May 2, 1908
The story of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln was told by an eye witness, Dr. T. D. Bancroft of Topeka, at the Grand Avenue Methodist church last night. Dr. Bancroft was in Ford's theater at Washington on the night of April 14, 1865, when John Wilkes Booth fired the fatal shot. His lecture was for the benefit of the Team Owners' Organization.
According to Bancroft Booth, the murderer was a drunkard and a poor actor out of a job, and the assassination was the plan of a clique of men and not Booth's own idea. Dr. Bancroft was one of the men who helped keep the crowd back while Lincoln was being removed from the box in which he sat. Bancroft claims to have a piece of paper on which a drop of blood fell, while the murdered president was being carried from the room. This paper is now with the State Historical Society at Topeka.
The description given by the lecturer of the scenes preceding and following the assassination are much like those printed in history. He states, however, that in his opinion Booth did not break his leg when he jumped from the box to the stage, for he says the murderer walked across the stage. He also believes that Edwin Booth, a brother to John Wilkes Booth, received the body from the authorities and buried it in the family burying ground instead of its being taken to sea as generally supposed.
Dr. Bancroft states that Booth was killed by Boston Corbett, a soldier who joined in the chase for him. Corbett afterwards moved to Kansas and lived on a small farm west of Concordia. He died in an insane asylum.