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Fire at Samuel Mudd museum in Waldorf

In Charles County, someone tried to set fire to an exterior door at the Dr. Samuel A. Mudd House Museum in Waldorf sometime Wednesday, the Maryland state fire marshal's office reported Thursday.

The fire caused minimal damage, and had extinguished itself by the time it was discovered Wednesday night, Deputy Fire Marshal Caryn Moreland said.

Samuel Mudd was a 31-year-old country doctor who gained permanent renown when two men showed up at his door at 4 a.m. on April 15, 1865. The two men were John Wilkes Booth and David Herold, and Booth had just shot and killed President Abraham Lincoln in Washington.

In leaping from a balcony at Ford's Theatre, Booth broke his leg. In the darkness just hours after the shooting, Booth asked Mudd to splint his leg, and Mudd did.

Booth stayed in Mudd's house for more than 12 hours, then fled to Virginia, where he was shot and killed 11 days later. Mudd had delayed notifying the authorities that Booth had been in his home, and was suspected of collaborating with the assassination conspiracy. He was convicted, imprisoned for four years and later pardoned by President Andrew Johnson.

A descendant of Mudd still lives on the property, Moreland said, and discovered that the wooden door to the museum's gift shop had been burned when he returned home Wednesday night. The museum has not been open during the winter, Moreland said.

She estimated damage to the door at $100. She did not want to speculate on whether the motive involved retribution from a Lincoln supporter, or was an act of vandalism. Anyone with information about the fire is asked to call the Maryland fire marshal at 443-550-6820.

-- Tom Jackman

By Tom Jackman  |  February 18, 2010; 11:25 AM ET
Categories:  Charles , Tom Jackman  
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For those who don't know, this is where the saying, "His name is Mud(d)" came from...and that my friends is your history tip of the day.

Posted by: Dice211 | February 18, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Was it the birthplace of the trader HARCORD FENTON MUDD, a nemisis of Captain James T Kirk, of the USS ENTERPRISE??

Posted by: Robbnitafl | February 18, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

It's the farmhouse of the doctor who treated John Wilkes Booth's broken leg after the Lincoln assassination as Booth fled Washington for the South.

Posted by: SUMB44 | February 18, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Good thing 150 yr old civil war veterans arn't much good at setting buildings on fire.

Posted by: MarilynManson | February 18, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

They shot and killed John Wilkes Booth and imprisoned Dr. Mudd for treating him even though the evidence showed Mudd felt he could not leave his family to report on Booth's location until the next day after Booth had departed. And today we free assassins like John Hinckley, Jr. who attempted to take President Ronald Reagan's life. I think we should reconsider our current willingness to set free assassins. They should pay as Booth did.

Posted by: Ken430TX | February 18, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Dice211 said:
February 18, 2010 12:55 PM

For those who don't know, this is where the saying, "His name is Mud(d)" came from...and that my friends is your history tip of the day.


Hey Dice211, you're an idiot and obviously don't know your history.

The phrase first appeared in print in 1820, 45 years before Lincoln's assassination. It probably originates in another obscure bit of English slang--"mud" was an eighteenth century equivalent of our "dope" or "dolt" and was used through the nineteenth century by union workers as a rough equivalent of "scab."

Posted by: kenk3 | February 18, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

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