Samuel J. Seymour was five-years-old when he went to see Our American Cousin at Ford’s Theater. He saw a man jump on the balcony and was afraid the man might have hurt himself. The man was John Wilkes Booth, he jumped onto the stage after assassinating President Lincoln. This is Seymour on the February 9, 1956 episode of “I’ve Got a Secret.” The host was Garry Moore and the panelists included Bill Cullen, Jayne Meadows, Henry Morgan, and Lucille Ball. Seymour died two months later, 63 days after his game show appearance, on April 12, 1956. He was the last surviving person who had been present at Lincoln’s assassination.
In the article, “I saw Lincoln shot” by Samuel J. Seymour as told to Frances Spatz Leighton, Seymour recounted the fateful night.
All of a sudden a shot rang out – a shot that always will be remembered – and someone in the President’s box screamed. I saw Lincoln slumped forward in his seat. People started milling around and I thought there’d been another accident when one man seemed to tumble over the balcony rail and land on the stage.
“Hurry, hurry, let’s go help the poor man who fell down,” I begged.
But by that time John Wilkes Booth, the assassin, had picked himself up and was running for dear life. . . .
Only a few people noticed the running man, but pandemonium broke loose in the theater, with everyone shouting:
“Lincoln’s shot! The President’s dead!”
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