On this day in 1890 John Parker died. Recognize the name? Probably not but he played a pivotal role in the tragedy that occurred on Good Friday, April 14, 1865, not so much for what he did but what he didn’t do. John Parker was one of President Abraham Lincoln’s bodyguards and on the night of April 14, 1865 he was on duty as President Lincoln and his party sat in the presidential box at Ford’s Theatre. Only Parker was not at his post outside the presidential box when John Wilkes Booth entered there and shot Lincoln. To this day there continues to be speculation as to exactly where John Parker was. Perhaps he went next door to the saloon, since he had a history of drinking while on duty, or perhaps he was elsewhere in the building but he was not at his post. Was he relieved of duty following Lincoln’s death? Amazingly, he was not and why not? That is a question that still remains unanswered. He was charged with neglect of duty and tried, but no transcript of the case was kept apparently and the charge was subsequently dismissed. Incredulous as it may seem, Parker continued to work security at the White House and was even assigned to guard First Lady Mary Lincoln. She became so enraged she ordered him away from her and told him she would always blame him for her husband’s death. Parker’s bad behavior finally caught up with him and he was fired three years after President Lincoln’s death for sleeping on duty. He did an ignominious death and is buried in an unmarked grave in Washington, DC. No known photograph of John Parker exists.