Deuce of Clubs Book Club: Books of the Weak

I'm a Lebowski, You're a Lebowski

Guy Debord: Revolutionary

No Place to Hide

Command of Office

The Christ-Myth Theory And Its Problems

The Christian Delusion

Lincoln's Wrath

How to Do Nothing with Nobody All Alone by Yourself

The Sexy Book of Sexy Sex


Zombie Spaceship Wasteland

Catching the Big Fish

Dig Infinity

The True Adventures of the Rolling Stones

Crazy for God

Basin and Range

Anarchy Evolution

The File

John Ringo

The Supremes

End the Fed

Burning Book

The Hohokam Millenium

God's Middle Finger


In Heaven Everything Is Fine

The Shunning

Wisdom Sits in Places

The Marvelous Country

Hamilton's Curse

The Secret Life of Houdini

The Trouble with Being Born

Schulz and Peanuts

First Into Nagasaki

Joe Miller's Jests

Human Smoke

Dirty Tricks Cops Use

A Futile and Stupid Gesture

All For A Few Perfect Waves


Death in the Desert

American Signs

Secret Proceedings and Debates of the Constitutional Convention

Secrets Of A Stingy Scoundrel

The Self-Made Tapestry

A Constitutional History of Secession

The Neurotic's Notebook

Interrogation Machine

Monster Midway

The Harlot by the Side of the Road

Forced Into Glory

Imperial Life in the Emerald City

J. G. Ballard: Quotes

The Compleat Practical Joker

Laugh with Hugh Troy


A Liar's Autobiography


Chasing Rainbows

Letters from Tucson, 1925-1927

The Five Fosters

The Giant Cactus Forest and Its World

How to Cheat Your Friends at Poker

World Famous Cults & Fanatics

That's Not All, Folks!

God's Problem

Will Christ Return By 1988?

Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology

The Whiskey Rebellion

FDR's Folly

Wilson's War

Bully Boy

[If] I Did It

The Dark Side

Secret Origins of the Bible


The End of Faith

Why I Became An Atheist

"Life's Calendar for 1922"

Churchill, Hitler, and the Unnecessary War

The Negro Cowboys


Monty Python Speaks

Baseball Between the Numbers

The Psychopath's Bible


J. G. Ballard: Conversations

Days of War, Nights of Love

Gospel Fictions and Who Wrote the Gospels?

The Real Deadwood


The Revolution: A Manifesto


The Secret Man

Stormin' Mormon

From Psyche to Soma

I'll Gather My Geese

The Osama bin Laden I Know

Alias "Paine"

A Man Without Words

The Wild Trees

The World Without Us

Arizona's Changing Rivers

The Phoenix Indian School

Realm of the Long Eyes

John Dillinger: The Life and Death of America's First Celebrity Criminal

Buckey O'Neill: The Story of a Rough Rider

Thanks For Tuning In

Adventures in the Apache Country

Waylon: An Autobiography

My Life: Sunrise to Sunset

Mimes and Miners: A Historical Study of the Theater in Tombstone

The First 100 Years: A History of Arizona Blacks

Enter Without Knocking

City in the Sun: The Japanese Concentration Camp at Poston, Arizona

House by the Buckeye Road

Vanished Arizona

The Big Con

The Astronomy Cafe and Back to the Astronomy Cafe

A Handbook on Hanging

The Sinner's Guide to the Evangelical Right

A Mind Restored

Mr. Show: What Happened?!

Reclaiming the American Revolution

Stumbling On Happiness

Treasure Maps of the Superstitions

Sunny Slope

Did Genesis Man Conquer Space?

