May 26 - Testimony of John C. Thompson
JOHN C. THOMPSON, a witness called for the accused Samuel A. Mudd, being duly sworn, testified as follows:
By MR. STONE:
Q. Where are you residing at present?
A. In Charles County, Md.
Q. Where did you reside last fall?
A. In Charles County.
Q. Did you know J. Wilkes Booth?
A. I had a slight acquaintance with a man of that name.
Q. Will you state to the Court how that acquaintance commenced?
A. I was introduced to a man styling himself Booth—I do not know whether it was John Wilkes or not—by Dr. Queen, my father-in-law. I think it was, as well as I remember, the latter part of October last, or some time in November following.
Q. Was this introduction given to you by Dr. Queen at Dr. Queen’s house?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. State to the Court how Booth came there.
A. He came there, as well as I remember, in the evening. I think it was about night; I think it was a Saturday night that he came there. The precise time I cannot specify, because I did not charge my memory with the particular time at which he came; but I think it was on Saturday night, about dusk.
Q. Had any of the family there known him previously?
A. None that I know of. I think I can almost say with certainty that none of the family ever heard of him before. I know that I had never seen or heard of the man before.
Q. State to the Court how he got admission there?
A. Dr. Queen’s son Joseph brought him there, I think, from Bryantown.
Q. Where is Dr. Queen now?
A. At his place in Charles County.
Q. State his age and condition.
A. He is a very old man. He is seventy-four years of age, bed-ridden, and very infirm.
Q. Did this man Booth bring any letters of introduction to Dr. Queen?
A. I think he brought a letter from somebody in Montreal: if I am not mistaken, it was from a man named Martin.
Q. Did you see the letter?
A. I hurriedly glanced over the letter; but, not being a letter to me, I paid very little attention to it, not being interested.
Q. State the purport of the letter, as near as you can remember.
A. As well as I remember, it was simply a letter of introduction to Dr. Queen, saying that this man Booth wanted to see the county. That is about it, as well as I remember. I do not know what the contents of the letter were exactly.
Q. Were you, or not, present at the first meeting between Dr. Samuel A. Mudd, the accused, and this man Booth?
A. I think I was at the church.
Q. State the circumstances.
A. On Sunday morning, this man Booth, Dr. Queen, and myself went to the church at Bryantown, and I introduced Booth to Dr. Mudd.
Q. State to the Court what was Booth’s ostensible object in visiting the county.
A. It was for the purpose of purchasing land: that I am confident and certain of. I paid very little attention to the man, as, apparently, he had not business with me after this letter to Dr. Queen. I am confident that it was for the purpose of purchasing land; for he so stated to me: that I distinctly remember. He asked me the price of land in that section of the country; and, as well as I remember, it has been some time ago. I told him that land varied there in price from $5 to $50 per acre, according to the quality of the land, the situation of the land, and the improvements thereon. Poor land, I thought, was worth only about $5 an acre: good land, with improvements, on a river, I considered worth $50 an acre. As far as I could ascertain from him, that was his motive, his object, and his ostensible purpose, down there in Charles County.
Q. Did he make any inquiries of you as to who had land for sale?
A. Yes; and I think I told him that I was not very well satisfied who in the county had land for sale, but that Mr. Henry Mudd was a large land-owner, and that it was possible he might select land from him, and he might have land for sale; but of that fact I was not certain, and so stated to him.
Q. Who is Henry Mudd? What relation is he to the accused?
A. He is the father of Samuel A. Mudd.
Q. Did he make any inquiries about the distances from the river?
A. As well as I remember, he did make inquiries of me about the roads in Charles County; but I was not myself conversant with the roads in Charles. The only road that I knew was the road from Washington, known as the Stage Road, leading down to Charlotte Hall, and then on down to Leonardtown. I told him that I knew the road as far as from Washington to Bryantown. As well as I remember, he asked me the roads to the Potomac River. I told him that I was not conversant with these roads; that I knew as far as Allen’s Fresh and Newport, but no farther. I never had been to the river, and could not give him any satisfaction on that score.
Q. Did Booth make any inquiries as to the purchase of horses in the neighborhood?
A. I think he did, as well as I remember. I think he asked me if there were any horses in that neighborhood for sale. I told him I did not know; that the Government had been purchasing horses, and a good many of the neighbors around had been going up to Washington to sell their horses. Whether there were any here for sale at the time he made the inquiry to me, I was not able to state to him.
