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“Samuel A. Mudd: Not So Innocent”

The Dr. Samuel Mudd House & Museum
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Private John Wilkes Booth Escape Tour in Washington DC
Ranked #1 of 12 things to do in Waldorf
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: The original house of Dr. Samuel Mudd, the physician who set the leg of John Wilkes Booth.
Reviewed May 7, 2012

The house and grounds are beautiful, and are truly representative of its location and period. The docents are costumed in period dress and whisk you throughout the house discussing the furnishings and personal belongings of the Mudd family.

Unfortunately, I was not attracted to the house for the above reasons. but for its association with the escape of John Wilkes Booth after his assassination of President Lincoln. If you are looking for an in-depth history lesson of Dr. Mudd's involvement with John Wilkes Booth, you will be sorely disappointed. It would have been nice to hear more about the night JWB stopped at Dr. Mudd's house, the lengths Dr. Mudd went to cover his tracks/story regarding his involvement with JWB, and his arrest, trial and incarceration in federal prison. This would make for a much more intereseting tour and preserve the historical integrity of the museum. As a whole, visitors are not drawn to the Mudd house for its furnishings, but for its important placement in history.

17  Thank Sioux64
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed June 19, 2011

The house and museum are located in a country setting in southern Maryland. Not too far from DC. The home is original with some additions over the years. Some of the furnishings are too including the couch were Dr Mudd set the broken leg of John Wilkes Booth. Our tour guide was knowledgeable and was really interested in telling us all about the history of the home and Dr Mudd. That is always helpful for making an interesting visit. You do get the sensation the the home has stood still in time and really is from another era. That was made obvious in the gift shop where a 1970's style calculator was used to add up my purchases. Bring cash because they don't accept credit or debit cards. Quaint. A must see for all Civil War history buffs.

5  Thank fawn3620
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 21, 2009

I visited in early December, on a day when many local folks had gathered at the Mudd house for a Victorian Christmas celebration. The weather was lousy that day, with soggy ground and blowing snow, but the folks there put on a brave face and did their thing. There were Civil War reenactors encamped on the front lawn with white canvass tents and campfires. There were cookies and cider available in the visitor's center, and lots of folks milling about.

I went into the front door of the house, and was greeted by a lady in period dress, who invited me to begin the tour upstairs. With the wet weather, she cautioned me not to slip on the steps, and added "be careful as one of our ghosts might give you a push!" I looked at her expecting to see a joking grin - but there was none!

I agree with the other reviewer's detailed descriptions, except that I personally saw no evidence of the paranormal. I ended up in the kitchen, which I, too, found fascinating, but for different reasons. There were about 5-6 local folks gathered in front of the fire, and a table spread with stew and cornbread. I was invited in, and offered some food (which I'm sure is not the usual experience; this was a special feature for the day). While I was there in the kitchen, one of the ladies there commented that one of the Civil War reenactors from the front lawn had been in several times to warm himself - one who was wearing a Union uniform. The room got kind of quiet, and one older gentleman standing near me said "Ohh, she won't like that. We'll find some things out of place for sure". He then proceeded to tell me several tales of ghostly encounters in and around the house, including by the team from the TAPS television show.

I am a fan of that program, and had seen the episode from the Mudd house. I am not necessarily a firm believer in the paranormal, but I respect those who are, and I enjoyed talking to the local folks who take care of this house and seem to firmly believe in its ghostly occupants.

I thanked these folks for their kind hospitality, and started trudging through the snow down the front lawn past the Civil War reenactors huddled around their campfires. It did occur to me to wonder how many of them were real, and how many were . . . well - you know!

3  Thank JBIndianapolis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 1, 2009

The Dr. Samuel Mudd house was recently featured on the tv show Ghost Hunters. We have driven past here many times on our way to visit friends in Waldorf, and after seeing the show, we had to visit for ourselves.

This property has a very interesting, and some say haunted, history. Briefly, the house became famous after John Wilkes Booth shot President Lincoln. When Booth jumped off the balcony of the Ford Theater he injured his leg, and then fled to Dr. Mudd's house. Booth hid out at the house for three days, and Dr. Mudd treated Booth's injured leg. during that time. When the Union Army came searching Dr. Mudd's house, Dr. Mudd denied seeing Booth. Booth was eventually captured, and during his trial, it was revealed that he had stayed at Dr. Mudd's house, and Dr. Mudd was then tried for treason and sentenced to prison. Dr. Mudd's defense was that he did not know that Booth had killed Lincoln. To this day the Mudd family is trying to clear Dr. Mudd's name.

The tragedy surrounding this house is that the Mudd family had an 18 month old child that was gravely injured when it fell off a split rail fence upon which it had been sitting. The child was brought upstairs to the nursery and placed in its' crib, where the child died. I took the time to explain some of the house's history because it relates to the strange experiences we had during our visit.

The house has much of the original furnishings, including the sofa that John Wilkes Booth lay on. We were met by a very personable guide at the front door of the house, wearing period costume, and this knowledgeable woman gave us a very interesting history of the house. She pointed out that much of the furnishings in the house are original. As I stated, the parlor has the original John Wilkes Booth sofa, a pianoforte that belonged to the Mudd family, and other original furnishings. The dining room is beautifully furnished in period furniture, and Dr. Mudd's medical office is there in its' entirety, complete with small glass bottles, his medical bag, medicines from the period, the bed he slept on in his office.

Upstairs in the house three of the bedrooms were on display. One of the bedrooms had a bed that Booth had slept in, and there was also very beautiful period women’s clothing in that room. The nursery was intact, with the original crib. All of the rooms in the house were completely furnished.

The most interesting room in the house was the kitchen, which was separate from the main house, as was the custom of that time. The kitchen was filled with many original cooking utensils that were in use in the old days, and we had some fun trying to figure out just what some of those utensils were.

There were as number of out buildings on the property, including the out house, a large barn that was being used to dry tobacco, and a farm implements museum. There were a couple of other buildings but they in the process of being renovated so we did not get to go inside. There is also a well on the property that is no longer in use. You are not permitted to take photos inside the house, only outside and in the outbuildings.

Now for the strange things that happened. On the day we went to the Dr. Mudd house the temperature outside was 73 degrees. When we went upstairs into the nursery, when we walked directly in front of the crib, you could feel a temperature drop of almost 20 degrees. If you ran your hand over the top of the crib you would feel the same cold temperature. Take a step to the left or right and the temperature would be back to normal.

In the parlor, to the right of the fireplace, there was a round table with a tablecloth on it, and some other odds and ends. This is the room with the John Wilkes Booth sofa. When we walked into that room, looking on the wall in the corner of the fireplace, there was a most definite shadow profile of a person sitting in a chair. I pointed it out to my husband and he did not see what I was seeing, nor did our guide.

We then left the room, and at the conclusion of our tour our guide brought us to the gift shop, where we got to meet Dr. Mudd’s great grandson, who worked there. I told him about what I saw, and he asked me to write down my observations in a book he kept for that purpose, since other people have seen other things on this property. I asked the tour guide to take us back to the parlor, I wanted to see if I could see the shadow again. She took us back, I still saw the shadow, this time she said she also saw the profile shadow I was seeing, and my husband still saw nothing.

Other people have stated they have seen Confederate troops marching on the property, around the well, they say they hear a women laughing and crying, have felt a child tug at their clothing, and have heard a voice say “I’m not guilty.” People also report seeing a woman standing at the upstairs window.

There is a lot to see and maybe experience on at the Dr. Mudd house, and it well worth a visit. The guide told us that the house will be decorated in a Victorian style for the holidays, and we would love to return again to see it then.

19  Thank MiouMiou
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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