STATE YOUR CASE (No. 3): Has He Been Hiding in Plain Sight? John Wilkes Booth and the Richmond Grays

May 10, 2010: Barry Cauchon

Subject: Has He Been Hiding in Plain Sight? John Wilkes Booth and the Richmond Grays
Author: Angela Smythe (NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory)
Proposition: To determine if several photos of the Richmond Grays, a pre-Civil War Virginia militia group, taken during the John Brown deployment, contain John Wilkes Booth. Angela Smythe has taken this subject and painstakingly researched it presenting a very viable case for you to consider. The investigation starts by examining the most likely and widely known group images taken at that time and place. Next the investigation  turns to those Richmond Grays who have been documented at Charles Town during the 1859 deployment and an assessment of the Charles Town pictures, including visual comparison to other known pictures of some of the participants. Finally, careful consideration is given to whether John Wilkes Booth could possibly be in one or more of these pictures.
NOTE: For reasons of copyright requirements, Angela’s article is hosted on a secured website. The link is listed below (see LINK TO STATE YOUR CASE (No. 3) . I encourage you to comment on her work and give honest, fair feedback for her to consider. To do so, you will need to return to this site by clicking on the link at the bottom of her article. Once back here, you can then leave your comments in the Comments section at the bottom of the page.

For the past 10 years, I have supported the earth-orbiting Atmospheric Infrared Sounder Project (AIRS) at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.  Dr. Moustafa Chahine, our Science Team Leader is often asked about his opinion on climate change based on our satellite’s measurements, and he always replies that as an objective observer, he can only be a witness and his role is not, nor should it be, that of judge, jury, prosecutor or defense counsel. It is a wonderful explanation of what true research is all about, being a witness; and that is what I have tried to accomplish with “Hiding”.  I have written what I have seen.  It is up to the jury, the readers of “Hiding”, to determine for themselves if John Wilkes Booth has been hiding in plain sight.
Has He Been Hiding in Plain Sight?
John  Wilkes  Booth and the Richmond  Grays
In  November of 1859 John Wilkes Booth accompanied the Richmond Grays during  their militia deployment to Charles Town in the aftermath of John Brown’s Raid at  Harper’s Ferry. This fact was known even in  Booth’s own lifetime.  His participation and presence have long been verified by first-hand narratives  and confirming documentation.
In The Unlocked Book, Booth’s sister Asia recounts seeing a picture of him with others dressed in their uniforms during  the 1859 Charles Town militia deployment.  A tantalizing possibility  arises, one which  begs an  important question.  Does Asia’s  picture, or any others taken of Booth during this time, still exist?
For the answer to this question… (click the link below to see the full article with supporting photographs).



DISCLAIMER: A Little Touch of History does not endorse or challenge the validity of the content presented here. The theories are published here solely for the purpose of giving aspiring researchers a place to present. I will not be taking sides or giving any personal comments publicly on their subjects. The authors have confirmed that the work is their own, and in publishing it here, take sole responsibility for any claims made.


Thank you.



“An Awesometalk With” BETTY OWNSBEY, author of Alias Paine, the Lewis Powell biography

May 02, 2010: Barry Cauchon

LINK TO INTERVIEW: An Awesometalk With Betty Ownsbey 08-Mar-10

Running Time: 35:00

I am really pleased to present my interview with Betty Ownsbey, historian, researcher and author of ‘Alias Paine’, the biography of Lewis Powell, Lincoln assassination conspirator who was tried, found guilty and hanged on July 7, 1865.

Betty lives in Richmond, Virginia. I grew up in nearby Hampton, so I feel a connection to Betty as a fellow Viriginian. I found her to be charming, witty and passionate about the Lincoln assassination.  She is full of life and you will get pumped up just listening to her.

Our interview covered the following subjects:

  • Frustrations in research
  • The discovery of the Hartranft Letterbook
  • Lewis Powell, his family and history
  • Sharing and living history
  • Horses and the Civil War riding style and how it affected John Wilkes Booth escape from Ford’s Theatre

The red roan is the type of horse that David Herold rode during his escape with John Wilkes Booth. Herold's horse's name was Charlie.

  • Lewis Powell’s skull
  • Penny Dreadfuls

I hope you enjoy the interview.




by Barry Cauchon

“The subject of history is vast and offers immeasurable opportunities for new discoveries”.

Hi all: Many of you have great ideas or theories about history-based subjects that you’ve always wished to share with the public but did not have a place to do so. Perhaps you’ve wanted an expert to review your work so you could get friendly, professional advice from them. Or, you feel that you are ready to present your great discovery to the world and are prepared to get it out there for all to see and react to. Well, if any of these scenarios sound familiar, then this might be the place for you. STATE YOUR CASE wants to give you that opportunity.

If you are a student (from 1st grade to university), amateur or junior researcher, who wants to get your ideas published, then I’d like to speak with you. Currently STATE YOUR CASE is searching for individuals to share their ideas and theories on history-based subjects and prepare them for publication on this blog. Experts will be invited to view your presentation and make appropriate comments. Even if you haven’t done this before, I’d like to hear from you and about your idea. If you are the parent or guardian of a young student who you think might enjoy this, I am particularly interested in seeing submittals from them. If you have a theory to present or even an idea for one that you’d like to just talk about, please write me at and we can discuss it further.

What type of history are we talking about? Any subject is open for consideration as long as it relates to history and you have an interesting theory to present.

