New York, USA
4 May 1865
In an article entitled "The Assassination--An Accomplice Arrested in This City." is found the following extract.
During the time of the detention of the boy in the Station House, he told one of the officers the strange fact that
for several months prior to the formation of the plot to assassinate the President and Cabinet, and was well known in this city.
About a year since, it will be remembered, Fulton street was put into a state of the most feverish excitement by the appearance of a very tall, muscular man, with a huge black moustache, who was in the habit of promenading the street every day between ten o'clock and twelve, and sometimes in the afternoon. What made his appearance so remarkable was the style of his habiliments, which were decidedly outre. On his first appearance, he generally wore nankeen pants, and in the course of a few days he came to be styled the "nankeen swell," &c. He was generally accompanied in his perambulations by a huge greyhound, which was in the habit of taking the most of the walk by running against ladies and gambolling around the "nankeen" individual, in a style which often resulted disastrously to the dresses of ladied whom the man and dog happened to meet. All this display, however, was made with a motive, and, in a few days, by copious posters, handbills, &c., the man in the "nankeen pants" was merged in
whose astounding cures of all the diseases to which flesh is heir, had excited the wonder and envy of the disciples of Esculapius all the world over. Subsequent investigation into the antecedents of the imposing personage who had honored the City of Churches by coming here to use his mighty talent in the healing art, on the bodily ailment of our suffering citizens, showed that this great " medicine man", who called himself Blackburn, was in reality named
and that the change in his name was a matter not of choice, but of necessity, growing out of some matters which transpired before his arrival here. At first the doctor was successful, as all men will be who appreciate the value of judicious advertising, but by and by his patients began to drop off and found it prudent to leave the city. "His occupation," like Othello's, "was gone." He made a hit in another direction, however, rumor having it that, like the venerable Mr. Turveydrop, he had succeeded in making a good living out of his "deportment," having gained the heart and hand of the heiress of one of the richest families on the Heights, who fell in love with him while on a professional visit.
The establishment of the doctor, which was situated
near to Nassau, consisted of a suite of three rooms which he occupied as an office and sleeping apartments. Besides the doctor these rooms generally had
and it is of one of these that this article is written. These two men were the hangers on or dependents of the doctor, occupying different positions, however, in his esteem. The taller of them was treated by the doctor as a sort of confidential valet, while the other one, who was shorter and of a stouter build, performed the duties of hostler to the two stylish looking piebald horses, on which the doctor and his confidential valet were wont to excite the admiration of foolish females. The most remarkable thing about the doctor's establishment was the manner in which his wardrobe was distributed. Almost every day the doctor had on some new garment, and on the same day, the one which he had worn on the previous one would be seen on the back of his valet, and the next day from the valet to the hostler, and from thence for aught we know to the second hand clothes' dealers. Everybody who has been in the habit of travelling in Fulton street during the past year, will have a distinct recollection of the doctor and his valet, and it was at the time a general subject of remark, that the valet seemed to ape almost unconsciously all the airs of his master, and appeared to pay him the same deference which those who generally accompanied them did. This fact will be recalled with fearful distinctness now by many who formerly noticed it, for this accomplice of Booth and Harold, who was arrested as above stated, and who knows the parties well, stated to the police that this soi distant valet was none other than
who is now awaiting the just punishment of his horrible crime, and it would seem that he had attached himself to the Indian Herb Doctor in the same manner in which he subsequently attached himself to Booth from a womanish sort of admiration for his supposed cleverness.
was stated by the boy to be as follows: Shortly before the arrival of the doctor here, he made the acquaintance of J. Wilkes Booth in Washington, and through him became acquainted with Harold. Harold, who had some knowledge of the drug business, was then out of employment and the doctor, who was just then in need of a person of that sort to accompany him, offered Harold a chance to go with him and Harold accepted the offer. When the doctor was compelled by the force of circumstances to abandon his lucrative position here, Harold went back to Washington, and this was the last that was heard of him until the commission of the fearful tragedy which has eternally linked his name to infamy.