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Author Topic: Your Name is Mudd
I Just Wanna Be Your Kitty Cat
The Red and the Green Stamps


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Last night I was at a party and this guy who was there thinks of himself as a bit of a historian..he knows quite a bit about Scottish history or seems to think he does. A lot of things he tells us always seem to have a bit of an UL feel about them but everyone else at the party seems to believe it so I don't bother asking for sources or proof. It wasn't until he told this story about American history..he goes..'you're American, didn't your teachers ever tell you this in school?'
He claims that the phrase 'Your name is Mud' came from a story that a Dr Mudd who supposedly helped Booth after assasinating Lincoln. Is there even any truth to this legend? I found these two links regarding it. http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/1422/mudd.html and
http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2001/07/17/mudd.htm
or am I just being daft?

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bufungla
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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Googled on "Dr. Mudd Lincoln": some of the more reliable links are from USA Today, the National Parks Service site for Ford's Theatre and the Washington Post.

quote:
Hours earlier at Ford's Theatre, Booth had broken his fibula leaping from the stage upon firing a bullet into Lincoln's brain and mortally wounding him. In need of medical assistance and a path of escape, Booth ended up miles away at the grain-farming estate of his acquaintance Mudd, a Confederate sympathizer and genteel country doctor who set Booth's leg, gave him a bed on which to rest and may or may not have been in cahoots with Booth.

Several historians have argued for the former. But Mrs. Arehart, the youngest of his 33 grandchildren and the founder and retired president of the Dr. Samuel A. Mudd Museum and Society, housed at the old estate, vociferously argued the latter, often saying, "If he wasn't a doctor, he wouldn't have gotten in trouble."

She claimed that Mudd couldn't have recognized the disguised Booth, that Mudd didn't know of the murder plans and that, at any rate, the Hippocratic Oath required Mudd to aid the injured.

buf 'but his name wasn't Harcourt Fenton' ungla

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"Pardon him. Theodotus: he is a barbarian, and thinks that the customs of his tribe and island are the laws of nature."

George Bernard Shaw, Caesar and Cleopatra

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GI Joe
Jingle Bell Hock


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Your "friend" may not be too far wrong, if at all. While your posts indicate the phrase pre-existed Dr. Mudd's trial, it is popularly considered by many that the phrase did originate with Dr. Mudd. For example: http://atlanta.creativeloafing.com/2001-04-25/travel.html

Whether this is strictly true or not will be a point of debate for years to come. One thing that can be said with assurance is that if the phrase existed beforehand, it was given a powerful new impetus after Lincoln's assination.

I'd say you got to give it to your friend. As far as US culture goes, Dr. Mudd is the primary force behind this phrase, even if he wasn't technically the original source.

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Once a Warrior Prince

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Richard W
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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I don't quite understand Mudd's relatives' lawsuit in those stories. It says that Mudd was pardoned four years after his original conviction anyway, so what's left to contest? Or is it a legal thing and "being pardoned" still implies that you've done something that needs pardoning, whereas they want people to say / know that he didn't?
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Sparverius, Flying Rodent Control
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:
Originally posted by Richard W:
Or is it a legal thing and "being pardoned" still implies that you've done something that needs pardoning, whereas they want people to say / know that he didn't?

Yes, a pardon means "we won't hold you responsible any more for what you did", rather than "you didn't do anything wrong".
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tommi
The First USA Noel


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There's one thing I've always wondered. If Mudd *wasn't* in cahoots with Booth, and honestly didn't know who Booth was and didn't yet know about Lincoln's assasination (I don't know how quickly the news would have traveled to rural areas), then how was he considered an accomplice/conspirator? Was it just a case of hysteria-induced "we'll blame anybody who we think might have been remotely involved in the assasination to make ourselves feel better"? Or, if it happened today, would the same thing happen?

For example, say someone fatally wounded the current President, then badly cut themselves or something while they were taking off. They manage to elude the Secret Service long enough to go to a doc-in-the-box clinic to get stitched up. At the clinic they never give their name or how they got injured. Would that doctor suffer the same fate as Mudd? Under what law?

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GI Joe
Jingle Bell Hock


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Not sure, mostly because the circumstances involving Mudd were a bit different. Mudd and the conspirators were at the very least acquaintances, and some claimed friends. A few claimed he was part of the support cell for the plot. Mudd himself knew Booth, but claimed at trial he did not recognize him when he treated him, which is why he did not report the wanted fugitive to the authorities.

This defense wasn't very convincing. Mudd personally knew Booth and the man was one of the most reconized actors of this time. Make-up and special effects were not good enough in those days to truly deceive an attending physician.

Of course Mudd was treating Booth just hours after the assassination, and could claim he did not know it had taken place. On the other hand, Booth considered himself to be a latter day Brutus freeing the nation from the tyranny of Ceaser (Lincoln), so many believed he must have bragged of his act to a fellow Lincoln-hater (Mudd). [In fact, Southern opnion quickly turned against the conspirators and during the latter stages of his flight Booth complained he did not receive the honor and gratitude that Brutus earned!] At any rate, even if he did recognize Booth, he tried to use the "I did not know a crime had been committed" defense, which might have been a reasonable defense, except for Mudd's next actions.

After treating Booth at his (Mudd's) farm, Mudd went into Bryestown to run some errands. There he heard about Lincoln's assination and the hunt for Booth. And how did Mudd react? He hurried to his farm and told the two men to clear out imediately.

The authorities did not buy the "innocent be reason of disguise" defense and believed he warned the conspirators and sent them off. Therefore they considered him, as a minimum, an accomplice after the fact.

Although not known at the time, a letter later surfaced from one of the conspirators in which he claimed they positioned horses at Mudd's so they could get fresh mounts during their getaway. In other words, Mudd's was a planned "safe house" and not simply a random stop for medical aid. This would tend to make Mudd an accomplice before the fact, but again, it wasn't in evidence at the time of the trial - and of course, there is a faction that disputes the letter.

So, as you see, this isn't exactly the same as your scenario. If the doctor didn't recognize the patient as a wanted criminal, he might be OK. On the other hand, many communities have laws requiring them to report certian types of injuries to the police as they are often indicators of criminal activity. Usually this includes gunshot wounds and sometimes knife wounds.

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Once a Warrior Prince

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I Just Wanna Be Your Kitty Cat
The Red and the Green Stamps


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This is my Abraham Lincoln smiley!
Well I'll probably see that guy over the weekend, but I didn't exactly tell him that I didn't just take his word for it. I was probably too busy studying boys in school and wasn't paying attention the week that was taught. [Wink]
He'll probably have another interesting historical fact for me. So I'll be sure to post it here if it's a good one!

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