Apr
01
2009
0

The POWER of Choice!

Meet Edwin Thomas, a master of the stage. During the latter half of the 1800s, this small man with the huge voice had few rivals. Debuting in the Richard III at the age of fifteen, he quickly established himself as a premier ‘Shakespearean’ actor. In New York, he performed Hamlet for one hundred consecutive nights. In London he won the approval of the tough British critics. When it came to tragedy on the stage, Edwin Thomas was in a select group. When it came to tragedy in life, the same could be said as well.

Edwin had two brothers, John and Junius. Both were actors, although neither rose to his stature. In 1863, the three siblings united their talents to perform Julius Caesar. The fact that Edwin’s brother John took the role of Brutus was an eerie harbinger of what awaited the brothers – and the nation – two years hence.

For this John who played the assassin in Julius Caesar is the same John who took the role of assassin in Ford’s theater. On a crisp April night in 1865, he stole quietly into the rear of a box in the Washington theater and fired a bullet at the head of Abraham Lincoln. Yes, the last name of the brothers was Booth – Edwin Thomas Booth and John Wilkes Booth.

Edwin was never the same after that night. Shame from his brother’s crime drove him into retirement. He might never have returned to the stage had it not been for a twist of fate at a New Jersey train station. Edwin was awaiting his coach when a well-dressed young man, pressed by the crowd, lost his footing and fell between the platform and the moving train. Without hesitation, Edwin locked a leg around a railing, grabbed the man, and pulled him to safety. After the sighs of relief, the young man recognized the famous Edwin Booth.

Edwin, however, didn’t recognize the young man he’d rescued. that knowledge came weeks later in a letter, a letter he carried in his pocket to his grave. A letter from General Adams Budeau, Chief Secretary to General Ulysses S. Grant. A letter thanking him for saving the life of the son of an American hero, Abraham Lincoln. How ironic that while one brother killed the president, the other brother saved the president’s son. The boy Edwin Booth yanked to safety? Robert Todd Lincoln.

Two brothers. Same mother. Same father. Same profession. One chose life. The other chose death.



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Written by Daniel Wiafe in: Encouragement |

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