Lincoln's Last Battleground

A Tragic Night Recalled

On an unsuspecting night in April of 1865, the world would be changed forever. Our president, while sitting with his wife, was assassinated inside Ford’s Theater in Washington D.C. by a man named John Wilkes Booth. The events that followed changed the lives of so many people both of that time and  the present day.

        I think all historians agree that a gambit of emotions were experienced that evening. Some of anger, some of distress, some of sorrow like never experienced before. Several accounts have been written about that night and the events that unfolded but out of this chaos and panic there would be several fateful, far reaching consequences.

        My name is Robert T. Bain and this is the story of my ancestors, William and Anna Petersen. They owned the house where President Lincoln died. It has been known for over a hundred years as the Petersen Boarding House.

          William Petersen was born in Hanover, Germany in 1816. Anna was born in Hesse Cassel, Germany. They both arrived on the ship “Europa”at the port of Baltimore on June 23rd ,1841. William was listed on the passenger list as being 25 years of age and a tailor by profession. Anna was listed as age 23. They applied for naturalization papers in Washington, D.C. and in 1846 became citizens of the United States.

         As it was with most immigrants, I’m sure, all they wanted from life was to raise a family where they would feel safe and know that their children, with hard work, could carve out a life for themselves that would continue for generations to come. However, a terrible war and an infamous assassin would turn that dream into a nightmare……

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