Is Surratt’s Maryland Boardinghouse, a Real Place in Apple TV+ Manhunt?

The American TV “Manhunt” on Apple TV+ is based on the book “Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer” by James L. Swanson. The show is about the search for John Wilkes Booth after Abraham Lincoln was killed. It was created by writer Monica Beletsky. Carl Franklin directs the show, and Tobias Menzies, a British actor, plays Edwin Stanton, Lincoln’s secretary of war and a key player in the search for Booth.

In the second episode of Apple TV+ Manhunt, “Post-mortem,” viewers are introduced to Surratt’s Maryland Boardinghouse, which plays a major role in the events leading up to President Abraham Lincoln’s death. But is this boardinghouse real or did the writers of the show make it up?

Is Surratt’s Maryland Boardinghouse a Real Place?

Surratt-Boarding-House--compressed

Yes, Surratt’s Maryland Boardinghouse is a real place in history and is depicted in Apple TV+ Manhunt. The boardinghouse that Mary Elizabeth Surratt owned was in Surrattsville, Maryland, which is now Clinton, Maryland. The building is now home to a Wok & Roll Chinese restaurant company. Beginning in the middle of the 1800s, Mary Surratt owned and ran the boardinghouse from September 1864 to April 1865. The building was constructed by Jonathan T. Walker in 1843.

On December 6, 1853, John Surratt bought the house from Augustus A. Gibson and ran it as a boarding house. That same year, her husband died, and Mary Surratt decided to rent her bar and home in nearby Surrattsville, Maryland, to John M. Lloyd, a former police officer in Washington, D.C., who supported the Confederacy. She then moved into a boarding house in Washington, D.C.  It was here that part of the plot to kill President Abraham Lincoln was made. When her part in the plan to kill the president was found out, Mary Surratt was arrested and later put to death.

-Surratt-Boarding-House-exterior now a restaurant

Irvan Schwarztman, who owned the house at the time, turned the first floor into a business space in 1925 and added show windows at street level. Yow Chin Teas moved into the building in 1931. Since then, High Wah & Co. Importers, Sie Que Co. Imports, and the Suey Sang Lung Co. store have all been there. It wasn’t until 2009 that the place was added to the National Register of Historic Places

In April 2011, the house got a little attention when Robert Redford’s movie The Conspirator, which was about Mary Surratt, came out. The building is now a Chinese restaurant and singing bar, and not much of the original interior is left.

In the second episode Secretary of War Edwin Stanton’s dream of Ford’s Theatre, which is where Lincoln was killed. In this dream, Stanton imagines that he stops John Wilkes Booth from killing Lincoln, but Booth makes fun of him afterward. This dream sequence is made up, but it sets the stage for the study that happens in real life.

Things move slowly with the investigation until Stanton and his team talk to Union officer Louis Weichmann. There is a lot of evidence that Mary Surratt was involved in the plot that Weichmann gives. People start to think less of Weichmann when he takes Stanton to Surratt’s boardinghouse. A hidden message from Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy, was found, which adds to the evidence that Surratt and her ties to the plot are involved.

In Surrattsville, Maryland, Mary Surratt’s boardinghouse becomes the center of the probe. Even though the events that happen at the boardinghouse are made up for the show, the boardinghouse itself is real. People who supported the Confederacy and planned to attack it, like John Wilkes Booth, met at Surratt’s boardinghouse. Booth and his accomplices planned to kill President Lincoln here.

Some details about the boardinghouse’s part in the plot may be exaggerated to make the story more exciting, but Surratt’s Maryland Boardinghouse is very important to history and should not be overlooked. It reminds us of a sad time in American history and the things that happened before one of the worst events in the country’s history.

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Olivia Wilson
Olivia Wilsonhttps://www.tvacute.com/
Olivia Wilson is the senior news writer for TV Acute. She spends too much money on collectables and is enamored with movies, comics, and television series. She loves binge-watching and can spend hours talking about movies and TV shows. She can immerse herself into a good story no matter the genre or form and only come out from it when she's had her fill. When she's not writing, she's probably cooking or exploring new places. You can follow her daily exploits on Twitter and Facebook.

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