Boston Corbett

Photo added by William Bjornstad

Boston Corbett

Original Name Thomas
Greater London, England
Death 1 Sep 1894 (aged 62)
Hinckley, Pine County, Minnesota, USA
Burial* Hinckley, Pine County, Minnesota, USA

* Alleged or in dispute burial location

Memorial ID 5836144 View Source
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Civil War Union Army Soldier. Known as "The Man Who Killed John Wilkes Booth." He was born in England in 1832, and, along with his family, he came to New York in 1839. He became a reborn evangelical Christian while in Boston from which he took a new name (he had been named "Thomas" when born in England). Reform became his purpose in life. Trying to imitate Jesus, he wore his hair very long. In order to avoid the temptation of prostitutes, he took a pair of scissors and castrated himself. He then went to a prayer meeting and ate a full dinner. He eagerly joined the Union army at the outbreak of the Civil War. He re-enlisted three times, finally becoming a Sergeant in the 16th New York Volunteer Cavalry. On April 24,1865, he was selected as one of the 26 cavalrymen from the unit to pursue Lincoln Assassin John Wilkes Booth. On April 26 he and the others cornered Booth and conspiritor David Herold in a tobacco barn on the Virginia farm of Richard Garrett. The barn was set on fire, and Herold gave up, with Booth remained inside. As Booth moved about inside the burning barn, Boston Corbett shot him with a Colt revolver from a distance of a few yards through a large crack in the barn. He later explained his actions by saying, "God Almighty directed me." Booth's body was dragged from the barn, and he died a few hours later. After Corbett's fame faded from the Booth shooting, he ended up working as a doorman for the Kansas State Legislature. One day, he held the legislature hostage at gunpoint. After he was arrested for it, he was committed to the Topeka insane asylum. In 1888, he escaped and was never heard from again. Circumstantial evidence suggests that he died in Minnesota's Great Hinckley Fire on September 1, 1894. A "Thomas Corbett" was listed among the victims buried in a mass grave in Hinckley's Memorial Cemetery, but it has not been determined if this was the man who shot Booth.


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Ron Buchinski
  • Added: 10 Oct 2001
  • Find a Grave Memorial 5836144
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Boston Corbett (29 Jan 1832–1 Sep 1894), Find a Grave Memorial ID 5836144, citing Memorial Cemetery, Hinckley, Pine County, Minnesota, USA ; Maintained by Find a Grave .