“The Lincoln Assassination: Manhunt and Trial”
The next monthly program sponsored by the Lee County Historical and Genealogical Society will feature a PowerPoint program titled “The Lincoln Assassination: Manhunt and Trial” presented by Ronald H. Koehn. It is scheduled for 7:00 PM on Monday, April 25, 2022, at the society’s headquarters, 113 South Hennepin Avenue, Dixon.
As the bloody Civil War ended with a Union victory, the celebratory mood of the United States was quickly altered by the murder of its Chief Executive. On the evening of Good Friday, April 14, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth, a well-known actor and Confederate sympathizer. Dying the following morning, Lincoln became the first of four assassinated presidents in American history.
Part of Koehn’s focus will be the manhunt for Lincoln’s assassin and his alleged co-conspirators. Although Booth was killed before he could be charged with murder and brought to trial, eight other individuals were taken into custody: David Edgar Herold, Lewis Thornton Powell (alias Lewis Paine and Lewis Payne), George Andrew Atzerodt, Mary Elizabeth Surratt, Dr. Samuel Alexander Mudd, Michael O’Laughlen, Samuel Bland Arnold, and Edmund “Ned” Spangler. Each was charged with conspiracy to murder the President and tried before a military commission composed of nine colonels and generals from the ranks of the U.S. Army, handpicked by the Secretary of War. Another focus of Koehn’s presentation will be the seriously flawed trial of the eight defendants who were tried together in Washington, D.C.
Ron Koehn earned both of his degrees from Illinois State University at Normal: a Bachelor of Science in Education with a history major and political science minor, and a Master of Science in history. From 1974 until 2003 when he retired early, Koehn was employed as a social studies instructor at Fulton High School, primarily teaching U.S. history, sociology, and American government. Koehn will be assisted by his wife Connie Koehn, a John Deere retiree who earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and political science at Illinois State University.