(Clinton) John and Mary Elizabeth Jenkins Surratt built the Surratt House in 1952. The middle-class farmhouse, also a public dining room, tavern and hotel, plays a huge role in American history. The house was situated on a 300-acre plantation, with a livery stable and blacksmith shop. In 1854, the tavern was repurposed to make room for a post office, which would serve Surrattsville. The tavern served as a Confederate safe house after the breakout of the Civil War.Facing financial hardship after John’s death, Mary rented out her country home and relocated to Washington in 1864. She eventually opened a boarding house on 541 H Street, where Mary became involved in a plot to kidnap President Abraham Lincoln. John Wiles Booth plan concluded with an assassination of the President on April 14, 1865. Booth fled from Washington, making a brief stop at the Surratsville Tavern to retrieve the supplies that were previously hidden there.
Mary was executed by hanging on July 7, 1865 for the role she played in the Lincoln assassination. Mary was the first female to ever be executed by the U.S. federal government. Mary’s son, John H. Surratt, Jr., was also tried, but never convicted. She was a cousin of Edward Fitzgerald, father of the well-known novelist Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald (September 24, 1896-December 21, 2940.)
The property was auctioned off in 1868 and in 1965 the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission acquired it. After a major restoration, the Surratt Tavern was opened to the general public on May 1, 1976. This was Prince George’s County first operating museum, making it an even more memorable landmark.
Beginning November 30th at 11:00 a.m. till December 9th at 3:00 p.m., guests will receive a holiday discount in the Surratt House Museum gift shop.
Surratt House Museum
9118 Brandywine Road
Clinton, Maryland 20735
Items can be purchased from the Gift Shop via phone, mail or in-person.