Monday, November 30, 2009

Volunteering at Tudor Hall Is Fulfilling & Fun

Kris Thomson and Sonja Marshall
Ready to Greet Visitors on the Front Porch

Kris Thomson (lead tour guide) chats with visitors to Tudor Hall.

Andrew Jampoler at Bel Air Barnes & Noble Sunday, November 29, 2009

On Sunday, November 29, 2009, Andrew Jampoler, author of The Last Lincoln Conspirator: John Surratt's Flight from the Gallows, gave a very interesting talk about his book at the Barnes & Noble bookstore in Bel Air. The Last Lincoln Conspirator tells the story of John Surratt who was one of the men who conspired with John Wilkes Booth to kidnap/assassinate President Abraham Lincoln. Surratt escaped and traveled to Europe where he joined the Papal Zouaves. He was eventually captured and brought back to the United States for trial. Surratt's mother, Mary, was hanged for her supposed participation in the assassination of President Lincoln.

For more information about the Last Lincoln Conspirator click on the following link. If the link doesn't work for you, please try copying it and pasting it into your browser window and hitting enter.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Catching Up With Steve and Kelly Archer

Left to right:
Steve Archer, Kelly Archer, Ben Knight, Dinah Faber, Wallace Knight.

On Monday, November 16, 2009, Dr. Stephen M. Archer (author of Junius Brutus Booth: Theatrical Prometheus) and his wife Kelly took time out of a very busy day to stop by Sven's Kafe in Columbia, Missouri, for a quick chat with Dinah Faber (Coordinator Spirits of Tudor Hall), Ben Knight (Dinah's husband), and Wallace Knight (Dinah's father-in-law).

Dr. Archer was a faculty member and also served as chair of the theatre department at the University of Missouri for many years and is now retired. Kelly is a talented professional musician. During the course of Steve's research for his biography of the patriarch of the Booth family, Steve and Kelly traveled to many locations associated with the Booths and met many "Boothies." They visited Tudor Hall several times and stayed overnight with Howard and Dorothy Fox. Steve and Kelly remember those years as some of the most enjoyable and exciting times of their lives. Steve and Kelly as well as their son Steve were founding members of the Preservation Association for Tudor Hall.

Several years ago, Steve donated most of his research materials for his biography of Junius Sr. to the Booth Research Center of Harford County, Maryland. Elwin Penski (founder of the Junius B. Booth Society) drove to Columbia, Missouri, in his pick up to retrieve the many boxes containing Steve's research materials.

The materials are currently being entered into the new electronic catalogue at the historical society by volunteer Emily Andrews. Emily recently visited Tudor Hall with Spirit Jill Redding and is very excited and enthusastic about Tudor Hall's potential as an historic site.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Tudor Hall Featured on Historic Harford on Harford Cable Network Throughout November 2009

Throughout the month of November 2009, Tudor Hall was featured on Historic Harford which airs on the Harford Cable Network. Dinah Faber, Coordinator for Spirits of Tudor Hall, was interviewed by the show's host, Joe Swisher, during the summer of 2009. Video filmed at Tudor Hall was also featured in the episode.

A DVD featuring the Tudor Hall episode will be available for purchase sometime in 2010. Purchase info will be posted on the blog as soon as it becomes available.

Historic Harford is a half hour television program dedicated to the history of Harford County. The Harford Cable Network can be found on Channel 21 on Comcast; on Channel 7 on Armstrong; and on Channel 31 on Verizon Fios.

For a schedule of air dates and times for Historic Harford go to:

If the link doesn't work, please try copying and pasting it into your browser window and hitting go.

Spirits of Tudor Hall apologizes to anyone who tuned in to Historic Harford on October 29 expecting to see a program about Tudor Hall. We hope you enjoyed the episode about fox hunting featuring Maryanna Skowronski, director of the Historical Society of Harford County that aired instead. Our blog author misunderstood the information on the Harford Cable Network website and thought the Tudor Hall episode would premier on October 29th. Sorry for the confusion!

Friday, October 16, 2009

John Wilkes Booth on Ghost Lab November 2009

Joanne Hulme. Booth family descendant. Photo taken at Tudor Hall, October 2008.

For many years, some people have believed John Wilkes Booth was not killed in Virginia but escaped and headed west. The new Discovery Channel program Ghost Lab recently explored this theory.

According to the Ghost Lab website, the Ghost Lab team investigated "two locations rumored to be haunted by the ghost of John Wilkes Booth: a historic opera house in Texas and a furniture store in Oklahoma."

Booth family member and Spirit of Tudor Hall Joanne Hulme appeared in the show. Joanne is a direct descendant of Junius Brutus Booth Sr.'s sister Jane Booth Mitchell. In addition, one of Jane's granddaughters, Cora Mitchell (Joanne and Suzanne's grand aunt), married Junius Brutus and Mary Ann Booth's youngest son, Joseph.

