Richard Dyer Mudd

BMJ 2002; 324 doi: (Published 15 June 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;324:1458

Occupational physician who crusaded to clear his grandfather of involvement in Lincoln assassination

After he discovered the dark family secret as a young man, Richard D Mudd spent the rest of his 101 years trying to clear the reputation of his grandfather, Dr Samuel A Mudd, who escaped a death sentence by one vote for his involvement in the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.

On Good Friday, 15 April 1865, just days after the end of the American Civil War, the famous American actor John Wilkes Booth shot President Lincoln as he sat in a box at Ford's Theatre in Washington beside his wife, Mary. Booth fired from behind, then leapt about 11 feet from the box to the stage, breaking the fibula in his left leg just above the ankle.

He cried, “Sic semper tyrannis” (“Thus always to tyrants”), fled limping through the backstage area, mounted his horse in an alley, and rode across a bridge over the Potomac River from Washington to Maryland.

Booth showed up at Dr Samuel Mudd's house at …

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