Topics such as the ones below are a great place for ideas:

  • Historical photo analysis
  • Presidents and world leaders
  • Sports
  • Art and literature
  • Music
  • Ancient civilizations
  • King Tut
  • News
  • Cooking
  • War
  • Disasters
  • Outer space
  • Architecture
  • etc, etc, etc.

If you are interested in putting forth your theory for others to consider, then please read the rules of submission below. I really look forward to seeing your work.


1. How to apply:

  • Contact me by email at with your initial proposal. Your email header should say STATE YOUR CASE. Keep your email short, briefly explaining what you are interested in presenting. At this stage, do not send photographs or attachments until requested to do so. Upon considering your request and topic, I will reply by email whether your submittal is appropriate for STATE YOUR CASE. If so, I will invite you to send additional information.

2. What happens once your initial proposal is approved:

  • Upon approval to proceed, you will be asked to submit the evidence you’ve gathered to support your theory. For instance, if you believe you see Abraham Lincoln walking down the street in an 1860’s photograph, you will need to submit more than just the photograph. Believing you have found a famous person in a photograph is an extremely common claim, but completely subjective without additional evidence. Just saying “It’s him. I just know it” will not be enough to move forward. You will need to back up your claim with hard evidence or at least present a solid logical argument about your subject. Otherwise, it will not stand up to public and professional scrutiny and unfortunately, cannot be presented here. If you believe that you have this evidence or logical argument, then STATE YOUR CASE will give you the opportunity to present your theory.

3. A Guide to what you should submit once accepted:

  • Mandatory: A statement in writing that claims the work is your own creation and not plagerized.
  • One short paragraph summarizing your case and what you will be presenting.
  • A written document stating your case with a logical argument and evidence presented (if appropriate, include sources for your research in typical bibliographic format).
  • If your case is image-based, submit the photographs or images (no more than 8 per case is recommended). Be sure your photos are in the public domain and not copyright protected.
  • The final presentation will be sent to you for final approval before posting. No article will be posted without your final approval to proceed and written statement that claims the work is of your own creation.
  • From start to finish, the process may take anywhere from 3-6 weeks.
  • Your presentation will be posted as scheduling allows and will remain as the top story for approximately five or more days.
  • Feedback and comments from both the public and professionals will be encouraged, invited and posted. The better your argument, the better your positive feedback.

4. Things to avoid if possible:

  • Avoid written documents that are too long. Keep your written presentation as short as possible. Although your experience and presentation skills will dictate this, for those of you just starting out, be concise and to the point is the recommended approach (1-3 pages is ideal).
  • Avoid subjective statements. “I see Lincoln in the photo and no one can tell me otherwise” will not win favor with me or my readers. Please avoid such claims unless you have rock-solid evidence to back it up.
  • Avoid a subject that has been already beaten to death unless you have a new approach or evidence to support your case.
  • Avoid covering more than one topic per presentation. If necessary, break up the content into more than one submittal. The more the merrier.
  • Avoid tunnel vision. Just because you believe something is true, does not mean others will buy into it. Your job is to present a solid case to back up your beliefs. Be prepared to accept criticisms for weak arguments as well as receive praise for well presented work.
  • Avoid assuming that everyone knows about your subject. You may need to educate them before explaining your case.

I encourage you to present your thoughts and theories on historical subjects on STATE YOUR CASE. Keep it simple and easy to understand and see what my reader’s think. Keep an open mind and learn from the experience. Feedback will give you some new ideas to further develop your research and make it even stronger.

I wish you well and look forward to hearing what you have to offer. If you have any questions, please feel free to write me and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.



Published in: on Saturday, May 1, 2010 at '10:57 pm'  Leave a Comment  
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AS OF MAY 2012

Here are some May birthdays for Lincoln’s friends and foes. And perhaps a few who lived before, during or just after his time.

Mary Surratt – Lincoln conspirator. Born in May (or June), 1823. Age 189.

julia-tyler Julia  Gardiner Tyler, 2nd wife of President John Tyler and 1st lady of the United States (1844-45). Born May 4, 1820. Age 192.

marx-bio Karl Marx,  Communist philosopher. Born May 5, 1818. Age 194.

julia_ward_howe_2 Julia Ward Howe, writer of ‘The Battle Hymn of the Republic’ which was first published 1862. Born May 27, 1819. Age 193.

tchaikovsky Peter Il’yich Tchaikovsky, Russian Composer. Born May 7, 1840. Age 172.

john-brown-1-sized John Brown, abolitionist who led attack on Harper’s Ferry. Hanged in 1859. Born May, 9, 1800. Age 212.

picture-584 John Wilkes Booth, assassin of President Abraham Lincoln. He witnessed John Browns hanging in 1859. Born May 10, 1838. Age 174.

250px-florence_nightingale_1920_reproduction Florence Nightingale, Italian nurse. May 12, 1820. Age 192.

picture-569 William Henry Seward, Secretary of State (1861-69). Born May 16, 1801. Age 211.

emerson12_cr Ralph Waldo Emerson, US writer. Born May 25, 1803. Age 209.

billhickok1867-2-500 James Butler ‘Wild Bill’ Hickok, American cowboy and scout. Born May 27, 1837. Age 175.

134-195_amexp-walt_whitman-web Walt Whitman, US Poet. Born May 31, 1819. Age 193.

Happy birthday ladies and gentlemen.

Also, I want to wish my daughter Madeleine a very Happy Birthday. Born May 15, 1992. Age 20. Love you kiddo!



NOTE: If you notice any errors (or mistakes in the age calculations) blame me, laugh, and then feel free to comment with the correct information.