Henry Reed Rathbone was sitting next to President Abraham Lincoln and Mrs. Lincoln and was together with his fiancée, Clara Harris, when the fatal assassination attempt was made on Abraham Lincoln to which he eventually succumbed.
Henry R. Rathbone was the son of a merchant and businessman, Jared L. Rathbone and born in Albany, New York, who was later to become the mayor of Albany. Rathbone had inherited a vast amount of two hundred thousand dollars family estate, which was a fortune in those times, when his father died. His widowed mother Pauline Rathbone soon after remarried Judge Ira Harris, who was appointed as a United States Senator from New York after William H. Seward had become the Secretary of State in Abraham Lincoln’s administrative government.
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As a result of his mother’s remarriage, Senator Ira Harris became Rathbone’s stepfather and his daughter Clara Harris became his stepsister. Since Rathbone and Clara Harris did not have a blood relationship, the two later on got married. Rathbone studied law at the Union College and was a member of the Sigma Phi Society and for a brief period of time also had a law partnership in Albany before he entered the Union Army. The American Civil War had just begun and Rathbone served as a Captain in the 12 th Infantry Regiment and during the war, went on to earn the rank of a Major before the civil war finally ended.
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