assassination

Features - Mary Surratt retrial
6:30 am
Fri October 14, 2011

Retrial designed to give Lincoln assassination co-conspirator the voice she never had

Ill. appellate judge Thomas Appleton swears in Mary Surratt (Aasne Vigesaa) during a civilian retrial at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum on Oct. 3, 2011.
(Dave Blanchette/Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum)

On July 7, 1865, Mary Surratt became the first woman executed by the federal government when she was hanged for her role in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

Surratt owned the boarding house in Washington, D.C. where many of the conspirators lived and met. Her own son John was an active participant in the plot. But the depth of her involvement was as hotly debated then as it is now.

A unique collaboration allowed Illinois residents to be a part of that debate and to rewrite a small part of history, if just for the night.

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