Saginaw man aims to clear relative’s name in Lincoln killing

A Saginaw man is continuing a near century-old effort to clear the name of his great-grandfather, a Maryland doctor who was convicted of helping former President Abraham Lincoln’s killer escape after the 1865 assassination.

Tom Mudd and 75 relatives will meet Friday for a family reunion at Fort Jefferson in Dry Tortugas National Park. The long shuttered prison, located on a remote island off the southern tip of Florida, holds a plaque honoring Dr. Samuel Mudd, a former inmate.

On the 150th anniversary of Mudd’s arrival at the prison, his family hopes their trip commemorating the event will bring attention to their quest to prove the doctor wasn’t guilty of aiding or conspiring to kill Lincoln, The Detroit News reported.

“He was railroaded,” said Tom Mudd, 74, a retired history teacher from Saginaw. “His family was ruined for life.”

After he shot the president at Ford’s Theatre, John Wilkes Booth and his accomplice, David Herold, rode 30 miles to Samuel Mudd’s home, where the doctor treated Booth for a broken shin.

Mudd, a Confederate sympathizer, had met Booth several times before the assassination and was accused of helping him escape, because Mudd didn’t alert authorities until the men left his home.

Mudd was sentenced to life in prison but only served four years. He was pardoned and released after helping save the lives of guards and prisoners during a yellow fever outbreak at Fort Jefferson. Although Mudd received a pardon, the conviction wasn’t overturned.

The family plans to wear lime green T-shirts that say “Free Dr. Mudd” when they visit the prison.  (AP)

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