Look Homeward, America

Radicals for Capitalism

Kayaker's Little Book of Wisdom

God Is Not Great

The Echoing Green

The Secret Life of the Lonely Doll

K Foundation Burn a Million Quid

The Facts of Life and Other Dirty Jokes and The Tao of Willie

Just Six Numbers and Our Cosmic Habitat

Wild Goose Chronicles

Behind Bars: Surviving Prison

Silent Night: The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce

The Gang They Couldn't Catch


A History of the End of the World

Al Sieber: Chief of Scouts

Apaches & Longhorns

Deep Survival




Bo: Pitching & Wooing

You Are Worthless

You And Your Hand

Access All Areas

Field Guide to the Apocalypse

The War on Terrorism

Those Idiots From Earth

September 11: An Oral History

Mortal Questions

The Heresy of Self-Love

The White Flag Principle

Medieval Panorama

An Honest President

Those Words

À rebours

Peterson's Incident Report Book

Boo! Culture, Experience, and the Startle Reflex

Victory Denied

Nothing, Arizona

A Porcine History of Philosophy and Religion

O Holy Cow!: The Selected Verse of Phil Rizzuto


¿Hablas conmigo

Thirty-three Candles

Black Monk Time

Men of Distinction

Alexander the Corrector

Space Viking

Mark These Men

Hallucinogenic Plants

Prohibition: An Adventure in Freedom

JESUS! He's Our President


How to Watch Football on Television

Merrill Markoe's Guide to Love

Lincoln: The Man and The Car

Whatever Men Know About Women

Biographies of Italian War Heroes

ABC of Espionage

Art Colony Perverts


Starting Right with Bees

Planet Earth is a Cult

Baseball Letters


Dopey Doings

Democracy: The God That Failed

Handgrenade Talk

Hi, How Are You?

het zingen van het ijs

The Museum of Jurassic Technology Jubilee Catalogue

The Rector and the Rogue

Colorful Cacti of the American Deserts

Odd Jobs: The World of Deviant Work

The Hungry Man's Outdoor Grill Cookbook

How to Get Invited to the White House

How to Work for a Jerk

Never Work for a Jerk!

The Mentality of Apes

Your Vigor for Life Appalls Me

Dr. Strange: Sorceror Supreme

Nautical Notions for Nibbling

A Short Introduction to the History of Human Stupidity

The Fake Revolt

Coup D'Etat

History of the Town of Felicity

Hood of Death

Dolls' House Bathrooms: Lots of Little Loos

Border Security / Anti-Infiltration Operations

Living on Light

God is for Real, Man

Did the Apostle Paul Visit Britain?

Twin Peaks


Power Phrases

The Truth About Wagner

The Life of the Bee


Science Looks at Smoking

The Chiricahuas

The New Dark Ages Conspiracy

The Big Question

Everybody's Book of Epitaphs

The Death of the Fuhrer


Gorbachev! Has the Real Antichrist Come?

The World's Worst Poet

Alyssa Milano: She's the Boss

Home is the Desert

Nine Lives: From Stripper to Schoolteacher

How to Start Your Own Country

How to Found Your Own Religion

Sex Objects in the Sky

Indian Oratory

Bastard Without Portfolio

The Bedside Book of Bastards

Hopeless -- Yet There Is Hope

Bible in Pocket, Gun in Hand

Margie Asks WHY

Death of a Hippie

Wake Up or Blow Up

Feeling and Form


A Mile in His Moccasins

Mojave Desert Ramblings

Passing of the Outhouse

This Way to Happiness

The Happy Life

Young Only Once

The Monkey Gland Affair

Bert Bacharach's Book for Men

The Two Babylons

For Good and Evil: The Impact of Taxes...

Why Christians Crack Up!

Why Do Christians Break Down?

Hava Nagila!

Beethoven or Bust

How to Abandon Ship

Livin' in Joe's World

The Last Democrat

Salvation Mountain

The Varmint and Crow Hunter's Bible

Love in the Western World

Jack the Ripper: Light-Hearted Friend

Little Men of the NFL

No One May Ever Have The Same Knowledge Again

The Secret Museum of Mankind

James Bond's World of Values

We Did Not Plummet Into Space

The Boy Who Didn't Believe IN CHRISTMAS

The Great Escape From Your Dead-End Job

All About Tipping

My Loser Godfrey

A Haircut in Horse Town

Mucusless Diet Healing System

Jefferson Returns

Lincoln Returns

Churchill Returns

Corporation Freak

Null Bock auf DDR

So You're Going on a Mission?

Nudes in My Camera

Why I Hate the Nazis

Flesh, Metal & Glass

The James Beard Cookbook

Mortal Refrains


Amy Grant: A Biography

The X Cars

We Were Five

Mr. Wilson's Cabinet of Wonder

Hello ... Wrong Number

I'll Kill You Next!

Murder in Vegas

Did MAN Just Happen?

