Newspaper from Feb. 12, 1928

"Tragedy of Lincoln's Death Halted Feast of Rejoicing"

  • Full Title

    "Tragedy of Lincoln's Death Halted Feast of Rejoicing"

  • Description

    In 1928, Robert Brown recounted his childhood as the son of White House butler and waiter Peter Brown. Peter Brown, a formerly enslaved man, worked in the Lincoln White House. In the interview, Robert Brown discussed his early childhood in Virginia, his family's move to Washington, getting to know President Lincoln and his children, and learning of Lincoln's assassination. The newspaper page also includes other articles about Lincoln.

  • Transcription

    [interviewer:] "Where were you on the night of the assassination?"

    [Brown:] "I was home on Twelfth street., between O and H. about three or four blocks from Ford's. It was about half past 10 and I was taking off my clothes to go to bed. My father had just left the house, saying he had orders to return to the Executive Mansion about 11 and help with a supper they intended to have, and he would be beck when he could, but he didn't say what time. He went out and I was just ready to crawl into bed when I heard a big commotion in the street, men running this way and that, people shouting, military giving orders, horses dashing by. When I stuck my head out the door some one ran up, saying Mr. Lincoln was shot at the theater. My mother pulled me back in the house and made me stay in bed. She said it was dangerous to be out, and we should stay in. We kept awake till my father returned and told us of the excitement over at the White House. He stayed over there trying to comfort Tad, but after putting him to bed there wasn't anything he could do, so he locked up after a while and came home. Then I fell asleep."

    [interviewer:] "Who was to have made up the party over at the White House?"

    [Brown:] "That I couldn't say. My father just said they were to have some kind of supper after the performance, and he was needed there."

    [interviewer:] "How many were invited?"

    [Brown:] "That I don't know, sir. You see, my father wasn't the steward, otherwise he would have known how many. He only helped wait on the table in emergencies, and I can't say whether he was to do table duty that night."

    [interviewer:] "Were the guests coming from Ford's Theater with the Lincolns or from elsewhere?"

    [Brown:] "That, sir, is beyond me."

  • Source

    Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers, Library of Congress

  • Rights

    This item is in the public domain.

  • Tags

  • Cite this Item

    George M. Battey, Jr.. ""Tragedy of Lincoln's Death Halted Feast of Rejoicing"". The Washington Star. Remembering Lincoln. Web. Accessed March 1, 2021. https://rememberinglincoln.fords.org/node/1214