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United States/Covers & Postmarks : Marcus P. Norton

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28 Nov 2015
I am in the process of researching a hotel guest register from The Franklin House in Rutland, Vermont that dates from Sept. 1854 - April 1855. It's the oldest hotel guest register I have in my collection and the oldest I have ever seen up for sale.

The Franklin House was located next to the Rutland County Courthouse and was THE hotel in Rutland during the Stagecoach and early rail era in Rutland. Many of the signers of the register went on to civil war glory, fame in business, Political careers etc.

One name stands out from a postal standpoint... Marcus P. Norton:

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Born in Tinmouth, VT and died in New York, NY

Practiced law in Troy, NY, New York City & Washington, DC

He was also involved in the Lincoln assassination investigation:

From article about Silas H. Hodges

"Norton had testified that in March, 1865 a man he later recognized as Samuel Mudd had burst into
his room at the National Hotel. Norton claimed the man apologized, saying that he thought the room
belonged to a man named Booth. John Wilkes Booth had actually rented the room directly above
Norton's. A pre-assassination connection, if proved, would undercut Mudd's claim not to have known
who Booth was when he set Booth's broken leg after Booth shot Lincoln."

Norton's testimony was the only testimony showing a pre-assassination connection between Dr. Mudd
and John Wilkes Booth. The testimony was largely discredited but allowed to stand resulting in Dr.
Mudd's conviction.

Some conspiracy theorists believe Norton may have been more involved in Lincoln's assassination.

Norton was a patent attorney and inventor who had all of his patents revoked in 1871 and was disbarred as a patent attorney. He is believed to have stolen them from the actual inventors. One of the inventions he is known for is the postage canceling machine.

Though ALL his patents were revoked he is still to this day credited with this invention

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