Suggest Edits
Dr Samuel Alexander Mudd

Photo added by Ron Moody

Dr Samuel Alexander Mudd

  • Birth 20 Dec 1833 Charles County, Maryland, USA
  • Death 10 Jan 1883 Waldorf, Charles County, Maryland, USA
  • Burial Bryantown, Charles County, Maryland, USA
  • Plot Left side of the church, first row in from the parking lot
  • Memorial ID 3690

Physician. Dr. Samuel A. Mudd would have remained an anonymous figure had not an unexpected visitor dropped in seeking medical assistance in the early morning hours of April 15, 1865. The actions of John Wilkes Booth catapulted a simple rural doctor into the limelight of the Lincoln Conspiracy and nearly cost him his life by hanging. However, he had all the circumstantial attributes necessary to be a member of the group of Lincoln conspirators. He was the son of a prominent slaveholding family and detested the Negro even while serving time at Fort Jefferson, where he complained about his Negro guards. Mudd fit the religious makeup of the group, all were Catholic. He first met Booth during mass at the family church, St Mary's in Bryantown, Maryland and was known locally for his outspoken hatred of Abraham Lincoln. He grew up in Maryland a state populated by disenchanted Catholics who suffered greatly from religious persecution. Many Marylanders supported the Confederate States of America and were advocates of slavery as was Mudd. The state was more confederate than Union. He not only set the leg of the assassin, but gave him lodging, a breakfast and money and accompanied Booth and his co-conspirator David Herold to nearby Bryantown and upon parting gave them directions for a safe route to Virginia. Agents seeking Booth were aware that medical attention was needed and were led to Mudd. Bryantown was bustling with federal troops searching for John Wilkes Booth after assassinating President Lincoln. Mudd questioned on several occasions denied any knowledge of a person seeking medical treatment for a broken leg. A week later he was pressed again, this time admitting he knew Booth and even produced the riding boot he had cut from his leg. Rather then a minor character or a sympathizing confederate, upon his arrest, he was tried as a major conspirator in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln by a military court. He was found guilty of complicity missing hanging by one vote. Mudd received a life prison sentence and became an inmate at Fort Jefferson military prison in the Dry Tortugas off the Florida Gulf coast. Dr. Mudd was not exactly a model prisoner in the initial phase of his incarceration. He further exhibited his guilt by a bungled feeble escape attempt aboard the prison supply ship. Appended, he spent the next year shackled in irons. Only a yellow fever epidemic at the prison and his gallant effort in treating the stricken enhanced an opportunity for either a parole or pardon. His wife Frances was probably a major reason why a pardon was granted but he remained guilty of complicity for the rest of his life. Her repeated pleas for mercy finally reached Andrew Johnson the harsh reconstruction President who would escape impeachment also by only one vote. He personally wrote her a letter with an invitation to the White House where upon arrival signed the pardon document in her presence. He was born in Charles County, Maryland on a plantation owned by his father called "Oak Hill" which had many slaves. He was the fourth of ten children born to Henry and Sarah Ann Mudd. His primary education was from both a tutor at home and the local public school. His higher education was at St. John's College, Frederick, Maryland, then Georgetown and finally graduated from the University of Maryland coming away with a medical degree. He would set up a practice in a farmhouse in the rural area near Bryantown. With a pardon in hand, Mudd would return to Bryantown resuming his medical practice only four years after his conviction and incarceration. He ran unsuccessfully as a Democratic candidate for the Maryland House of Delegates but mostly led a quiet life until his death from pneumonia at age 49. After a mass at St Mary's Catholic Church he was buried in the church cemetery barely one hundred yards from where he first met Edwin Booth. He joined in death fellow conspirator Edman Spangler, the Ford's Theater carpenter who prepared and held the horse for Booth allowing him to escape. Spangler also was convicted, pardoned, then taken in by the Mudd family after his release from prison living with the family until his death and buried in old St Peter's Cemetery a short distance from the church. Legacy...Through the efforts of his descendents, Mudd was cleared of all charges in the Lincoln Conspiracy by proclamation from President Jimmy Carter in 1979. One can take a tour of the restored Dr. Samuel A Mudd House located in Wader, Maryland. This historic building was constructed in 1754 and not only the residence of the Doctor but where Booth was treated. It is furnished with original time period pieces with many actual family owned. Located in what is called the Bryantown Historic Section...Still in use is the Old Bryantown Tavern where Mudd introduced Booth to Confederate agents and the beautifully restored and maintained St. Mary's Catholic Church where Mudd met with Booth twice. Crumbling Fort Jefferson the incarceration place of Mudd used as a prison for deserters and other criminals and the several small surrounding islands is now The Dry Tortuga National Park. In a bit of trivia...The _expression "His name is mud" is not the result of Samuel Mudd. The term was already in use prior to the Mudd era and often referenced and used in books and pamphlets.

Bio by: Donald Greyfield

Family Members






How famous was Dr Samuel Alexander Mudd?

Current rating:

205 votes

to cast your vote.

  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 19 Oct 1998
  • Find A Grave Memorial 3690
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Dr Samuel Alexander Mudd (20 Dec 1833–10 Jan 1883), Find A Grave Memorial no. 3690, citing Saint Marys Catholic Church Cemetery, Bryantown, Charles County, Maryland, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .