Witnesses to History

While researching for this show in recent weeks, I’ve come across three different reminders of just how young the United States is as a country. Check out the following clips and articles featuring persons who witnessed Lincoln’s assassination, attended the Gettysburg Address, and are living grandsons of our nation’s 10th president. Watching and reading about each has made the history involved seem that much closer to me.

Last Witness to President Abraham Lincoln’s Assassination – I’ve Got a Secret (1956)

Mr. Samuel J. Seymour was the last living witness to Lincoln’s assassination

It’s fascinating to consider that we have 1950’s television footage featuring a man who personally witnessed the events that transpired at Ford’s Theater on April 14, 1865.

I Heard Lincoln That Day (Excerpt from NPR)

William R. Rathvon was on hand when Lincoln delivered his Gettysburg Address

In 1938, William R. Rathvon sat down to give an audio recording of his recollections about being in attendance for President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. Of the over 10,000 witnesses present, he is the only one known to leave an audio recording describing that experience(Wikipedia: William R. Rathvon).

Our 10th President John Tyler has two living Grandsons

As I mentioned in Episode 30 of this podcast, our 10th President, born when George Washington was alive, still has two living grandsons. Check out this report from CBS Evening News one year ago for a video and photo of one of them.


I think you’ll agree each of the above is fascinating stuff. Feel free to share your thoughts or links to similar stories in the comments below.

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