Terror at the Atlanta Olympics

Criswell Predicts

Your Next Ten Years

They Pay Me to Catch Footballs

The Phantom Menace

Just For Fellows

The Lopsided Gal

Astrology and Horse Racing

The Cokesbury Stunt Book

The Origin of Things

Remarks on the History of Things

U.S. Government Sewing Book

Funeral Tributes II

Blinky, the Friendly Hen

The Serbs Choose War

My Mystery Castle


Funeral Customs the World Over

The Right to be Let Alone

Mormonism and the Negro

The Church and the Negro

Preacher with a Billy Club

Fighting Parson of the Old West

Invisibility: Mastering the Art of Vanishing

How to Disappear Completely

The Gentle Art of Making Enemies

How to Catch a Man, How to Keep a Man, How to Get Rid of a Man

Langenscheidts Konversationsbuch

Marlene Dietrich's ABC

The Bible in the Hands of Its Creators

Alias "Paine": The Mystery Man of the Lincoln Conspiracy

Betty J. Ownsbey (1993; rpt. 2005)


All during the sensational six-week trial which followed, Powell had shown a stoicism that defied all explanation. Even his death warrant was received by him without emotion, and he would walk to his premature death with a Spartan display that awed a nation. (1)

Having been brought up under a strong religious influence, Lewis Powell was sensitive, intense, and thoughtfully reserved in nature, very much an introvert. He had learned to whittle at an early age and was highly proficient at carving various whistles and toys out of wood. An animal lover, he was always bringing strays home and caring for the injured ones about the farm, earning him the nickname of "Doc" from his sisters. The nickname stuck. (7)

While working the valley with three separate detachments, one of Mosby's men killed a young Federal picket during a slight skirmish. The slain soldier's commanding officer, none other than the flamboyant George Armstrong Custer, ordered the homes of five innocent families in the area burned to avenge the picket's death.
In retaliation for these atrocities, a group of Mosby's men clashed with a detail of Federals and caught them in the process of burning a house. The resulting fray culminated in the death of eighteen Union soldiers. More than likely, Powell was one of the vengeful Rangers. (24)

So far as can be determined, this was the only time Booth and all of his men were together for a meeting. Arnold and O'Laughlen were there along with Atzerodt and Herold, and finally Surratt and Powell sauntered in. Powell went by the nickname of "Mosby" within the group in deference to his service with Mosby's elite outfit, leaving one once again with the impression that he had been dispatched from Mosby's group to work as an agent in the kidnapping plot. (57)

"Do you know this man? Did you hire him to dig a ditch for you?" Smith looked inquiringly at the bonneted and shawled widow.
Raising her hands, Mrs. Surratt avowed: "Before God, I do not know this man; I have never seen him. I did not hire him to dig a ditch!" This positive and basically inaccurate assertion would cause Mrs. Surrat's life to be forfeited on the gallows. (92-3)

Eckert remembered another photography session on board the monitor a few days later on April 27. Powell, sullen and silent, decided to foil photographer Alexander Gardner. Whenever the photographer would remove the lens cap from the camera, Powell would respond with a vigorous head shaking—the results of which would produce a blurred unrecognizable image. Enraged, the provost marshal in charge, Col. H. H. Wells, provost marshal of defenses south of the Potomac, struck Powell's arm with his sword or cane. The burly Eckert stepped up at once and reprimanded the officer for his unwarranted action. Powell thanked Eckert and said that that was the first sympathetic word he had heard since his arrest. The picture taking session came to an abrupt halt. (103)

Powell was confined in the chain locker, and although he showed a wonderful fortitude, far beyond what might be expected of a twenty-year-old, even one who had braved four years on the battlefield, the effects of his solitary entombment within the monitor began to strain his nerves to the breaking point. But there was yet another nightmare he was to be subjected to—a blackness far more terrifying than the monitor's darkened hold:
April 22, 1865
Commander J. B. Montgomery
Commandant, Navy Yard
Washington, DC
The Secretary of War requests that the prisoners on board the iron clads belonging to his department shall have for better security against conversation, a canvas bag put over the head of each and tied around the neck with a hole for proper breathing and eating, but not for seeing—and that Payne be secured to prevent self destruction.
G. V. Fox
Marine Sergeant Peddicord was responsible for placing the hoods on the prisoners, and although all of those thus subjected to this inhumane cruelty were "affected," Peddicord remembered that Powell actually wept: "Even stalwart Payne, who never said a word before, asked me, 'What is that for?' I replied that I was there to obey orders, not to answer questions; and as I forced the hood down ... I noticed a tear start and roll down his cheek. These hoods had small openings at the nose for breathing and were raised a bit during their meals.”
One is left with the impression that the hooding punishment, not much different from being buried alive, had turned Powell into a frightened, dejected youth—a person tottering on the edge of insanity. Although he would exhibit a devil-may-care attitude while on trial, his imperturbability in the prisoner's dock may have been pure bravado. (104-5)