The episode may eventually be available for viewing online via the Ghost Lab site. Info about online viewing will appear here if and when it's available.

For more information about Ghost Lab and the John Wilkes Booth episode check out these links:

Monday, September 28, 2009

"Booth Lady" Dinah Faber Inducted As Archer Fellow by Historical Society of Harford County

Dinah Faber, Coordinator for Spirits of Tudor Hall, was inducted as an Archer Fellow by the Historical Society of Harford County, Maryland, at the society's annual meeting on September 24, 2009, in recognition of her volunteer work on behalf of Tudor Hall and the history of the Booth family. The above photo of Dinah with her certificate was taken at Tudor Hall on September 27, 2009.

Left click on the above image to read the certificate above.

Left click to read the citation that was read at the annual meeting of the historical society. The episode of Historic Harford featuring Tudor Hall and an interview with Dinah Faber is set to air on Harford Cable Network in November.

The Archer Fellow Award is named in honor of Dr. George W. Archer who was one of the founders of the Historical Society of Harford County and one of Harford County's earliest historians. Dr. Archer is one of Dinah Faber's personal heroes, so she feels especially pleased and honored to recieve this recognition in Dr. Archer's name.

According to the January 2007 edition of the Newsletter of the Historical Society of Harford County:

"The Archer Fellow Award was established to recognize those . . . who have demonstrated exceptional service toward the mission and goals of the Historical Society of Harford County, Inc.

"Criteria . . . include, but are not limited to, the time spent and the impact of their efforts to support the preservation of the history of Harford County. The award includes recognition at the Historical Society Annual Dinner, an indvidual plaque and lapel pin given to the honorees, their name engraved on a George W. Archer Plaque displayed at the Society Headquarters, and a copy of their citation included in the George W. Archer Fellows Record Book."

Monday, September 21, 2009

Robert Redford Making a Film About Mary Surratt

Variety magazine online reports that Robert Redford will be directing a film about accused conspirator Mary Surratt who was convicted of participating in the plot to assassinate President Abraham Lincoln. The film will star Robin Wright Penn as Mrs. Surratt and James McAvoy as her attorney.

For more details visit the link below:

If the link doesn't work, try copying it and pasting it into your browser window and hitting go.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Please Add a Comment

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Like Unwrapping a Birthday Present at Tudor Hall

Suspense builds as the old roofing along the north "flank" of Tudor Hall is removed. Explanation below.

All photos in this post were taken at Tudor Hall on Thursday morning, September 10, 2009. Left click on the photos for bigger, better views. All photos and text by Dinah Faber.

Dinah says: Please forgive me for slipping into the first person in this post. It seemed the most natural way to write this particular post.

One of the things I've been hoping to observe as the old roof comes off and the new roof goes up at Tudor Hall is where the original section of the roof ends along the "flanks" of the house and where the newer section, built in Ella Mahoney's time (1879-1948), begins. As you will see in the following photos, my wish was granted on Thursday morning, September 10th.

Tah dah! The oldest section of the roof is revealed to be clearly different from the newer section. Now the question is did the original house as built by the Booth family actually end where the original roofing ends. Or was the original roofing sawed off and shortened for some reason when the extension to the back portion of the house was added? If the roof reflects where the original house ended, then Tudor Hall was originally even smaller than we thought and the floor plan upstairs would have been different than we imagined as well. It also means that Tudor Hall as originally built more closely resembled architect William Ranlett's original design. More research will be needed to answer these questions.

Also be sure and notice that the roofing on the forklift at the right of the photo that came off the extension is quite rusted while the older roofing that came off the original section of the roof is still quite shiny. Obviously, the original roofing was a quality product!

This close up of the older section of the roof clearly shows traces of the pattern in the roofing that was removed. Almost all of the original wood of the roof itself has remained in good condition and is not being replaced as the new roof goes up.

The north flank of the house was exposed for an hour or less. The crew quickly covered it with sheeting. Will it be another 160 years before it sees daylight again? Only time will tell if the new roofing is as durable as the old.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Can You Spot the Hummingbird at Tudor Hall?

On Sunday, September 6, 2009, one or more hummingbirds were observed visiting the jewelweed seen in the photo above. Believe it or not, there is a hummingbird in the photo above. Can you spot it? You'll have to have a good eye for a "needle in the haystack."

How about in the close up above cropped from the first photo?

To see larger versions of any of the photos on the blog including the two above, please left click on the photo.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Seen at Tudor Hall on September 10, 2009

Goldenrod with busy bee. Isn't goldenrod a glorious wildflower? Left click on photo to see bee.

