Last Eye Witness of the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln

We sometimes forget how brief American history has been in terms of the entire history of mankind.  Samuel J. Seymour was five years old and had been taken by his godmother to Ford’s Theater in Washington to see the comedy Our American Cousin on Good Friday 1865.  Seymour heard the shot fired by John Wilkes Booth, saw Lincoln fall forward in his seat and  Booth leap from the Presidential box on to the stage.  Seymour lived to appear on I’ve Got a Secret in 1956 in the above video, less than a year before I was born.  Seymour would die soon after his appearance on the show, 91 years to the day from Lincoln’s assassination.  One point as to how times have changed:  The grand prize on the game show was $80.00 and a carton of cigarettes!

Published in: on December 29, 2010 at 5:30 am  Comments (3)  


  1. FANTASTIC FIND….Heartwarming too!

  2. Thank you Jim. A living voice of the Civil War that made it into the Golden Age of Television.

  3. Fascinating. It’s astounding to think of the changes that elderly gentleman witnessed in his lifetime. I’ve always been struck by the fact that my own paternal grandfather was born in 1870, a mere 5 years after the end of the Civil War.

    Another astonishing example: the fine Franco-American cultural historian Jacques Barzun (I very strongly recommend his final book, “From Dawn to Decadence” which covers 500 years of Western Civilization) has just turned 103 years old. He is ailing now, but in interviews in the 1990’s, he described what it was like to live in Paris during the First World War – sitting in the first air raid shelters, hearing women screaming in the streets over lost husbands – he could remember it vividly 80 years after the fact. Barzun could also remember his own grandmother, who was born in 1830 – and she told him stories of the Revolution of 1848, the Franco-Prussian War and 19th Century salons. Just imagine, having memories of an American relative who could recall the Gold Rush and the Lincoln-Douglas debates!

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