Bench of Irony – Gettysburg, Pennsylvania - Atlas Obscura

Bench of Irony

While seemingly a cruel joke, this bench actually honors an esteemed member of the community who passed away in 2006. 


Anyone who has studied the assassination of President Lincoln or understands the background of the phrase “His name is mud (Mudd)” will understand the irony of this bench which is located across from the house where President Lincoln stayed before the Gettysburg Address.

In 1865, Samuel Alexander Mudd Sr. was an American physician imprisoned for conspiring with John Wilkes Booth in the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.

“His name is mud.” is spoken of one regarded unfavorably and inaccurately associated with the 1865 Dr. Samuel Mudd, who treated John Wilkes Booth after Booth shot Lincoln.

But the good news is while the initial thought might be “How inappropriate!”, this bench was actually placed with noble intentions to honor Gettysburg resident Samuel A. Mudd, who passed away in 2006. A member of the St. James Lutheran Church in Gettysburg, he was very involved with community service at the neighborhood, borough, and county levels.

In 2006, Dr. Mudd was awarded the John Andrews Memorial Award for Community Service by Main Street Gettysburg. He was a founder of  From the Ground Up, a group of dedicated volunteers who collect litter throughout the borough. He was also one of the founders of the Hazel Alley Residents Association, a group dedicated to working with Gettysburg College students living off campus to create a safer, more cooperative, neighborhood. Dr. Mudd also contributed his time to the Seeds to Success program run by SCCAP. He served for many years on the Borough’s Planning Commission.

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Enjoy a cup of coffee on this lovely corner of the town square!

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