On the 7th in 1865, Mary Surratt became the first woman to be executed by the United States federal government. She was hanged after her conviction for her role in Abraham Lincoln’s assassination and the attempted assassination of Vice-president Andrew Johnson[i] and Secretary of State William H. Seward[ii]. What could a shy, retiring widow, the mother of a son[iii] who disappeared and left her alone have done to warrant a necktie party? Actually, not much at all. She just owned the boarding house where the plans for the assassinations were drawn up and provided the guns and supplies that John Wilkes Booth would need as he fled Washington after shooting Abe, that’s all.
[i] Booth gave George Atzerodt the task of killing Andrew Johnson. George would get drunk and wander off, leaving Johnson untouched.
[ii] One of Booth’s accomplices was Lewis Powell, who was formerly one of John Mosby's Rangers. Powell attempted to kill Seward while Booth reserved Lincoln for himself.
[iii] John Surratt was a courier for the South’s Secret Service. He had gone to Canada to get intelligence from the Confederacy’s Secret Service office there.