John Wilkes Booth's Brother and Abe Lincoln's Son
Edwin Booth, perhaps unfairly known today as the brother of assassin John Wilkes Booth, was once upon a time known as the greatest actor in American history. In fact, certain theater historians and steampunk enthusiasts would probably argue that he still is today. His reputation as an actor was described as "mythic," and a statue of him stands in Manhattan's Gramercy Park to this very day.
That's what having a brother who killed the freaking president gets you -- in his day, Edwin was as famous as George Clooney, as classy as Clive Owen, as lusted after as Johnny Depp and as awesome as Josh Brolin. Hell, he even looked suspiciously like Robert De Niro ...
... and we bet that most of you have never heard his name before today.
But there's something else ...
Where it Gets Weird:
Booth performed a heroic act, one that would have gotten him into the history books. It took place during the last months of the Civil War at a crowded train station in Jersey City.
That's right. Even back then Jersey was known as a death-trap.
According to the young man that
John Wilkes (sorry) Edwin Booth saved:
The incident occurred while a group of passengers were late at night purchasing their sleeping car places from the conductor who stood on the station platform. ... There was some crowding, and I happened to be pressed by it against the car body while waiting my turn. In this situation the train began to move, and by the motion I was twisted off my feet, and had dropped somewhat, with feet downward, into the open space, and was personally helpless, when my coat collar was vigorously seized and I was quickly pulled up and out to a secure footing on the platform. Upon turning to thank my rescuer I saw it was Edwin Booth, whose face was of course well known to me, and I expressed my gratitude to him, and in doing so, called him by name.