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Watch an interview with someone who saw Lincoln get shot

Phil Edwards is a senior producer for the Vox video team.

When Samuel Seymour was five years old, he saw John Wilkes Booth shoot Abraham Lincoln. Ninety-one years later, he told the world about it.

This video shows Seymour's appearance on the February 9, 1956, episode of I've Got A Secret, in which celebrity panelists tried to guess what his big secret was. Each panelist took a turn asking Seymour questions, and they quickly determined that he'd been at the famous shooting. Though frail and hard of hearing, the 96-year-old gamely responded to questions from the panel of celebrities, which included Lucille Ball.

Seymour expanded on the experience more in an article published in 1954 in the Milwaukee Sentinel. The Talbot County, Maryland, resident had gone on vacation with his family to a postwar Washington, DC, that was still celebrating the surrender of Robert E. Lee. His family was able to see Lincoln from their theater seats: "He was a tall, stern-looking man," Seymour wrote. "I guess I just thought he looked stern because of his whiskers, because he was smiling and waving to the crowd."

Seymour enjoyed the play until the shooting — initially, he was worried for assassin John Wilkes Booth, who had jumped to the stage from the presidential box. He didn't immediately realize that Lincoln had been shot. The night ended with Seymour having a few nightmares about his unusual trip to Washington. It just happened to land him an unexpected place in history.

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