A 175 year old letter was authenticated this week that was written by the father of John Wilkes Booth. Apparently, John turns out to have been just a ship off the old block, as this letter was directed at President Andrew Jackson, and threatened to kill him in his sleep.
For years, historians have thought that John's likeness to his father ended at their love of stage performances, but it seems to be revealed, now, that even in challenging the authority of the country, the boy was little more than an extension of the father.
John Wilkes Booth, you probably recall, was the actor turned assassin, bringing about the untimely death of Abraham Lincoln. Wilkes, who was never much a method actor, was unable to pretend the incident didn't happen, a political feature that didn't make itself known historically until the Blagojevich fiasco of 2009.
One thing that definitely set the two Booth men apart, apparently, was that where his dad only wrote letters and got fired from his job for doing so, Booth had the poor misfortune of actually trying to follow-through with a similar plan.
Threats on life and limb, which were quite common in mid 1800s, were not treated as legal abuses as they are today, but were instead passed around the dinner table and laughed at by dinner guests. Imagine for yourself the comedy of a person you have never heard of taking the time to write and post a letter threatening violence.
Jackson's response to the threatening letter? "At least he's literate, that's something in a jerk," is the response he is most often credited with making.