$100,000 Reward for the Capture of the Lincoln Conspirators – Capt. James McKnight Collection

Who would have thought there was so much Lincoln history at the Berks History Center? With our December Second Saturday program coming up, we were curious! – What can our collection tell us about this national tragedy and controversy? Here is what we found in the Henry Janssen Library’s Capt. James McKnight Collection.

Captain James McKnight received this General Order in November 1865 asking persons involved with the capture of John Wilkes Booth and other Lincoln conspirators to submit their reward claims by the end of December. Secretary of War Edwin Stanton offered an unprecedented $100,000 ($50,000 for Booth and $25,000 each for John Surratt and David Herold) to those who assisted. In the end, that sum was paid out to numerous investigators and the 16th New York Calvary Regiment.

(From AC 150, Capt. James McKnight Collection, BHC’s Henry Janssen Library; and Folio Broadside, no. 39 [Rare Book RR] Copy 1, from the Library of Congress)

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