Lobelia (best guess Indian tobacco, scientific name lobelia inflata) member of the bluebell family currently growing in many locations around the grounds at Tudor Hall.

Mushrooms growing in a tree in the front yard at Tudor Hall.

Wayne Schaumburg, the Booths and Green Mount Cemetery on WYPR

Baltimore historian Wayne Schaumburg was recently interviewed by Tom Hall for WYPR's Maryland Morning. The interview took place while the two men were strolling around Green Mount Cemetery. The Booth family plot is described and discussed during the interview.

The interview aired on Tuesday, September 1, 2009. You can listen to an archive of the interview at the Maryland Morning page of the WYPR website. WYPR is a public radio station in Baltimore.

If the link doesn't work, please try copying it and pasting it into your browser window and hitting enter.

And for more information about Wayne Schaumburg and his guided tours of Green Mount Cemetery, click on "Older Posts" at the very bottom of this page. Then scroll down for the July 31, 2009, post on an article about Mr. Schaumburg.

In Bloom at Tudor Hall

All these photos were taken at Tudor Hall on September 2, 2009.
Left click on photos for a better view.
Above a wasp enjoys the goldenrod.

Queen Anne's Lace.

Joe Pye weed. There was a gorgeous and delicious scent coming off this field of Joe Pye weed and golden rod. The flowers were busy with wasps, moths, butterflies, and bees.

Spirits of Tudor Hall is seeking volunteers to document the trees and plants growing at Tudor Hall throughout the seasons and to create a pamphlet to be provided to visitors interested in the flora at Tudor Hall. If you'd like to help, contact us at:

Progress Update on Tudor Hall's New Roof

Left click on photos for better view.

The photo above was taken Wednesday, September 2, 2009, and illustrates a section of roof on the north side of the house being prepared to receive new roofing.

The photo above was taken Sunday, August 30, 2009, at Tudor Hall and shows the new roofing that had been put in place a few days earlier.

This photo was also taken August 30th and gives a better view of the panels that went up the previous week.

This photo was taken Wednesday, September 2nd and shows the new roofing in place at the front of the house.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

You Can Watch Ghost Hunters Online

If you missed John Wilkes Booth and the Dr. Samuel Mudd House on Ghost Hunters last night (Wednesday, August 26) or if you'd like to watch the episode again, you can watch the show online via the Ghost Hunters website via the link below. When you get to the site click on "Full Episode: I Am Not Guilty" in the upper right hand corner of the web page.

It's wonderful to see assassination and Booth family expert Micheal W. Kauffman on the show. Mike is the author of American Brutus: John Wilkes Booth and the Lincoln Conspiracies which is a must read for anyone interested in the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.

If the link doesn't work, try copying it and pasting it into your browser window and hitting enter.

Enjoy the show!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Look For Us On Facebook

Don't forget you can become a "fan" of Spirits of Tudor Hall on Facebook.

If you have any questions on how to do so, please contact us at

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

John Wilkes Booth on Ghost Hunters, August 26, 2009

According to the Ghost Hunters website, John Wilkes Booth and the Samuel Mudd house will be featured on the show on Wednesday evening, August 26, 2009. The show airs at 9:00 p.m. EDT (8:00 p.m. CDT) on the Syfy channel.

John Wilkes Booth stopped at Dr. Mudd's house to have his injured leg treated while he was attempting to escape after the assassination on President Abraham Lincoln.

Here's a link to the Ghost Hunters website. If the link doesn't work, try copying it and pasting it into your browser window and hitting enter.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Work Progressing on New Roof

Left click on any of the photos for a better view.

As shown in the above photo, as of Thursday morning, August 6, 2009, the old roofing has been removed from the four surfaces at the very front of the house and a new insulating, waterproofing layer has been applied.

Closer view of two of the roof surfaces at the front of the house as they appeared Wednesday morning, August 5, 2009.

The photo above as well as those that follow were taken Wednesday, August 5, and illustrate some of the the oldest roofing material (ca. 1852) coming down.

The above photo is a good illustration of the underside of the old roofing.

Last piece of roofing about to come down from this portion of the roof.

Ca. 1852 lumber that hasn't seen daylight in at least 157 years! The crew said none of the wood in this photo would need to be replaced.

This roof surface did not remain open to the sunlight for long. It was soon covered in insulating/waterproofing/weatherproofing material as seen in the photo at the top of this post.

The underside of much of the original roofing remains in relatively good condition.

The top layer of paint/sealant is a rubbery light green material. Below it is a layer of darker green paint.

