John Wilkes Booth's... son?

I recently learned of the book “THIS ONE MAD ACT” by Izola Forrester, published in 1937. Forrester was the daughter of Ogarita Booth (1860-1887), who claimed to be the daughter of John Wilkes Booth and his wife Izola Mills D’Arcy. Among other claims, Booth faked his own death and later visited his wife, fathering a son born in 1870 (five years after he was killed).

I’m familiar with the tales of Booth surviving the burning barn, etc., but has anybody read or heard of this book? I’m curious if there’s been a scholarly study of it and to what extent it was debunked or trashed. The photographs of Ogarita do indeed bear a striking similarity to J.W. Booth, but the tale ofa son being born to a man who’s been dead 5 years but visits his wife in secret sounds a bit like a Victorian alibi.

Any info greatly appreciated.

Yes, I have read parts of This One Mad Act by Booth’s granddaughter. You can find it online from Australia. Sorry, I lost the address. This book has been criticized by many. The book is her personal story and beliefs, you can take it or leave it.

Another book you might be interested in is the second edition of Lincoln, Davis, and Booth. It tells of Booth’s relationship with Izola. Izola Mills D’Arcy was a name she used when she wanted to avoid personal questions.

Her first marriage was to a sailor named Bellows. When Bellows was out to sea, twenty-year-old Booth would meet with twenty-one-year-old Izola. In 1859, they had a baby girl. The stories of them being married are untrue. Izola was married to Charles Bellows during the ten year period she had a relationship with John Wilkes Booth.
Two years after Lincoln was assassinated, Izola learned that Booth was in California. She met him in San Francisco and they moved to San Diego and set up housekeeping. Two years later, they split up. Booth went to Mexico and Izola went back east. Izola was carrying Booths 2nd baby.

I guess Booth was a zombie, returned from the dead. He was probably looking to find Lincoln’s brains on the theater walls.

I don’t know why Cheshire says such nonsense. James W Boyd was the man assigned to kill Lincoln. He left Washington hours before he was to shoot Lincoln at the theatre. Boyd was part of the conspiracy and knew who all the conspirators were. His knowledge of the conspiracy and the conspirators made him a dangerous man and he needed to be found and silenced. Boyd was the man killed in the barn, not John Wilkes Booth.

He was making reference to the fact that this is a zombie thread. You answered a question from 2003. It’s a humorous way of letting others know that.

Getting back to the OP, the wiki on Ogarita Booth indicates that the “legal” father could not have been her biological father, and that her mother, Ogarita Mills, said that JWB was the DNA donor. I don’t know how scholarly it is, but it sounds good enough for me. I suspect the second child did not belong to Booth. The timing does seem a bit. . . off.

I think that Brad Melzer’s Decoded did an ep on the subject if anyone is interested in pursuing that avenue.

Sorry if I haven’t responded to my own thread; I’ve been trying to download the Matrix: Reloaded trailer but my eMachine keeps losing the connection whenever a telemarketer calls. I hate Compuserv, and I am totally springing for a 56k modem.

I’ve got several. How much are you willing to pay?

Ten years and one month before the first reply?! This has to be a record.

Too bad the reply wasn’t an actual answer.

No dog in the fight but how do you figure?

OP: I recently learned of the book “THIS ONE MAD ACT” by Izola Forrester, published in 1937 <snip> has anybody read or heard of this book?

Reply: Yes, I have read parts of This One Mad Act by Booth’s granddaughter. You can find it online from Australia.

Thanks white SIFL, I did not realize this was a zombie thread; if I did, I probably wouldn’t have answered it.


Izola claimed to have married John Wilkes Booth. If she did, she was a bigamist. She remained married to Charles Bellows until he died in 1869. She may have said she was married to Booth for the benefit of her daughter, Booth’s child.

Izola claimed that Booth did not die in the Garrett’s barn. She went to visit him in 1867 and lived with him for two years. The birth of their baby boy came after they were separated. He was given the name John Stevenson, after the man she was soon to marry.

When John Stevenson Jr. learned he was Booth’s son, he became very distressed over it and from then on, he wanted to be called Harry. He called himself Harry Stevenson for the rest of his life.

Harry Stevenson claimed he was born in the year 1871. His mother, Izola, said he was born in 1870. If he was born in 1871, he could not be Booth’s son according to Izola’s timeline. I believe he was born in 1870 and his mother is telling the truth. I also believe Booth live until he was 64.

Why do you believe this? Not being snarky, just wondering.

On or about 1970, I learned from Roberta Davis that the Davis family’s oral history states that Jefferson Davis received a letter in 1870 from John Wilkes Booth saying that he was alive and well in Mexico.
For the next fifty years, I gave it little or no thought. After I retired and had some time on my hands, I began to think and do research on the subject. I am thoroughly convinced that she was telling the truth that John Wilkes Booth did not die in the Garrett’s barn.

Continued answer for YourAdHere

Izola’s story fits in with the time of Booth’s travelling to Mexico by way of San Diego, and that is why I give it credence.
I hope this answers you question.

Harry Stevenson certainly didn’t go to an effort not to look like Booth (the moustache and all). Picture

I found the link to to the book by Booth’s grandaughter.

And to add a touch of foolishness, some sports writer seemed intent on blaming Booth’s ghost for cursing the Nationals