

  27. Hondadriver1973 says:

    There are two photographs that clinch it for me that John Wilkes Booth and John St. Helene were the same individual. In addition to the similar facial features and hairline, both men have very thick fingers that look identical from picture to picture. I will post the links to the pictures I am referring to in a response to my own message.

  28. B. Nash says:

    The results are not yet revealed!

  29. Lora Yelcram says:

    So, WHAT were the results…..AKA how LONG does it take for the testing to be done?? I has been almost a year now; seems as though the testing should be done?

  30. Debbie Rians says:

    Bill O’Reilly in NOT just another person with a fantasy of being a historian. He graduated college with a BA in history and taught school for a few years. His book was really good and I think he tried to present an accurate detail of what happened according to the information available about it. Joanne, don’t be such a “hater.”

  31. joanne hulme says:

    I wish all the so called “experts” would get a life and worry about their own families. Reading all the stupid stuff that is out there leaves everyone confused and these so called ” experts” are all in it for the money and the fame. Read a book like “Dark Union” instead of the same stuff. Bill O Reilly is just another person with a recgonizable name and a fantasy of being a historian. A Booth Relative wrote this. Joanne Hulme

  32. B. Nash says:

    Hey Herb:
    How are you? I have the Killing Lincoln book but haven’t read it yet. Will do.

  33. I would also like to hear results of DNA…Have read O Reillys book and have sent him e mails with no reply,,, thxs Herb Stoetzner

  34. Rachel Reilly says:

    Hi. My family and I went to DC this summer and we went to Ford’s Theater. Lincoln’s assissination fascinates me. My grandma saw the DECODED episode last night. We are both really curious as to the results of the DNA test. Please email me back so I can let my grandma know. If the results haven’t come back, can you also email me back when they do. This has really peeked our interest so please write back soon.

  35. Dave W says:

    The new TV show DECODED has gotten this all stirred up again. Have you watched it yet? I believe it ison the History Channel. A bit like the History Detectives on PBS but not as solid historically.
    Makes great television but perhaps not great history.

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