Q. When you, Dr. Queen, and Booth went to church, next day, was, or was not, your meeting with Dr. Mudd, the accused, casual?
A. It was simply accidental.
Q. Where did you meet him?
A. On Sunday morning, in the churchyard, just in front of the church-door, where the male congregation, previous to divine service, are in the habit of assembling; and I happened to see Dr. Mudd there with a bevy of gentlemen,—about the first one I think I saw; and I introduced him (Booth) to Dr. Mudd.
Q. And introduced others, too, to Booth?
A. I think so; but I am not certain. I have no idea what the man’s business was there, further than that he was apparently a purchaser of land. In fact, on the night before, I think, he told me that he had made some speculations, or was a shareholder, in some oil lands in Pennsylvania, somewhere; and, as well as I remember, he told me that he had made a good deal of money out of those operations, and I did not know but what he came down there for the purpose of investing.
Q. Did Booth stay at Dr. Queen’s house during that visit?
A. I think he staid there that night and the next day, as well as I remember.
Q. Did you ever see Booth again?
A. I think some time, if my memory serves me, in December, he came down there a second time to Dr. Queen’s house. Really, I did not charge my memory in regard to the man; but I think it was about the middle of the December following after his first visit there.
Q. Did he stay all night on his second visit to Dr. Queen’s?
A. I think he did, and left very early the next morning.
Q. Did you ever see him in the country but on those two visits?
A. Never after that.
Q. You do not know of his having been there but on those two occasions?
A. When he left Dr. Queen’s, I did not know whither he went, and am not at all conversant with any of his movements thereafter.
Cross-examined by ASSISTANT JUDGE ADVOCATE BURNETT:
Q. How near do you live to Dr. Samuel A. Mudd?
A. I think it is about seven or eight miles.
Q. And how near to his father?
A. I think it is about something like seven miles.
Q. How intimately are you acquainted with Dr. Samuel A. Mudd and his affairs?
A. I am not very intimately acquainted with Dr. Mudd and his affairs. I know the doctor personally; and I must state here that I never was more astounded in my life—
ASSISTANT JUDGE ADVOCATE BURNETT.
That is not the question. I am asking you simply as to facts. You say that, of Dr. Mudd’s father, Booth was attempting to buy some lands, or spoke of purchasing some lands?
A. He spoke of purchasing lands; but whether of Dr. Mudd’s father, or not, I did not state; but I told Booth, that in all probability, as Mr. Henry Mudd, the father of the accused, was an extensive landholder, perhaps he might be able to purchase land from him.
Q. Did he, in that conversation, say any thing to you about purchasing lands from Dr. Samuel Mudd?
Q. Do you know, as a matter of fact, whether Dr. Samuel Mudd does own any lands there at all, or not?
A. I am not positive as to that. Dr. Samuel Mudd lives about a mile, or a mile and a half, from his father’s; but whether he lives upon land that belongs to his father, or not, I am not able to state to this Court.
By MR. STONE:
Q. Who lives nearer to this city, Dr. Queen or Dr. Mudd?
A. Really, I cannot answer that question, because I am not very well acquainted with the roads in Charles County or Prince George County.
Q. You have not been a resident there all your life?
A. No, sir; only for a short time: but I think Dr. Mudd lives the nearer. I will not state that as a positive fact, however.
Q. Does Dr. Queen live above or below Bryantown,—north or south of it?
A. I really do not know the geographical position of the country. If I had a map, I might tell.
By the COURT:
Q. Did you see the signature of that letter of introduction, dated Montreal, and directed to Dr. Queen?
A. I did.
Q. Do you remember what name was signed to it?
A. I think, a man by the name of Martin.
Q. Do you remember his first name?
A. I do not. It might have John, or James, or William. I am not certain as to that.
Q. Was there any Martin resident about Maryland near where Dr. Queen lived? Did you ever know one?
A. There is a Martin, who is a lawyer, I think, living in the neighborhood of Charlotte Hall; at least, I have so understood. I only know him from sight.
Q. You did not know, and had never heard of the man whose name was signed to that letter?
A. I knew nothing in the world about him: I never saw him in my life.
Q. Is it in your knowledge that Booth bought any land in Maryland on that letter of introduction, or otherwise?
A. He never bought any to my knowledge.