Powell sat stiffly and glared at the faces that glared back. The court watched Powell, his movements, the stubborn, proud lift of his chin. There was something about the man that engaged the imagination—an obstinate dignity, a proud and military bearing that was not discernible in any of the others. Call it what you would—dignity, good breeding, brazenness—it immediately focused one's attention on him. This, combined with the fact that he was obviously the youngest prisoner in the dock, made him the most dramatically interesting person of the eight. (119)

By this time, the nation was beginning to understand that the name "Paine" or "Payne" was an assumed misnomer. “Who and what this man Payne is, is the great mystery of the day. There have been various reports concerning him and his antecedents, but it is believed that all are lost concerning him; and it is doubtful if his real name is Payne.” Even his attorney, William E. Doster, was puzzled as to who his mysterious client really was. Powell would say nothing and would just lean his head back against the wall in the prisoner's dock, staring at the crowds. Doster could get nothing whatsoever out of him. (123)

All eyes were again upon the star prisoner as he tried on the gray frock coat and overcoat, The brown felt slouch hat was handed to him, and he placed it on his thick glossy hair, turning it at a jaunty angle over his eye. Now he faced the court, cheeks tinged in a slight blush, his lip curled in a bashful dimpled smile. The court was awed in its fascination with the enigmatic prisoner. The ladies in the courtroom were thrilled with his handsomeness. Slowly Lewis turned and faced the witness. Young Bell shook his head. "Oh, he knows me right well! If he has confessed to everything, you can ask him if I am not the one that let him in!" This homely assertion caused the court to rock with laughter—and Powell gave in to the humor, joining his laughter with that of the court. The spectators were stunned to see him laugh. (124)

As soon as Powell's courtroom demeanor and his appearance appeared in the papers, ladies were clamoring at the doors to see him. Each day, more and more women filled the courtroom eager to get a look at the boyish would-be assassin. Their comments and chattering embarrassed Powell, and the more determined of them would sometimes press close against the dock railing before court convened: "As the prisoners were brought in, the spectators pushed forward as usual, and the ladies especially crowded with such eagerness about the bar of the dock uttering lively ejaculations at the time as Payne entered that he visibly lost countenance for the moment, blushing like a girl." (126)

Powell anxiously inquired about the condition of Fred Seward, whom he had pistol-whipped, and, when told that his victim was progressing from his wounds, expressed remorse over having hurt the young man and stated that he owed him an apology. Powell reportedly suffered anguish over this pistol whipping. Doster was somewhat puzzled. (127)

Powell continued to agonize over Mrs. Surratt, telling Reverend Gillette: "She, at least, does not deserve to die with us. If I had no other reason, Doctor—she is a woman, and men do not make war on women." (139)

Gillette emphatically asserted that Powell partook of nothing, neither food nor drink, on the fatal day. Stimulants were administered to Herold, Atzerodt and Mrs. Surratt, but Powell steadily refused, saying "that he wished to die with an unclouded mind.” (140)

By mid-morning, the gallows structure was completed. Next on the agenda was the digging of the graves. As the prison personnel were too superstitious to perform this duty, soldiers were recruited to complete the task under a sluggish, blistering sun. (142)

The last prisoner to enter the yard was the one all eyes turned to—Lewis Powell. Accompanied by a detective and a Veteran Reserve Corps sergeant in addition to Dr. Gillette and the Rev. Stryker, who had finally arrived about noon, Powell walked erect, proud, chin up and without any tremor in his firm step. His face betrayed no fear, and he seemed the most collected of the four, conducting himself with quiet dignity. (144)

