A stagehand at Ford’s Theatre, Ned Spangler had known the Booth family for years, so it wasn’t unusual for Booth to ask that Spangler watch his horse in the alley behind the theatre while he went inside for a few minutes. Because he was busy moving scenery between acts, Spangler turned the animal over to young “John Peanuts”— more properly known as John Burroughs—a theatrical jack-of-all-trades who handed out programs and sold peanuts between acts.
For his troubles Burroughs was struck severely in the head by Booth’s Bowie knife as the assassin lunged for his horse and dashed into the night. Within hours, Spangler was arrested and charged as an accomplice.


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