Mudd family gathers to celebrate ancestor

July 18, 2010 at 2:52 PM

DRY TORTUGAS, Fla., July 18 (UPI) -- Descendants of Dr. Samuel Mudd, who was imprisoned for treating Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth, gathered near Key West, Fla., to commemorate him, they said.

On Dry Tortugas Island, a 2 1/2-hour ferry ride from Key West, the family visited the cell at Fort Jefferson where Mudd served time after being convicted as a conspirator in the assassination, The Miami Herald reported Saturday.

Mudd wasn't a conspirator, the family says, just a doctor keeping to his oath by setting the broken leg of Lincoln's assassin.

Although sentenced to life in prison, President Andrew Johnson pardoned Mudd after four years for his efforts in treating patients at the fort during an outbreak of yellow fever.

"We're here today to keep the story alive for our family,'' said great-grandson Thomas Mudd, a historian. "We want the younger family members to know that we come from a special kind of history.''

Samuel Mudd had nine children before dying in 1883 at age 49, and now has about 800 descendants. Four generations from seven states made the journey to Fort Jefferson, the Herald reported.

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