Powell was the first to receive the noose, and "held back his head and was particular about having the noose adjusted and secured by tightening above his 'Adam's Apple,' as if it had been the adjustment of a cravat for a festive occasion.
“I want you to die quick, Paine," Captain Rath said, adjusting the noose under the youth's left ear.
"You know best, Captain." Powell's voice was calm and matter of fact. (145)

Somehow, on January 13,1885, the cranium or skull of Lewis Powell ended up as anatomical specimen number 2244 in the Army Medical Museum. At that time housed in Ford's Theater, the Seward assailant's skull was stored in company with the severed vertebra of John Wilkes Booth. (153-4)

Sometime in May 1898, the remains were turned over to the Smithsonian Anthropology Department. There they were stored away for approximately ninety-four years. Recently, while sorting through the remains of various Native American skulls in preparation for return to their respective tribes for burial, workers discovered the skull of a young white male. With the skull was documentation listing it as the "cranium of Payne hung [sic] in Washington, D.C. in 1865 for the attempted assassination of Secretary of State William H. Seward." (154)

[The following is from an article in the Philadelphia Weekly Times (June 3, 1882) by Lewis Edmonds Payne, son of Dr. Albin S. Payne, from whom Lewis Powell had borrowed the name Payne.]

The Powell family is one of great prominence and distinction in Virginia, and the Powell, and not the Payne family, is clearly entitled to the questionable credit of having contributed this character to the annals of American History. (159)

In Scott's history of Mosby's Battalion, the writer, in describing the fight with Captain Blazer, who came to capture Mosby, but unfortunately got captured by him, in the Shenandoah Valley in 1864, says: "Captain Blazer, do thy speediest, for those are upon thy track who smite and spare not—Syd Ferguson, Cab Maddux and the terrible Lewis Powell." (160-1)

Powell's favorite mare was a blood bay. This animal had a habit of foaming at the mouth and exposing the whites of her eyes. Mounted on this mare, this strange man "rode fast and far to share war's fiercest perils." The people here in Virginia who remember Powell as he appeared twenty years ago, with his pale face, slouch hat and mysterious ways, mounted on that bay mare, dashing and splashing through the woods, across fields, over ditches and fences, by day, at night, and through all kinds of weather, almost believe that he must have been a stray knight from the Black Forest. (163)

He undoubtedly possessed qualifications enough to have made a very useful citizen had they been employed in raising cotten [sic] and sugar cane instead of killing Cabinets. (164)

The assuming of my name by Powell came very near getting the necks of several of my relatives, if not my own, stretched in a way "we most do despise." We had no more to do with the conspiracy than the man in the moon. During the trial a body of troops were sent to Fauquier to "run us all in," under the impression that we knew something about it. (172)

He seems to have fancied that if he could abduct Mr. Lincoln he could force an exchange of prisoners. Possibly he may have been inspired by resentment at the recollection that it was the infamous duplicity of Lincoln that curious mixture of Satyr, Harlequin, and Demagogue that had kept these 50,000 Confederate soldiers in prison; at any rate we know what he wanted to do and that he had the courage to attempt it. (174)

[From Doster's defense argument:]

It was a traditional political precept of the State in which the prisoner lived, that the State, like its elder sisters, had reserved the right of divorcing itself at pleasure from the Union, and that great as the duty of a citizen might be to the Union, his first duty was to Florida. (182-3)

He is now eighteen, and the last two years have formed his character. He also abhors the President of the Yankees; he also believes that victory comes because God is just; he also believes that nothing is bad so the South be free; he also regards a Federal as a ravisher and a robber. (185)

What, then, has he done that every rebel soldier has not tried to do? Only this: He has shown a higher courage, a bitterer hate, and a more ready sacrifice; he has aimed at the head of a department, instead of the head of a corps; he has struck at the head of a nation, instead of at its limbs, he has struck in the day of his humiliation, when nothing was to be accomplished but revenge, and when he believed he was killing an oppressor. (186-7)

Throughout the history of the world, there is no lesson taught in clearer language than that the noblest deed of men is to free the world of oppressors. But I hear students of history reply: True; but they must have been oppressors. Granted; but who is to be the judge? There can be no one but the assassin himself. It is he and he only, who takes the risk of becoming a deliverer, or a foul and parricidal murderer. (187-8)

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