Some time before the April 14, 1865, performance of “Our American Cousin,” Joe Simms, a Ford’s Theatre employee, carried a lushly upholstered rocking chair into what was to become the presidential box. The chair belonged to theater manager Harry Clay Ford and was among items moved in to make the presidential party more comfortable.
After the assassination, Ford’s Theatre was seized by the War Department. It was a crime scene, after all. Guards were posted on 10th Street and outside the ill-fated box.