A failed oilman turns into an assassin?
John Wilkes Booth’s dreams of Pennsylvania oil wealth end in July 1864. Attempting to increase their oil well’s production, Booth and his partners instead “utterly ruined the hole and the well never yielded another drop.”
In January 1864, John Wilkes Booth made his first of several trips to Franklin, Pennsylvania, where he purchased an oil lease on the Fuller farm.
Maps of the day reveal the three-acre strip of land on the farm, about one mile south of Franklin and on the east side of the Allegheny River. A small marker can be found at the site where he drilled an oil well.
The Actor and Investor
The 1863 theater season had brought a handsome, 24-year-old aspiring actor the fame he had long pursued. For years, he had struggled in the shadows of his renowned thespian father, Junius, and brothers, Edwin and Junius, Jr.
Booth had opened his stage career in 1855 at the Charles Street Theatre in Baltimore and became a member of the Richmond Theatre in 1858. Unlike the rest of his family, he would become a Confederate sympathizer as audiences in Richmond adopted him as one of their own. They loved the energy he brought to his Shakespearean performances – his sword fights and dangerous leaps from balconies. Read the rest of this entry »