Mary Surratt was the mother of the infamous John Surratt Jr. of the failed abduction but successful assassination of President Lincoln.
Her involvement in the actual assassination of President Lincoln remains a point of argument and conjecture.
Mary was born in Waterloo, Maryland in 1823. She met 27-year-old John Surratt in Waterloo, Maryland when she was only 16 years old.
After a quick and hasty marriage, the Suratts’ moved onto land John had inherited from his family. In 1851, a devastating fire destroyed the Surratt home and the Surratts’ decided not to rebuild and moved away.
The Surratts relocated in an area 13 miles away known as Congress Heights wherein they purchased a home with a tavern. There was also a farm and a post office in the area which the Surratt’s’ also purchased.
As the money started coming in, the Surratt’s wealth and fame grew and grew. In the fall of 1852, the family was living in a newly built home called the Surratt House and Tavern. Later that year, John Surratt bought another boarding house that would be the site of the famous and ill faded assassination conspiracy planning attempt.
Her involvement with the assassination of President Lincoln started to unravel when she shared a ride in a coach with a gentleman named Louis J. Weichmann. It seemed Mr. Weichmann was one of the borders at the Surratt House and Tavern and they discussed many things along the journey.
During the trial of the Surratts’ and after the assassination of President Lincoln, Weichmann was brought to the stand and told of Mary Surratt speaking of ‘shooting irons’.
She had spoken about the guns she hid in the tavern for John Wilkes Booth and David Herold to arm themselves as they attempted to flee south after the assassination.
The trial that ensued was one of conspiracy and charges of aiding the assassins and assisting their escape after the fact. Surratt was arrested and put in Maryland County Jail. All through out the trial, she claimed her innocence; she claimed that she knew of no plains by Booth to kill the President.
Also, she claimed that her trips to Surrattsville, which was the area John and Mary had settled two decades earlier, had nothing to do with a conspiracy and was simply about collection of money.
Despite this the jury found Mary Surratt guilty of conspiring in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and she became the first women to ever be executed by the United States Federal government.
She was hanged on July 7th 1865 along with three other conspirators.