“An Awesometalk With” LAURIE VERGE, Director of the Surratt House Museum

April 18, 2010: Barry Cauchon

LINK TO INTERVIEW: An Awesometalk With LAURIE VERGE 14-Apr-10

Running Time: 24:57

I am very pleased to present my interview with Ms. Laurie Verge, Director of the Surratt House Museum in Clinton, Maryland and senior volunteer for the Surratt Society. Our talk was recorded on April 14, 2010, the 145th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. For over a year Laurie and I have been trying to make this interview happen. So when I picked one of the busiest days of the year from her calendar, she was just masochistic enough to say “Let’s do it”!

For anyone who has been involved in Lincoln assassination research, then you will probably know Laurie’s name quite well. She is an organizer, a teacher, an enabler and a matchmaker all rolled into one. She can make things happen and my personal experience with her has been very gratifying. With regards to being a matchmaker, she has directed me, along with so many others, to research specialists in the field of Lincoln assassination research and now sends inquiries my way as well. What goes around, comes around and I’m very happy to help her whenever she calls. The research community is close and works well together. Laurie certainly acts as one of the main points of entry and you will not find a more cordial and helpful person when it comes to guiding you in the right direction.

Our interview covered the following subjects:

  • the Surratt House Museum and its history
  • Mary Surratt’s guilt or innocence
  • the Surratt Society and its function
  • High Profile Projects that the Surratt Society has been involved in.
  • the type of membership the Society attracts (she will dispel the long-held belief that this is a society of conspiracy theorists)
  • Laurie’s other interests

I hope you enjoy the interview.




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9 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Has there been any attempt to get Mary Surratt’s conviction overturned?

    • Hi Jeanne: Sorry for the delay in posting your question. I was on vacation last week. I have passed on your question to Laurie Verge as she is the best expert I know to answer this question. Stay tuned.

    • Hi Jeanne,

      In the 1950s, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from this district in Maryland did propose introducing legislation to “free” Mary Surratt. This was at the same time that the Mudd family was getting publicity in their efforts.

      However, the legal advisers to this Representative advised against it because of the legal questions that would be raised. Congress does not consider legal issues – that is the duty of the Judicial Branch.

      Again in the 1970s, another Representative considered it and was advised again to drop it because it was “too much of a hot potato.”

      No further efforts have been made, and the Surratt House staff and volunteers maintain a middle-of-the-road approach as to her guilt or innocence, so we would not partake in a partisan movement – other than to supply facts if asked to.

      • Thanks Laurie. As always, you are a wealth of information.

  2. Laurie, Great interview…and beautiful photo of you. A childhood friend, Connie

  3. I was able to take a tour of the new Civil War display at the Surratt House on the day of the talk by Frederick Douglass. I noticed that nothing was said about the Kennedy Farm House in Maryland where much of the raid of Harper’s Ferry was planned by John Brown and those living in the house. John Brown began planning in Chambersburg, Pa. and then moved to the Kennedy Farm. He moved the guns that would be used in the raid to the Kennedy farm by horse and wagon.

    • Hi Galen: I spoke with Laurie Verge, the Director of the Surratt Society Museum and she asked me to pass on her reply. I hope this helps.

      “We did not mention the Kennedy Farm by name; however, the text in the wallpaper exhibit as well as in the exhibit booklet (which I hope you took) does read, Real fear set in on the night of October 16, 1859, as a rabid abolitionist by the name of John Brown moved his band of 24 men and women from their headquarters in Maryland into the Virginia village of Harpers Ferry.
      Surratt House Museum actually sponsored a bus tour a few years back that included the Kennedy Farm House. It was led by Ted Alexander, chief historian for the NPS at Antietam”.


  4. a few years ago one of the “mollies”,alex campbell i believe, was exonerated by a mock trial…interesting thought!

  5. My great great great grandfather “Captain Phineas White Crawford” commanded the guard at the arsenal guarding the “Lincoln Conspirators” and witnessed the hanging. What would his capacity in the hanging be??? Perhaps, as commander of the guard, giving the order to the hangman to execute Mary Surratt, David Herold, Lewis Payne and David Atzerodt??? I have his obituary to prove this, it’s a genealogy thing… Thank you, Robert

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