Auction set for house with Lincoln tie

July 25, 2011 at 2:21 PM
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KING GEORGE, Va., July 25 (UPI) -- A Virginia manor house where John Wilkes Booth sought medical help after assassinating President Abraham Lincoln is heading for auction, officials say.

Preservationists hope to save the King George, Va., house, where Booth turned up April 23, 1865 -- nine days after shooting Lincoln at Ford's Theatre -- seeking help for a broken leg he suffered while fleeing, The Fredricksburg (Va.) Free-Lance Star reported.

The most recent owner of the home, Kathryn Coombs, died in January but left no will, meaning the house and the surrounding 12 acres are slated to be auctioned Tuesday morning on the steps of the King George Courthouse, the newspaper reported. The property is valued at $299,300.

The co-administrators of Coombs' estate, Eppa Hunton and Benjamin Warthen, said they hope to find a buyer before the sale.

"We're doing what we can to stop the foreclosure," Hunton said. "If we can't stop foreclosure, it will be sold on Tuesday."

Dr. Richard Stuart, who spent summers at the home, refused to treat Booth, who was captured and killed by federal troops the day after arriving.

The developer of a nearby subdivision, Cleydael Limited Partnership, signed a deed with the Virginia Department of Historic Resources that should prevent destruction of the historic house, said David Edwards, a director with the department.

"The easement should keep the dwelling from being demolished," he said. "Any major changes to the house and 12 acres will have to be approved by the department."

Hunton, however, disagreed, saying the easement doesn't forbid razing the house, built in 1859.

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