Letter from Apr. 15, 1865

Letter to Mother

  • Full Title

    Letter from John T. Ford to his Mother

  • Description

    John T. Ford, owner of Ford's Theatre, wrote a letter to his mother, in Richmond, Va., the day of President Abraham Lincoln's death, apparently unaware of the news that the president had been murdered in his theatre. Ford expresses gratitude for his wife's health and the growth of his children. Coincidentally, he states that his daughter's birthday is April 15, and that his birthday is April 16. After hearing of the assassination, Ford took a train to Baltimore and was then arrested, questioned about the attack and imprisoned for a month. Ford denied any involvement in the conspiracy despite the fact that he had been a friend of John Wilkes Booth. Ownership of the theatre returned to Ford after the investigation and he attempted to reopen for performances. Many threatened to burn the theatre down and Ford eventually sold the building to the federal government. He continued to own and operate theatres in Maryland, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia.

  • Transcription

    Dear Mother

    I came to Richmond
    hoping to see you and Frances - I
    was glad to learn that she had
    gone to Baltimore - I go home
    Monday morning
    I left all well, Edith has been in
    bad health for nearly one year
    but she is now quite well.
    We have our six children, Annie
    is taller than her mother - Charlie
    is a very bright handsome boy nearly
    13 years old. He is studying hard
    and a fine scholar. George is
    my [?] he is next to Charlie and
    a dear good boy. Lizzie and Fannie
    are two of the prettiest and sweetest
    little girls in Baltimore.
    John Lee is the youngest. He
    is Martha's boy. He [masters?] her
    everyway, and she has spoiled
    him completely. She says Johnnie
    is the prettiest
    Martha is well and happy only
    like Edith anxious about
    you. They send their love
    to all. Lucy-Jane, [?]
    their brother and all
    I Send you twenty dollars for
    yourself and twenty dollars for
    Jane as I fear she wants it. Send
    it to her
    Mrs. Stark has kindly promised to
    send this. When I write again
    I will direct to her care
    Let me hear from you soon direct
    to the enclosed direction - use
    the envelope withing this letter and
    have it put in the Richmond Postoffice
    with the love of all, I am
    affectionately yours
    J. T. Ford
    Richmond Va April 15th 1865

    Today is Saturday Annie's birthday fifteen
    years old. Tomorrow I am 36.

  • Source

    Box 4, John Thompson Ford Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

  • Rights

    This item is in the public domain and may be reproduced and used for any purpose, including research, teaching, private study, publication, broadcast or commercial use, with proper citation and attribution.

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  • Cite this Item

    John T. Ford. "Letter from John T. Ford to his Mother". Remembering Lincoln. Web. Accessed February 4, 2023. https://rememberinglincoln.fords.org/node/1078