The Smoot HouseSmoot House

The history of the Smoot family in Port Tobacco is often connected to the plot to assassinate President Lincoln. One particular family member, Richard Smoot ran a boarding house in the center of town, not far from the Chimney House. It has been suggested that the Smoot House may be where Booth's original plan to kidnap President Lincoln was hatched.

In the trials and questionings following the president's assassination, Richard Smoot testified that he sold the boat that Booth planned to use to transport Lincoln across the Potomac. When the promised payments were not made, Smoot sent a letter to Booth demanding the funds. When the money was still not sent, Smoot visited the Surratt boarding house. Mary Surratt, who was later hanged for her role in the president's assassination, assured Smooth that the boat would be used soon, and that he would receive his money when Atzerodt arrived to retrieve it.

Forty years after the tribunal Smoot was more candid about his role in the conspiracy and suggested that he knew the intended purpose of the boat when he sold it to Booth and Surratt. He also named other Port Tobaccoans who knew about Booth's plot. The Port Tobacco Archaeology Project has relied on extensive shovel testing and historic maps to identify the site of the Smoot House, which burned after 1892.