More photos will be added as work on the roof progresses. Keep an eye on the blog for updates.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Wayne Schaumburg Conducts Tours at Green Mount Cemetery

On July 20, 2009, Baltimore historian Wayne Schaumburg was featured in an article in a newspaper published by Johns Hopkins University called the JHU Gazette.

Mr. Schaumburg leads tours of Green Mount Cemetery which include a visit to the Booth family plot. Dinah Faber has taken a couple of non-credit Baltimore history classes with Mr. Schaumburg and has also participated in one of his tours of Green Mount, and she highly recommends both his classes and his tours.

You can read the article online on the Gazette's website: Scroll down to the "People" section for a link to the article.

You can visit Mr. Schaumburg's website at:

If the links don't work, try copying them and pasting them into your browser window and hitting enter.

New Chimney Nearly Done

A dedicated crew from Decker Contracting, Inc., of Elkton, Maryland, has been hard at work the past two weeks on a new chimney for Tudor Hall.

The chimney, which was nearing completion when these photos were taken on July 30, 2009, is being built to resemble the original chimney. A big "Thank You" goes out to Victor Miller, a dedicated member of the Harford County Historic Preservation Commission, who worked hard to make this happen.

This is a closeup of the chimney as it looked in 1865 when the first known photo of Tudor Hall was taken.

If you left click on this photo to access an enlargement, you'll see that there is one space left to be filled on the outside rim of the chimney.

The last brick on the outside rim is going into place in this photo. Hurray!

It's been a good year for berries in Harford County. There are several varieties ripening at Tudor Hall. The ripe berry in this photo was consumed by the photographer right after this photo was taken, and the photographer says it was DELICIOUS!

There's at least one apple tree growing behind Tudor Hall. Junius Brutus Booth Sr. planted an apple orchard and had a cider press on the farm.

Left click on this photo for a better view. Children from the surrounding neighborhoods are frequent visitors to the grounds at Tudor Hall. It's wonderful to hear their excited voices and to see them having so much fun.

Photos by Dinah Faber, July 30, 2009.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

"Brick Brigade" Transfers Old Chimney Bricks to Historical Society of Harford County

The "Brick Brigade" from left to right and front to back include:
Kathleen King, Mike Brown, Sally Cassilly, Dinah Faber, Ben Knight,
and Maryanna Skowronski.

The old brick chimney at Tudor Hall was recently removed so a new chimney can be built by Decker Contracting of Elkton, Maryland. The workmen carefully removed as many whole bricks as possible using hammers to tap them loose. The bricks were brought down from the roof and carefully stowed in a couple of big boxes awaiting transfer to the basement of the Historical Society of Harford County where they will be stored, analyzed, and eventually used for fund raising projects to benefit Tudor Hall and the Booth Research Center of the Historical Society.

Mike Brown and Sally Cassilly were already hard at work by the time the other volunteers arrived on Saturday morning, July 25, 2009. Mike is a tour guide for Spirits of Tudor Hall, and Sally was a frequent guest of Howard and Dorothy Fox when the Foxes lived at Tudor Hall.

One of the boxes containing the old bricks appears in the center of this photo along with Ben Knight, Kathleen King, and Sally Cassilly engaged in the arduous task of hauling bricks.

The task of loading the bricks went much more quickly than expected; and, before long, the boxes were nearly empty. Mike Brown and Ben Knight pitch in.

Maryanna Skowronski, director of the Historical Society of Harford County, hard at work emptying the second box.

After the bricks were loaded, everyone drove to the Historical Society of Harford County located at 143 Main Street in downtown Bel Air where the bricks were unloaded by Sally Cassilly and Ben Knight and the rest of the hardy volunteers.

Kathleen King worked on her hands and knees at times to stow the bricks in an out-of-the-way spot in the basement (also known as the dungeon) of the historical society. Spirits of Tudor Hall cannot thank Kathleen, Sally, Mike, Ben, Maryanna, and Dinah enough for taking quick action on short notice to "save" the bricks. We also wish to thank volunteers Sonja Marshall and Jill Redding for coming out to help as well. Sorry we just missed you at Tudor Hall!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

July & August Tours Canceled Due to Work on New Chimney & Roof Starting on July 20, 2009

Spirits of Tudor Hall has just learned that work on the new chimney and roof for Tudor Hall will begin, Monday, July 20, 2009. It is uncertain just how long the work will take since so much depends of weather conditions and other factors that cannot be anticipated with any certainty.

As a result, we are canceling the tours of Tudor Hall we had scheduled for Sunday, July 26th, and Sunday, August 30th, 2009.

If you have reservations for either of these dates, you will be contacted about rescheduling your tour to Sunday, September 27 or Sunday, October 25, 2009, the two last tour dates of the year.

We apologize for any disappointment and inconvenience this may cause.

Summer Flowers in Full Bloom at Tudor Hall