Binghamton, New York: Grave of John Wilkes Booth's Dubious Daughter

Ogarita Booth Henderson claimed to be the illegitimate daughter of Lincoln's assassin. An actor like John Wilkes Booth, she died while on tour in Binghamton. Her descendants erected her tombstone 80 years later, noting the names of her mother and father.

Glenwood Cemetery

Twining St., Binghamton, NY
Glenwood Cemetery. NY-17/Southern Tier Expy exit 71 or 71S. Drive south on Airport Rd to the first stoplight. Turn left onto Prospect St. At the first stoplight turn left onto Glenwood Ave. Drive under the overpass, then immediately turn right onto True Ave. Make the first left onto Twining St., then a quick right. You'll see the cemetery on the left. The Booth gravestone is along this south cemetery edge, a couple of rows in, back by the green-roofed building; a square, upright gray stone.
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Grave of John Wilkes Booth's Dubious Daughter

The inscription on the tombstone of Ogarita Booth Henderson proclaims she was the daughter of Izola Mills and John Wilkes Booth. After the Lincoln assassin's death, twenty women wrote Edwin Booth claiming to be his brother's secret widow. Edwin dismissed all of the claims out-of-hand. He was dismayed years later when his sister Rosalie was convinced by a woman named Izola Mills that John had fathered her daughter Ogarita in 1859. Rosalie Booth gave some $10,000 to Mills, according to Edwin.

It is unknown whether Ogarita Henderson truly believed that Booth was her father, or if she conspired with her mother for money. But as evidenced by contemporaneous newspaper mentions, her claims brought some attention to her career as a stage actress -- the same occupation held by John Wilkes Booth. Henderson died of pneumonia in 1892 while with a traveling acting troupe in Binghamton, New York, and she was buried there in Glenwood Cemetery. Her gravestone proclaiming the John Wilkes Booth connection came much later -- placed by her descendants in 1972.

[Kurt Deion /, 04/13/2021]
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