Sign marks the spot where Corbett burrowed into the ground.

He Killed Lincoln's Killer, Then Lived In A Hole

Field review by the editors.

Concordia, Kansas

Boston Corbett was crazy. He was also a soldier, and was assigned to the Federal Army unit that was ordered to track down (but not kill) John Wilkes Booth, who had just assassinated President Lincoln. Booth was soon cornered in a barn. Corbett shot (and killed) him through a crack in the barn wall. Corbett alternately claimed that Booth had made threatening moves, or that he was acting on personal orders from God.

He referred to himself in the third person as "the patriot." Others nicknamed him, "Lincoln's Avenger."

Boston Corbett's Dugout Monument.

Boston Corbett had a history of being unorthodox. He wore his hair long in imitation of Jesus, changed his name from Thomas to "Boston" because he once lived in Boston, and castrated himself with a pair of scissors to avoid temptation from prostitutes.

He moved to this spot on the Kansas prairie in 1878 and lived in a hole that he had dug into the ground. Apologists call this a "dugout" -- as does his memorial here -- but it was just a hole in the ground. Corbett was still a good shot, and was known for his ability to kill birds on the fly and for threatening the locals with his guns when he felt that they were disobeying God's will.

Corbett was later thrown into an insane asylum in Topeka, escaped, and disappeared. Some say that he died in the great fire of Hinckley, Minnesota, in 1894, but no one knows for sure.

Boston Corbett's monument was built by Boy Scout Troop 31 of Concordia in 1958, which was roughly the centennial of Corbett's rendezvous with the scissors. The monument once had two six-shooters mortared into it, but they have been stolen. Sixty yards away, a small wood sign marks the location of Corbett's hole. It has been filled in.

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Roadside Presidents App for iPhone. Find this attraction and more: museums, birthplaces, graves of the Chief Execs, first ladies, pets, assassins and wannabes. Prez bios and oddball trivia. Available on the App Store.

Also see: Gallery: Dugout Site | America's Loopiest Lincoln Landmarks

He Killed Lincoln's Killer, Then Lived In A Hole

Address:
Key Rd, Concordia, KS
Directions:
Boston Corbett Dugout Site. US Hwy 81 either 3.5 miles south of town or ten miles north of US Hwy 24. Turn east on Noble Rd. After 2.5 miles the road bends south and becomes Road 791. After three miles turn left onto Key Rd for one-third mile. The monument is on the south side. Wear long pants to avoid itchy plants and bug bites.
Admission:
Free.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Longest Sculpted Brick MuralLongest Sculpted Brick Mural, Concordia, KS - 8 mi.
Orphan Train MuseumOrphan Train Museum, Concordia, KS - 8 mi.
WWII German POW CampWWII German POW Camp, Concordia, KS - 10 mi.
In the region:
World's Largest Covered Porch Swing, Hebron, NE - 48 mi.

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